*I’ve been waiting for this week’s premiere of the new Wonder Woman feature for years. Hell, decades. Ever since Lynda Carter twirled her way into my little 12 year old heart back in the 70s, I’ve waited for Hollywood to give the Amazonian princess the big budget treatment.
I was intrigued when I read about a Texas movie theatre that was selling out tickets to women-only screenings of the new film. I smiled when I read about the man who gloated about successfully purchasing a ticket to one of the screenings, and the vitriol that he faced online about his purchase. And I’d planned to get you all up to speed about that.
Then, I read an article on HuffPost that posited that it wasn’t sexist to have a women’s only screening. And I had to make sure I wasn’t reading it on The Onion or some other satirical site.
Now, before I get started, know that I’m a feminist. Both my mother and both of my grandmothers set solid examples of strong black women. I’ve raised two girls into strong black women in their tradition. But come on!
I don’t know whether the women-only viewings are “sexist” or not, but they’re just wrong. Plain ol’ wrong.
Last time I checked, it is illegal to bar access to an event on the basis of gender or any one of a number of other distinguishing features.
If a theatre had staged a men-only screening of the new Baywatch so we could watch the obligatory, slow-motion boob jiggle, women would be up in arms about it. And they’d be completely justified.
The HuffPost writer supports the women-only screenings by writing that it’s ok to create female-only spaces because public spaces belong to men. She cites Congress as an example. There aren’t that many women in Congress, she writes.
Swear to God. She wrote that.
Yes, I’ve read actor Don Cheadle’s defense of the women-only screenings. Frankly, Cheadle’s old enough to know better. He and I are BOTH old enough to remember a 1995 film called Waiting To Exhale. Maybe you are, too. It was groundbreaking in its depiction of the lives of four black professional women, and that segment of the population came out in droves to see it.
I watched it with my wife at the time, and I was one of maybe five guys in the packed theater that cold winter night. But I was allowed to see it there. And I wouldn’t have had it any other way.
Advocates of the women-only Wonder Woman screenings are missing a key point: men watching the movie WITH women could deliver a very powerful message TO those men. I was moved by the sight of a predominantly female audience experiencing Waiting To Exhale. It was a sight I’ve never forgotten. And the women in the women-only Wonder Woman screening might like to see the faces of little boys and big boys as we see the Amazonian princess on the big screen for the first time.
The theatre that scheduled the women-only Wonder Woman screenings stumbled across a superb marketing idea. I can understand why women bought up all of those tickets. I understand that the same theatre is holding general viewings for boys and girls of all ages. The HuffPost writer is absolutely correct in her assertion that Wonder Woman is “only” a superhero movie, after all.
And I’m not a constitutional lawyer. Hell, I barely passed the LSAT! But let’s not get it twisted. If challenged, I’m certain a court of law would find the women-only Wonder Woman screenings unconstitutional and therefore, illegal.
This blog was written by freelancer Michael P Coleman. He already has his tickets to see Wonder Woman this weekend, and he hopes a lot of women show up for it. Connect with him on Twitter: @ColemanMichaelP