The Wonder Woman Controversy

After the constant success that is Marvel and it’s ever-expanding cinematic universe, I decided to give DC a try. There were a couple of movies that came out, like Suicide Squad and Batman v Superman, but none of them seem to get the same kind of positive response that Wonder Woman received. I wanted to see what the deal was for myself, partly because it seemed like a good idea to step into DC with one of it’s better movies and partly because even Marvel doesn’t exactly have a female-centered super-hero movie. It looks like that will change with the Captain Marvel movie coming up but Marvel sure took its time.

Most of my interaction with DC has been in the form of television cartoons. As a kid, I used to have one of those DVDs for a couple of Superman cartoon episodes. On television, Saturday cartoons involved the Batman. Teen Titans is also a forever favorite! Another honorable mention would include the Legion of Superheroes. Later, I started watching shows like Arrow and Flash, although I couldn’t keep up with them for long. I stopped watching Arrow sometime in the fourth or fifth season and I couldn’t stomach more than one episode of the Flash. However, the core heroes of the DC universe have always been Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman. I was only familiar with the former two.

Before watching the movie, I had a couple of assumptions regarding the character of Wonder Woman that were inevitably proven wrong. The biggest group of assumptions was probably the fact that I thought that Wonder Woman was an alien and that Amazonians were all from a different planet and that they were entirely some kind of superhuman species. The origins of Wonder Woman, as depicted in the movie, showed that it was otherwise. For the record, I also hadn’t expected it to be a branch of Greek mythology, let alone Diana being a demi-god. I had thought Diana was just a regular Amazonian who just decided to help out the humans (kind of like how Superman is a regular Kryptonian, it’s just that all the other Kryptonians are dead), so it was a little bit disappointing to find out that Diana was inherently special in a way that no one else could be. Yes, I am calling her over-powered here, but it’s not a bad thing. It’s just that I hadn’t expected it.

wonder woman aesthetic edit with greek gods zeus aries

Okay but the rest of the movie wasn’t too bad. I kinda liked watching Wonder Woman do her thing and show everyone that she wasn’t what they thought she was. I also liked how confident she was in everything she was doing- you’d think a sheltered little girl who has never seen men or the kind of society that is London or the ugliness of war would have a couple of misgivings every now and then. I was a little disappointed at some parts though, as I felt that she didn’t react properly to a lot of things. For example, when she sees London, she agrees that it isn’t a very nice looking place. When they’re on the streets though, she doesn’t notice anything else except the fact that people are holding hands. I couldn’t help but be slightly alarmed at how Wonder Woman was busy trying to hold Steve’s hand and completely blocking out some of the mildly disturbing things in the background (like there was a man wrapped up in CHAINS in that scene background).

To be honest, I kind of expected a more of a Pocahontas reaction to London, except maybe several hundred shades darker, in terms of colors as well as lyrics:

So yes I was a little bit disappointed at this part too but that’s okay! At least we got to see Wonder Woman trying out a ton of pretty dresses and being super smart and cool.

It’s not hard to see that Wonder Woman, the movie, tried it’s very best to set itself up as a feminist icon. Here you had a female who was nice and sweet when needed and a total monster when required, a female who explicitly states that there really is no need for men which really isn’t much of a surprise coming from someone who has spent her entire life on an island with just women. Here you had a female who wanted to help the helpless and sometimes let her emotions get the better of her. But it never resulted in catastrophe since she’s a demi-god and can handle pretty much anything and everything.

Here’s where a bit of the controversy sets in.

Wonder woman aesthetic edit

The actress for Wonder Woman is an Israeli and the whole Israel-Palestine conflict isn’t exactly any kind of ‘new’ news. Israel basically comes into existence after the Second World War, which you can say was a result of the First World War, after the systematic oppression and genocide of European Jews. The Jews that remained were then relocated to Palestine as it is their “promised land” and since then, there has been conflict between these new tenants and the indigenous Palestinian people who are having their lands taken away. It’s a completely one-sided affair, with Israel being backed by tons of US tax dollars for the state of the art weapons against a nation being systematically oppressed and terrorized. Talk about how the tables have turned, huh? Is it even more horrifying that Israeli snipers go out of their ways to shoot Palestinian medics?

For Wonder Woman, who claims to help the helpless, to be portrayed by someone who also represents a terrifying regime is beyond my understanding. While watching the movie, I felt very conflicted. What was the point of this particular choice of the actress? Was it to give her background a boost? Did they just want to show a Jewish actress going out there and killing what could arguably be symbolized as Nazis to please an audience? Or did they want to cement Israel’s constant stance that all the horrible things they do are merely in self-defense?

I think I’ll finish this post off with a Wonder Woman quote that I found floating around.

We have a saying, my people. Don’t kill if you can wound, don’t wound if you can subdue, don’t subdue if you can pacify, and don’t raise your hand at all until you’ve first extended it.

What did you think about Wonder Woman? Do you feel that actors should be kept completely separate from their characters or that the actor’s personal opinions and stances should be also put into consideration? Just to help you with this question, I’d like to bring up Johnny Depp and his whole domestic abuse controversy as well. Does his background now also make you feel uncomfortable about his career as an actor? Thanks for reading. Have a nice day!

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7 thoughts on “The Wonder Woman Controversy

  1. This was such an interesting read! I can kinda see where you’re coming from. For me Wonder Woman was a wonderful film, because the cinematic universes can use a few kick-ass woman! I must say The Black Widow is one of the few who wás doing the job formerly, but in Infinity War I really missed her kick-ass attitude. Wonder Woman is that kind of moviee that I love.

    That quote you included is also one of my favorites!

  2. As a person who’s not really interested in actors’ personal life and background I was a bit confused with all this controversy around Wonder Woman. Now, thanks to your post, I know more!

  3. Want to know my Wonder Woman assumption from 2nd grade? I thought she was married to Superman.
    Love how you call the Israelis “new tenants”. There are actually indigenous groups who think of them that way. I honestly didn’t know the actress heritage was a reason for controversy. I understand that now though, having just left Israel. I don’t think they chose her because the bad guys are Germans though, and they’re definitely not nazis at this point in time. As the movie is set in WW I, national socialism a la Hitler is far from a thing yet (chauvinism however is), so you really can’t call them nazis. There’s also the point of the Germans, now seen as the major villains of WW I, were far from alone in this. Austria-Hungary was just as bad and the Turkish weren’t playing nice either. So if Gal Gadot was chosen just so a Jewish actress could clay “nazis”, it’s really the dumbest and most ignorant casting ever.

    x Envy

  4. Thanks for sharing! I’ve been in my own little work bubble at the moment and so got some catching up to do, the visuals in the film look beautiful though! Definitely adding to my watch list.

  5. In most cases I do like to separate an actor from the character they’re playing, but I do agree that in cases like with Johnny Depp, it does take me out of the movie because I’m frustrated at the actor themselves.

    On the whole I did enjoy Wonder Woman though, I think the movie despite some flaws was still a step forward. I also really enjoyed seeing an entire film through a female lens (directorially), it’s fascinating to notice just how the majority of films and television shows have everything seen through the male gaze.

    Julia // The Sunday Mode

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