Joss Whedon Didn't Get the Backlash, Thought His Sexist Wonder Woman Script Was 'Great'

Illustration for article titled Joss Whedon Didnt Get the Backlash, Thought His Sexist iWonder Woman/i Script Was Great
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Eleven years ago, Joss Whedon, a man who is possibly blinkered by his own success, wrote a script for Wonder Woman that never saw the light of day—until it was leaked in June 2017, consumed by the internet, and found to be laughably sexist and, by most accounts, not great.

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Speaking to Variety on the red carpet at the premiere of Avengers: Inifinty War, Whedon defended the 2006 script, saying “I don’t know which parts people didn’t like, but...I think it’s great. People say that it’s not woke enough. I think they’re not looking at the big picture.” Okay?

Long lauded as a feminist for creating Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Whedon took a lot of shit for the aforementioned script—which is still available on the internet to read—and rightfully so. Please refresh your memory with his description of Wonder Woman:

“To say she is beautiful is almost to miss the point. She is elemental, as natural and wild as the luminous flora surrounding. Her dark hair waterfalls to her shoulders in soft arcs and curls. Her body is curvaceous, but taut as a drawn bow. She wears burnished metal bracelets on both wrists, wide and intricately detailed. Her shift is of another era; we’d call it ancient Greek. She is barefoot.”

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“Curvaceous, but taut as a drawn bow.” Yes. Mmm-hmm. Give me that big picture, Joss. Paint it. Show me the wokeness I can’t see for myself. Or:

A few months after the Wonder Woman controversy flared up and then died down, Whedon’s ex-wife Kai Cole published a real barn-burner of an essay poking holes in Whedon’s supposed feminist past—namely citing the multiple affairs he’d had during their marriage as proof that he isn’t the man he says he is in public. According to Whedon, he spent a lot of his career surrounded by “beautiful, needy, aggressive young women” and that environment made him feel “like something from a Greek myth.” Considering this controversy, it is no surprise that in February, Whedon pulled out of the Batgirl movie he was set to produce, write, and direct, saying that because the project itself was so exciting, it took him “months” to figure out that he “really didn’t have a story.”

Addressing Batgirl at the Avengers premiere, Whedon said, “It had been a year since I first pitched the story. A lot happened in that year, and I felt some of the elements might not work as well. The story sort of crumbled in my hands. There are elements that I just hadn’t mastered.” Leak the script!

Senior Writer, Jezebel

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DISCUSSION

Not sure I get the backlash either: the 2017 movie that was acclaimed as practically the biggest feminist step since women’s voting... cast a slim, physically perfect former model, without any OMG-ugly-manly muscles, whose armor was always cleaner and shinier than that the rest of the Amazons, who wore just the perfect amount of makeup on her forgotten Island, and whose l’Oreal-perfect curls didn’t get trashed, even after a church collapsed, which she stood on top of.

As an ordinary woman, I felt borderline insulted that this was the breath of fresh feminism I had supposedly been waiting for all my life.

I say this without a trace of irony: I preferred Legally Blonde, and again, I don’t see how Josh Whedon’s corny depiction strays from what was created on-screen. “She’s like, totally perfect, but like, so natural and innocent too.”