This should be a promising time for women in film.
The entrenched biases facing women in Hollywood are finally on the front burner. And no one dares turn down the heat.
Female stars like Jennifer Lawrence and Scarlett Johansson are flexing their box office muscle in ways we haven’t seen before. And the number one movie of the summer showcases a kickass superheroine with guts, moral clarity and charisma to spare.
And yet …
The man who simply bought a ticket for an all-female screening of “Wonder Woman” revealed an ugly side to modern female empowerment. Stephen Miller of Heat Street was called every name in the book on Twitter by feminists (male and female) for buying that ticket.
He presumably wanted to make a statement about both equal rights and the folly of such a theatrical stunt. Imagine if a theater featured an all-male screening for the next “Thor” movie?
Miller went high with his approach on Twitter, calmly restating his intentions pre-screening without directly feeding the online trolls. His critics? They went low. How low?
oh look. an asshole in his natural habitat.
give it a rest dude. you can see the movie at any million other times or theatres. 🙄 https://t.co/3C8DBLHOzo
— Kevin Allred (@KevinAllred) May 27, 2017
And the hate continued even after he attended the screening and shared his rave review of “Wonder Woman.”
I read the opening graf. It was boring and predictable like your sorry excuse for a life. Drop dead.
— Jordan Hoffman (@jhoffman) June 9, 2017
Note: Jordan Hoffman is a professional film critic.
Female Empowerment Fail
That female-only screening wasn’t just a sly marketing bonanza by the Alamo Drafthouse theater chain. The ploy’s unspoken suggestion? Women need a “safe space” in which to watch the movie. Some women couldn’t fully enjoy the film with men, or even just one man, lurking nearby, marinating in their patriarchal privilege.
And that hunch, sadly, seems correct, given this field report from one of the female-only screenings.
One woman said she came [to the screening] to feel a sisterhood. Another said she was there because in her years as a comic book geek, she had only ever watched superhero movies surrounded by guys. Yet another came because she didn’t want to overhear fanboys cracking wise about Gal Gadot’s physique, or, for that matter, that of any other woman onscreen.
You call that empowering?
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One Business Insider scribe suggested Miller’s presence threatened to ruin the movie for her and fellow female movie patrons.
But she persevered.
Girl Power Is A-OK
Now, if a gaggle of girlfriends couldn’t wait to see “Wonder Woman” and planned a girl’s night out around it … great. The notion that some women couldn’t do that without eliminating every single man from the theater (even the ticket taker!) to enjoy the movie is something else.
Feminism is supposed to be about equal opportunity. Women can do the jobs in Hollywood just as well as men, be it headlining blockbusters or directing the latest superhero film.
They just need the chance to prove it.
Yet the phony empowerment surrounding the “Wonder Woman” screenings wasn’t an isolated cultural case. In fact, some of Hollywood’s biggest feminists are far more likely to blame others for their own weaknesses.
Model Chrissy Tiegen blamed President Donald Trump for her need for medication. In fact, she demanded via Twitter the president pick up her drug bill tab via Twitter.
The affliction: “Crippling anxiety” from a shaved down tooth.
so fucking tired of this manically insane, incompetent president and this dumpster fire administration I’m gonna have to go on another med
— christine teigen (@chrissyteigen) May 4, 2017
Legendary singer and self-described feminist Barbra Streisand recently blamed her weight gain not on her diet or workout routine. The culprit? President Trump.
Donald Trump is making me gain weight. I start the day with liquids, but after the morning news, I eat pancakes smothered in maple syrup!
— Barbra Streisand (@BarbraStreisand) March 5, 2017
Lena Dunham isn’t gaining weight. She’s losing it. She isn’t happy, though, and she knows who to blame. President Trump.
She dropped by “The Howard Stern Show” on SiriusXM and shared the secret to her weight loss.
“Donald Trump became president and I stopped being able to eat food,” she told Stern after he complimented her look. “Everyone’s been asking like, ‘What have you been doing?’ And I’m like, ‘Try soul-crushing pain and devastation and hopelessness and you, too, will lose weight.’”
“People are going to get offended by virtue of the fact that I woke up this morning,” says the comedian and host of Freeform’s first late-night show.
Far-left comic Samantha Bee rooted for Hillary Clinton last year, hurling every personal barb against Donald Trump in the process. And The LA Times compared Bee’s late night show to “Feminist Church.”
Yet when her own network, TBS, let loose with a mild joke comparing Clinton’s laugh to that of a hyena, Bee threw a fit.
Clinton was strong enough to run for the White House. Twice. Does Bee think Clinton needs protection against a mediocre crack?
From Tinsel Town to the Beltway
Not every subpar feminist role model hails from Hollywood.
Clinton is arguably the most prominent feminist figure in America. And what has the former Secretary of State been doing for the past six-plus months? Blaming everything but climate change for her Nov. 8 defeat at the hands of a reality show star.
Is it any wonder women are scrambling for an empowering role model?
Ain’t Afraid of No Ghosts
Last year, the female empowerment fight centered on “Lady” ghostbusters. Young girls couldn’t go on to study science unless four female comedians rebooted the beloved 1984 comedy.
Social media and pop culture magnify voices that don’t always reflect society. Miller said as much while describing his positive screening experience, a far cry from the hate he faced on Twitter. The same may be true for the faux empowerment we’re seeing from Clinton, Dunham and co.
There must be many strong, self-assured women cringing at these antics. For them, “Wonder Woman” offers an alternative.
The box office smash provides a stirring, albeit fictional, tale to inspire women and men alike. Gal Gadot’s Amazon princess isn’t just strong. She’s courageous, smart and loyal. She’s willing to learn on the fly, open her heart at just the right time and fight to the death if the cause is just.
The raw empowerment extends off screen.
Gadot and director Patty Jenkins never played the Gender Card in the runup to the film’s release. They stayed positive, talked up the character’s history and their pride in bringing her to the big screen.
Then … they let the movie speak for itself. Their outstanding film did the rest.
If Wonder Woman were real, here’s betting she’d laugh if someone suggested she watch her own movie in a theater that excluded men.