Some stories are so obviously feminist it seems irrelevant to ask TV and film adaptors about the inherent message within, yet plenty of showrunners and producers bend over backwards to avoid the F word. It’s refreshing that the star of Wonder Woman is embracing the term.
Gal Gadot enthusiastically attested to the fact that Wonder Woman is a feminist in an interview with Entertainment Weekly that included Chris Pine. The two discuss the way director Patty Jenkins attempted to set up a dynamic between Gadot and Pine’s character, Steven Trevor, that would allow for a romance to blossom, despite their very different backgrounds. One is a dude from 1918, the other is the daughter of Zeus. That’s when they got onto the topic of equality:
“Wonder Woman is a feminist, of course,” says Gadot. “I think people have a misconception about what feminism is. People think hairy armpits and women who burn bras and hate men. That’s not it. For me, feminism is all about equality and freedom and [women] choosing what we want to do. If it’s salaries, then we get paid equal to men. It’s not men vs. women or women vs. men.”
Dang. Why does not shaving your armpits remain the horrible boogeyman of feminism? Is it because women are still not freed from the patriarchal expectations of femininity? Anyway, Wonder Woman is a feminist who believes in equality, but still keeps her body hair in check. Gadot says she played the character thinking of Diana’s unfamiliarity with society’s stupid rules, rather than with anger at the injustice of gender inequality.
“It was important to me that my character would never come and preach about how men should treat women,” continued Gadot. “Or how women should perceive themselves. It was more about playing oblivious to society’s rules. ‘What do you mean women can’t go into the Parliament? Why?’”
Another issue in the film was balancing Pine’s character so he didn’t appear too weak. Wonder Woman is one of the few female superheroes to lead her own film, which means the usual dynamic of a powerful dude saving a hot girl was difficult to turn on its head without making Pine seem... like a wimp?
“We didn’t want to make Steve the damsel in distress, and we wanted them to have a very equal relationship,” explained Gadot. “If she falls in love with him, then he should be someone that every woman falls in love with.”
Patty Jenkins added that she tried to make Steven Trevor a “fantasy,” saying, “I want to be strong and powerful and all those things, but I want a really hot boyfriend that thinks that’s great and has a sense of humor about the whole thing.”
I also want my boyfriend to have a sense of humor about the fact that I am far stronger and cooler than him. That’s the dream.