Yep, I’m going to weigh in on this shitstorm, because I’m really getting tired of the sorry state of gender relations in 2017, and this event only makes things worse.
Here’s the deal.
Once upon a time (like the 90s or earlier) being a fan of superheroes was the exclusive domain of geeks. Being still into comic-books past puberty (let alone computers and videogames) was seen to render you instantly unattractive by the opposite sex. This remains a punch-line in The Big Bang Theory to this day.
Even though Wonder Woman is a female character, I’d argue that the main readership of WW comics has always still been male, similar to how Playgirl largely appeals to gay men.
In my opinion, the main purpose of female superheroes (or action heroes in general) is to break down gender stereotypes in the minds of men. Early on I was into Bionic Woman or Lynda Carter’s Wonder Woman. As a teen became a fan of James Cameron heroines like Sarah Connor and Ripley. I liked the idea of women who could kick ass. If women liked it too, then it provided a “crossover” opportunity rather than men going to action movies and women going to see romantic comedies.
I think men WANT women to like comic book movies. It’s sort of weird that they would, but if they do, then it helps wipe away the geek stigma and maybe, you know, give geeks more of a chance in the dating game. It doesn’t, but one can dream. So I sense no desire to make female moviegoers feel unwelcome.
What I think this female-only screening does, then, is sort of play into the idea that men and women CAN’T play in the same sandbox and women need their own safe-space. I also think the typical insensitive backlash against the backlash serves no purpose other than to widen the existing wedge between the sexes.
Also, linking this to the horrible all-female Ghostbusters is apples and oranges. The female Ghostbusters movie sucked and also contained stereotypical sexist humor.
There is no attempt to separate true sexist/trolling comments from those who want to judge a movie objectively on its own merits. Once a film has female leads then men are sort of not allowed to bash it anymore and women are (in many cases) waving flags and celebrating mediocre to awful movies purely due to casting decisions.
This links back to what I mentioned earlier about what people feel they “get” out of entertainment. Representation is a big part of it. The problem, as I said above, is the shallowness of representation as a be-all-end-all. Once you’re done high-fiving the fact there’s a female lead, then you’re left with the film itself. I am sort of a snob in the sense that it bothers me when undue praise is heaped on shit that doesn’t deserve it. Hey, if there are lots of women that somehow felt empowered by female ghostbusters making vagina fart jokes, fine, but I’m sorry, I think it’s kinda pathetic.
The fact is there are people who latch onto entertainment as the mouthpiece for their politics. The last thing they want to do is actually expect the movie to be good. The movie is simply used as a symbol.
I’m not saying that the Wonder Woman movie will be bad, but it should not be graded on a sliding scale because it features a female superhero and that is inherently a social good.
If you look back far enough there was a HUGE controversy over the exclusion of Rey in the initial wave of Star Wars: Force Awakens toys.
The big problem these days isn’t that girls don’t have enough female hero role models. The problem is that society still expects “gendered” identification. Girls (or women) will go to Wonder Woman and boys and men will go to things like Doctor Strange and never the twain shall meet.
Again, 30 years ago I was fist-pumping for Ripley in Aliens. I loved it. I did not care that she was a woman. I have a very hard time understanding the difficulty that people have in getting into the story and empathizing with leads that don’t look like them.
I also wrote a lengthy blog post on the first Terminator to show how Cameron sort of trademarked the crossover action film that had equal parts macho action for the guys and a romantic subplot for the girls.
Again, to be 30+ years onward and getting dragged into these petty us vs. them issues is super depressing.
It’s just the worst part about it is how men are painted with such a broad brush. It acts as a form of reverse-prejudice to say that men have no reason to complain about what is essentially a form of sanctioned segregation.
I’m not happy with the alt-right or Donald Trump, but I feel that feminism has also devolved to a sort of Black Panther level of antagonism. If men are held guilty until proven innocent then you can’t blame them for feeling increasingly embittered and hurling insults on the internet, which is so easy to do. In this sort of environment neither side can really claim the high road. One side feeds off the other side’s antipathy whether they realize it or not.
I think the dialogue has devolved to such an extent that merely making the appeal above, by virtue of me being a man, will cause those who need to digest it to immediately shrug it off as “mansplaining” and retreat to their silos where they can mock and like and feel superior.
That’s pretty much how it is. Pumped up scandals about armpit hair and now this. What a world we live in.