Oh wow, does James Cameron have a hot take on Wonder Woman.
“All of the self-congratulatory back-patting Hollywood’s been doing over Wonder Woman has been so misguided,” Cameron said in a new interview with The Guardian. “She’s an objectified icon, and it’s just male Hollywood doing the same old thing!”
The “self-congratulatory back-patting” Cameron is referring to is the fact that Wonder Woman, considered a risky endeavor for many years because the hero is a woman, ended up being the highest-grossing movie of the summer. Many see it as a shift of the tides when it comes to gender in Hollywood.
“I’m not saying I didn’t like the movie but, to me, it’s a step backwards,” he continued.
And if you are unsure why Cameron said that, he then explained.
“Sarah Connor was not a beauty icon,” the Terminator director—who created Connor, among other female leads—said. “She was strong, she was troubled, she was a terrible mother, and she earned the respect of the audience through pure grit. And to me [the benefit of characters like Sarah] is so obvious. I mean, half the audience is female!”
Basically, Cameron is saying that because he feels Gal Gadot is prettier than Linda Hamilton, and because Wonder Woman is a superhero instead of a real person, Wonder Woman is somehow less impactful because regular women can’t relate to her as much. That seems incredibly misguided and sexist. (Does an average man have to watch movies starring overweight bald guys to relate to them better, or can he watch movies starring Arnold Schwarzenegger?) Looks or ability should have nothing to do with it. Wonder Woman was a massive hit movie starring and directed by a woman, something that has rarely been allowed in Hollywood. It broke a mold and it’s a good thing. Period.
Cameron was then asked why he thinks Hollywood is still so bad at representing women.
“I don’t... I don’t know. There are many women in power in Hollywood and they do get to guide and shape what films get made. I think—no, I can’t account for it. Because how many times do I have to demonstrate the same thing over again? I feel like I’m shouting in a wind tunnel!”
Well, with these quotes, he certainly isn’t shouting in a wind tunnel anymore. And, as mentioned above, Cameron has long been an advocate of strong female characters, featuring them prominently in his blockbusters: Sarah Connor, Ripley (Aliens), Rose (Titanic), Neytiri (Avatar), etc. He’s just way off the mark here.