– by Joseph Jammer Medina

Wonder Woman is a film that is seen as a real boundary breaker for women. For years, Hollywood has been hesitant to produce standalone superhero films with a female lead due to the understanding that women wouldn’t actually go to the theaters. Obviously, that turned out not to be the case, but this wasn’t the only way the new film impacted people.

A lot of people were also astounded that they managed to make a female superhero that was strong without being masculine or cold, and feminine without being weak (I know, shocker). It was a mix that had never been successfully accomplished on the big screen with a female superhero lead (just look at the likes of the hyper-sexualized Catwoman starring Halle Berry, and the kinda stupid Elektra film with Jennifer Garner).

But of course, not everyone was convinced of this character’s greatness, and among these people was filmmaker James Cameron.

Here’s what he told The Guardian last June:

“All of the self-congratulatory back-patting Hollywood’s been doing over Wonder Woman has been so misguided. She’s an objectified icon, and it’s just male Hollywood doing the same old thing! I’m not saying I didn’t like the movie but, to me, it’s a step backwards. Sarah Connor was not a beauty icon. She was strong, she was troubled, she was a terrible mother, and she earned the respect of the audience through pure grit. And to me, [the benefit of characters like Sarah] is so obvious. I mean, half the audience is female!”

Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins didn’t take this sitting down, and responded to his comments with the following tweet.

Now, both people make well reasoned arguments. Cameron is basically saying that because Wonder Woman is beautiful, it’s somehow less of a step forward. Jenkins’ rebutted by saying that a woman doesn’t have to be damaged, broken, and unattractive in order to be considered strong, or considered a step forward.

RELATED: Linda Hamilton Returning To Terminator Franchise!

Well, it doesn’t sound like we’ve heard the last of it. Speaking with THR, Cameron doubled down on his statements, saying:

“Yes, I’ll stand by that. I mean, [Wonder Woman actress Gal Gadot] was Miss Israel, and she was wearing a kind of bustier costume that was very form-fitting. She’s absolutely drop-dead gorgeous. To me, that’s not breaking ground. They had Raquel Welch doing stuff like that in the ’60s. It was all in a context of talking about why Sarah Connor — what Linda [Hamilton] created in 1991 [with Terminator 2] — was, if not ahead of its time, at least a breakthrough in its time. I don’t think it was really ahead of its time because we’re still not [giving women these types of roles].”

And in response to the idea that a woman doesn’t have to look “hard, troubled and tough to be strong”:

“Linda looked great. She just wasn’t treated as a sex object. There was nothing sexual about her character. It was about angst, it was about will, it was about determination. She was crazy, she was complicated. … She wasn’t there to be liked or ogled, but she was central, and the audience loved her by the end of the film. So as much as I applaud Patty directing the film and Hollywood, uh, ‘letting’ a woman direct a major action franchise, I didn’t think there was anything groundbreaking in Wonder Woman. I thought it was a good film. Period. I was certainly shocked that [my comment] was a controversial statement. It was pretty obvious in my mind. I just think Hollywood doesn’t get it about women in commercial franchises. Drama, they’ve got that cracked, but the second they start to make a big commercial action film, they think they have to appeal to 18-year-old males or 14-year-old males, whatever it is. Look, it was probably a little bit of a simplistic remark on my part, and I’m not walking it back, but I will add a little detail to it, which is: I like the fact that, sexually, she had the upper hand with the male character, which I thought was fun.”

Again, it seems like Cameron missed the point of Jenkins’ statement and of Wonder Woman in general, but you can’t say the man doesn’t have his heart in the right place. He does make a couple good points (though he does seem to be stuck on an idea that a woman can’t be attractive), and at the end of the day, he’s always had a place for strong women in his film, and even in the upcoming Terminator film, they’re looking to cast a young woman to star as the next big lead.

What do you think of his comments? Do you think he’s right? Let us know your thoughts down below!

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  • TFCB

    I don’t think he’s saying the woman needs to be “ugly”, he’s saying they shouldn’t be sexualized. He’s saying Linda Hamilton is beautiful, but we never address that VISUALLY in his film cause she’s a regular lady, too busy trying not to die. Where in Wonder Woman, Gal Gadot is given a super hero outfit with larger fake breasts built into it, cause teenage boys like boobies and that most likely happened cause someone from the Studio demanded it so…. But to that, I say, Mr. Cameron, I vividly remember that Linda Hamilton goes BRA-LESS in AT LEAST Terminator 2 and that that scene when she’s trying to escape from the mental institution made me go, “Nipples!” as a boy. ALSO, Terminator the franchise is based off the idea that in the middle of trying not to be murdered by an Arnold Schwarzenegger Death Robot, Kyle and Sarah take the time to succumb to their sexual desire, cause who doesn’t get so fucking horny when tying to escape imminent death? Almost like Sarah is so grateful for he life being saved that she’s like, “Here, here’s my body.” Cause it wasn’t until Terminator 2 she was really the star. I say, he should have just said nothing at all.

    • Joseph Jammer Medina

      Wow, I totally forgot about that sex scene lol.

      • Kindofabigdeal

        I could never forget a scene that helped me through puberty.

    • Kronx

      Also, Sarah’s “value” in the first film seems to be that she will get pregnant and have a boy that saves everyone. Not exactly a great message. And let’s not forget that Kyle is basically a stalker who fell in love with her based solely on her looks in a Polaroid.

      She’s definitely a good, strong character in the second film, but she’s also not the lead.

      But I think Cameron is confusing the fact that he wants to bone Wonder Woman with her being sexualized.

      • Mad Barchetta

        “Falling in love” with someone you saw in a photo is NOT the equivalent of being a stalker.

