Because the hype machine for a movie begins before anyone even starts filming, we get quotes and tidbits from the stars of Batman vs Superman: Dawn of a Franchise every other day until the earth is swallowed into the sea.
The latest comes courtesy of Gal Gadot, the actress who’s inhabiting the body of Wonder Woman and may or may not be voicing her (we’ve never seen her talk in a single one of the 5,000 trailers, even for her own movie).
If I may quote Gal Gadot regarding Wonder Woman, she says on Movieweb:
“Her sexuality is part of her power, but she is also a feminist icon.”
Are you fucking kidding me? I know, I shouldn’t be surprised, right? This is Zach Snyder universe, the beloved creator of Sucker Punch. Of course those ladies are only good for what’s between their legs. As long as we gussy it up as feminism and empowering no one will notice that all we know what to do is ogle them.
But Marvel’s so much better, uh…
It’s okay though, because see, first Widow’s all helpless and whimpering and tied up, but then she goes super kickass feminist lady and beats up the guys. It’s totally hot, I mean empowering! It’s empowering to watch that. Right ladies? Oh, who cares what the ladies think, this is all for the men!
And here we come to the issue with “Strong Female Character” being a marketing buzzword without anyone having a clue what it means or how to show it. It’s like nonplussed. Does it mean surprised or unsurprised? No one will know until they open the box and kill the cat!
Black Widow’s main job in the Marvel U so far has been to be Tony’s secretary (lady job check), be the sweet one who brings in the Hulk (only ladies be all compassionate and shit), feel bad for Barton so we know he deserves to be rescued from Loki (double compassion), cry at Loki (need it be said that’s a lady thing?), feel bad for not having kids (all ladies dream of being mommies!) and be a love interest for every possible character they could cram in, leading to Renner shoving his foot deep into his mouth. About the only time she was really helpful to the plot was in Cap 2, where she just made out with him like once. That hardly counts.
Could you imagine if Steve Rogers tried to seduce his way through Hydra? Or if the Hulk simpered and whined for information before smashing someone? Of course not! Because they’re men, and men aren’t dictated by their sexuality. Men take. Women give. Even their slutty Tony Stark comes off as using women for sex; he never tries to snuggle up to them for anything they have.
The ones doing all the writing for these Strong Female Sexy Sexy Characters are, of course, men. To them, women are a collective of fun parts that occasional bump together that form a thought on accident. But unless there’s a man around to hear it, that lady didn’t really say anything useful. She’s supposed to look pretty all the time – even in a warzone – and play the cute, useless one until BAM the plot calls for her to beat up a warehouse full of men. Don’t worry though guys, once the hero’s on the scene, she’ll be back to being simpering and useless in low cut tops.
But Natasha’s a spy, and spies are supposed to be all sexy and shit to get information. Okay, fine. It would be one thing if Natasha was a one off, but that is the only damn play men know how to write for women. She’s strong and sassy, but she’ll purr over the bad guy’s lap the second the plot calls for it because she forgot how to punch? Her lasso of truth was in her other swimsuit?
People demand women have something to do other than be rescued, but men have no idea how to write it. They’ll include the obligatory “she beats up all the bad guys” in a pointless scene, but you can replace nearly all Strong Female Heroines™ with a potted plant and it’d have no effect on the plot. Shit, Gamora was upstaged by an actual talking tree who repeated one line. What did she do to help the Guardians really? Aside from give Starlord pants tingles she um, uh…held the door open for them?
Sex is the one power all women are supposed to have (regardless if that’s true or not), and it’s the one all woman are supposed to use against men (again, not remotely true). Which means men are fucking terrified of it. They do all they can to regulate a woman’s sex appeal. Slut shaming, dress codes, “boys will be boys,” it’s a woman’s job to control men because they can’t help it, it’s her fault for what she was wearing/doing/thinking. These supposed feminine wiles terrify the hell out of them.
So that’s what they write. That’s the only strength they think women have: their breasts and ass. Which brings us back to Wonder Woman. She’s an Amazon, she can have a punch-off against Superman, she’s currently the God of War, she’s thousands of years old, but what’s her power? Her sexuality.
If you were hoping that Wonder Woman would have her being the actual hero, looks like you’ll have to keep waiting. All she can do is bat her eyelashes, pout her lips, and stick out her chest to get the bad guys to give up. What year is it again?