Last month, Cameron inspired widespread derision for labeling Wonder Woman sexist, describing the character as “objectified” compared to Sarah Connor in Terminator 2. Director Patty Jenkins responded with a polite but firm defense of Wonder Woman’s values, but Cameron wasn’t convinced. Speaking to the Hollywood Reporter this week, he stood by his earlier comments:
“[Gal Gadot] was Miss Israel, and she was wearing a kind of bustier costume that was very form-fitting. She’s absolutely drop-dead gorgeous. To me, that’s not breaking ground. They had Raquel Welch doing stuff like that in the ’60s.”
He also defended his comparison between Wonder Woman and Linda Hamilton’s Sarah Connor, saying Hamilton “wasn’t treated as a sex object” and “there was nothing sexual about her character.”
“She wasn’t there to be liked or ogled, but she was central, and the audience loved her by the end of the film. So as much as I applaud Patty directing the film and Hollywood, uh, ‘letting’ a woman direct a major action franchise, I didn’t think there was anything groundbreaking in Wonder Woman.”
One can only conclude that James Cameron doesn’t know what “sex object” means. Wonder Woman’s costume is arguably “sexier” than Sarah Connor’s, but her role was just as multidimensional. It’s like saying that Batman is better than Superman because he’s angsty and wears more body armor.
In reality, it’s perfectly possible to objectify a female character wearing jeans and a sweater. Costuming choices are only one piece of the puzzle. Cameron believes that a tough, angry woman with “nothing sexual about her” is superior to a wholesome, romantic heroine, when these are just different types of character. His comments about Gal Gadot’s appearance are also pretty bizarre, considering the fact that Linda Hamilton literally played Beauty in Beauty and the Beast.
As James Cameron adopts this unlikely position as feminist spokesman, he’s conveniently forgetting his own vision for Zoe Saldana’s character in Avatar: “She’s got to have tits.” This makes his comments about Wonder Woman feel dubious, to say the least.
To be honest, it’s not surprising to hear that James Cameron is supremely confident in his bad opinions. He’s currently spending $1 billion on four Avatar sequels, after all.