In possibly the highest profile example of mansplaining to date, director James Cameron (Titanic, Avatar, Terminator) has fired shots at the overwhelmingly successful Wonder Woman.
Despite massive critical acclaim, vastly positive audience reactions and inspiring social impact, Cameron has decided that Wonder Woman wasn’t portrayed correctly. In a recent interview with The Guardian, Cameron had a mini temper tantrum about Hollywood’s celebration over DC’s smash hit, calling it “misguided” and stating that Gal Gadot’s titular Amazon princess was “objectified”.
All of the self-congratulatory back-patting Hollywood’s been doing over Wonder Woman has been so misguided. She’s an objectified icon, and it’s just male Hollywood doing the same old thing! I’m not saying I didn’t like the movie but, to me, it’s a step backwards.
Sarah Connor was not a beauty icon. She was strong, she was troubled, she was a terrible mother, and she earned the respect of the audience through pure grit. And to me, [the benefit of characters like Sarah] is so obvious. I mean, half the audience is female!
When asked why he thinks that movies are still failing when it comes to portraying truly powerful women, Cameron was apparently at a loss for words. Except to gripe about how everybody wasn’t just following his lead:
I don’t – I don’t know. There are many women in power in Hollywood and they do get to guide and shape what films get made. I think – no, I can’t account for it. Because how many times do I have to demonstrate the same thing over again? I feel like I’m shouting in a wind tunnel!
Personally, I’m not sure where Cameron was trying to go with his statement, because “male Hollywood” had almost nothing to do with Wonder Woman. Is he saying powerful women can’t be conventionally sexy as well? Are powerful women only successful when they’re troubled, or tough, or unconventionally attractive?
That’s the line of thought that Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins went down when she fired back at Cameron in a tweet on Friday. Stating that “if women have to always be hard, tough and troubled to be strong, we aren’t free to be multidimensional or celebrate an icon of women everywhere because she’s attractive and loving, then we haven’t come very far have we”, Jenkins said, calling Cameron out about his own misguided statements.
— Patty Jenkins (@PattyJenks) August 25, 2017
Jenkins has nailed the issue rather succinctly in her tweet. Cameron’s narrowly defined vision of what a “strong female character” should be is the real step backwards here. Just because his female characters are gritty and troubled and not very likely to be runway models doesn’t mean that that’s the only way for women to be represented on screen.
What galls me the most is Cameron’s suggestion that Wonder Woman’s massive success is thanks to male Hollywood doing the same old thing. It’s appallingly sexist and completely undercuts the huge leaps and bounds that Jenkins and co. have made.
Sorry Cameron, you just don’t have the monopoly on strong female characters anymore – not that anyone thinks you had it to start with.
Last Updated: August 28, 2017