Director James Cameron continued this debate, through his critique of the representation of female power in Jenkins's film. In an August 2017 interview with The Guardian, Cameron qualifies Jenkins's vision of Wonder Woman as "an objectified icon" and called the film "a step backwards". In contrast, he states, his character Sarah Connor (from his Terminator films) "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."[254] Jenkins stated in response that Cameron's "inability to understand what 'Wonder Woman' is, or stands for, to women all over the world is unsurprising as, though he is a great filmmaker, he is not a woman". She further argued "there is no right and wrong kind of powerful woman" because "if women have to always be hard, tough and troubled to be strong, and we aren't free to be multidimensional or celebrate an icon of women everywhere because she is attractive and loving, then we haven't come very far have we."[255] Reaction to this debate was mixed. Julie Miller sided with Cameron, whom she states refers to himself as "a pretty hardcore feminist" and who told Vulture that "I have no problem writing a script in which the males become subservient to the females, which is what happens in Aliens ... It's up to Ripley to win the day." In contrast, Miller argues that Jenkins and Gadot envisioned Wonder Woman as "a woman who exuded both femininity and strength, along with genuine confusion as to why men would treat women differently than they do other men".[256] Susannah Breslin also agreed with Cameron, describing Jenkins's Wonder Woman as "a Playmate with a lasso" and "female power with no balls".[257] Others were more critical of Cameron's critique.[258] An article in Newsweek suggests that in contrast to his criticism of Jenkins, Cameron's own films include "lot of objectification" and quotes a few Hollywood celebrities who echoed this view. One of the quotes came from Jesse McLaren who states that "James Cameron's just confused there's a female hero whose motivations aren't centered around motherhood."[259] Noah Berlatsky found areas of agreement between both Cameron and Jenkins, stating that while Cameron's objection is "an old point that's been made over and over for decades", Jenkins's film is not "solely focused on objectifying Gal Gadot for a male audience".[260]
Thus although by the modern depiction her accomplishments at the time seem ordinary, in that era they were more so. Diana Prince was originally an army nurse, but quickly attained the rank of lieutenant in Army Intelligence. This was partially a creative convenience so that she could be close to both Steve Trevor and received information which she needed to pursue her superheroics. In the real world though, this role in Army intelligence, even as the secretary to General Darnell, was still a rare position for a woman to hold in society. At this time as well, the character had her only real sidekicks in her history in the form of Etta Candy and the Holliday Girls. These characters gave the Wonder Woman a degree more of levity while also allowing the writers to focus on some issues which were more related to women. When Marston left the character, the strong driving force of the character to act as a strong moral guide and role model for female readers left as well and the character became more sensitive to the forces driving the industry as whole. Thus Wonder Woman changed somewhat to a more stereotypical woman. Her main interest was not always fighting crime, but for a time it became all in the interest of keeping Steve Trevor happy and interested in her for marriage. Also the backup stories featuring the Wonder Women of History were slowly phased out and replaced with features on marriage customs from around the world and trivial facts on random household objects.
Having learnt of Wonder Woman's inability to return to Themyscira, Doctor Veronica Cale, a wealthy and powerful woman, set into motion a plan to use Wonder Woman to find Themyscira. Years earlier, Cale's daughter Izzy had her soul stolen by the gods Phobos and Deimos. They told Veronica that they would only return her daughter to her if she helped them find Wonder Woman, and got the location of Themyscira from her. Seeing no other option, Cale had formed a team called Godwatch, dedicated to locating Diana and Themyscira.
×