'Wonder Woman' poster is a step in the wrong direction

Posted Thursday, July 28, 2016 at 5:21 PM Central
Last updated Thursday, July 28, 2016 at 5:22 PM Central

by John Couture

With all of the news and information coming out of Comic Con last week, I was playing catch up most of the week. So, I missed this when it came out last Friday, but when I added the teaser poster for Wonder Woman today, I was blown away.

And not in a good way.

After touting all of the good things that Warner Bros. and DC did last week, I'm left shaking my head once again at the sensational sexploitation that has been plagued the female superhero. After seeing the trailer for Wonder Woman, I was genuinely impressed that someone might have finally broken the code and created an intelligent superhero movie in which the protagonist is known more for her kick-butt fighting skills than how her butt looks in spandex.

And then I saw this tweet.

On the day that Hillary Clinton will become the first woman ever to accept the nomination for President of the United States from a major party, this poster for Wonder Woman feels like a slap in the face to equality among comic book superheroes. What's even more concerning is that it feels like a reversal of sorts from the way they promoted the character for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.

As you can see in this publicity still and Wonder Woman poster for that film, they took a much more subdued approach.

It's as if they knew that Wonder Woman would find a female audience pretty easily, so why not focus the marketing in an effort to entice men to come see the film as well. As a man, I don't know whether to be more offended that they don't think I would watch a good comic book film regardless of the gender of the protagonist or that I could be swayed by such blatant pandering.

I mean they literally shine a spotlight on Gal Gadot's breasts and shade out her face in a move that further dehumanizes the character. And don't get me started about the subliminal message they are sending by literally cutting off her brain from the poster. Have we really transported back in time to the 1970s?

It's not like this is the first time that Warner Bros. has decided to treat female comic book characters as little more than sex objects. Take next week's Suicide Squad, for example. Harley Quinn was a complex character from the comics, but here she is seemingly reduced to a torn shirt three sizes too small and skimpy hot pants. Heck, even Katona's outfit consists of a midruff-bearing t-shirt, while they even found a way to make Enchantress ooze sex.

Sadly, this type of generalization is par for the course for Warner Bros. Who could ever forget the disaster that was Catwoman?

I decided to hit the web and see if everyone else was as outraged as I was, but surprisingly, the reverse was true.

Libby Hill of the LA Times called it "a stunner" and "gets our blood flowing for next year's film."

Maxim, predictably, called it "fantastic" and "unlike anything you've seen before." Actually, I'm getting a bit tired of seeing this type of hyper-sexualized advertising.

And on and on. It seems that most people were too quick to pull the trigger on getting the new poster up in front of their audience's eyes to really think about the implications of the poster. I get it, I'm not a prude and yes, I know that "sex sells" has been a tried and true advertising philosophy for many decades, but isn't it time for a change?

Marvel has had a slightly better track record when it comes to their depiction of women in their comic book films. I mean, I understand to an extent. These characters are based on comics that were written in a different time and for the longest time, the audience for them was mainly teen boys in the throes of puberty.

But, it is 2016 and the times, as the song says, are a changin'. We are ready for a strong, female-fronted superhero film. One that proves that women can kick as much butt as their male counterparts.

I am still hopeful that Wonder Woman will be that film and my wife has already booked a date night for us for June 2, 2017. I just wish that Warner Bros. would get with the times and give us strong marketing images that I would be proud to show my four-year-old daughter.

Comments:

DustyOR
DustyOR
12 months ago
I was reading WW comic books before you were born
That 'offensive' poster reflects beauty & strength
YOUR Wonder Woman Hillary should look that good
even when she was younger with that UGLY look that attracted equally UGLY Bill
s22132
s22132
12 months ago
I may be naive or giving them too much credit, but my first thought when I saw the poster was that they were emphasizing the costume, the character of Wonder Woman, rather than the actress.

