Wonder Woman’s Gal Gadot, and Lynda Carter who portrayed the character before her, have both been slammed recently for being over sexualized, and not being a good role model for young girls. But Carter, who was the original Wonder Woman back in the 70’s, is mad at these accusations. In a recent interview with The New York Times, Carter lays the blame on the viewers, and not the character.
“It’s the ultimate sexist thing to say that’s all you can see, when you think about Wonder Woman, all you can think about is a sex object.”
At 65-years-old, Lynda Carter’s most famous role was on the Wonder Woman TV series, which debuted in 1975 and went on for three seasons. The character, wearing a skin-tight costume consisting of a red, revealing top and very short shorts, was often criticized, by feminist groups among others, for being too sexual.
The new Wonder Woman, Gal Gadot, who was already seen on Batman V Superman and will star in her own movie due in 2017, has a similar costume. The new Wonder Woman costume has a more leathery feel, but it’s still extremely tight, and very, very short.
The costume issue was the main reason behind the recent Wonder Woman controversy, involving none other than the United Nations, as reported on CBS News. Back in October, Wonder Woman was announced as an “honorary ambassador for the empowerment of women” by the U.N., being a symbol for gender equality.
The two Wonder Women, Gal Gadot and Lynda Carter, even attended a ceremony at the U.N. headquarters in New York, to receive the prestigious award. But controversy soon erupted, when even during the festive ceremony, protesters stood up and turned their backs in silent protest.
Feminist groups, U.N. staff, and diplomats have all complained that choosing a fictional character for the award, and one that is so over-sexualized, is an insult to real-life female activists. An online petition was started, calling the U.N. to revoke the ambassador award. It was signed by close to 45,000 supporters.
Two months later, in response to the criticism, the U.N. decided to dump Wonder Woman as its honorary ambassador, saying that the choice of a cartoon character was an “error in judgement.”
Lynda Carter, in her New York Times interview, is furious. While she agrees that a comic book character might not be the best choice to represent such an important issue at the U.N., she wholeheartedly disagrees with the notion that Wonder Woman is nothing but a sex object, saying instead that she is in fact “an iconic defender” – despite those costumes.
“If you think of the ’70s, that was miniskirts and bikinis. I never really thought of Wonder Woman as a super-racy character. She wasn’t out there being predatory.
She was saying: ‘You have a problem with a strong woman? I am who I am, get over it.'”
Carter is also angry about the double standards when it comes to another D.C. superhero – Superman, reminding us that he is also wearing a skin-tight costume.
“Doesn’t he have a great big bulge in his crotch? Hello! So why don’t they complain about that?”
Some of the criticism regarding Wonder Woman also addressed the fact that both actresses were seemingly white, privileged women, and thus might not be good role models for women all over the world. Lynda Carter slams that notion as well.
“Who says Wonder Woman is ‘white’? I’m half-Mexican. Gal Gadot is Israeli. The character is an Amazonian princess, not ‘American.’ They’re trying to put her in a box, and she’s not in a box.”
When it comes to the 2017 Wonder Woman film with Gal Gadot, If the latest trailer is any indication – that famous costume is still very prominent.
The new Wonder Woman, Gal Gadot, also recently opened up about the U.N. controversy, speaking to Time Magazine. The 31-year-old Israeli actress, who was one of Batman V Superman’s only redeeming qualities, thinks protesters can, and should, find more important things in the world to talk about.
She also weighed in on the skimpy outfit issue, wondering why that is even a problem.
“When people argue that Wonder Woman should ‘cover up,’ I don’t quite get it. They say, ‘If she’s smart and strong, she can’t also be sexy.’ That’s not fair. Why can’t she be all of the above?”
The debate is certainly ongoing, and the question whether Wonder Woman is a strong symbol for young girls, or simply a male fantasy, will not be answered anytime soon. For now, we’ll just have to wait and see how the next Wonder Woman film, with Gal Gadot at the forefront, will tackle this issue.
[Featured Image by Warner Bros.]