Wonder Woman Deserves Better

Image: DC Comics

At the age of 75, the Amazonian Warrior Demi-Goddess and founding member of the Justice League is hitting the big screen for the very first time - in less than a month. Wonder Woman is finally getting a movie, and the trailers we have seen look fantastic.

So, like any upcoming superhero movie, here we are expecting to be swamped with teasers, behind the scenes footage, interviews, merchandise, advertising, magazine covers, talk show appearances - except that's not what is happening at all.

There's a makeup line (available only in the US), a Dr Pepper campaign, and last year we got a Snapchat filter. Not what anyone would call overwhelming support for one of the biggest superheroes in history.

Now there's this.

Image: Thinkthin

Thinkthin is just one of a myraid of products that exist these days, aimed at women who have a goal to be thin - I mean, the clue is in the name. It not Thinstrong, not Thinkfit, not Thinhealthy - Thinkthin.

This partnership further reinforces this obsession that exists with focusing on Wonder Woman's physique as her main offering for audiences - one that has resulted in everything from her removal as an honorary United Nations Ambassador to the never-ending barrage of unsolicited criticism sent Gal Gadot's way for being (ironically) apparently being "too skinny" to play the iconic powerhouse.

Focusing on Wonder Woman's body is a gross disservice to her character, fans, and is downright patronising. The idea that all Diana has to offer is her body sends a straight-up damaging message to the people (yes, I'm one of them) that look up to her for her strength.

I'm not just talking about the "can smash Superman in a fight" kind of strength, even though she can do that too.

Image: DC Comics

It's the strength of character that sees her adhering to her values of compassion and justice. It's the strength that makes her an ideal role model in a world of shallow superficiality.

And it's that strength we should be seeing everywhere right now. So why aren't we?

If you head to Warner Bros YouTube channel, you'll find a Wonder Woman playlist with a "sneak peak", three trailers and a series of four television commercials. It's four weeks from today that the film will hit cinemas.

By way of comparison, the Suicide Squad playlist has thirty videos. For Suicide Squad. This is Wonder Woman.

Unless the marketing team is planning to flood us in Wonder Woman's final weeks (and I genuinely hope they do) it's pretty obvious Diana is being woefully under-marketed. The response to what's already out there has been universally well received, so why isn't there more being done?

Where are our introductions into some of Diana's iconic sidekicks? Etta Candy is hilarious. The Amazons are an amazing group of diverse kickass women. When can we meet them?

Vanity Fair says not to worry, because a lot is being spent on ads. But no - I am worried.

I am worried that what I'm seeing in my social media feed is weight loss products instead of Diana punching Nazis in the face like the badass she is. I'm worried that this movie will have lower than expected numbers at the box office and we will hear "see, female-led superhero films just don't work."

I'm worried that it will be generations before little girls will have the opportunity to see a hero they can relate to on the big screen because "girls don't buy merchandise" and this film will be held up as a symbol of a failed experiment into pandering for a female audience.

Wonder Woman deserves better.


Comments

    But Suicide Squad was complete shite and kept getting media attention because of Jared Leto doing dumb shit because "LOL JOKER RIGHT GUYS?"

    I don't know if Suicide Squad marketing is what WW should be aiming for...

    Wonder woman is lame and the only reason she came about is to give young boys wet dreams at night.

      Counterpoint: you're lame. Wonder Woman is awesome.

        Come on, she was lame when she had a series on TV. It was only for the purpose of eye candy that it lasted at all.

          You know Wonder Woman is *way* more than just a TV series, right? But that doesn't fit in with your agenda, so I'm not surprised you don't mention it.

            I don't read comics so the only time I've heard of her was when she came out in the 70's tv show.

          The 50's called, They want you back.

            Are you saying she came out in the 50's. Sorry, I think I'm missing your point.

              It was a light hearted joke. Sometimes when people comment with stuff overtly sexist or mysoginistic in general, People commonly say what i said above because in the 50s in conservative america treating women like shit was the norm.

              But its great you have learned something :) Always good to see someone who is capable of changing their opinion.

                If you can't learn from your mistakes then you're pretty stupid to start with. You never stop learning.

            Did some research. Came out in the 40's, shes bisexual as mentioned by others, she was created with feminism in mind, originally fought baddies in WW2 but then the story morphed into mythology, blah blah blah. So I was wrong and she was created for something other than her body. I never mind being wrong as long as I learn something from it in the end. :)

              Ta for the reminder. I'm probably the only one, but I'd love to see a WW2-era Wonder Woman flashback, or something like the first Captain America. It was shown in Batman v Superman (which IMO was a mediocre film) that she'd been around for decades so I'll live in hope.

      Actually she came about as a feminist counterpoint to the masculine physicality of superman.