And I could be wrong; I personally didn't see it as offensive, but I can understand how it could be seen that way.
woundead
woundead
12 months ago
The only thing I find offensive here is the fact that you're telling an excited actress should feel offended, exploited and outraged.
I hope it doesn't usually tickles your pink to tell people how they should feel about anything, just so you can feel better about yourself. For the sake of loving this site for so long, I will assume you're just trying to follow the ever so offended and outraged media narrative that has been plaguing my last 5-10 years of life.
This will be a superhero movie, that Gal would love to star in, will hit ~$300mil. Why not let everyone be happy?
A little aside from this movie specifically.. I'd take a controversial - possibly even offensive to me - movie any day over mostly empty calories of a popcorn flick.
Still, I will see this movie, and quite possibly enjoy it for the length of it.
woundead
woundead
12 months ago
Sorry, completely forgot to address the costume at hand..
For the most part - DON'T CARE. I will see this movie because it's DC comic movie, not because my junk tells me to follow the hot posters. Which they aren't really. As s22132 mentioned, posters mostly put the costume in the focus. I think I would notice actress' face faster if it'd be Terry Crews, but hey - we get another generic body in an awesome costume.
john
john
12 months ago
Dusty - I never claimed Hillary was Wonder Woman, not claimed that I supported her. I merely pointed out the historical fact for context in which this poster was released. It seems to me that your use of the belittling comment of "UGLY" for a former President and a current Presidential candidate is more offensive.

s22132 - I could accept that rationale from the studio if this was the first time we were seeing the costume, but we saw it already in Dawn of Justice. I could even be OK with it if they were emphasizing a re-design or a more colorful look, but watch the trailer. Her costume is the same muted color that DC has gone for in all of their recent films. So, they highlighted her breasts and photoshopped brighter colors on the costume to drive home their point.

woundead - I'm not commenting on Gal at all. I think she's been great in the role and in other films. My comments were pointed directly towards Warner Bros., which given the example above of the Catwoman poster, shows that they have history of marketing comic book movies in this way. I quoted Gal's tweet because it is the ONLY way that Warner Bros. has made the poster available to this point. Trust me, I've looked, but they have not released the poster through their traditional media sites. The trailer for the film looks great and a step in the right direction for DC in general and female-fronted comic books specifically. I simply think they should have thought more about the content of their first poster.
whynot66
whynot66
12 months ago
Do a search for Wonder Woman comic book cover art and look at the amazing amount of cleavage, crotch and ass on display. It GREATLY outweighs this tame movie poster. You're completely reaching with this argument. And I don't even care for this actress or this movie.
john
john
12 months ago
whynot66 - That's sort of my whole point. The fact that we've moved beyond the whole objectification of women in comic books. Hence, this poster is a "step back." This was a very deliberate image chosen by the studio to market this movie. I'm just wondering if they could have taken a more positive stance on this.
BlueCollarCritic
BlueCollarCritic
12 months ago
"On the day that Hillary Clinton will become the first woman ever to accept the nomination for President of the United States from a major party, this poster for Wonder Woman feels like a slap in the face to equality among comic book superheroes."

Seriously? I have to say that your comments paint a picture of guy trying to white-knight for the social justice/third wave feminism movement . A social justice cause that has many men bending over backwards to virtue signal their support so as to avoid being labeled a misogynist or worse. As a father of 2 pre-teen girls myself I am very aware of and concerned about what they will face in society as they grow to become young women and I can see nothing in this Wonder Woman poster that suggest anything other than a female warrior ready to kick ass and look good (in a feminine way) while doing it.
MountainTindell
MountainTindell
12 months ago
What about movie posters like 300, The Wolverine, and Magic Mike that do the same with men. Let's face it sex sells this is not a new concept and I appreciate the female body as do most of my female friends. No need to make a mountain out of a mole hill. VideoETA is my favorite movie site I have long enjoyed the articles on here but we should leave all politics out of this sacred site unless we are discussing The Campaign, Wag The Dog etc
Mistame
Mistame
12 months ago
You know, I've been subscribed to your newsletter for quite a few years and while I've noticed the occasional spatter of inane commentary, I have to say that this article is pushing far end of extreme garbage. Make no mistake, I mean no offense, but this is beyond the "chem trail"/"anti-vax" drivel the far right typically spews.

"I mean they literally shine a spotlight on Gal Gadot's breasts and shade out her face in a move that further dehumanizes the character."

