The trailer for Wonder Woman dropped Saturday evening and people lost their sh-t. Okay white people lost their sh-t. Actually, mostly white women lost their sh-t, but that’s to be expected when you’re talking about “the first major comic book adaptation to hit theaters with a female superhero in the modern (i.e. post-Iron Man) era,” Wired pointed out in their piece, “Wonder Woman is the Hero the World Deserves Right Now.”
Not being a comic girl myself, with a title like that I had to see what all the feminist fuss was about, and after watching 2:51 preview I thought, “Cool. I guess.” I guess wasn’t really the appropriate reaction because this is a big deal for women for the reasons the aforementioned quote pointed out. And because we’re all well aware of how the diversity food chain works in Hollywood, the release of this film is kind of a big deal for us too. After all, if Wonder Woman or Captain Marvel which, with star Brie Larson, will mark the first time a woman will play the title character in a Marvel Studios movie, are a success, the powers that be might actually entertain the idea of a female superhero of color on the big screen in, say, another 10 years or so. But it certainly would’ve helped if Wonder Woman threw us a bone in the meantime.
While there’s only but so much one can glean from a trailer that’s less than 3 minutes, the omission of certain details — like people of color — is quite telling. Of course, it is entirely possible a few of us will show up in the full-length feature, but if we’re so blessed to make the final cut it’s a bit curious that we’d be left out of the trailer. Doesn’t the world deserve that too?
I want to be excited about Wonder Woman but post Star Trek I'm just .. not . I'm not excited about a movie with no visible non white folk
— OriginalRudeGyal (@Blackamazon) July 24, 2016
wonder woman still looks very white even that shot of the amazons was like a game of spot the brown person
— anna (@onyxadams) July 24, 2016
As you can see I’m not the only one who feels that way and there’s an interesting debate currently going on in the comments section on Jezebel about this very topic.
“It could stand more diversity but other wise it is pretty damn good,” wrote the first article respondent who was met with the retort, “You want more diversity in a movie taking place in the trenches of WWI? How does that make any sense?” Aside from those who pointed out non-white folks fought in WWI too, the best answer came from this reader who wrote: “Perhaps because it’s a fantasy movie involving a fictional Amazon created by a fictional Greek god and therefore maybe could make up whatever additional fictions or inclusions it wants.” Or more simply, as one other person noted: “It’s a movie about an Amazonian superhero princess and you think a couple black people would be unrealistic?”
Yes, apparently so.
Nevertheless, “It’s Hollywood; what do you expect?” Yes, I know. I can practically hear the responses to this essay in my head as I type this. And honestly I don’t expect much, but when the director of the film, Patty Jenkins, is asking questions like, “Why Do White Men Get To Be Universal?” I don’t think it’s too much to ask for her to just think a little bit deeper and also question why white women get to be universal as well — pretty much in every space outside of the comic genre.
So yeah, big ups to Warner Bros. for taking a small gamble and not giving us our twelve hundredth white boy next door undercover superhero trope. And, for as far as I can tell, not basing Wonder Woman’s appeal solely on her sexuality. At the end of the day, this film is absolutely a win for women. But a win for intersectional feminism and racial diversity? Not so much.
I’ll save my $15 for Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, and Danai Gurira in Black Panther.