James Cameron Vs. Patty Jenkins

Apparently there is a Hollywood hissyfit in progress.

James Cameron claimed that the Wonder Woman movie didn’t represent a step forward in the portrayal of heroines, because she was just a beautiful “sex object” wreaking havoc. He then claimed that actually, his Terminator movies were much more of a step forward in the portrayal of women.

Patty Jenkins fired back some stuff about how moody women aren’t more feminist than cheerful ones, and that boys just don’t understand Wonder Woman. She then opined that only women can judge women’s progress. Which was amusing but also pretty stupid. If you’re going to champion the right of women to have every kind of role, surely that means that both sexes of movie viewers have the right to judge said movie roles, if they feel like it.

The problem with Cameron’s self-admiration is that Linda Hamilton in the Terminator movies was essentially playing a noir woman in jeopardy, albeit one with a gun. Long before the Terminator movies, there were plenty of noir, martial arts, and blacksploitation flicks showing women in jeopardy, as well as women fighting back. And of course Linda Hamilton was at least as much of a “sex object” as Gail Gadot. It’s just that Cameron obviously has a thing for girls with guns (which is why he tried so long to make a Battle Angel Alita or Ghost in the Shell movie, and why he made the Dark Angel TV series that merrily ripped off an entire anime subgenre).

Not really caring about this.

That said, both Cameron and the Wonder Woman director, Patty Jenkins, would have done better to point out that their heroines are both part of a very long tradition of worldwide moviemaking. Spunky heroines are not anything newfangled, in either one’s preferred format.

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “James Cameron Vs. Patty Jenkins

  1. johnfkennedy63

    I would think Ripley from the Alien movies would be a better example. She stepped up to fight when she needed to and fought to protect others. She exhibited a tender, maternal side to Newt then a fierce, determined side like an angered mother grizzly bear.

    The Wonder Woman movie doesn’t interest me. If Ripley was the focus of the movies, which she wasn’t, I probably won’t have been interested either. I couldn’t watch the Killbill movies or Tomb Raider for the same reasons. It was almost deal breaker for the Terminator 3 movie. I do love the 5th Element.

    I find it hard to suspend belief that a 5′-x” woman can beat up very large beefy, trained men. No matter how much martial arts are thrown at them, it is difficult to overcome mass and biological realities.

  2. Wonder Woman is a fantasy flick with a fantasy superpowered heroine. Regarding it as feminist or edgy is a silly thing to do, and takes all the fun out of it. There’s a reason why the feminist Seventies comicbook version of Wonder Woman (in a pantsuit!) failed, and why its adaptation (the initial TV pilot for a Wonder Woman series) failed.

    Wonder Woman is not a feminist heroine. That’s the whole truth of it.

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