Writing at The Washington Post, Sarah Pulliam Bailey notes how the ethnicity and religion of the star of the new Wonder Woman movie has put many cats amongst several sets of pigeons.
Gal Gadot is Israeli and Jewish. She served a two-year stint in the Israeli Defense Forces, a requirement for most citizens of her country. So naturally Lebanon banned the movie.
That's the start, as Bailey works her way through a mare's nest of opinions about what it means for a fictional character in a summer blockbuster to be played by a woman of a particular religion and ethnic background. Is she to be considered white? Is she an oppressor? Does intersectionality, a concept whereby one trumps another perceived victim by accumulating more victim categories, play a role in how we should feel about the movie's success and Gadot's stardom? Is the reality of a blockbuster with a woman at the top of the bill a triumph for women or a disaster for people of color and oppressed or potentially oppressed religious minorities because Gadot "looks" white? Or is she white, since Jewish people have been historically oppressed through much of history, mostly by evil Christians? Or since today's Israelis are themselves supposed to be evil oppressors in their modern nation-state, do we go back to seeing her as a non-victim again?
I have no idea, and even less interest. I finally plan on seeing the movie this weekend, and the only thing I will demand is that none of these people are in the auditorium when I do.