Patty Jenkins has responded to James Cameron's criticism of Wonder Woman and female characters with a strongly worded tweet.
"James Cameron's inability to understand what Wonder Woman is, or stands for, to women all over the world is unsurprising as, though he is a great filmmaker, he is not a woman," she writes. "Strong women are great. His praise of my film Monster, and our portrayal of a strong yet damaged woman was so appreciated. But if women have to always be hard, tough and troubled to be strong, and we aren't free to be multidimensional or celebrate an icon of women everywhere because she is attractive and loving, then we haven't come very far have we. I believe women can and should be EVERYTHING just like male lead characters should be. There is no right and wrong kind of powerful woman. And the massive female audience who made the film a hit it is, can surely choose and judge their own icons of progress."
Original story follows.
In an interview with The Guardian that will prompt you to take several deep breaths, James Cameron reveals he doesn't quite get all the hype about Wonder Woman. The blockbuster, directed by Patty Jenkins, earned $205 million in the U.S. alone after just one week. It's been heralded as one of the few superhero movies that gets feminism right, but Cameron disagrees.
"All of the self-congratulatory back-patting Hollywood’s been doing over Wonder Woman has been so misguided," he said in the interview. "She’s an objectified icon, and it’s just male Hollywood doing the same old thing!" Are we just ignoring that it was directed by a woman?
"I’m not saying I didn’t like the movie but, to me, it’s a step backwards," he continued. "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!"
This is true, but there's also the fact that the whole point of feminism is that there isn't just one right type of woman. Wonder Woman and Sarah Connor can exist together. We don't need to fight over who is "more feminist" — and to be honest, that argument doesn't sound great coming out of the mouth of a white man who has a lot of power in an already male-dominated industry.
Cameron just doesn't understand why women in Hollywood aren't influential enough to make female characters as well as he does. This is where the deep breaths come in.
"I don’t – I don’t know," he said. "There are many women in power in Hollywood and they do get to guide and shape what films get made. I think – no, I can’t account for it. Because how many times do I have to demonstrate the same thing over again? I feel like I’m shouting in a wind tunnel!"
There are valid critiques of Wonder Woman to be made, but they can't be made while glossing over the milestone that film marked, smashing through the box office with a woman at the helm, both in front of and behind the camera. Women do still have far to go in Hollywood, but no one movie, nor one director, will do it alone.