Feminism’s biggest issue, ironically enough, has been exclusion. Historically, resistance to feminism—the idea that one’s gender does not determine their worth, value, skills, and roles, and that therefore women and men have the same rights and responsibilities—has meant compromise. In the tides of history—where European countries have conquered others and white supremacy largely ruled in “the West”—this has meant that feminism has been largely white. It’s why liberals largely roll their eyes at Americans who celebrate the suffragettes’ contributions to feminism, saying they secured women’s rights to vote. They didn’t; those efforts were towards white women, and white women only, at the expense of others.
The cheers for Wonder Woman being a feminist story posit the exact same problem. It is ironic that an anti-nationalist film about unity stars a Zionist, an ideology which seeks to give an ethnicity rights over others and is therefore inherently racist; it is doubly ironic that this film is then held as a torch for Hollywood blockbuster feminism.
Because by casting Gal Gadot—whose family “ascended” to Israel and changed its name from Greenstein to “indigenise” itself—the film has managed to thrust a former IDF soldier who supported the 2014 war on Gaza and served in the 2006 in Lebanon into the limelight and lend her particular brand of exclusive feminism some legitimacy.
This essay, by Palestinian-American novelist and essayist Susan Abulhawa (author of Mornings in Jenin and The Blue Between Sky and Water), discusses why. It is a great argument for boycotting the film, which opens today in Jordan, written with conviction and worth reading over and sharing.
Have a great weekend, everyone.
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