Why Are These Wonder Woman Warriors Wearing Heels?

Wonder Woman's presence in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is, for the most part, a bright spot in a largely grim movie. And on the heels of the character's big debut, Entertainment Weekly has unveiled a photo from her upcoming movie. But it's already stirring up some controversy. Why? High heels and whitewashing. The image features Gal Gadot's Diana Prince front and center, flanked by her aunts, General Antiope (Robin Wright, a.k.a. Claire Underwood) and Menalippe (Lisa Loven Kongsli) and her mother, Hippolyta (Connie Nielsen). Though these armed women certainly look like they could easily strike down any foe, at least one element of their attire is questionable. Diana and Hippolyta are both wearing towering heels. (Antiope and Menalippe's feet are not visible in the image.) Does it really make sense that these ferocious warriors would choose such impractical footwear? Have filmmakers learned nothing from the Jurassic World brouhaha? Director Patty Jenkins told EW that the decision to put the heroines in heels is "total wish fulfillment." She said: "I, as a woman, want Wonder Woman to be hot as hell, fight badass, and look great at the same time — the same way men want Superman to have huge pecs and an impractically big body. That makes them feel like the hero they want to be. And my hero, in my head, has really long legs." People aren't quite buying that:
Jenkins has something of a point. Some women do find wearing heels an empowering experience. But it still feels a little counterintuitive to argue that the Amazons are in heels because that's what women want to see. Sure, I want to see Wonder Woman and her compatriots be beautiful and badass. But the idea of putting them in heels to make their legs longer sounds a bit like the male gaze talking. (And does Gadot really need heels to elongate her stems?) At least the photo in question isn't an action shot. EW does report that the characters appear to wear flat shoes for "heavy fighting." Another critique has been that, at least based on this image, no women of color are represented on the movie's version of Themyscira, Wonder Woman's island home.
Jenkins is already responding to concerns about diversity. Today, she tweeted: "Thanks all. Excited to share! And no worries. Lots of great, diverse characters on Themyscira. This is Diana's direct family. More soon!!" Despite Batman v Superman's negative reviews, excitement is still running high for Wonder Woman. And while this teaser is fanning those flames on the one hand, it's also giving fans reason to pause. Here's hoping Wonder Woman has some answers by the time it comes out in 2017.

Ed. note: This story has been updated to include additional comment from the film's director Patty Jenkins.

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