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Saturday, July 8, 2017

DID I JUST SEE A WONDER WOMAN MOVIE OR A FEARLESS GIRL MOVIE?

I'm glad there's a finally a superhero movie with a woman as the central character because
1) I am a woman 
2) I love superhero movies.
And I'm glad a woman director directed Wonder Woman because more than 80% of what Hollywood puts out is filtered through the male gaze. That is, if a documentary I watched last year is correct, then more than 81% of the movie studio owners, movie producers, and directors are men. (With independent movies, women do better)


That's a less obvious problem than an estimate 90 - 95% of images being white -- less obvious because you see women on screen. You see women on movie and television screens but you don't realize that men do most of the drawing and shaping of these fictional women
-- the drawing and shaping of ideal woman in the American psyche? Don't think our fiction doesn't impinge on our reality.  

I'm not so glad the first female super hero with her own movie is WONDER WOMAN. 



Compared to other super heroes I think he powers are kind of boring.  Once the X-men came along with STORM and ROGUE, I never thought about WONDER WOMAN again.

Of course the first female super hero with her own movie wouldn't be Halle Berry's STORM though the X-men franchise has been out...like forever.  I know I live in a country that is 2/3rds white people and I'm not crazy. So, I knew the first female super hero would be white. 

The Avengers' BLACK WIDOW wasn't a good first option either -- despite that character being more familiar to us at the movies-- because she's almost an anti-hero. The BLACK WIDOW character could be good or bad given the right provocation -- and that only works "good" with male characters like THE HULK and PUNISHER. 


Men, the gatekeepers in Hollywood, don't like women that are complicated and capable of impure motives for violence. And it's men that are more than 80% of the movie producers and movie reviewers, so BLACK WIDOW is a no go.

So Wonder Woman it is because WONDER WOMAN is the biggest comic book hero of the white female persuasion. 


I enjoyed the movie. And I thought the opening of the movie was kinda great. I can't figure out why other than the strongest actresses were in these scenes (Robin Wright and    ) And, I liked seeing Diana's mother (WONDER WOMAN'S mother) wrestling with keeping her daughter safe via coddling her versus allowing Diana to be taught the ways of the warrior like every other woman on the island.



You just never, ever get to see such scenes with women.
I was entertained by WONDER WOMAN, never actually sleepy and bored wanting to go home. But I thought the rest of the WONDER WOMAN movie was B- at best.

And the reason I probably feel that way is because I expected to see Wonder Woman not Wonder Fearless Girl.



In general the genesis stories of well-known superheroes tend to bore me because I think people can read a paragraph about how a superhero came to be super then go to a movie with a completely unknown, new story line. But, I guess I've been out-voted in the movie making world.   
I did not want to see how Wonder Woman moved from the island to "the real world." 

  
After I got over that, it took me some time to realize that what I really had a problem with is how white people view femininity.

White men, white women, even white feminists  seem to have this pre-occupation with seeing women as strong little girls. 


WHITE WOMEN AS LITTLE WHITE GIRLS I


Last year, a company put up a little white girl statue on Wall Street that's facing down a bull. And that was supposed to be representative of some sort of protest. It was supposed to be commenting on the women's lack of representation among the movers and shakers on  Wall Street

 WOMEN'S lack of representation in business was supposed to be represented by this image.



FEARLESS GIRL STATUE

But how so?

I do not get this. And I don't mean I disagree either. I mean, I don't understand the link between the concept and the statue.


   This is what the concept was supposed to be:









On the eve of International Women’s Day last Tuesday, State Street Global Advisors, which manages some $2.5 trillion in assets, signaled its solidarity with the day’s demonstrators. The company installed a roughly 50-inch-tall bronze statue of a defiant girl in front of Wall Street's iconic charging-bull statue. The reaction to the statue, which was designed by artist Kristen Visbal, was immediate and powerful.
The statue is a powerful symbol, but there is also substance behind it. Fearless Girl is part of State Street’s campaign to pressure companies to add more women to their boards. The firm followed up the installation with a letter to the thousands of companies that can comprise the Russell 3000 index on Tuesday asking them to take action to increase the diversity on their boards. There is room for improvement: State Street says that roughly a quarter of the 3,500 companies it sent letters to have no women on their boards.
https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2017/03/fearless-girl-wall-street/519393

When I saw this image without words I had to go look up what it was supposed to mean. And the article above is what I found. If I had been given 100,000 guesses as to what this statue was supposed to mean, I would not have landed on the empowerment of women.
A few white women writers commented on the inappropriateness of this statue -- but only a few.
I think my being black (or just not-white) has something to do with my inability to see a little girl (even a little black girl) as an empowerment symbol for grown ass women. Black women don't roll like this, in my experience. I don't think most brown women do either.  FEARLESS GIRL seems like a pure Becky thing to me --like baby talking during sex. 

WHITE WOMEN AS LITTLE WHITE GIRLS II

I could be wrong to see this as related, but earlier this year, to protest Donald Trump as a misogynist, white feminists seemed to put together a march without any black and brown input at all.
It seemed that this "feminist march" was in actuality a white feminist march because of the lack of focus on race and therefore intersectionality. And you could visually see the lack of intersectionality in that these white feminist women chose a hot pink pussy hat as their symbol.
And when I say "pussy hats" I mean I actually saw photos of white women with giant hot pink vulvas sitting on their heads. This is problematic in a number of ways, not the least of which is it seemed childish.

