Still from Patty Jenkins' Wonder Woman (2017) movie.
From her indestructible metal cuffs to her mythical heritage, Wonder Woman has been heralded as a staple superhero within the DC Comics universe since her 1941 debut in All Star Comics #8. Comic book fans were thrilled to hear about Wonder Woman’s upcoming self-titular release after her brief cameo appearance in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016). Slated for release on June 2nd, 2017, the live action Wonder Woman film promises faithful fans a plethora of scenes featuring her trademark fist throwing and lasso whipping.
Despite the growing fan excitement the movie has generated, Zack Snyder's choice to cast Gal Gadot as the lead role in Wonder Woman (2017) has resulted in uproar within the DC Comics fandom. Gal Gadot, a former Israeli Defence Force soldier, has proudly supported IDF’s war crimes against Palestinians over the past few years. As more fans learn of Gadot’s imperialist stance and support of Israeli-imposed genocide, the choice to cast her as the seminal peace-loving superhero Wonder Woman becomes increasingly ironic.
Wonder Woman was created by early psychologist William Marston to serve a specific social function – he intended her to act as a counterpoint to the comic world's normalization of "blood-curdling masculinity." Not only that, but in many of her early storylines, she fought fascists herself. One vintage cover even famously depicts her defeating Hitler.
Previously, Wonder Woman actress Gal Gadot received harsh criticism for posting her, “love and prayers to … fellow Israeli citizens ... risking their lives” to protect the Israeli state. She has declined to respond to any criticism of her blatantly Zionist rhetoric since.
In response to Gadot’s imperialist stance and Zionist beliefs, Twitter users have railed harshly against the movie, writing that they can't consciously support Wonder Woman (2017) due to Gadot’s Zionism, though a wider audience is still excited for greater feminist “representation.” A large majority of those interested in Wonder Woman continue to support it as misguided feminist praxis, favoring representational power for white women rather than support for marginalised Palestinian women.
As white supremacy and xenophobia gain traction globally, white feminism continues to expose its own hypocrisies. Gal Gadot’s dual identity as a feminist and Zionist is one of the many apparent, yet carefully constructed dichotomies upheld by feminism and white supremacy. Though most recently exemplified by the Woman’s March, the foundational tenets of feminism have always been notorious for their exclusionary agenda, leaving womxn and gender nonconforming people of color out of the narrative.
As many potential viewers of Wonder Woman overlook Gadot’s participation in the IDF, a force responsible for the ethnic cleansing committed against thousands of Palestinians, their support of her as a ‘feminist’ leader is anything but championing social justice. The unintended consequences of a liberal audience supporting Gadot lead to perpetuation of white supremacist structures while enacting violence upon the audience itself, which lacks access to knowledge for critically engaging in its surroundings, in the form of self-censoring.
The casting of Gadot as Wonder Woman normalizes the genocide committed by womxn serving in the military. It promotes gender representation through a liberal/white feminist lens while ignoring the violence against women of color this encourages. In a current reprisal of fascism and politicised racism, popular support for Gadot as a feminist poses an interesting question: Which womxn are seeing themselves represented and which are having to beg for human rights? The casting for Wonder Woman was precise, well-timed, and deftly executed in an era of increasing backlash against “political correctness” and a sustained peak in liberal/white feminism.
A lack of mainstream uproar against Gadot’s complacency and support for the genocide of Palestinians is profoundly troubling, yet telling of who feminism is meant to uplift – white women. Feminism, and its practices as a whole, are in desperate need of reevaluation. Once again, in the face of Gal Gadot’s Zionism, it is up to womxn of color to critique feminism’s silence and boycott its violence.
mustafa hammad is a queer, brown trans poet and artist of color from florida. her work focuses on postcolonial identity, decolonial aesthetics regarding deconstructionism of perfection, the futurity of diaspora and how it feels to be brown trans femme trying to exist in a white supremacist world. she is 19 years old.