        • Kronx

          True. But traveling back in time to meet your friend’s mom whose picture you’ve been jacking it to for who knows how long doesn’t look great either.

          • TheOct8pus


            KYLE: John, your mom was pretty hot when she was younger…

            JOHN: I need a volunteer to go back in time to save Sarah Connor

            Kyle’s hand shoots up

            KYLE: I’ll go!!

          • Mad Barchetta

            JOHN: Well, here’s the thing… I’m really glad you volunteered, because I was pretty much going to insist that you be the one to go… Dad.

          • Kindofabigdeal

            I think you are missing a bit of the story. Little hints dropped by some of the other movies. First off John talked up his mom a lot to Kyle. He knew he was his father and needed him to go back and sire him. Which is why he gave him the picture. It’s a subtle gesture that Cameron does because the polaroid he gives him is a picture of Sara trying to figure out how to tell her son about his father. Kyle even says he wonders what she was thinking about. It was him. So in a way the two who loved a lifetime in those few days they had together, had actually connected across time. Sara thinking about Kyle, and Kyle staring at her picture.
            And Sara wasn’t just supposed to carry John, Connor tells Kyle that she made him who he was. He was only a great leader because of Sara taught him. She even gets frustrated because she cannot fathom how a simple waitress could become “the mother of the future”.

          • Kronx

            Don’t confuse me with facts.

    • Kindofabigdeal

      I don’t think they allow you to wear bras in a heavy security mental institute. Just look at what she was able to do with a paper clip.

  • R.M. 4 sure

    So is Cameron saying his ex-wife is not beautiful? Well I guess that’s why she is your ex-wife! lol

    • Kindofabigdeal

      I think he means he prefers a woman who looks like she will wear a strap on and go to town.

  • Tyrell Antonio

    I’m confused, what was so sexual about WW? Besides the bath scene maybe i didn’t get that vibe at all.

  • Mad Barchetta

    I rather think Cameron is suggesting that, if Hollywood really wanted to be bold and truly take a step forward, they would make a movie with a star who is not model-level gorgeous.

    I think that could apply to male leads, as well. Think about it…how many times have Chris Hemsworth, Chris Evans, Hugh Jackman and Chris Pratt (the hell with everyone being named Chris anyway??) wandered around shirtless in their movies? Not like men aren’t being sexualized, too.

    I think Cameron was expressing that he prefers his heroes to be more typical every-person struggling to overcome overwhelming odds than the pinnacle of human perfection crushing everything in sight because they are the best of everything.

    In that regard, I think he has a point. When we meet Sarah Connor in Terminator, she is just a basic 20-something who has little to no skill in dealing with dangerous situations. By the time of T2, she’s a gun-toting, street-wise, self-made badass. And yet, she is still in over her head in dealing with a terminator. Her only hope is in hiding.

    Meanwhile, Diana is a weapon created by Zeus for the purpose of killing the last remaining god, Ares. Her abilities and physical make-up are far beyond those of Amazons and regular human. Essentially, there was no part in the movie in which she would have been in danger, except fighting Ares, and maybe against the juiced up Ludendorff. And, in the end, even against Ares, she was able to tap into special power previously unseen to destroy him easily.

    So, yeah, I might have to agree with him that Sarah had more depth and more interest to her than Diana, because Sarah was actually in danger throughout her story. Diana was so perfect and invincible that people could easily idealize her. And isn’t that a bit of a problem with how we relate to our “heroes/heroines?” That we idealize them?

    I have seen WW multiple times, and I quite enjoyed it, especially as a much more hopeful and less cynical corner of the DCEU. It does stand up very well to most comic book movies. But I don’t think Cameron is completely off-base.

    His biggest problem is he dared to challenge what seems to be the prevailing wisdom about WW. Heaven forbid he have a differing opinion. (And, no, the self-serving angle of holding up his own work as superior isn’t lost on me. The shame is that is undermines his perfectly valid opinion.)

    • Moby85

      Completely agree. The double-standard to male vs. female sexualization is increasing these days. As feminists decry female sexualization being related to “power” and “violence” whereas male sexualization is a completely coy and cute response by sexually motivated women. Of course, most men do not intend violence or rape with women they’re sexually attracted too, which is why the feminist argument is garbage.

    • suckit15694

      or model level skinny !

  • Moby85

    Cameron’s statement is at least just trying to make a rational explanation, while Jenkin’s response came off as arrogant, overreactive, and pretentious. While I would agree, of course, a female character can be strong and sexy. I also agree with Cameron that the film wasn’t “groundbreaking” in societal term. Even when it is considered groundbreaking it’s because of the director, not the star, and that it was a good DC film.

    Cameron – 1, Jenkins – 0

  • TheOct8pus

    So wait…is he a sexist or a feminist?? I can’t tell anymore!!!!

    • Mad Barchetta

      I think the fact that he’s challenged the established feminist opinion about WW means he has been officially labeled a misogynist.

  • suckit15694

    He’s right .

  • DerekNola

    James Cameron and the NFL must have the same agent

  • syambo87

    She says Woman means this this this…

    He says… basicly we’re not moving forward if we’re still using SEX Appeal to sell movies… and he’s saying Terminator 2 was just a mother trying to survive…

    I dont think he was thinking about Terminator Part 1 when he mention those comments… hahaha… Terminator 1.. she was such a danzel in distress…

  • Psychotic Bitch With a Knife
Joseph Jammer Medina is an author, podcaster, and editor-in-chief of LRM. A graduate of Chapman University's Dodge College of Film and Television, Jammer's always had a craving for stories. From movies, television, and web content to books, anime, and manga, he's always been something of a story junkie.