Gal Gadot on Gazongas

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It started when Zack Snyder announced that Wonder Woman would be appearing in the sequel to his Man of Steel, the highly polarizing Superman movie from 2013.

As eager as fans may be to see their favorite costumed heroes showing up on the big screen, they are seemingly ten times harder to please.  The moaning and wailing reached a fever pitch when Snyder announced Ben Affleck (whose last superhero movie Daredevil was not even close to a blockbuster) would be playing Batman.

Now the moaning and wailing has a sexist component — is Gal Gadot, known for her recurring role in The Fast and the Furious series, too skinny to play the Amazon princess of Themyscira? Really? As if this is the only question that matters given fans have been clamoring for a Wonder Woman movie for years, only to have Warner insist that “female leads don’t carry movies”.    Now that Frozen and The Hunger Games movies have met with blockbuster success, maybe that tired old excuse will finally be put out to pasture where it belongs.  But no.  The fanboy contingent thinks of themselves and their male gaze first, when Gal Gadot’s height, presence, dark hair and strong features pretty much paint a picture of a proud Amazon.  Never mind she’s already had a presence in an action franchise.  Is she too skinny?

She certainly doesn’t think so — her response to critics has been simple, honest, and with the right amount of wit for someone who can bounce bullets off her bracelets.  She’s already indicated she’s begun a workout regime to take her from svelte and willowy to the more muscular build people expect of Wonder Woman.  And as for filling out the red-and-gold bustier?  Gadot’s response is, “Breasts? Anyone can buy for 9,000 shekels.”

Good for her, I say.

The double standard she is facing is that fans, women and men alike, want someone who will do the role justice from an acting standpoint — they want a Diana who is going to be able to stand intellectually and philosophically toe to toe with Batman and Superman . Unfortunately  the  fanboys — the noisy ones —  also want someone who “looks the part,” which means living up to the T&A art style so many comics have embraced. If she doesn’t look like some kind of skin mag fantasy with a gyroscope between her pelvis and spine, they’re going to be so disappointed.   Sadly, we know well whose opinion Hollywood tends to value more.

All I can say to that is that  people balked at Michael Keaton as Batman, only to be surprised by his performance.  Nobody complained about his looks.

People balked at Tobey Maguire as Spider-Man.

I will be happy as long as she’s present.

In a television interview, Famke Janssen described her role as Jean Grey in the X-Men movies as “having to look intent and holding my hand up a little.”  In the same franchise,  Halle Berry is notorious for having insulted Storm fans by describing herself as “reduced to” having to play Storm.  It is widely agreed that she counted on her incredible beauty to carry the role and pretty much phoned in the performance. Anna Paquin, who played Rogue in that same franchise, found herself cut from the upcoming Days of Future Past, which means roles of substance for women in hero flicks are becoming harder to come by.

I will be pleased with whatever Gadot ends up looking like as long as she knocks it out of the park performance-wise, and write off any whinging about her cup size to fanboy immaturity.

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About Author

Jamie Kingston is a Native New Yorker, enduring a transplant to Atlanta. She’s a lifelong comic fan, having started at age 13 and never looked back, developing a decades-spanning collection and the need to call out the creators when she expects better of them. Her devotion extends to television, films, and books as well as the rare cosplay. She sates her need to create in a number of ways including being an active editor on the TV Tropes website, creating art and fan art, and working on her randomly updating autobiographical web comic, Orchid Coloured Glasses. As a woman of color, she considers it important to focus on diversity issues in the media. She received the Harpy Agenda micro-grant in November of 2015 for exceptional comics journalism by a writer of color.

3 Comments

  1. The comments about her breast size are sexist, out of line and gross. The concern about her acting ability (or lack thereof) and her ability to ensure that Wonder Woman is able to sustain her own movie outside of this film are valid. But I agree the body comments are pointless.

    All that said, I do understand why it’s off putting and difficult for some women to see our literal embodiment of “the most beautiful” consistently be portrayed as a thin supermodel. There is a bit of uncomfortableness to a woman gaining weight for a role and then going back to her thin body a few weeks later. It’s different for women since we literally have no other image of what is “hot” in media other than extremely thin. I wish her well though. Time will tell.

  2. I hope she does a great job with the role and goes on to greater success. But yeah, it’s frustrating to see women transform their bodies for particular roles and then transform themselves all over again to match the Hollywood ideal.

  3. Body transformation for roles is the one thing Hollywood does to men and women. Ballooning up fat and slimming down skinny repeatedly for roles is a large part of how Tom Hanks ended up diabetic.

    But unfortunately, Men are considered attractive at different heights and weights. Women, less so. If they get past a certain poundage they’re either matronly or comic relief — especially if they’re WoC.