23 May 2017

Should We Care About Wonder Woman's Arm Pits?

Photo by Clay Enos for Warner Brothers

I think this post is going to win the prize for weirdest title ever.

It's Sunday evening and I'm watching the telly. An advert for Wilkinson's Sword comes on. They're doing an advertising campaign with the new Wonder Woman film and you can get a free lipstick (woo!) I decide to look into this further because um FREE LIPSTICK! So I  google Wonder Woman and stumble across this post.

Wait, what?

I consider myself to be a feminist. I believe that women and men should be treated equally and have the same opportunities. Plus I don't know if you've noticed already but I'm starting to use this blog more and more to comment and campaign for equality in the film industry, but I'll be honest, this one threw me.

I personally prefer to be shaved, that's just my choice, but I know a lot of women don't want to and don't think they should have to and that's totally cool. I mean, men don't have to! But women's body hair is apparently so disgusting that they can't even show it in razor adverts. They don't even show the razors doing their one sole purpose because apparently it's too gross. This reminded me of how I got to this article in the first place - a women's razor company doing an advertising campaign with Wonder Woman. I can see the irony now!

So should we care about Gal Gadot's smooth pits? I'll admit that this issue didn't even occur to me when I saw the trailer, but maybe that's part of the issue? As a society we are so conditioned to seeing women with completely hairless bodies that this is how we expect them to be. In a different article by slate.com they mention that Gal's armpits have a strange green hue about them and suggest that Warner Bros digitally bleached them. This really didn't sit well with me. It's one thing to be shaved but what, we can't even see the shadow of arm pit stubble now? We all know it exists. Would audiences really care if you could see a little bit of stubble? I like to think not but maybe they would.

What do you think? Digital bleaching or just weird lighting? Hey, maybe Gal Gadot just has super-humanly smooth and green armpits.  (picture from Slate.com)

I'll admit that when I first read about this I thought it was such a non-issue, and I still think there are much bigger problems in the world, but this really interested me and the more I thought about it the more I realised it's a problem (even if it's not the biggest one).

I think another reason it has upset people is because Wonder Woman is supposed to be such a feminist icon. She represents strength, she's a freakin warrior princess fighting alongside the men and winning. This is also the first superhero movie about a female hero in recent years (Marvel I'm still waiting for the Black Widow film!) So I can see why people are angry she's conforming to these beauty standards but honestly, I'm not surprised. Movie bosses still think that super hero films are "boy films" and the best way to sell it is to make her "sexy". *cue eye roll*

Now if we look at this from a realistic and historic point of view,  Wonder Woman is an immortal Amazonian warrior and the film is set during World War 1. Now when I think of an Amazonian woman I do tend to think of the stereotypical tall, muscly and pretty hairy type woman (I think this is partly Futurama's fault.) Now obviously I haven't seen the film yet but I can't imagine someone living on a island training to be a bad ass warrior princess has either the time or the resources to worry about shaving. However I have heard rumours that Amazonian women are genetically not very hairy. Apparently this is in the comics. Now I didn't think that women would have started shaving their armpits during world war 1 as I doubt they got them out very much (modesty and all that) but actually an advertisement for a sleeveless dress in Harper's Bazaar in 1915 is what started the trend. So maybe by WW1 younger, trendier women were starting to shave, but again I doubt a warrior princess living on an island had time to read about western fashion trends.

The advert that started it all. (picture from Metro.co.uk)

In my opinion, it's sad that this is still an issue in 2017. I can understand why people were annoyed by this, but hey, maybe Wonder Woman wanted to shave her armpits and if so why can't that be ok? (digitally bleaching is not ok though Warner Bros!) I honestly feel that if they allowed at least some stubble to be shown, it could change the way society views female body hair. And I'm not just talking about Wonder Woman. We never see female characters with body hair, and maybe it's time this changed.

Well there we have it. These are my opinions on it. What do you think? Should we care about Wonder Woman's arm pits? Let me know in the comments!

See you soon,

Beth x


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