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Was it Joss Whedon's 'Wonder Woman' sexist? The keys to the controversy



A few months ago the full script was leaked with Joss Whedon attempting to take Wonder Woman to the big screen 12 years ago. The news generated a certain expectation, especially considering that we already have, at last, a movie with which to compare it. We echoed here, we read it all and we told you how it could have been that movie. And we liked it, we will not fool you.

But this week, Twitter and then the internet did their magic and the script was news again, but not for the best reasons. The tweets were dedicated to highlight fragments of the script, compare them with the movie that is going to be able to see in the cinemas and qualify them as sexist and sexist. The story attracted a lot of attention and blogs like The Daily Dot and The Mary Sue, two spaces known for their analysis of the geek culture since feminism, have given it a prominent place. And the comments are very hard.


Joss Whedon has traditionally been known by the fan community for their love, care and intelligence when it comes to creating female characters and putting them at the forefront of their productions. 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' continues to be one of the most subversive series of gender roles in history, and the relationships that were explained in that series, maternal-filial, sisters, a very sound out of the lesbian wardrobe and more, They managed to make Joss a beloved and respected figure of feminism.The rest of their works received the same level of praise and for the same reasons.Although already in "Dollhouse" began to have some critical voices with the reification of the women, nevertheless , Were short reviews.


But everything changed in 'Avengers: The Age of Ultron', especially with Black Widow. A plot in which the character played by Scarlett Johansson called himself a monster for not being able to have children and a few unfortunate "spicy" jokes made the networks rise in arms against Joss. Quite right, but it is curious to see how the ways of perceiving the artist in social networks change. The tide has turned against Whedon, no matter his previous work and his statements on the subject, the general tendency is to describe his work as a sexist.



But is this true? 


The tweets and articles that support this critique of the filtered script have two basic problems. First, they acknowledge that they did not read the full script, and second, they do not stop comparing it at all times with the movie of Patty Jenkins. It is true that Patty's film is a miracle, the balance between the protagonist and her male companion is almost perfect and from a feminist point of view can not be practically no fault. But it is quite unfair to compare a film with a script of more than a decade that also never took place, taking away the opportunity to grow and work more.

As for the extracts that are used to make the comparison, then that, are extracts, taken out of context. Whedon's film tells the story from Steve Trevor's point of view, and that may seem better or worse, but it's an option, and his first reaction to meeting Diana is one of absolute admiration for her beauty. Well, it's Wonder Woman, you must marvel. In Jenkins' film we see a similar moment. But the context is not the same. Steve knows, in this version, a Paradise Island closer to what we saw in the series of Lynda Carter than we have seen in the film, a culture closer to the Greek myth, with a more kitsch and sexy atmosphere. This characterization of Diana and her Amazon sisters as bare-faced caryatids with bare dresses has greatly angered Whedon's critics.


Another extract that serves to feed the indignation is when Diana faces the god of the festival and the wine Dionisio / Bacchus, and to be able to accede it must realize a ritual according to the scope of influence of that god. Kill a boar? No, dance in her honor. This dance, which we have never seen, has also been seen as an act of sexism on the part of Jose Whedon towards the figure of Diana.

Nor do you like the characterization of Diana in the script. The protagonist begins the story being a half-witted and arrogant malcriada, that faces the world of the man from a superiority and hostility that only the contact with Steve and his companions manages to lower. This Diana is surprising, but not new, author Jill Thompson in her acclaimed graphic novel 'Wonder Woman: The Last Amazon' has already described a protagonist whose journey of the hero was to overcome that scorn and disdain that gave her being the only girl With superpowers of their island / world. Analysts who have criticized the script are very upset by Steve's role as Diana's "mansplainer" as she tries to understand the new world around her.


Our opinion


Something in which those who have opined so hard on this script agree that they have been unable to finish reading it. It is a very hard criticism, but we were able to finish it, in fact we did it with great joy, and that allows us to approach the subject from another place.

Whedon's script is not perfect, the balance of Steve and Diana is not as ideal as the one that has been achieved in the film Jenkins, but is far from being macho. Diana is described as a beautiful woman, by Steve and the rest of men who meet her, but is felt reified, many authors (and authors) of current comic declare in favor of showing female beauty in the most exaggerated way Possible, provided that that beauty does not become the only quality of the character, is a feature very typical of the world of superheroes. The men and women who populate the comic strips are unrealityally beautiful, muscular, and of perfect factions. It is true that to judge a man by his physique, as happens in a moment to Captain America in his first film (and as it happens to all the heroes of Marvel) does not reproduce schemes of a heteropatriarcal society that oppresses the woman, And therefore not harmful, but we have not seen in Whedon's script to offend either.


In the second half of Whedon's script the predominant view of the film varies, Steve disappears and the most important scene is Diana. It is a piece of mythology from the beginnings of the character. The Amazons wear the iron bracelets to remind themselves when they were subjected by men and never to be again, in fact, lose their powers if they are handcuffed. Diana suffers, and the dream scene in which she manages to overcome this situation and claim her individuality marks the beginning of Diana's career as Wonder Woman. From there and until the final confrontation with the chimera is when we began to see a Diana closer to the comic, with better character and wiser.


The questioned script is not perfect, besides being a material on which to work more than a result. He commits certain Steve / Diana balance bugs, but that's all we come up with as criticism. The rest seem valid options. More than blatant sexism we see another way of telling Diana's story. And is that a superheroine can (must) be beautiful, can be imperfect and learn step by step, can dance in a ritual and remain wonderful. Joss Whedon is not perfect either, but he's not a macho, at least for now we can not find reason to call him that. We look forward to your 'Batgirl', in case we have to give up or applaud you very hard.
 

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