      She weirdly saw her fair share of bondage in the early years, but from the get-go she was a feminist symbol.

      Yep, what other possible purpose could there be for a lactating female with clothes that emphasis here nether regions.

        I'm going to use the actual words of the article here, to make a better point than I can myself.

        "Focusing on Wonder Woman's body is a gross disservice to her character, fans, and is downright patronising. The idea that all Diana has to offer is her body sends a straight-up damaging messages to the people (yes, I'm one of them) that look up to her for her strength."

          If they didn't want people to focus on her body, then why did they have her dress in skimpy clothing ?

            Ignoring the fact male super heroes wear skin tight clothes that draw attention to the muscles and other regions.

              Well that's so they exhibit power and strength which a superhero would need to be believable but yes, you do have a point. I'm just saying wonder woman was invented during a very sexist time. Think bewitched, I dream of Jeannie and so on. It would be naive to think they didn't make wonder woman for a bit of eye candy. Like all female superheros, they fight crime but they all look smoking hot while doing it. How ever you look at it, that's sexism.

              While I disagree with the anti-WW comments in general, he does have a point. Her costume has been pretty ridiculous at times (not as bad as Marvel's Emma Frost though). I prefer her costume from more recent times where it's a little more discrete or functional. To be honest, I think a lot of the male costumes are pretty bad too.

            Exactly. She's essentially fighting crime in a one piece bikini, wheres the article on this? They had plenty of opportunity to fix her costume but no, in 2017 shes still wearing a bikini one piece. Also find it funny Campbell brings up your "agenda" considering Gizmodo's own agenda. A bit defensive me thinks.

              Please do elaborate on "Gizmodo's" agenda.

              Is the top half of it actually metal? Because that would not work at all.

        I don't think 'lactating' means what you think it means.

          "lactating" means that her boobs are bigger than normal as though she has an infant to feed.

          Of course any person can do whatever they like with their own bodies. Breast augmentation and revealing clothing don't mean that she's worth any less as a person.

          Yes, Batman and Superman have of late also been sexualised.

          Misogynistic? No, but I find it odd that a crime fighter wants to looks like that while fighting crime.

            Yeah, pretty sure you just mean 'busty' there. Lactating has nothing to do with Wonder Woman, and calling any woman with big breasts 'lactating' is cringey as fuck.

            Last edited 05/05/17 7:07 pm

          A woman's breasts will normally enlarge when they are producing milk to feed an infant i.e. lactating.

      obvious troll is obvious

      try some subtly next time

        Er, to which comment are you talking about ?

          "Wonder woman is lame and the only reason she came about is to give young boys wet dreams at night."

          clearly that was an attempt at trolling, right?

            Well, she is lame (my opinion only ) but I have done some research on her and apparently she wasn't brought into this world just so young boys can have fantasies about her.

              Wow someone changed their opinion on the INTERNET!

              Now I've seen everything ;)

    This is like a honey-pot for misogyny! Seriously, can the attractiveness of a woman not be a secondary characteristic? You realise, all you guys who have decided she only exists because she looks hot, that you're actually telling us more about yourselves than you are telling us about Wonder Woman?

    Superman is also pretty hot looking. So is batman. So are pretty much all the male super-hero characters.

      Of course the attractiveness of a woman can be a secondary characteristic but when the person that thought her up decided to dress her up in skimpy clothing (and I'm sure she was thought up by a male in the 70's when sexism was all the rage ) then you must question that motive. It doesn't mean we're mysoginistic, it means we're not stupid about why she was introduced to us. She could of been sensibly dressed and still fought the good fight. I would of rather her be like that and if she was invented nowadays, then she would never of been drawn wearing those clothes.

        Try the 1940s.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wonder_Woman

        While I do agree (somewhat) that her costume is a little over the top, it probably helped sales and looked iconic. As for whether her costume would have been designed differently today, I doubt it. While there are a few modern characters (ie: ones invented in the last 10 years) that are reasonably attired, a lot of them (male and female) still go the skimpy, form fitting spandex route.

    What's with the crappy Wonder Woman comments? I always saw her as a bad-arse equivalent to Superman and Batman. My only real exposure was Batman: The Animated Series and subsequent Justice League/later cartoons (no comic books). Never saw her as eye-candy or whatever. Maybe I was too young or not retarded when I watched the cartoons?

    On the flip-side, the comments on Gal being too skinny is both stupid and have a point. Why did the male actors put on muscle mass for "comic movies" whereas Gal didn't? Not saying she has to, perfectly fine with how she is, as it's more "realistic" and achievable by pretty much any woman.

    (edited typos)

    Last edited 09/05/17 10:06 am

      Muscle mass is a weird issue in super hero comics. Muscles develop because we push them past limits so the grow so they can do the work required. This means the super strong characters would for the most part not be so ripped - since they rarely use their full strength. So Superman shouldn't look like a body builder he should look like a skinny guy.

