Like a lot of women who are tired of the overwhelming white maleness of the superhero movie genre, I was more than excited when it was announced that Wonder Woman would finally get the silver screen debut that she and so many other heroines deserve. As one of the most iconic superheroes in the world and one of the most iconic women in all of fiction, it’s a damn shame that it has taken so many years for the Princess of Themyscira to receive a fair shake when her male contemporaries Superman and Batman have had such long runs in film since at least the 70s and late 80s, respectively.
But, as more information about the movie and casting and promotional images came out, I felt my excitement begin to wane as I encountered yet another catastrophic oversight of the push for female superhero movies…the shit looks HELLA white.
I’ve reached a point in my life where if a property features majority or only white people I just cannot watch it, I can’t focus and I refuse to support it financially. And it’s so disappointing because on the one hand I’m super excited for this movie because it’s the first female-led superhero movie of this new wave of superhero films, but on the other hand this is yet another example of women of color deliberately being left behind by Mainstream Hollywood and *White Feminism™.
Before any information truly began circulating about Wonder Woman, there was already so much buzz around this movie from people proclaiming it as an iconic, feminist work that would improve things for all women in Hollywood. The same thing was said about Fury Road and The Force Awakens back in 2015 and about Rogue One in 2016 and about so many other franchise films that starred averagely attractive white brunettes (and maybe a blonde or two). But as we’ve seen time and time again, no matter how many times people proclaim these films as revolutionary and beneficial to all women, it only proves true for white women.
On the note of these films as “revolutionary” or “unique”, speculative fiction properties, like the ones I mentioned before, being led by white women has not been revolutionary since Ripley in ’79 and maybe even earlier. White women have been the standard of modern female film leads for forever. And even when roles for white women increase the number of roles for women of color remain the same.
The most black women and other women of color can ever hope for in terms of seeing our race represented in film is to see films and TV shows starring men of color alongside a white woman because in Hollywood, “person of color” means man and “woman” means white. Fantastic Four, Cloak and Dagger, fucking Bitch ASS Jessica Jones, and so many other properties purposely sideline women of color over and over and over, but we’re always expected to support any and everything that white women are a part of like it might maybe benefit us down the line, but that expectation is never reciprocated.
Gains made by white women like director Patty Jenkins and Gal Gadot mean nothing for the rest of us, success or flop.
A RISING TIDE DOES NOT LIFT ALL BOATS.
*For anyone who may still not understand, White Feminism/White Feminist is not a pejorative directed at white women who identify as feminists. I’ll let Wikipedia explain.