I Attended the All Women’s Wonder Woman Screening and This is What Happened
Disclaimer: I’m a former employee of Alamo Drafthouse. The views reflected in this article do not necessarily reflect those of Alamo Drafthouse. The screening I attended was at a different location than where I worked. I quit working there about a week ago because I’m moving out of state soon. I still really dig what they’re doing, though.
So I’m not sure if y’all have heard about this, but a bunch of dudes are really unhappy about the all-women’s screening of Wonder Woman that happened at Alamo Drafthouse in Austin last night. Pretty much from the minute it was announced, Alamo’s PR team had to go hand to hand with some of the internet’s worst MRA red-pill trolls, who conveniently forgot that they could also see the movie literally anywhere else at any other time in pretty much every city in America. (They could have even gone before this screening so they’d be closer to the actual premiere date!) Additionally, Alamo definitely has a track record of planning other events that may not necessarily be gender-exclusive, but I’m not sure that any of the dudes I know would be upset if they couldn’t attend the Dirty Dancing movie party they’re having later this month.
My friend Lauren and I were really stoked to see what Alamo had planned. I had already seen the movie once (I was impatient, ok?) and Lauren hadn’t seen it. When we arrived, Alamo had Wonder Woman slap bracelets waiting for us at our seats. The room was buzzing up until the trailers began.
Here’s the kicker, though: ten minutes before the movie, I realized there were two men sitting behind us. They looked to be older men, and I feel like they were of the age where they might have genuinely not understood that this was a women’s only screening. An Alamo representative came and gently explained to them that they were at the women’s only showing and that the staff would be happy to refund their tickets or get them tickets for a later showing. The men were polite and understanding and left of their own accord. What killed me is this – as they were leaving, a handful of women in the audience started clapping. I thought that was incredibly rude, even if it was more of an attempt to show solidarity with the staff than disdain for the men. I didn’t hear the entire conversation between the men and the Alamo representative, but they definitely weren’t there to prove a point or to yell anything sexist on the way out. They were there because they wanted to see Wonder Woman and they got confused.
Overall the screening was really empowering and awesome, but that part of it left a bad taste in my mouth that I can’t shake. The point of feminism is to acknowledge the hurdles that women must conquer in order to gain access to the same opportunities that are often guaranteed to men. On the one hand, this experience indicates the ubiquity of male entitlement – these men felt they could go anywhere and not be kicked out, so I’m sure this experience was an eye-opener for them. I’m not suggesting women would often be kicked out of a place just for being women, but that women do not necessarily navigate the world with the same sense of security (and occasionally, entitlement) that men do. On the other hand, the women who genuinely believe men deserve less than women often masquerade as feminists, when really they’re misandrists. While I do think the men should have been removed from the screening and did compose themselves with dignity while doing so (Alamo expressed that it would do this if any men bought a ticket), I definitely feel that the women who applauded revealed something about themselves. Maybe it would have gone better if someone had stopped them at the door of the theater before they sat down. Maybe the women who clapped could have at least waited until the men left to clap to indicate that their applause was in solidarity with the staff.
The angry feminist in me wants to yell “IT IS NOT OUR JOB TO EDUCATE YOU FOOLS ON FEMINISM. JUST TREAT US LIKE EQUALS AND LET US CELEBRATE GIRL POWER, YA KNOW?! ALSO, LEAVE MY RIGHTS ALONE, THANKS!” But the pragmatist in me knows that some people might need a little help every now and then, and I don’t mind educating people if I think they genuinely don’t know better.
I’m still working through this experience and would love to hear your thoughts. Do you guys think the men should have been booed and tossed out with pitchforks? Do you think they should have been allowed to stay? Am I latching onto a trivial experience for no reason? I’d love to chat about it further.
BUT NOW I WANT TO TALK ABOUT THE MOVIE, SO GET READY FOR SOME EXCITED RAMBLING [Spoilers ahead]
I didn’t grow up reading comics or with any real allegiance to Wonder Woman as a character. I was more excited about this movie because of its potential (and because the trailer looked really cool, even though DC’s last few movies have been, uh, not good). I am, however, a huge fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, so I’m no stranger to watching badass women fighting for a better world and kicking some serious bad guy ass.
Y’all, watching this movie gave me goosebumps. To watch a woman who is confident, principled, capable, and vulnerable be the heroine and not just a sidekick or love interest was so empowering. I didn’t realize how much I was missing before I saw this movie. To be fair, I like many male-led superhero movies that have come out in the last ten years, but as far as I’m concerned we can definitely chill out on those for a while. I had only seen Gal Gadot in the Fast and Furious franchise, and I was excited to see her get some more screen time and dialogue.
A lot of people I’ve talked to and read reviews from have mixed feelings about Chris Pine as Steve Trevor, but I think he was the perfect counterpart to Gadot. The trap I was worried this movie would fall into was that Wonder Woman would be portrayed as this infallible superhero, who never experienced doubt from herself or others, and that sexism would be downplayed, as if this was going to be the only female-led superhero movie ever and that the female characters just needed to be cut a bunch of breaks in it because we might not ever get another one. Thankfully I was wrong about that. The characters in the movie didn’t pretend Diana wasn’t beautiful, didn’t pretend she wasn’t intimidating, and Diana handled herself well whenever a male character behaved in an untoward way.
The things I had an issue with in the movie, I’m told, are present to maintain some allegiance to the Wonder Woman comics. The fact that love is her superpower (definitely wouldn’t see that in a male-driven superhero movie) comes from the original comics. But it proved to be the perfect foil for Ares, whose judgment is clouded by jealousy and distrust.
[MAJOR SPOILER SO SERIOUSLY STOP READING NOW IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN IT]
Can we take a minute to congratulate David Thewlis for getting to be a freaking badass villain at his age? Ludendorf was a great placeholder, and I definitely wasn’t mad when Diana killed him, but I think the movie’s argument about misjudging the face of evil is hugely resonant in our current political climate. I also think the fact that Diana mistook Ludendorf for Ares indicates vulnerability – even superheroes make mistakes and can get caught up in their own ideas about things sometimes. But throughout she was trying to do the right thing, so it’s okay.
[END OF SPOILERS]
Anyway, if you haven’t seen the movie yet, I strongly recommend getting your girl gang together (bonus points if you bring daughters and friends!) and heading over to see it. You won’t regret it.