      Of course the counter argument is that their powers grant them an "optimal" physique. In which case Wonder Woman (and other female characters) are quite fine being "skinny".

    The movie will probably do well financially, but there are definitely those that feel burned by DC's recent movies. There definitely has been a lack of fanfare too, I wasn't aware it was out so soon.

      Man of Steel was ok, BVS was long and disjointed, Suicide Squad.... yeah....

      So yeah after those 3 being the most recent box office films, my interest in DC is not that high. I'll probably see WW at the cinema, but if it's a pile of trash It'll be time to write them off completely for a while.

      Civil War & Logan were awesome, I have realistic expectations for GOTG2. They just seem to be way better movies overall.

    Word in the industry is the movie is a disjointed disaster. Gal Gadot can't even speak English let alone act. Looks like its following the trend of recent DC movies :(

      This is not 'the word', at all, the actual 'word' in the industry, from test screenings is the movie is quite good and potentially the best movie DC has made in the DCEU. Gadots accent was seen as fine, Chris Pine was seen as the highlight of the movie in terms of supporting characters. Etta Candy was called very appealing too. The movie was also praised for going back to a more straightforward plot than a convoluted one that BVS had. The critique levelled at the movie was that it was disjointed, yes, but that with some tight editing it would be more than fine. This editing has apparently occurred too after preview screenings. As far as 'Gal Gadot cannot even speak english', she's got enough movies under her belt to immediately blow that strawman argument out of the water.

        I'd actually argue that Gal Gadot's English being accented adds to the story. After all WW wasn't raised in the USA, she was raised on an isolated island where if anything they probably spoke some derivative of ancient Greek. Ideally she should start out with an accent and struggle a little with English but over time get more fluent.

        And to be honest, though she didn't get a ton of lines in BvS I thought she sounded fine.

          Absolutely, to be honest I'd be aghast if all Themyscrians suddenly had Bronx accents or some such lol

            I had an image in my head of Wonder Woman talking with the same accent as Sal from Futurama.

    I just hope it doesn't have an underlying romantic story with the Chris Pine character.
    That quick cut in the trailer where it looks like they're about to make out... Ughh... schmaltzy..

    Last edited 05/05/17 4:53 pm

      Hate to burst your bubble but it's pretty much a given. WW and Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) were romantically linked in the comics for ages.

      Whether it works in the movie or not is too early to say. The trailers don't show enough to make a good judgment.

    Several factors come into play here that haven't been mentioned.

    Every DC movie apart from Chris Nolan's Batman has been a huge critical flop in recent times. It's easier to give pause and reinforce than drop money on another failure. Fans are already heavily sceptical.

    Also, the licensing for those certain products are the path of least resistance. They're very easy things to sign off on and get approval for.

    The most relateable strong female character of recent times was Jessica Jones but I don't see a lot of outcry for her or her lack of products.

      Agreed.

      Daredevil only slightly nudges out JJ for me. Then it's Ironfist followed by Luke Cage. I'm not one to get excited about justice league or avengers because the team ups are usually lame... but Justice League TV trailer is looking good.

    There really hasn't been much advertising about it. I was just talking about this to my brother and neither of us realised it was only a month away.

    The irony of Hollywood a bastion for progressives while hiding a dark underbelly of sexism and racism...

    Rae I'd just like to counter something here if you don't mind?

    First off: I agree, the slim thing is horrendously disgusting. The fact that DC would allow Wonder Woman to be linked to that is gross beyond belief. That sort of thing wasn't done for BVS or SS. It shows a gross disconnect between the two genders for sure and it's alarming. I'm honestly ashamed of that as a comic fan.

    But on another unrelated note:

    By way of comparison, the Suicide Squad playlist has thirty videos. For Suicide Squad. This is Wonder Woman.

    Unless the marketing team is planning to flood us in Wonder Woman's final weeks

    It's quite highly regarded in geek circles that Wonder Woman is DC's gold standard for Marketing. At this point, more money has been spent on marketing Wonder Woman than has been on marketing Suicide Squad believe it or not. Suicide Squad AND BVS by this point, had just smashed the online and offline community by now with an excess of trailers and an excess of utter garbage, that put people off. With BVS we ended up seeing the entire movie in around five trailers. With SS, we saw 3/4 of the movie sans the shitty (yes incredibly shitty) 'villain' (what a joke he was). DC has admitted that this time with Wonder Woman, they're concerned with making a *good* movie rather than making a billion or two, as they're banking on this one to basically resurrect their universes situation with Patty Jenkins directorial skills (After all, who the friggin' hell believes JLA from Snyders going to do that? Honestly?)

