James Cameron Talks About Women’s Roles After WONDER WOMAN
Much has been said to praise the fact that a female-driven (directed, acted) comic book origin movie has become the highest grossing such film of all time. In the weeks and months since Wonder Woman’s release, many have rejoiced over the arrival of the fairer sex to the mostly male-dominated genre.
But for famous director James Cameron, who himself wrote and shot strong female figures at the film of many of his most successful movies, from Terminator 2, to Titanic, to Aliens, Wonder Woman isn’t all that. Speaking to the Guardian, Cameron commented:
“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!”
Cameron is, of course both right and wrong. He’s wrong because he’s missing the point or the origin of the praise and happiness over the success of Gal Gadot and Patty Jenkins, which is that in the specific genre of superhero films, women have not had much say or success. In that, Wonder Woman is and remains remarkable, no matter what the Oscar-winning director (one of my all time favorites) says.
He’s also right when he says that women like Ripley or Sarah Connor have been around, they’ve kicked butt, and have been less sexualized (but not completely not so) for a while, and that he has cast those roles himself. Of course, the famously egotistical Cameron (you would be too if you directed the two most successful movies of all time) is also forgetting that Hollywood had a lot of space for powerful women since the 1930s, but it was perhaps the morality code of the 40s and 50s that changed this.
I don’t want to digress too much into movie history. One could also point out that Cameron’s penchant for depicting strong female characters is born, Bob Fosse style, from his own complex relationship with the women in his life. But, I also do not want to digress too much into modern feminism ideas.
That point is that Cameron obviously has some against-the-current thoughts about Wonder Woman and its success, and what it all means for gender parity in Hollywood. At the very least, he is providing an interesting and different perspective, one that we would ignore or dismiss at our peril.
Cameron is currently working on FOUR Avatar sequels, in case you’d forgotten.