Patty Jenkins has recently sat down with Alex Wagner, the co-host of the CBS This Morning show, to discuss her upcoming movie Wonder Woman, which stars Israeli actress Gal Gadot as the titular protagonist. During the interview, Jenkins talked about sexism in the movie industry, and how she aims to become a great director, not just a great female director. Jenkins, who is perhaps best known for her work in the critically-acclaimed Monster, further defended Wonder Woman’s status as a feminist icon despite some claiming that the heroine was not suited to be a role model for girls due to her raunchy outfit.
When asked what she thought of this criticism, Jenkins hit back at the critics and dismissed the comments as sexist and hypocritical. She also claimed that Lynda Carter’s portrayal of Wonder Woman helped empower her during her childhood, as Jenkins used to fantasize about being a hero while looking just as awesome as her idol.
“I think that that’s sexist. I think it’s sexist to say you can’t have both. I have to ask myself what I would apply to any other superhero. This is fantasy and it’s not for anyone other than the person having the fantasy. I, as a little girl, like took a huge amount of delight in the idea that for my power and my ability to stop that bully on that playground, I could also look like Lynda Carter while I was doing it.”
Gal Gadot, who first appeared as Wonder Woman in 2016’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, seems to have a similar stance on the heroine’s status as a feminist icon. Speaking to The New York Times earlier this month, Gadot said that feminism was ultimately “about equality and chance and freedom.” As such, it didn’t matter what Wonder Woman’s outfit looked like. Gadot further touched upon her character’s background and childlike naivety, claiming that Diana Prince, Wonder Woman’s civilian alter ego, was unaware of “social roles.” Therefore, Wonder Woman perceives everyone as equals.
However, it looks as though Chris Pine’s character, Steve Trevor, is set to have somewhat of a reversed, or even emasculated, role in the upcoming superhero flick. Compared to the nigh-invincible princess of Themyscira, Steve Trevor, who is also Wonder Woman’s love interest in the comics, is a mere human with no superpowers. In the trailer, we see a comical scene in which Wonder Woman saves Steve Trevor from being shot by an assassin by shielding him with her Bracelets of Submission. Jenkins herself acknowledged the role reversal between the typical male hero and the damsel in distress in this movie, but also drew a comparison between Indiana Jones and Pine’s character, saying that despite Trevor’s lack of superhuman abilities, he will play a “heroic role.”
The fictional superheroine isn’t the only one who suffers from sexist stereotypes and conventions, though. In her interview with CBS, Patty Jenkins opened up about the hardships of being a female director in Hollywood, saying that male directors were not put under the same intense scrutiny as her.
Regardless, Jenkins hopes that Wonder Woman will be a “great superhero film” for everyone, not just for women. Similar to Gadot’s definition of feminism, Jenkins seems to be a firm believer in absolute equality between both sexes.
This begs the question, however, whether the controversial decision to have women-only-screenings of Wonder Woman at select cinemas really serves the cause of equality.
Wonder Woman is set to hit the big screens on June 2 and will be the fourth entry in the DC Extended Universe.
[Featured Image by Warner Bros.]