Earlier this week, the Alamo Drafthouse chain of movie theaters made headlines for a rather unusual set of events in Austin: all-female screenings (which includes Alamo employees) of the Wonder Woman movie, with proceeds for the tickets going to Planned Parenthood. On its face, it made a lot of sense as a gimmick, because it’s a movie about one of the most famous female superheroes of all time, who’s never had a film adaptation in her 75 year history, and it was directed by a female director on top of that.
But that didn’t stop some men on the internet from getting extremely upset at the very idea that someone might want to see a movie without them. One man sent an angry letter to Austin Mayor Steve Adler where he challenged his elected official to name a single invention made by a woman; in a scathing open response, he named at least six. A New York-based lawyer filed a legal complaint with Austin’s Equal Employment and Fair Housing Office. Another man bragged on Twitter about buying tickets to the all-female screening in Brooklyn, despite knowing he will most likely get turned away at the door. And those are just the guys who brought their objections into the real world; online, there was even more griping. (Alamo, for their part, mostly responded by not giving a crap, and then adding more screenings to more locations around the country.)
Well, lucky for those of you who were not allowed to attend by virtue of your gender, I was present at the Sunday 3pm screening at the Alamo Drafthouse in Brooklyn, and I am here to spill the beans on exactly what you missed out on:
You honestly didn’t miss anything.
Okay, fine, you did miss some things. You missed a whole crowd of women wearing matching Wonder Woman tiaras and other assorted costumes. You certainly missed getting asked by a reporter from a local press outlet what you thought of the men who were mad that such an event would take place, because there were several of them present in the lobby. Then, once inside the theater itself, the only thing that differentiated the all-female event from regular-admission screenings was that a programming director for the Alamo came out and thanked us for the Planned Parenthood donations that our tickets represented, and led us in a cheesy toast where we all yelled “We are Wonder Women, hear us roar!”
Other than that, it was just like watching a movie in a theater full of people — they just all happened to be women. There were a few more higher-pitched laughs during the scenes where Diana was told not to do something by a male character and she did it anyway, but that was about it. We didn’t hold hands and pledge to usher in the Gynocracy as Broadly’s Bethy Squires promised (although not for lack of interest, I imagine). Nor did we shout loudly at the screen about the beauty of female heroines, because they tend to frown on that kind of behavior at the Alamo and nobody wants to get kicked out without a refund. In all respects but one, it was a perfectly normal theater experience that wasn’t any different than the screening I went to with my boyfriend a few days earlier.
And that’s the point, isn’t it? For most of us in that room, the appeal of an all-female screening was never about excluding men; it was just a fun, gimmicky way to fill a room with progressively-minded, pro-feminist women and girls so we could all share an experience together. Even if you were sitting there with us (and odds are your screening was full of women, too, as 52% of the audience on opening day was reportedly female), you wouldn’t have experienced it exactly the same way that we did.
So no, you didn’t miss anything — because there was nothing for you to get out of it. I promise, the screening you end up at will be exactly the same for you. So why not just let us have this one thing to ourselves?