This type of lighting is done all the time. In this case, they're highlighting the costume. But your next comment confirms that you've completely miss this point:

"And don't get me started about the subliminal message they are sending by literally cutting off her brain from the poster."

This is the most retarded comment I've read on a site that's supposed to be about movies and TV. If that's seriously what you took from the poster, you should probably stick to movie reviews and leave the political commentary to the adults.

As I said, I'm not trying to be "mean" but there's a point when you have to be firm. Like when a child continually tries to stick a fork in a power outlet.

This poster is not "objectification", unless you're confused as to what that actually means. At best, it's "sexualizing" the character, though at a much lower level than the original character ever was. And lets's be clear, there is *NOTHING* wrong with "sexualized" characters, as that appeals to the *NATURAL* receptors that men and women alike respond to.

So please, just review the movies. If you feel the urge to go full-blow "SJW", find a forum or something.
MountainTindell
MountainTindell
12 months ago
Let's take this in a new direction...What is your favorite movie about politics?? John at ETA your up first
john
john
12 months ago
I'm not trying to push an agenda, but it does say something that this story is the one getting all of the comments when normally there is at best one or two on each and every article we produce.

The main problem with the poster is that it's completely diametrically opposed to what the film is supposed to be about. According to the trailer and Wonder Woman's work in Dawn of Justice, this film is being set up as a comic book superhero champion female empowerment. And yet, they deliberately chose to use an image where the actresses face is completely in shadow. Is it even Gal Gadot or a stand in? And then they cut her head completely off, which is sort of the basis of my objectification statement. The fact that they highlight and color-correct the breasts only is the sexualizing aspect.

As the father of a four-year-old girl, I feel the poster sends the wrong message as to what the movie is supposed to be about (based on the trailer). Magic Mike and 300, those posters are as accurate a depiction of their corresponding films.

In contrast, the images they used to market the character for Dawn of Justice is more reflective of a strong, feminine character as BCC suggests and as I pointed out above.
john
john
12 months ago
Mountain - Strictly about politics? I liked Wag the Dog quite a bit. The original Manchurian Candidate was good as well.
Mistame
Mistame
12 months ago
Is there's some unspoken premise in this imaginary world that WW/DoJ take place in that a superhero can't champion female "empowerment" (
Mistame
Mistame
12 months ago
Well that got cut off...

While being sexy? Being a strong woman isn't mutually exclusive with being sexy. In fact, it's quite the opposite.

You're literally just nitpicking irrelevant aspects of a poster to raise an argument that doesn't exist, or at best, doesn't fall in line with rational thought.
Mozinski
Mozinski
12 months ago
I tend to agree with most of the other posts here. I feel you may be overreacting on this one, John. Is Gal an attractive woman? Absolutely. Is this picture meant to be demeaning, sexist, or otherwise objectifying women? I don't personally see it. She's not in any suggestive position. The lighting highlights the red, blue and gold of her costume and the end of the sword she's wielding. The women that I have talked to that have seen this picture, have no problem with it. Don't see you issue here, John.

You can't really compare this to Catwoman either. That entire movie was overly sexist (as well as horribly bad), so you could naturally expect the poster for that movie to be that way as well.
Mistame
Mistame
12 months ago
It's really not. A quick glance shows they already capitulated to the easily-offended by covering her a bit more than the original.

As far as Catwoman goes, its biggest flaw was Halle Berry. :p
john
john
12 months ago
I'm done arguing. Maybe I'm wrong, as the vast majority thinks or maybe I'm just hypersensitive now that I'm the father of a young girl.

But, it's always good to talk about these issues. Thanks for contributing.

So, has anyone seen Stranger Things yet? It's pretty amazing.
Mistame
Mistame
12 months ago
I've actually been aiming to watching. Just trying to finish my CSI:Miami binge. :)
DarkkDiva
DarkkDiva
12 months ago
I love the poster. There's absolutely nothing wrong with it.
emaker27
emaker27
12 months ago
I'll chime in as it sounds like we're the only two people who agree :). I think you made a mistake referencing politics in this very partisan time, but anyway..

