Patty Jenkins, the director of Wonder Woman, has hit back at Avatar director James Cameron after he dismissed the summer blockbuster hit as “male Hollywood doing the same old thing” 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,” wrote Jenkins 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.”
In remarks criticizing the uproar around Wonder Woman’s runaway success, Cameron had told The Guardian that Wonder Woman as a character is “an objectified icon,” and that he preferred characters such as Sarah Connor, the protagonist in his Terminator film franchise.
“Sarah Connor was not a beauty icon,” said Cameron. “She was strong, she was troubled, she was a terrible mother, and she earned the respect of the audience through pure grit.”
For Jenkins, however, Cameron’s criticism reflected his own notions of what it means for a woman to be strong.
“I believe women can and should be EVERYTHING just like male lead characters should be,” she wrote. “There is no right and wrong kind of powerful woman.”