Within a matter of hours, a movie theater in Austin, Texas sold out its first women-only screening of DC’s Wonder Woman, and they’re already planning at least one more showing. Unfortunately, the laws of the internet dictate that anytime women get something cool, some men have to bitch about it.
The Alamo Drafthouse announced Wednesday that they would be having a completely women-only screening of Wonder Woman, the first comic book film to star a woman in over a decade, and arguably the first female-led superhero blockbuster ever. The Drafthouse is pulling out all the stops for this screening, promising that everyone participating in this showing will be female and female-identifying... and that includes everyone working behind the scenes:
“Apologies, gentlemen, but we’re embracing our girl power and saying ‘No Guys Allowed’ for one special night at the Alamo Ritz. And when we say ‘Women (and People Who Identify As Women) Only,’ we mean it. Everyone working at this screening — venue staff, projectionist, and culinary team — will be female.”
Women have largely praised the Drafthouse’s special screening—both in words and ticket sales, as the show sold out within hours, and there have been many requests for more screenings by those who are missing out on the first one. Update: The Alamo Drafthouse in Austin has since added a second screening, and in a statement to Mashable, indicated they would be expanding the special screenings to several Drafthouse theaters across the country.
While many men have also been praising it, others have been complaining. Like, a lot. Some men have promised to boycott the Drafthouse in retaliation, and the movie theater company’s Facebook page and Twitter account are full of cries of “reverse sexism,” “misandry,” and whatever other nonsense these jackasses use to try and explain something that doesn’t apply here at all.
Let me be frank: A women-only screening of Wonder Woman is an excellent idea, and any man who thinks it discriminates against them needs to spend the rest of the day staring in the mirror while a single tear flows down their collective cheeks.
Since 1920, there have been about 130 superhero and comic book films with solo protagonists in the United States, both on the big and small screens. We’ve had trilogies for Blade, Captain America, Thor, and Iron Man, among countless others. The Hulk has had at least three different films so far, each with different actors, and Spider-Man is on his third franchise in a decade, with at least one sequel already guaranteed.
Do you know how many of those 130 films had female leads? Eight.
Right now, we’re riding a tidal wave of superhero and comic book films, starting in 2008 with the Marvel Cinematic Universe debut of Iron Man. And yet... there hasn’t been a single comic book film with a female lead the entire time. Any girl born after 2005 has never seen a woman star in her own comic book film, yet at least 30 superhero and comic book films since 2008 have starred men (this doesn’t include group franchises, like Guardians of the Galaxy, although they usually star male protagonists as well). In an era where superhero films are the biggest box office draws in the country, women have been batting zero the entire time. With Marvel, we’ll still be waiting at least two years for Captain Marvel to make her debut... and she still hasn’t even been formally introduced into the MCU yet.
It’s also important to note that this is the first general audience superhero blockbuster that’s been directed by a woman, which is something to celebrate all on its own.
All of this doesn’t even touch on the role that Wonder Woman has played in the lives of millions of women, which is just as relevant a reason for these screenings. She is the comic book industry’s biggest female character, with a history and legacy spanning decades. Generations of women and girls have upheld Diana as an icon... a paragon of strength, wisdom, and equality. There’s a reason the United Nations chose her as an ambassador (even if they later rescinded the title). She’s certainly beloved by both women and men, but she holds a special place for women as a pillar of feminine power.
So, to all the men complaining that a couple screenings of Wonder Woman exclude them, I say this: just shut up. Women have had to deal with the bullshit of non-representation for generations, and we will probably keep having to deal with it for generations to come. Wonder Woman is the first blockbuster comic book film starring a woman in American history, and it happens to star comics’ biggest female icon. At the very least, women deserve to have a space—even if it’s just a single screening of a movie that’s going to open in literally thousands of theaters across America—where they can celebrate that together. Any man who doesn’t respect that doesn’t understand what Wonder Woman’s been fighting for all these years.