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ARUNGA: ‘Wonder Woman’ treatment reeks of sexism

Thursday June 1 2017

A scene from the trailer of Wonder Woman.

A scene from the trailer of Wonder Woman. PHOTO| COURTESY 

ABIGAIL ARUNGA
By ABIGAIL ARUNGA
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It’s already being touted as a revolution in film, and a revolution for women in film. Wonder Woman, which premiered in Kenya yesterday at an exclusive screening courtesy of Crimson Multimedia, MyChoice TV and Anga Imax 20th Century, is already receiving rave reviews, and not just because of Gadot, who did the whole movie while pregnant – and showing. Some green screen tricks took the spotlight away from her baby bump, and the show went on.

But the film has also been receiving some criticism from fans, ranging from Wonder Woman being depicted with no armpit hair (I know. This seemed minor to me, but as someone who doesn’t shave, I don’t know how Amazonian women, uninfluenced by the outside world, would have felt it necessary). Then there was the fact that Warner Bros and subsequent marketing partners didn’t seem to be pushing the movie, advertising-wise – almost as if they wanted it to fail because of its female director (who has an Oscar, by the way) and strong female lead. Curiouser and curiouser.

FILM BANNED

And now, there’s Lebanon, where the movie was banned for the main actor’s origin. Gal Gadot, this generation’s Wonder Woman, is Israeli by birth, and served in the Israeli army. This touches a painful spot in their shared histories. Though not officially at war, Israel and Lebanon have strained diplomatic relations.

The confusing thing is that the movie was advertised in Lebanon right until a few hours before it premiered. And, other movies featuring Gal Gadot, such as Batman vs. Superman, were not banned, not have other movies from other Israeli actors. So what’s the difference with this one?

Banning actors or movies because of actors seems a little hypocritical if we’re not going to go the whole way with it. People are still watching and loving Woody Allen films, the most recent one being the quirky timepiece Café Society. Where’s the ban on that? And then one of the more famous examples, the anti-Semitic Me Gibson movies, such as Apocalypto, which was a gritty, cinematic delight, and The Passion of The Christ. So why all this furore for Wonder Woman? Are people just being sexist again, because for heaven’s sake, it’s 2017. It’s sad that this is still a problem.

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