Stop mansplaining Wonder Woman

They protest women-only screenings, while perfectly illustrating why we need them.


Warner Bros


Aargh! I am, friends tell me, mostly calm. So this is me, uncharacteristically, in raging meltdown at the assorted MRA's (men’s rights activists), mansplainers and, I am sorry to say, utter dickheads popping up in my Twitter feed since Thursday to explain Wonder Woman stuff to me.


I grit my teeth, but mostly ignore the guys, from the Guardian's film reviewer downward, telling me how it is no big thing. They miss the point: but since the point is not about them, why wouldn't they?


What I cannot, will not ignore are the privileged male voices expressing outrage at the very idea that some theatres in the US might allow a limited number of women-only screenings. Men who have never in their safe, cosseted lives protested sexism are suddenly standing up for “equality”.


Here's one:





Here's another, from Texas, writing to his Mayor to diss women. Read it, sisters, and rage!


And don't forget the Law School Professor who spent the weekend, hunched over a red hot word processor, drafting an official complaint, aimed at getting women-only performances stopped.


The problem, as he and some gay activists see it, is that if you breach US anti-discrimination laws one jot, the whole edifice will come toppling down: women, who of course NEVER experience discrimination, will suddenly find themselves stripped of all protection. I can't comment on US law: but if that is correct, then US law sucks!


Equality and non-discrimination, as we practice it this side of the pond, is about far more than tit-for-tat zero difference. It allows balance across a range of events, which means lesbian-only nights at my favourite gay club are permitted, along with women-only sessions at my local swimming pool.


And the more these men whine, the more certain I am that allowing a small proportion of women-only viewings is right. Because what is clear from social media is that Wonder Woman is more than a film: it is a phenomenon that is inspiring and encouraging and motivating women across the world. Sure, it has its flaws: but almost universally I am seeing women celebrating, rejoicing. It is a truly important cultural event.



Against this, I am hearing a lot of sour grapes: male reviewers earnestly explaining why we don't understand and how there is nothing special here. And, via Twitter, reports of men catcalling during performances of Wonder Woman: even, at a French premiere, calls to “get ‘em off” (à poil!) and “fuck her” (baise-la).


If only it were just the drunken bores weeping into their half-eaten kebabs on the back row of the cinema. But no. Here's what passes for review from US culture mag, Vulture: “fans might be disappointed that there’s no trace of the comic’s well-documented S&M kinkiness. With a female director, Patty Jenkins, at the helm, Diana isn’t even photographed to elicit slobbers”. Ugh! Click if you must.


So sad that he found the Amazons insufficiently sexy. Actually, what I think he meant to write was that they failed to live up to the standards of male gaze lesbianism that he was used to masturbating to in his teenage years. Whereas I have come across plenty of women retweeting with much approval this still of boxer Ann Wolfe as Artemis.


Bottom line: Wonder Woman is proving to be something special, valuable for women, and while it is perfectly OK to view it in mixed theatres, some women would rather not have their evening sullied by the cynicism of fragile males, and men angry that the first female-fronted mainstream superhero film is – in their eyes - insufficiently sexualised.


So yes: let's demand the occasional women-only showing: and if the law says no, perhaps some of us should come out as devotees of the Goddess, and rebrand such screenings as religious events. About as sensible, after all, as identifying as a jedi knight – and twice as useful!




Only reading DIVA online? You're missing out. For more news, reviews and commentary, check out the latest issue. It's pretty badass, if we do say so ourselves. //


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