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Image / Editorial

Joss Whedon’s Leaked Wonder Woman Script Causes Uproar


by Jennifer McShane
20th Jun 2017
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If any of us rewind the clock back ten years, it’s safe to say that we all have something – a photo, bad hair day or piece of writing?- that was not?our absolute best. My earliest work screams of naivety but that’s because I was naive – and nineteen, so c’mon- but in context and at the?time, it served its purpose. Now I’m imagining if a very rough and unverified draft version of this work appeared?online in 2017, almost 11 years on, without context, and how I would die of embarrassment.

This is what’s happened to Buffy creator Joss Whedon. A very early draft of his supposed Wonder Woman script has been leaked and dissected by a random person on Twitter, and digital mobs have grouped, pitchforks at the ready. Because, yes, it’s a terrible script and nothing like the film we saw that smashed records and glass ceilings the world over. And though it’s called Wonder?Woman, it’s really all about her sidekick Steve, what Steve thinks about the Gods, Steve berating Diana and descriptions of her “being scantily clad” with men “enraptured” by her “curves and impossible strength.”

An example?of prime gender stereotyping, a script that’s disappointingly outdated and lazy writing from the creator of the?feminist show that encouraged women around the world to embrace their strength and power. Whedon has a solid history of creating excellent and dynamic female characters, and this ‘draft’ is eleven years old, unverified and presumably, was never intended for our eyes. And remember, we have no context to the script, nor any stories of likely studio demands which came before he put pen to paper.

None of the latter discounts even the above segments, which are awful. Let’s call a spade a spade; it’s sexist, and it’s writing done via the male gaze, intended to appeal to men as opposed to women. And we expect more from Whedon now as we would have ten years ago.

But the backlash and reaction have been surprising and unfair. One horribly sexist script – or what we’ve seen of it – does not mean the man?is a misogynist. We know he isn’t for his career has revolved around an empowering vampire-slaying woman. Nor’does it mean the internet should “unite in hatred.”

Misogyny is hatred of women; a real thing and a serious problem. It’s not the same as sexism, or, in this case, that one thing you wish you’d never written to try and earn a living (remember David Lynch’s Dune? It’s the same scenario. He knew it was terrible, but he caved because he needed the money). ?If we label everyone who resorts to some lazy stereotyping as a genuine hater of women, we’re going?have a serious problem.

So, why not read the script and cringe but put the pitchforks away; thankfully that variation of the film never got made, and we know now, that it never will.