Wondering about the new Wonder Woman

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just a small selection from our wonder woman collection…

Last week we heard that Wonder Woman would be featuring in the sequel to Man of Steel, currently being named as Superman Vs. Batman, where Ben Affleck is reportedly cast as the Dark Knight and Brit actor, Henry Cavill reprises his role as Kal-El.

It was also released that the role of Diana of Themyscira was going to a former Miss Israel: The Fast & the Furious star, Gal Gadot…

As usual with any casting of a beloved comic character, the internet was up in arms… Can this former supermodel do the princess justice??

We think she can.

Let’s start off with saying, no matter how much you don’t want to believe it: looks DO matter when it comes to comic book adaptations. Comics are a visual medium with not only a comprehensive written backstory to each character,but an image to go with them. The image can differ but the fundamentals must remain the same.

We have read a few responses (by men, we’d like to add – we think this is significant due to them perhaps having a biased when any attractive woman is cast in a role)…

One that stands out is a blog piece by self proclaimed nerd, Glen Weldon, author of Superman: The Unauthorized Biography.

There is only one issue we have with this post (same comment is made in this article from the Mirror):

Much of the criticism directed at this casting choice — too much — has revolved around Gadot’s physicality. She’s too thin, too wispy, too short, goes the argument, when Wonder Woman is a badass. She’s a kicker of butts, so you need someone with some meat on her bones and a proven track record of butt-kicking, like fellow Fast & Furious alumnae Michelle Rodriguez and ex-MMA fighter Gina Carano.

[…] Diana […] is creature of myth and fantasy. Her physical strength is an important aspect of her character, but it is not a function of her lean body mass. Whether or not Gadot will make an interesting, let alone convincing, Wonder Woman has nothing to do with the size of her biceps.

-Glen  Weldon

We love the blog post and generally agree with pretty much all of what Glen has to say, but we just don’t think he *gets* the issue around her physical appearance.

Perhaps the silliest complaint is that she’s just too slender to play Wonder Woman, although those same people have perhaps never heard of an actor training and bulking up before taking on a role like this! Does no one remember Christian Bale’s The Machinist physique before he got ripped for the role of the Caped Crusader in Batman Begins?

– The Mirror’s  Josh Wilding

Some people seem to think that due to Gadot being incredibly slim, she will not have the capabilities to become strong looking.

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We disagree and as health conscience, gym-going women,we have slightly more of an authority to go by (we think, anyway)…  body shapes can really change when put through vigorous exercise, and specific routines that hone in on particular groups of muscles. Gadot would fully have the capability to ‘bulk up’. And we think it is necessary to do so.

While we lament the fact that so many of the comments revolve around physicality, we also think the reasoning behind this particular appearance based argument for/against Gadot as Wonder Woman is justified.

Why though?

Because women NEED role models that are not tiny, skinny and dieted to death. If you look back to even the 1980’s, women may have been slim and slender, but from our extensive research (The New Adventures of Wonder Woman, Valley Girl, John Hughes movies…) there is a HUGE difference between the slim, healthy, normal looking girls on television then, and the incredibly trim women plastered over the pages of magazines and in television and film today. [note: Lynda Carter was tall for her generation, standing at over 5″8, she may be thin but she wasn’t feeble looking… the outfit was a bit ridiculous, we will agree – it was ‘of the time’ and incredibly padded!]

Is it us, or does WW look a bit like Charlie Sheen here? that'd be an interesting casting choice… Painting by Alex Ross

Is it us, or does WW look a bit like Charlie Sheen here? that’d be an interesting casting choice…
Painting by Alex Ross

We are very happy that they picked a lady with strong features and who is tall (Gal is 5″9), but we REALLY hope she can gain some muscle mass just so she can hold her own next to Ben and Henry. Of course, she won’t ever look as muscular as them, and we aren’t looking for some body builder, but some vague sense of reality would be appreciated. It just isn’t at all realistic that a woman with arms nothing more than skin and bone can possibly fight as the next Wonder Woman.

It is integral that as Wonder Woman she gives a less impossible, unrealistic body image to little girls, and one that radiates health and physical feminine strength.

Wonder Woman was created as a feminist icon. She is an important addition to the realm of superheroes and with such a disappointing outcome in the Avengers, when it came to lady supes, we REALLY need Snyder (Zack, director of the upcoming feature) to pull this one off… and we know he can from his previous ventures.

Whether we like it or not, we live in a very superficial culture, we as women are constantly inflicted by a society obsessed with size zero, unrealistic beauty and photoshopped imagery. All we ask is that Wonder Woman, an icon of feminism, a strong, tall, built, Amazonian woman reflects this heritage accurately and doesn’t buy in to the current ideal of underweight beauty.

So, while we absolutely agree her presence must be the most powerful aspect of Diana. She can not be a small, weak, feeble looking creature. It would look utterly insane on screen, next to the towering men of the Justice League, and not to mention reinstate this irritating ideal of feminine being dainty and soft (please google the definition and check synonyms for ‘feminine’, its dyer) and therefore unfit and flimsy.

These same reasonings are why we are really on board with her facial features and her general casting. Although her role in The Fast & The Furious is anything but a step in the right direction for feminism, she does indeed maintain a presence that utilises her sexuality while maintaining complete control with a feisty attitude – this gives us great hope for her taking on the Amazonian. Her facial features are strong, angular, beautiful but not ‘pretty’, which will work very well as Wonder Woman.

All this said, we am also appalled by some of the comments circulating the internet in regards to the casting of Gal Gadot and her physicality.

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We fail to see how Gadot’s breasts are in any way shape or form relevant to the role… and this isn’t even some of the worst comments.

There is no need for her to have big breasts. Wonder Woman, for a start is corseted, so her breast size is unimportant. We see no real reason for her breast size to be debated any more than the comments on Brandon Roth’s penis size (his bulge clearly didn’t save 2006’s Superman Returns) while we insist some more muscle definition is very important.

Her acting ability has also been questioned. We are not a fan of F&F and wouldn’t say they are great pieces of cinematography, but her acting couldn’t really be faulted, and it is just so relieving that a big star hasn’t been offered the role. Relative unknowns don’t have all the audience assumptions and expectations.

It also gives us hope that Cavill was also a particularly slender specimen before training for Man of Steel – perhaps the same is being asked of Gadot.

Wonder Woman changed the face of Superheroes, and Gadot could bring this same presence to screen. She could change the face of movie stars, of beauty and give little girls a real, strong woman to look up to. With Hunger Games giving such a positive physical representation of women (Jennifer Lawrence notoriously will not ever give in to being a size zero product of Hollywood) we can not go backwards!

In conclusion, we at Heroine Junkies are pretty happy with the casting, we just would like to see her do some weight training, because women can have biceps and we don’t want our little girls starving themselves and not doing bicep curls, making themselves less fit and more feeble for the sake of beauty. It should be beautiful to be strong physically as a female too, and Wonder Woman had this beauty/strength/brains thing down.

[side note: Snyder, after you’ve ordered Cavill to get back down the gym and gotten Gadot some weights, could you please make sure the costume dept. finally make all our dreams come true and create *that* outfit, the one with the pants, that DC promised with the new 52 and then shoved her back in hot pants…]
 
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