James Cameron is still calling “Wonder Woman” a step backwards — and he’s very wrong
Last month, James Cameron made some not-cool comments about Wonder Woman, calling the title character “an objectified icon” and the film “a step backwards.” And he looked to Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton) — a character in his Terminator series — as an example of a strong female protagonist.
Director Patty Jenkins was quick to respond. “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 said to start — and rightfully so, we might add.
Still, Cameron just doubled down on his Wonder Woman comments in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter.
And ugh, c’mon James.
"I'll stand by that. I mean, [Gal Gadot] was Miss Israel, and she was wearing a kind of bustier costume that was very form-fitting. She's absolutely drop-dead gorgeous. To me, that's not breaking ground," Cameron said. "They had Raquel Welch doing stuff like that in the '60s."
He added, “It was all in a context of talking about why Sarah Connor — what Linda created in 1991 — was, if not ahead of its time, at least a breakthrough in its time. I don’t think it was really ahead of its time because we’re still not [giving women these types of roles].”
The Hollywood Reported then pointed to Jenkins’ response, noting that Jenkins — who will return to direct Wonder Woman 2 — said that women don’t have to be hard to be strong. And that’s when Cameron dug an even deeper hole…
"Linda looked great," he said. "She just wasn't treated as a sex object. There was nothing sexual about her character. It was about angst, it was about will, it was about determination. She was crazy, she was complicated. "She wasn't there to be liked or ogled, but she was central, and the audience loved her by the end of the film. So as much as I applaud Patty directing the film and Hollywood, uh, 'letting' a woman direct a major action franchise, I didn't think there was anything groundbreaking in Wonder Woman."
AND UGH, C’MON JAMES. The way we see it, Diana Prince isn’t treated as a sex object in Wonder Woman. Yes, she is beautiful, and she’s many other things: strong, intelligent, loving, compassionate, brave, and much more at once. To imply that she isn’t determined, complicated, and powerful, and to imply that her beauty somehow prevents her from being those things, is — to use Cameron’s word — misguided.
Cameron went on to explain that he doesn’t think Hollywood does right by women in commercial franchises.
And in a lot of cases, we’d agree — just not in the case of Wonder Woman.
“I thought it was a good film. Period,” he continued. “I was certainly shocked that [my comment] was a controversial statement. It was pretty obvious in my mind. I just think Hollywood doesn’t get it about women in commercial franchises. Drama, they’ve got that cracked, but the second they start to make a big commercial action film, they think they have to appeal to 18-year-old males or 14-year-old males, whatever it is.”
Then, he at least admitted that his previous comments might have been oversimplified, and he complimented the film. But again, there’s much more to the film than what he gives it credit for.
“Look, it was probably a little bit of a simplistic remark on my part, and I’m not walking it back, but I will add a little detail to it, which is: I like the fact that, sexually, she had the upper hand with the male character, which I thought was fun.”
However you feel about Wonder Woman, you can’t deny what it has meant to many women. Perhaps if Cameron really considered how important it is to women to feel represented by this superhero of impenetrable character, he might not write her off as being an “objectified icon.”