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Don't Let Middle Eastern Politics Pollute 'Wonder Woman'

We should be able to separate Middle Eastern politics from a fantasy film.

06/26/2017 10:24 EDT | Updated 06/26/2017 10:26 EDT

The movie Wonder Woman has stormed the box office and captivated the world's attention. Since it's release nearly three weeks ago, the film has earned an estimated $600 million, making it one of the biggest blockbusters of the summer.

The film is both unique and spectacular, showcasing the raw talent of a strong female ensemble and breaking the typical feminine archetypes showcased in Hollywood.

Wonder Woman is definitely breaking boundaries, but it's also courting drama overseas mainly due to the fact the Gal Gadot — an Israeli actress — portrays the lead character. Gadot served in the Israeli army for two years during the devastating Israeli-Lebanese war in 2006 and has posted pro-Israel messages on her social media in the past.

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

For this single reason, Lebanon banned the film from all cinemas and several other Arab nations are considering following suit.

Debates have also erupted amongst academics including Palestinian writer Susan Abulhawa, who stated in an Al Jazeera article "Zionism cannot reconcile with feminism."

I think this is completely ridiculous, to say the least. We should be able to separate Middle Eastern politics from a fantasy film. What if we treated other forms of entertainment the same way?

Let's take Katy Perry for example. In 2012, she made a music video for her single "Part of Me," and features her training as a U.S. Marine. We get to see Ms. Perry roll around in the water and do some combat exercises while in full makeup and an army uniform.

One could definitely argue Katy Perry is glamourizing the American army, which has reportedly committed various war crimes over the last century. The song still reached number one on the Billboard charts, but because Katy Perry is showcasing the American perspective, she avoided any backlash.

Photo courtesy of YouTube

The same can be said about the film American Sniper. The Clint Eastwood-directed war drama portrays Bradley Cooper as a sniper during the violent Iraq War during the 2000s. The film definitely contains several political undertones, but it didn't receive any backlash because it once again shows the American perspective.

The point here is there are several other pieces of entertainment that carry way more of a political stigma than Wonder Woman. Simply because the lead character is portrayed by an Israeli, the entire movie is compromised and discredited amongst many individuals.

We shouldn't allow Middle Eastern politics to permeate fantasy films that are meant to inspire young women across the world.

It's important to note I'm not trying to discredit the complex issues regarding Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but we need to begin to view some things objectively.

Photo courtesy of Vimeo

Wonder Woman makes no reference to Israel or the political complexities that accompany the tiny nation. It instead questions the reasons why humans are constantly at war with one another and really drives the message of world peace and coexistence.

So instead of dismissing the film because of the ethnicity and political views of the lead actress, look beyond that and enjoy it for what it is; a cinematic masterpiece that showcases a heroine defying the generic superhero mold set out by the sexist constraints of the movie industry.

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