Do we judge female and male Comic Book Movie actors differently? Alex Yarde says absolutely.
This week, Gal Gadot was cast as the new Wonder Woman, I wrote about it here, but after reading the fan sites her detractors aren’t sighting her acting chops. All anyone really seems to want to talk about are the size of her breasts. The irony that those disappointed Ms. Gadot won’t properly fill out the Wonder Bra of a fictional feminist icon but were silent about any topic other than what Henry Cavill brought as an Actor to Superman in Man Of Steel isn’t lost on me. I take exception to the gross double standard.
That the feeding frenzy has begun is no surprise. Ms. Godot is a relatively new actress. Her claim to fame right now is the Fast & Furious franchise. Many fans, including myself, love to debate the casting choices of heroes in comic book movies before they actually come out. Detractors of Ben Affleck had been burning up twitter with the now famous hashtag #Batfleck in protest over the choice of casting Mr. Affleck as Batman. Opponents have cited his past wooden acting ability and lack of gravitas to carry the mantle of the Bat (examples of Daredevil and Gigli are then often cited) as reasons for their objections to him playing this role. Admittedly, I’m not familiar with Ms. Godot or her filmography but I’m invested enough in Snyder and executive producer Christopher Nolan’s spin on the DC universe so far to give them the benefit of the doubt, and as Matt Damon famously said in reference to the choice of Ben Affleck as Gotham’s vigilante “It’s Batman, it ain’t King Lear.” Interestingly (but perhaps not too surprisingly) the criticisms NEVER focused on his physical appearance or questioned if he was “well endowed” enough fit the Bat-Codpiece. This humiliation is apparently only reserved for women.
Using the training regimen (and CGI enhancements) that transformed Gerard Butler into the Greek hero King Leonidas and his fellow actors into the Spartan Warriors of 300, and carved Henry Cavill into a Man Of Steel and took Christian Bale from the 120 lb skeletal wreck in The Machinist to a solid 210 lb Proto Batman in Batman Begins, I trust that Snyder believes Ms. Gadot will pass muster as the Amazonian Warrior we fans have been waiting for. In explaining his choice, Snyder said,”Wonder Woman is arguably one of the most powerful female characters of all time and a fan favorite in the DC Universe. Not only is Gal an amazing actress, but she also has that magical quality that makes her perfect for the role. We look forward to audiences discovering Gal in the first feature film incarnation of this beloved character.”
In Mr. Snyder’s announcement he managed not to comment on her breasts as a part of his decision making process. However, there are entire industries developed around evaluating and grading women physically. Red Carpet rituals and sexy photo shoots have become a necessary evil for publicity. It certainly is not the right message to send to our daughters. Make no mistake, actresses suffer the same lack of access, privilege, and cache the vast majority other female professionals and non professionals endure on a daily basis living in a patriarchy because of their gender. How ironic that this discussion is happening over Wonder Woman. Wonder Woman has always been beautiful (and unfortunately does not wear too much: see my article Why Can’t A Girl Be The Red Ranger?) but her resume is much more than a buxom beauty queen. Princess Diana of Thyemicara is a passionate and cunning, warrior, stateswoman, ambassador & founding member of the Justice League. My main concern with any actor is can they suspend my disbelief and make me invested in the story. Perhaps Ms Godot will knock it out of the park with her acting ability. Perhaps not. But she should be judged by the same standards we are judging men, especially while she is portraying one of the most fiercely independent and powerful representations of womanhood in comics (Storm of Marvels X-Men being the other). First blood has been drawn. I, for one, look forward to see Ms. Gadot excel in her trials.
– cover photo / Matt Dunham AP
– interior photo / Clay Enos Warner Bros. Pictures, File