On those Wonder Woman screenings…

You may have heard there’s been a little bit of a hullaballoo over Wonder Woman, the latest film in the ongoing DCEU. U.S. cinema chain Alamo Drafthouse announced that they will be holding special women-only screenings for the movie. As you may expect, some people flipped their shit and now it’s a big news story that just about every twat with a blog (yo) has to comment on.

If any of you are aware of comedian Richard Herring’s annual Twitter tradition, this reaction will be painfully familiar. On the Facebook post announcing the screenings, there were many grouchy comments asking when the men’s only screenings were. It’s as predictable and punctual as the German tide. This is all kinds of ridiculous, but let’s break down the actual non-issue for the thickies at the back:

a) It’s fitting. Alamo Drafthouse are known for theming their movie nights and an all-female screening is perfect. Wonder Woman is a princess of Themyscira – a utopian land populated entirely by women. It’s a fun idea. Sure, I personally wouldn’t have been able to take part, but fuck it. Not everything should cater to my needs, nor should I expect it to.

b) She was designed as a feminist icon. It’s part of the character. Wonder Woman has usually been portrayed as Superman’s equal. She’s maintained that through decades of shifting societal attitudes. If you’re a woman who takes an active interest in feminism and who likes comics, why wouldn’t you want to go to a screening with your friends and be surrounded by like-minded people?

Especially a screening of a movie that is a cultural victory for women. It’s the first “proper” solo female superhero movie of this new generation of movies (Supergirl, Elektra and Catwoman don’t really count as they were pre-shared universe explosion) and it’s also directed by a woman, namely Patty Jenkins. This shit doesn’t happen often I can see why some would want to celebrate it.

c) There will be thousands of other screenings of the movie, why the hell does it matter that one of the screenings on one night has restrictions?  It’s not even a preview of the movie. The screenings take place three days after its release. Eager fans going to midnight screenings or early showings in the first few days will have already seen it before the event takes place.

d) In regards to the men’s only screening question – is there any movie that actually warrants a male-only audience? It’d be fitting for Sausage Party, but even a lads-em-up like The Expendables, doesn’t deserve an exclusive audience.

Looking at it cynically, it’s a marketing gimmick. A damn successful one at that as it’s now an international news story and the screenings have sold out. People never like to feel like someone’s got one over on them, yet they play into the hands of outrage every time. Whenever swamp troll Katie Hopkins posts something vile, people rush to the page to read the thing they know they’re going to get angry about. The Daily Fail is counting on it. They must be making an absolute mint off her bilious shite. I think Hopkins should be called out, don’t get me wrong. I just think the approach is rather self-defeating. It’s funny how the ones who want to shut this shit down end up signal-boosting it farther than could have ever been imagined.

The only possible issue is in the scenario where a group goes to the cinema on a whim and is turned away. I could see how that could be frustrating, but how many people does that actually affect? It’s probably even less than the number a usual multiplex would inconvenience because Alamo is more of an upmarket chain with tailored dining experiences and a strictly enforced no-talking policy.  It’s not exactly the local fleapit.

If Alamo did a ladies-only screening of one of the Fifty Shades movies, no-one would give a shit. However, because this is based on a comic book and is therefore part of a scene that the vocal minority believe to be a boys’ club, it’s become an issue. These are the same people who got annoyed when Jane Foster became Thor and the new Iron Man was actually Ironheart- a fresh suit piloted by black engineering student Riri Williams.

Granted, this is one of the things that will be forgotten about in a week, but it’s still a brief light shone on some of the persistent problems that dog the comic book and movie industries and their wider fandoms. Damn near everything with the merest hint of feminism or race threatens to blow up into a Ghostbusters 2K16-sized fiasco and it’s exhausting.

So yeah, I’ll be seeing Wonder Woman soon and I’ll post my review here. As this stuff involves both comics and movies, I figured I’d stick my oar in and actually update my site for a friggin’ change.

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