Gal Gadot’s White Feminism
Gal Gadot’s feminism is not intersectional. And that’s a shame.
Everyone knows Wonder Woman from DC comics. She, like her colleagues in the industry, stand for the helpless. Gal Gadot is an actress of Israeli descent who plays Wonder Woman in the film that hit the box office this evening, June 2nd, 2017. Gal Gadot need not be criticized for the fact that she is Israeli but rather for her unsettling sense of nationalism that is characteristic of the area she comes from. This level of Israeli patriotism is called Zionism. Zionists believe that Israeli occupation and settlement in the Palestinian world is necessary, and ultimately their birth right. Colonization of Palestinian land and the ultimate genocide of its people was due to political and religious interests. It is meant to reestablish Jewish homeland in an area that is believed to be the historic land of Israel. The casualties as a result of the Arab-Israeli conflict can easily be compared to South African Apartheid, Nazi Germany, and European conquest of Indigenous land.
Gal Gadot served in the Israeli Defense Force for two years during the assault on Gaza. The assault took the lives of over 2,100 Palestinians. Out of ignroance or blind patriotism, Gadot has recently posted a statement on social media in support of IDF she made sure to also emphasize her stance with the hashtag #weareright.
I am sending my love and prayers to my fellow Israeli citizens. Especially to all the boys and girls who are risking their lives protecting my country against the horrific acts conducted by Hamas, who are hiding like cowards behind women and children…We shall overcome!!! Shabbat Shalom!
Gal Gadot’s feminsim appeals to a sliver of intersectional interests. She believes in empowering women and the queer community, but she leaves out the women who are oppressed by a system she vehemently defends. In feminist discourse and theory it’s crucial that in the fight to dismantle the patriarchy that we also fight for those who we don’t necessarily agree with. For example, even though I don’t agree with the white women who thought voting for 45 was a good idea, I still need to be inclusionary of their rights and interests as human beings. This is where Gal Gadot falls short.
In an article titled Feminism Without Borders by Chandra Talpade Mohanty, the author breaks down decolonizing theory and practicing solidarity, particularly within groups of oppressed bodies. She refers to the addressing of women as a generality “What is problematical about this kind of ‘women’ as a group, as a stable category of analysis, is that it assumes a ahistorical, universal unity based on a generalized notion of their subordination. Instead of analytically demonstrating the production of women as socioeconomic political groups…completely bypassing social class and ethnic identities.” This can be directly applied to the way Gadot has chosen to address women. She claims that she uplifts, supports, and loves her fellow women while denouncing an entire category of women in the same breath. It’s as though she is actively choosing to see all women as victims of this fight without really understanding who is creating the oppression or how certain ethnic bodies suffer from the conflict differently than others.
I was very ecstatic about this film. It’s been a long time coming since we’ve had a female superhero lead in a movie. I was looking forward to being “represented”. I’ve loved Wonder Woman as a comic book heroine for as long as I can remember. I fondly look back on the days when I use to look forward to watching her character fight for humans and their right to live in Justice League. Gal Gadot has made it clear that her feminism is not intersectional. Being a white woman who holds interest in the white capitalist agenda, means that she is dismissive of those who are oppressed by it. Feminist motives are cheapened when they deny or infringe on the rights of others. I don’t think I could watch this film without any reservations. The whole thing wreaks of hypocrisy. I think I’ll pass.