James Cameron has a strong track record when it comes to making movies with strong female protagonists — think Sigourney Weaver in Aliens, Linda Hamilton in The Terminator and T2, Jamie Lee Curtis in True Lies, and Zoe Saldana in Avatar — so when he speaks on the subject, people listen. And listen people certainly did to his latest comments to the Guardian, in which he called into question the feminist credentials of the summer’s biggest hit, Wonder Woman:
“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!”
Suffice it to say, Cameron’s opinion didn’t sit well with many fans of the DC Comics blockbuster — not to mention its director, Patty Jenkins, who took to Twitter to respond to the Oscar-winning filmmaker’s critique:
The debate over female representation in genre cinema is a long-running one that won’t conclude with this exchange, as Cameron and Jenkins’s dueling perspectives highlight the enduring complexity of the issue — and, in particular, the tricky task of deciding what sort of traits a “strong female character” can (and cannot) boast. Fortunately, with Terminator 2: Judgment Day 3D arriving in theaters today, and Wonder Woman about to bow on Blu-ray, moviegoers can see for themselves if they think either of the directors has fully figured out the feminist-action-icon template. Let the argument continue.
Watch James Cameron explain why he’s so excited for T2 in 3D:
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