“We always try to make everyone happy but we can’t”
The world is about to have its first female-led superhero movie in 12 years. On June 2, Wonder Woman will hit movie theaters everywhere, bringing with it the star power of Gal Gadot playing a darker, more mysterious version of the female superhero made famous by Lynda Carter in the 1970s.
Sure, Wonder Woman can deflect bullets with her bracelets, is an expert in hand to hand combat, and has a freaking lasso of truth, but there is one thing missing from both Wonder Woman’s arsenal and the film’s trailer that has divided fans and the whole of the internet: armpit hair.
Yes, people are really, really upset to see Gadot’s armpits are totally bare (and apparently bleached), as she lifts a car and tosses it down the street in the film’s latest trailer.
It’s a blink and you’ll miss it moment (at 1:47), but it was enough for fans and social media user to ask, “Is this film even feminist if she shaves her armpits?”
On one side, media critics are arguing that, of course, Wonder Woman should have armpit hair. As Refinery29 argued:
It's really hard to believe that Wonder Woman, who has been on an island filled with strong women her entire life, is worried about waxing and then bleaching her pits to make sure there isn't a hair left on those babies. That is a time-consuming process and she's a little too busy training ‘10 times harder’ with the Amazons so that she can, you know, save the world. It really all comes down to priorities, and I'd like to think shaving is pretty low on the list, even if it's high on the studio's.
Meanwhile, Forbes opines:
In fact, one could venture that Wonder Woman's armpits at the 1:47 mark represent the entire struggle with which a modern woman must grapple daily: I am woman, hear me roar, but so I don't freak you the you-know-what out, let me take away everything I am so I can be everything you want me to be. Maybe one day in the future, young girls will be brought up on images of a different kind of Wonder Woman—one who shaves nowhere and hides nothing.
However, the National Review goes the opposite direction, saying Wonder Women should be hairless:
There is no room for debate about what Wonder Woman should and should not look like, because DC Comics already decided what she looks like when it created her in 1941: She always has a fresh blowout, she fights her enemies club attire, and she does not have armpit hair. If you don’t like it, fine. Invent your own, new hero who shaves nowhere.’”
So which one is correct? Neither, both, or one or the other—because really it’s up to you how you feel about your own pits, and it’s up to Gadot to decide if she wants to shave her armpits or not. For what it’s worth, the creator of Wonder Woman, William Moulton Marston, always depicted the superhero with bare underarms.
The backbone of feminism, in its simplest terms, is for women to do right for themselves. You want to shave, go right ahead. Don’t feel like it today, or ever? That’s fine too. (And hey cosplayers, we’re looking at you to interpret the Wonder Woman character however you see fit.)
Gadot has yet to respond to the controversy around her hairless pits, but that’s not to say she hasn’t had to continuously bat down criticism of her body since taking on this role. “They said that I was too skinny and my boobs were too small,” Gadot told Robot Underdog in 2015. “When I was younger I would take criticism really hard. But now it mostly amused me. The true amazons had one boob so it won’t bother them in their archery. So it’s not going to be like real amazons. We always try to make everyone happy but we can’t.”