There are times when the answer to any given question is not easy. The world is not so black and white as we like to think. Sometimes we have to respect that people think differently about certain things as long as no one is breaking the law, everyone properly consented, and we aren't marginalizing anyone. Sometimes you need to have these talks about things that only matter a little bit — like costume design, for example.
Earlier this week, this tweet started blowing up on the internet:
In case you wonder: Here's a picture of how the Amazons looked in Wonder Woman…next to pic how they look in Justice League. First designed by Lindy Hemming, second by Michael Wilkinson.
Some steps backwards, methinks. pic.twitter.com/IVqeX7PBso
— Atte T (@Rosgakori) November 12, 2017
I saw it, I didn't like the direction this was heading, but I didn't report on it. I wanted to see the movie for myself, just in case these costumes didn't turn up for some reason. They do, but not on everyone. Other people jumped on the bandwagon, including the fantastic Jessica Chastain.
— Jessica Chastain (@jes_chastain) November 14, 2017
The yelling got loud enough that USA Today reached out to several of the women wearing those costumes. They spoke to one these athletes, Brooke Ence, on the red carpet about it.
Brooke Ence, who plays the Amazon Penthiselea in both movies, says on the Justice League red carpet that showing more skin "didn't bother me at all." As she recalls, not every warrior wore a two-piece, and "the girls on set, we never thought of (the new costumes) as a sexy version. It felt a little more glamorous, if anything, because we had bigger, beautiful hair, which I loved."
"I'm an athlete first, right? (Usually) I can't wear anything without someone commenting about my (muscular) body. So for me, it was actually really cool to be able to show it and not immediately feel masculine, but still very feminine."
When asked if the Amazons should protect their stomachs, Ence offered this in response:
"That may be the case, but also we are super-powerful women and maybe no one's getting that close. Maybe no one has a chance to get that close to hurt us."
Samantha Jo, a martial artist who stars as the Amazon Euboea in Wonder Woman and Justice League, also weighed on the controversy.
"I think it's important to remember that the fighting style of the Amazons is quite different than that of a Knight, a Samurai, a Kryptonian, etc. We've been able to see that the Amazonian fighting is a little more acrobatic and larger than life requiring armor that allows for that kind of articulation in the body," she wrote. "I was overjoyed with the mobility I had and NEEDED to complete the moves asked of me."
We do need to have a conversation about the male gaze in movies, and one of the reasons Wonder Woman got to people — women in particular — was seeing a strong and beautiful woman without the male gaze present. We got a taste of that, and now we're frustrated that it's being taken away in some context. The reality is that the male gaze is the dominant gaze in our society. It's going to take some time before that changes.
On the other hand, we also know how the media tends to treat female athletes and muscular bodies on women in particular. So, for these women, a chance to show their strength and not have someone make a comment about their bodies looking too masculine or muscular must be nice. That is another aspect of society we need to work on.
So the final answer is; you can be mad about costumes. You can find the costumes empowering. You can think of them as a set forward or a step back. There isn't a wrong opinion here, and women's opinion on their bodies need to be taken into account when we're discussing female bodies. If we want to be feminist, then we need to support all women — even if we don't always see eye to eye.
Summary: Fueled by his restored faith in humanity and inspired by Superman's selfless act, Bruce Wayne enlists the help of his newfound ally, Diana Prince, to face an even greater enemy.
Justice League, directed by Zack Snyder, stars Ben Affleck, Gal Gadot, Jason Momoa, Ezra Miller, Ray Fisher, and Henry Cavill. It will be released on November 17th.