James Cameron has said Wonder Woman falls short in its feminist ambitions
Old men are talking about attractive young women, the online outrage industry is at it again, and a brand new scandal has emerged involving James Cameron and the new Wonder Woman film.
Cameron was interviewed by the Guardian when he made some comments that have Hollywood and the media world in a big spiralling tizzy. The legendary director, who was behind Titanic, the Terminator films and the new Avatar series (which still has a sequel coming out after all these years) has captured headlines for a series of remarks.
He criticized the “self-congratulatory back-patting” in Hollywood over the feminist bona fides of Wonder Woman. “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!”
What Cameron is saying here is simple to understand - a female lead doesn't have to be beautiful to be the lead, and Wonder Woman being drop-dead gorgeous implies that Hollywood is still setting sexist standards for its women in film.
He's trying to be woke!
The problematic part is when he says that Sarah Connor wasn't beautiful, which I agree, is just rude and uncalled for. But Cameron's main point is still feminist - he's saying that women shouldn't have to be supermodels like Gal Gadot to get leading roles in major Hollywood films. Personality should drive a protagonist, not the ability to sexually appeal to men.
The problem for Cameron, however, is that he is a hypocrite.
Fair enough. The man is problematic. But the deeper problem is that everyone else is too, they just don't get called out on it because they appease the online mob.
Patty Jenkins, the director of Wonder Woman, clapped back against Cameron:
So, what about the online mob? Well, let's talk about Paul Feig. He directed the all-female Ghostbusters film, which opened up a stupid debate between angry young men who hated the film by default and lying movie reviewers who said the film was good despite Paul Feig making it, frankly, pretty sub-par. The film was even criticized for its racist stereotypes by intersectional feminists.
So now, Paul Feig, and the outrage industry, are all leaping on Cameron for saying that Hollywood female leads shouldn't be beautiful. But you can distort any argument if you intentionally misread it. Just like with Paul Feig's Tweet.
I could very easily say that Feig is a sexist for saying that women should just accept lead roles without their input. He's pretending to know what's best for women, and in a sexist industry like Hollywood, that's just not okay. See?
So, what do you think? Is Cameron out of line, or is everybody out of line?