    Patty Jenkins has presented Wonder Womans marketing in a restrained, fantastic manner so far, showing her femininity, strength and intelligence all in the trailers, playing on the fish out of water aspect, while using Chris Pines character to emphasise her abilities, not hinder them (see: Bullet being deflected by braces saving Chris Pine). Also, the progressive ideals brought about by Diana Prince and Etta Candys conversations while men around them baffle on about their garbage.

    There's character posters hitting very soon for each character, there's marquees in cinemas, posters, there's a slew of stuff hitting and its all in my opinion happening at the right time. SS and BVS peaked and dropped off, noone cared truly by the time they hit and while they still made bank, BVS rode the "Oh my god its Batman and Superman on screen together!" horse into the ground, while Suicide Squad rode the "Well, at least it isn't BVS and it's got Harley Quinn and Deadshot!" horse or the "Hey it's got Joker!" horse equally.

    The fact there's so much stuff focusing on her body though, that sickens me. I cannot speak about the female side of it and I'm not doing this to appease anyone, I'm simply saying it's bloody unnecessary that they went that way with things. Thankfully they are merchandising other aspects of the film as can be seen here:
    http://www.shopdcentertainment.com/category/code/wwm_dcshop.do and they will be releasing a full toy range as well for kids to play with via Mattel (the only issue I have, which may be a non issue is they seem to have been Barbie-ised? What's your take on that?).

    Multiple TV spots have also been released at this point as well as a couple of trailers, we're also due for some more tv spots and some final trailers prior to the release date.

    I honestly don't think all up Wonder Woman has been marketed poorly as much as DC have learnt to reign in the excess, I think we're just so used to a glut of poor marketing decisions by DC, we were just expecting it from this one, that we were expecting to be Snyder'd by the marketing, overwhelmed and beaten about the head by it. We're seeing restraint, proper levels of marketing (it started 3 months ago, and it's been building to a crescendo), as now reflected by The Dark Tower, which started its marketing a few days ago and will repeat the same cycle, instead of the modern habit of 6 - 9 months worth of marketing.

    Either way, this restrained format, has me, and many, many others far more interested, the mystery is far more appealing and the look of the movie is amazing, to geeks like me and many others and I'll be there day one with my son, my friends and many others to see it :)

    Last edited 06/05/17 9:39 am

      I'm with you on the supplement, seems like a seriously poor marketing choice. I'm actually a little surprised I couldn't find anything for Supes or Batman advertising protein powders or creatine or similar. Though there are a ton of "superman workout" type articles none of them are directly DC marketed.

      I don't mind the restrained approach to the movie, we've had a teaser and a trailer and I think that's sufficient. They show enough that I want to see the movie. No need to bombard us with more in that regard.

      I do however, think they could have had more tie in products. Though it's possible we haven't seen a lot for two reasons; 1. They're holding them back til closer to the movies release. 2. They're concerned with getting the right products and avoiding bad press.

      Having seen the thinkthin crap being linked to WW I can't imagine the second is what's holding them back.

        I absolutely would like to see some more tie in products. Wonder Woman is a tentpole character for DC and deserves more that's for sure. By no means with what I have said have I meant to imply otherwise. I'm on board with Rae that she does deserve better, I just meant to say that in the quest to deserve better, we have to ensure we're not wanting to repeat the pasts awful mistakes that's all :)

        Last edited 07/05/17 4:05 pm

          Definitely. There's no reason to not have WW appearing on kids breakfast cereal (although they should be trying to make that *healthy* cereal), fruit juice, toys etc. I imagine once the movie is closer we'll get the McDonalds happy meals and similar (which aren't great, but *shrugs* might as well).

          I do dread what marketing geniuses will come up with. I wouldn't be at all surprised to see WW feminine hygiene and deodorant ads. "How do I stay so fresh when fighting the Nazis?" :(

            Holy shit imagine that tie in...

            "After you've had your shameful Wonder Woman happy meal girls... SLIM FAST!"

            *GROAN*

    Personally I hate seeing 5 different trailers for a movie I know I'm going to see!

    1 is fine to get you into the hype but when you know every one liner from the movie because of the trailers there's no incentive to see it in cinemas!

    I don't get why they spend so much on marketing the movies that they know will be huge, it raises hype to a point where the movie can't satisfy the expectations! Like BvS, just do a ten second trailer of them fighting and put the title up, job done, sold!

    I've been searching the internet for "why female superhero movies tank". No real psychological analyses to speak of, only half arsed pseudo-psychology. This comment section however gives me a clearer picture of why. Because both men and women can't get past the tits and ass stuff and appreciate a badass hot female crushing bad guys with a (hopefully) gritty and solid narrative. Women superheroes are unnecessary to men and threatening to females. I think this is going to tank as well. The marketing also sucks, but that's kind of a byproduct, not so much causal.

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