Saturday, June 03, 2017

Wonder Woman

Regarding the controversy (in the Arab world but not in the US) about the new Wonder Woman movie:

It is rather significant that there is no controversy about the movie in the West as there is in the Arab world. It seems to me that had Hollywood recruited a Hizbaullah or Hamas fighter to play the lead female role, there would have been protests in Western capitals.  If Hollywood were to have assigned the role to a soldier in the apartheid South African army (a close ally of Israel at the time) there would have been wide protests as well.  But this is Israel, which has a special place--in Hollywood and in the rest of the US.

There is little redeeming artistic value in those action movies--there is little artistic value in what comes out of Hollywood.

The feminist enthusiasm about the movie is in explicable to me.  I understand that finally the "super hero" is a woman.  But is Hollywood the best place to look for gender equity in, when it is a place which represents gender inequity at every level of the business?  And if feminists welcome a Hollywood product, would they run the risk of legitimizing the rest of Hollywood production which is invariably sexist and misogynistic?  

Let us say that we accept the argument that for once a super action female heroine is the star and that this is delightful: and regarding what Americans call "the role model" thing.  Should little girls be looking for role models in Hollywood and in the world of comic action heroes?  Would the cause of feminism not be better served if little girls are acquainted with real "wonder women" in real life, and who are real people who do heroic things ever day of their lives--and without having to jump from high building? And those real "wonder women" are rarely if ever portrayed or covered or promoted or featured in Hollywood or in popular culture, and if they are their contributions are rather distorted or minimized. 

I think in inculcating little girls and boys with feminist values it should be stressed that Hollywood is the place where patriarchy and misogyny are perpetuated and that girls and boys should be insulated from the messages of those movies, and trained to deconstruct them.  For every "Wonder Woman" movie--and I certainly doubt that there is a feminist agenda in the movie--there are many more lousy sexist movies out there.

There is a sinister message in having to recruit--from all the women of the world--an occupation soldier to play the female lead, while they never had to do that for the male action heroes. This tells something rather sexist--and even racist--about the standards employed in the casting of this female lead.