In case you wondered what James Cameron has been up to when he’s not puttering around in the depths of the ocean and making a string of Avatar sequels no one asked for, the answer is telling female filmmakers how to feminist. Basically, Cameron holds his Terminator 2: Judgment Day-era Sarah Connor as feminist high point, and thinks the wildly successful Wonder Woman is “a step backwards” because Gal Gadot’s Diana is beautiful and thereby an “objectified icon,” while Linda Hamilton’s Sarah Connor was “not a beauty icon.”
Receipts: pic.twitter.com/zDx4Ej0BRG— Kristy Puchko (@KristyPuchko) August 25, 2017
Here’s the full quote from The Guardian:
“All of the self-congratulatory back-patting Hollywood’s been doing over Wonder Woman has been so misguided. She’s an objectified icon, and it’s just male Hollywood doing the same old thing! I’m not saying I didn’t like the movie but, to me, it’s a step backwards. Sarah Connor was not a beauty icon. 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!”
There’s a lot to unpack here, including that Cameron suggests the female-helmed Wonder Woman—which refused to ogle Diana or treat her femininity as a weakness—qualifies as “male Hollywood doing the same old thing.” Then there’s the dizzying mental gymnastics where the King of the World suggests he is not part of “male Hollywood,” and scolds self-congratulatory back-patting, while implying, “I FEMINIST BEST!”
Thankfully, Cameron’s outdated ideas of “strong female characters” swiftly got him dragged on Twitter.
Phew! I was feeling empowered, but thank goodness James Cameron stepped in and mansplained how I should feel watching Wonder Woman for me. https://t.co/4SgDWFO124— Amy Siskind (@Amy_Siskind) August 25, 2017
"Because 'I like strong women' is code for 'I hate strong women.'"— Angie J. Han (@ajhan) August 25, 2017
Women don't have to be either "beautiful" or a "gritty survivor" to be seen as capable and competent. Beauty or femininity =/= weakness.— Alicia Lutes (@alicialutes) August 24, 2017
4) Wonder Woman is a power fantasy just as Thor/Captain America/Batman are. Being gorgeous is part of the trope/package (H/T @alicialutes)— Kristy Puchko (@KristyPuchko) August 25, 2017
I mean, with all due respect, the fact that James Cameron can't see how Sarah Conner led to Wonder Woman and how they're both amazing… pic.twitter.com/HA3h2Rv8kC— Geek Girl Diva (@geekgirldiva) August 24, 2017
Then Wonder Woman’s director Patty Jenkins stepped in, and dropped the mic.
In other words: