Positive Wonder Woman portrayal needed

Lisa Goudy
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Lisa Goudy

When you ask someone who their favourite superhero is, common answers will probably be Batman, Spider-Man, Wolverine or Superman.

Thanks to the popularity of Marvel movies, Avengers such as Iron Man, Thor, Captain America and The Hulk are also mainstream fan favourites. There are, of course, many others as well, but the list is far too long to name them all.

Many of those superheroes are my favourites as well, including several not mentioned here. Movies and television shows about superheroes are popular right now and they are seeing incredible success.

It doesn’t look like this trend is slowing down anytime soon. If anything, it’s gaining even more traction.

And yet, we haven’t seen a well-made superhero movie featuring a female superhero in a lead role.

There is something very wrong with this picture. The power of women is light years ahead of where it was even 50 years ago.

Progress has been made, but it’s not enough. Gender equality has not been achieved. I believe women and men are created equal and should be treated as such, both on and off the screen.

Wonder Woman is the most well known female superhero. Based on the Amazons of Greek mythology, she is a great role model for women and girls everywhere. She is an empowered woman with some serious ability to defeat her enemies. DC is planning to make a Justice League movie set for 2017.

The primary members of the Justice League are Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, The Flash, Green Lantern, Aquaman, Green Arrow and Cyborg, although it’s unknown at this time which characters will appear played by which actors.

The most recent film of the lot is Zach Snyder’s Man of Steel, starring Henry Cavill as Superman. With its success, Snyder will make a sequel, Batman vs. Superman, which will also star Ben Affleck as Batman.

Earlier this week, it was announced Gal Gadot would play Wonder Woman in the film as well. It will be her feature film debut, having had the most success in the 1975-1979 live-action series starring Lynda Carter.

Despite my hopes we’d see a standalone Wonder Woman movie, this is promising news — but only if the character is justly done. Take her outfit, for example. Traditionally, she wears revealing clothing. So there is a fine line for the film’s producers to walk.

They need to portray her as a strong female superhero without making it all about her sexuality, despite how she was originally drawn.

She was also associated with bondage imagery, but that’s not okay, either, nor does it send a good message. Modernizing superheroes is not uncommon. We see it all the time in new movies or television shows. We don’t want to over-sexualize the character in this modern age.

But when it comes to comic-book adaptations of superheroes, all films featuring female leads have essentially tanked at the box office. Examples include Elektra and Catwoman. Yet superhero films featuring male leads boom at the box office.

The argument that Hollywood is sexist could be easily made at this point, but I think what fundamentally underlies the failures is it hasn’t been done correctly yet.

It shouldn’t be about sexy outfits. Female superheroes shouldn’t be treated any differently than male superheroes.

I’m crossing my fingers that Wonder Woman’s big screen debut will create a positive reincarnation of the character and spread a good message about female superheroes.

Follow Lisa Goudy on Twitter @lisagoudy.

Organizations: Justice League

Geographic location: Hollywood

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