31 Mayo 2017 13:50
A cinema announced it would be holding screenings of ‘Wonder Woman’, exclusively for women. And male-chauvinist trolls have come out with their guns blazing
On 6 June in one of the theatres of the Alamo Drafthouse in Texas there won’t be a single man in sight. This will be a special screening of the film, Wonder Woman. The people who run the cinema have decided to celebrate the release of this eagerly awaited film by hosting a screening for women only.
And, naturally, the decision has not gone down very well with everyone…. particularly with men.
‘The most iconic superheroine in comic book history finally gets her own movie, and what better way to celebrate than with a screening exclusively for women or people who identify as women? Apologies, gentlemen, but we’re embracing our girl power and saying “No Guys Allowed” for one special night,’ read the post in this message on the cinema’s website.
Following the appearance of the comment on Facebook, the reactions did not take long to start pouring in. Several users have asked the movie theatre if there will also be a ‘men-only’ screening when they show Thor, Star Wars or Spiderman. Drafthouse has ‘apologised’, in a brilliantly sarcastic tone, to all those men who, for once in their lives, feel excluded.
‘Will you also show a screening only for people who identify as clowns?’, one user sneered. ‘We’ll have to steal that clown idea. Thanks Ryan,’ came the reply from the cinema’s account, which must be running out of patience responding to each and every one of the male-chauvinist trolls, who crawl out from under their rocks once in a while, if they feel their privileges are under threat.
Screenshot of Wonder Woman
More than mere anecdote, this story demonstrates the growing barrage of criticism (normally from men) surrounding the notion of non-mixed spaces. Why do we throw our hands in the air in outrage? What’s wrong with occasionally offering spaces for collectives who have been discriminated against or underrepresented throughout history? And this is no exception. As a day to contemplate or celebrate women’s empowerment, a special screening for women makes perfect sense. And it’s not just symbolic.
‘Questioning the need for non-mixed spaces means denying the reality we women experience in almost all public spaces. If we bear in mind that, in our daily lives, we are routinely discriminated against and harassed, the benefits of non-mixed spaces are obvious,’ remarked feminist activist Lena Prado. For her, there is also a side to this that goes beyond symbolism: this is not just about celebrating the release of a film about a legendary female character with other women.
This is also, according to Prado, of great relevance in terms of culture and women’s safety. ‘As a fan of the superhero genre, on more than one occasion I’ve found that I’m the only woman in a cinema theatre. The geek culture is overwhelmingly male and has never been very welcoming to us. Sometimes they treat us like objects, at others as imposters, and, at times, as both these things.’ Prado’s impressions, of course, are nothing new; we’ve heard them all before. Several studies suggest why the so-called ‘nerd’ culture is so sexist.
Thanks to the initiative, tickets have sold out so quickly that they’ve already programmed
a second screening and have extended it to two more cinemas in New York.
‘I imagine there are loads of girls who are really excited about the idea of going to see a film about their favourite superheroine with only other girls. They can dress however they want. They can shout at the screen knowing that their female voice will not sound out of place!’ added Lena. Profits from the screenings will go to a family planning group. ‘This, of course, is completely overlooked by the critics.’
As well as ensuring a safe space, which, at the moment, is not something that can be guaranteed (just take a look at the figures for rape, harassment or abuse), this kind of ‘women-only’ event serves another equally interesting, intangible purpose.
This is about creating a community of women who like ‘stereotypically male’ film genres, such as comic-based, action or science fiction. Lending strength to such preferences and role models and inspiring other young women, is essential for tearing these stereotypes apart and making our voices louder for the future.