Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins responded Thursday to Avatar director James Cameron’s criticism that Wonder Woman was “an objectified icon,” and “a step backwards.”
“James Cameron’s inability to understand what Wonder Woman is, or stands for, to women all over the world is unsurprising as, though he is a great filmmaker, he is not a woman,” Jenkins said in a statement on Twitter. “Strong women are great. His praise of my film Monster, and our portrayal of a strong yet damaged woman was so appreciated. But if women have to always be hard, tough and troubled to be strong, and we aren’t free to be multidimensional or celebrate an icon of women everywhere because she is attractive and loving, then we haven’t come very far have we.”
“I believe women can and should be EVERYTHING just like male lead characters should be,” she concluded. “There is no right and wrong kind of powerful woman. And the massive female audience who made the film a hit it is, can surely choose to judge their own icons of progress.”
Cameron told the Guardian in an interview published Thursday that he believed "all of the self-congratulatory back-patting Hollywood's been doing over Wonder Woman has been so misguided."
"She's an objectified icon, and it's just male Hollywood doing the same old thing," he said. "I'm not saying I didn't like the movie but, to me, it's a step backwards."
The Wonder Woman character has been hailed as a feminist icon by many in the media with the release of the film, although the United Nations may agree with at least part of Cameron’s criticism. They pulled the comic book character as an honorary ambassador in December after a petition called for her removal due to the character not being "culturally encompassing" and being too "overtly sexualized."
The film has made more than $800 million at the box office globally since its June release.