We always take things too far. That’s our number one collective personality trait as a society. We find some injustice or theme of unfair behavior and we overcorrect with such reckless abandon in an attempt to change it that we start making an issue out of everything that even vaguely applies. It’s why we’re so obsessed with hunting bullies down now, and it’s why some people apparently think talking about Wonder Woman’s height and body shape is the same thing as body shaming a nice woman for having a slender build. Spoiler alert: it’s not.
Yesterday, Fast & Furious star Gal Gadot was cast as Wonder Woman. Her choice was met with raised eyebrows, angry message board comments, loud high fives and pretty much everything else in between. In the twenty-four hours or so since the announcement, the chatter hasn’t died down either. The reaction is just as polarized now as it was yesterday.
Here’s a not even close to complete list of the questions people have obsessively been asking…
Is she too short? Is she too thin? Is she the right version of ethnic? How will she look in the suit? Is her hair the right color? Is her hair too thin? Can she stare down Batman and Superman without looking ridiculous? How will she fill out the suit? Is she a good enough actress? Is she famous enough? Are her shoulders broad enough?
You may notice a lot of those questions have to do with Wonder Woman’s body. Other outlets certainly did, and as a result, the Internet is now being flooded with commentaries about why talking about people’s bodies is never acceptable in any form. Apparently, if you’re really nervous about Gadot only being 5’9" or you think she looks too slender to play the typically broad-shouldered Wonder Woman, you’re a part of the problem and you may well also be a sexist.
Let’s all take a step back and have a common sense conversation here for a second. Is making someone feel bad about the way his or her body looks a low class move? Yes, it is. We should be actively encouraging people to be happy and confident in their own shapes, especially when they're not at risk for health problems because of it. But there is a gigantic difference between arguing over whether someone looks enough like a beloved character and making a snarky comment about someone’s eating habits.
Damn near every single person on the Internet with eyes thinks Gal Gadot is hot. There are entire articles devoted to her hotness. No one is telling her to gain weight or lose weight or not be happy with herself for how she looks on a day-by-day basis. She's already got that down. Instead, hardcore comic book fans are wondering whether or not that very pleasant appearance is right for a character they’ve come to love. In fact, this same goddamn argument has been happening on repeat with slight variations since the Internet began, particularly when it comes to comic book characters.
Remember Brandon Routh? For awhile the Internet was worried about, of all things, his dick being too big to play Superman. Remember Ben Affleck? People are still bitching about how he’s apparently too cuddly looking for the Caped Crusader. People care about comic books and superheroes in an obsessive way, and because they’re fans of different incarnations of the characters, it only makes sense they’d want to see a portrayal that matches the one in their mind. How could that be wrong?
And if it is, where do we draw the line? Is it okay to bitch if Bobby Moynihan is cast as Hercules? What about if Keira Knightley is cast as Mama Cass Elliott? What about if Freddie Highmore is cast as Shaft? Or is it our right as fans to judge the appearance, the acting ability and various intangible factors to make a personal decision as to whether we think someone is right for a particular role? I don't know about you, but I kind of like sharing my honest thoughts as a supporter of a franchise without being called names.
I’m sure some of these people complaining about Gadot are sexists and weirdos and assholes and probably racists too, but an overwhelming majority of them just care. They desperately want the final product to be everything they hope it can be, and we shouldn’t be trying to stifle that fandom to try to prove a larger point about society that doesn’t even really apply here.
Gadot is a fox. She should be very proud of how she looks, but I’m still not sure she looks like Wonder Woman. That opinion doesn’t make me a bad person or a sexist or a body shamer, it makes me a fan with my own ideas about Wonder Woman.