While I'm glad black and brown women, especially the young ones, don't feel like they have to be dignified all the time -- as their mama's and grandmama's definitely did-- they still don't go in for this little girl thing nearly as hard as white women.
WHITE WOMEN AS LITTLE WHITE GIRLS III

And at the risk of shaming a certain kind of body, black and brown women aren't trying to make their bodies be as close to a little girl's as possible -- then put a bikini on a stretched out version of it. 


Gal Gadot in one of the  FAST AND FURIOUS movies
Part of what's wrong  here is probably a bad swimsuit choice for her body type
But she's anorexic thin.

Black and brown people value curves and variety in bodies a lot more than white people do.
If black or brown women had been in charge of any part of stoking the anticipation of the Wonder Woman movie by cross-advertising, I kinda doubt they'd have looked at actress Gal Gadot and thought cross-advertising the movie with THINK THIN products was a hot idea. 


But that's exactly what the predominantly white folk creating WONDER WOMAN 2017 did.



This cross-promotion is full of the mixed messages of unrealistic standards women have forced upon them their whole lives. We’re supposed to be as strong as Wonder Woman but also expected to “think thin,” to keep our bodies small and unimposing, preferably to the point of having no body at all. Hopefully the movie itself does a better job of promoting representation of a stronger, unapologetically impressive sort of woman.
https://www.themarysue.com/wonder-woman-wants-us-to-think-thin/

I think movie execs thought twice about this after this THINK THIN ad made a negative splash on twitter. But the words "think thin" next to an image of Wonder Woman isn't the core issue.  To me, the core issue is the fact that the Wonder Women actress chosen, Gal Gadot, is so bony that she truly is A NATURAL CHOICE to cross-advertise with THINK THIN products.


And if the movie executives in charge of advertising see Gal Gadot as a natural choice for a THINK THIN ad campaign, then little girls who are watching the movie can see it too.

Let's add a little more fuel to the body image fire. Why not? 

They tried to disguise her being hipless in FAST AND FURIOUS with a weird sash thing on the bikini bottom. But she looks like she is a lot smaller than Halle Berry (who plays STORM in the X-MEN series). And she looks like she is half the size of Scarlett Johanssen (who plays BLACK WIDOW in the AVENGERS series)

And neither one of these other actresses is big by any stretch of the imagination. They're just shaped like women and overstretched little girls

To me, choosing Gal Gadot to play Wonder Woman makes the same kind of sense as choosing FEARLESS GIRL to stand in front of the bull statue on Wall Street.



Gal Gadot did do a lot of exercising for the movie (see that 1/16th inch rise on her bicep).  Her thighs look to be a good size in promotional posters but I think the posters were photo shopped. 

In the movie itself?  She and her thighs were still THINK THIN material. 


The costume, unlike that ridiculous swimsuit of the 1970s, covered a lot more of her body and created some curves up top. But when
 Gadot is signing autographs for little girls on the street, are they going to think of her body as a goal, think that her body represents female power? 
I believe a variety of bodies are beautiful including some thin ones. And I believe in different strokes for different folks and all that...But it's time to stop holding super-thin up as beautiful.   
 White women wanting to be bony thin little girls for white men is why white girls have so many eating disorders as compared to other groups.* 
 Body image being a serious issue among girls and women, I'm glad the movie execs hid Gadot's thinness with angles, costuming, and photo-shopping. But, as you may have guessed, it bothers me Gal Gadot was chosen to play WONDER WOMAN at all.


The actress' body didn't have to start off looking like this



Or this

But WONDER WOMAN'S body, for damn sure, shouldn't have started here

Gal Gadot  
in one of "The Fast And The Furious" movies


If Wonder Woman was meant to be powerful in mind, body -- instead of just sexy in the eyes of white men -- the actress (and her body) would have been chosen in the same way the actor was chosen to play Superman.




I don't know what Henry Cavill's body looked like before he needed to be SUPEMAN. But I know he did not look like the guy on the right.  The movie executives did not say to the guy on the right. "It's okay, go work out for a few weeks and we'll work with what we've got."

Gal Gadot was chosen as Wonder Woman because that's what white men who dominate this country and the movie industry see as beautiful -- before she added one ounce of muscle.




If it wasn't for the white male love of the little girl body, a Prima Ballerina body like Misty Copeland's would have been seen as appropriate for Wonder Woman. A body like Michelle Obama's would have been seen as appropriate too.  
Misty and Michelle have bodies that are still in the "cookie cutter" mold of beautiful that's still required for Hollywood. But their sexy is strong and strong looking.

A body like Misty's wouldn't have looked like FEARLESS GIRL, but taller and holding a sword.
Part II: FEARLESS GIRL WONDER WOMAN ENTERTAINING BUT FLAWED  
http://blackchickrocked.blogspot.com/2017/07/fearless-little-white-girl-as-wonder.html