Patty Jenkins Calls Out James Cameron's 'Inability to Understand What Wonder



Maybe this is me having an extra-cynical Friday, but isn’t this feeling a little manufactured?

Studio person A: the Wonder Woman hype is starting to settle down a little bit. We’ve got to keep film-goers excited about the sequel.

Studio person B: we can’t goad MRAs because of the Trump crap. And Whedon’s halo has a lot of tarnish these days. Plus he’s seen as being in the Marvel stable.

Cameron: I could write a muckraking article.

Studio people: really???

Cameron: sure, why not? I’ve got a well-established list of hits, plus Sarah Connor is a pop culture feminist icon, so it’ll be automatically controversial. It’ll get my name back in the news too.

Yeah. I can be the fall guy.

Studio people: great!

Cameron: just let Patty in on it so we can keep the ball rolling with an “on-line feud”. Keep people following and talking about it.


Sounds like nontroversy to me. “Director prefers their own character over established pop-culture icon” isn’t exactly news.

In his interview with The Guardian, Cameron reasoned that Wonder Woman was a “step backwards” in large part because she was depicted as being both beautiful and strong.

I don’t find that terribly meaningful, since beauty is completely subjective, and there are many kinds of strength. Does it mean that Cameron thinks Linda Hamilton and Lena Heady are not beautiful?

Strength and beauty are both commonplace in action movies. The appeal of Wonder Woman appears to be (I still hope to get out to see it) that she is principled and compassionate.


Well, there’s cynicism, and then there’s being conspiracy-minded, and I think this theory is very much the latter.

James Cameron prefers his way of depicting “strong women” (with a gun and, ultimately, in need of a strong man to save the day) and-- unsurprisingly – isn’t the most subtlety-minded director. He clearly doesn’t understand that Wonder Woman can be depicted as an attractive woman but also not be objectified. If he’d actually seen the movie and paid attention, he’d understand that, but I’m guessing he sort of skimmed it.


Yeah, there was that great thread on Twitter by a costume designer (who hadn’t worked on WW, just seen it) about how the Amazons’ clothing was based on Greek and Roman warriors instead of, you know, lingerie. So even though their legs and arms are exposed, it’s basically old-fashioned, warm-weather armour.


I also suspect that he saw Wonder Woman’s empathy as a weakness. She wasn’t all tough and gritty. She was tough when she needed to be, and caring when others needed her to be.


I expect there are a lot of people who are having a tough time accepting that someone can be considerate, empathetic, and strong all at the same time. We’ve been deluged with snarky comments about “bleeding hearts” for so, so long it seems strange.


Having a five foot wide shield tended to keep the other bits safe.


He’s just upset because Wonder Woman wasn’t on the Titanic.


That sounds like some rhetorical bullshit. As bad as corporate conspiracies can be, they aren’t convoluted unless the convolution can be automated in Excel.

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The other thing that strikes me about James Cameron’s complaints about Wonder Woman – and the words of the people I’ve seen who agree with him – is that they’re solidly from a heterosexual male point of view. He seems to be saying “Look, you made Wonder Woman attractive and put her in her typical skimpy warrior garb, and that gives any red-blooded man a boner, so logic dictates that she is therefore objectified, because I can’t stop objectifying her. In my pants.”

He seemingly can’t get past the idea that a “strong woman” can only be taken seriously if they’re mean, nasty, dirty, dressed in sloppy clothes and acting all manly.