This happens with almost every character who isn't a white male. They were created long ago when things we find offensive now, were acceptable back then. So that continues as fans don't want their characters changed. At some point the characters are updated (Marvel Comics comes to find), which makes fans upset, but after a few years the new versions have their own diehard fans.

We'll continue to have over sexualized female heroes until someone like Joss Whedon takes over and changes things (Scarlet Witch's costume comes to mind). But in the meantime, depictions like the poster will be seen as acceptable.
arklon
arklon
12 months ago
"created an intelligent superhero movie in which the protagonist is known more for her kick-butt fighting skills than how her butt looks in spandex."

Dude, her butt cannot even be seen in the poster. First the Cring worthy title of" Ghostbusters is the roboot that we needed" and now this. Is this place becoming pro-crazy feminist? If so I am going to have to drop this site like a hot potato.
ThisIsTheTown
ThisIsTheTown
12 months ago
You're an idiot.
john
john
12 months ago
emaker27 - Perhaps. I didn't intend to invoke politics, was just using that as a frame of reference in terms of how much we have evolved and obviously in other ways, we haven't.

arklon - So, you'll only read sites that regurgitate what you believe? That's cool. I'm not going to apologize for our content. Have you seen the new Ghostbusters?

ThisIsTheTown - Well said. I am glad that you added that to the conversation.
arklon
arklon
12 months ago
Only go to sites that regurgitate what I believe? No but what I do not want to do is go to sites full of propaganda and misinformation. Yes I have seen the ghostbusters and it is not the train wreck the trailers made it seem but it was very average, kinda forgettable. I'd give it a solid C and the punch line is the whole fiasco around the film is more memorable and interesting then the film itself. Also they were pretty much the worst ghostbusters ever and not because they were women but because they "bust" only one ghost in the movie and by bust I mean actually capture and then five minutes later they release it to prove that it is real which results in a death on their place of business which is never brought up again nor are there any repercussions. All the ghosts near the end they never really "busted" and it was just a lucky miracle that their car came back to them when they needed it. They were REALLY bad at their jobs and not just at the beginning but all the way through. The actresses themselves were actually the best part of the movie and were the most entertaining part but they were just stuck with a poor script.

Again it is not a terrible movie but it is just average which is far from the reboot that we need right now. It is just another forgettable reboot and actually would have already been forgottin if it were not for the stupidity surrounding it.

Getting back to the subject though I hate this stupid high PC world that we live in today where is so bad that we cannot have billboards with a supervillain choking a female super hero taken from the film's final climatic battle without idiots getting "triggered" and going ballistic about it. When you turn innocent stuff like this poster into some over the top fiasco that it isn't you are just adding to this problem.Remember the movie Demolition man where the world was so pc it was illigal to give high fives and cussing got you fined even in your own house? Suddenly that far fetched future is actually more belivable then most fictional movie futures. Just calm down and stop it already, Jesus Christ.
john
john
12 months ago
arklon - That might go down as the best post ever on the site. Please keep commenting on stories. It's great.

As for Ghostbusters, I thought the fact that they were bad throughout was far more believable than the original film where all of a sudden after the slimer incident at the ballroom, they are suddenly experts at busting ghosts.

I think this Ghostbusters was more of a setup for future films where you will see them bust more ghosts and become confident in their abilities. It's not about being PC either, I think that we will see a more gender neutral GB cast in GB2 where we see Kevin join the crew, and heck maybe even Karan Soni. The new film sets up a sequel much better than the original film. Of course, the original film's sequel had the unfortunate consequence of being delayed by five years, which combined with the weak script, basically killed the franchise.

I agree with you in principal about the PC world, but there has to be some sort of middle ground. In the past, women in comic books have been mainly treated as background fodder or overly sexualized to the point that they become the very clichés that they are supposedly trying to fight. The trailer for WW looks great. I just wish they would have chosen a different way to market the film.
JustJasen
JustJasen
12 months ago
John,
I agree the poster is horrible. I do think there is some sexualization in the poster, but unfortunately I also think that's part of the allure to a lot of men... her "upper body." I much prefer the publicity shot that you posted... it shows her; all of her, and looks like she is ready to battle. The new poster looks more like an advertisement for her outfit than an advertisement for a movie about a tough super hero ready to whoop butt.
 

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