Are you ready for the weirdest comic book movie news story of the day?
Fans of Wonder Woman who’ve been paying close attention to the various trailers that we’ve seen over the past few months have noticed something strange.
Warner Brothers have used digital editing tools to remove any possible trace of imperfections from Gal Gadot’s armpits.
Apparently, the daughters of Themyscira must be hairless and smooth, with flawless skin that is impervious to tan lines. Because, you know, that makes sense?
It makes sense if you’ve literally never looked at a human being up close, at least.
Redditor AgentFZ has put together a pair of photos of the same shot from Wonder Woman, as it appears in two different trailers. Just for fun, try switching quickly between the two and compare them to spot just what’s been done over the course of the movie’s editing to tweak Gal Gadot’s underarms.
Now in fairness, this bizarre move from DC to digitally erase some tan lines isn’t an idea that developed in a vacuum. Some (particularly odd) elements of the Wonder Woman fan community had previously taken to the internet to express their disgust that Diana Prince has pale armpits, as if the entire movie hinges on the idea that Wonder Woman presents a stylized, flawless ideal for the Male Gaze.
What’s weird is that, rather than simply dismiss such comments as nonsense, Warner Bros apparently decided that there was enough money in the budget to fix the problem, color correcting Gadot’s pits, and removing this slight indication that Wonder Woman is anything less than a plastic Barbie doll with a sword.
Leaving aside the issue that in reality a tribe of female warriors probably wouldn’t adopt the practice of underarm shaving at all, this is actually a reflection of a strange trend in superhero movies that has seen actors grow progressively less hairy over the past decade.
When Chris Evans appears as a shirtless Johnny Storm in Fantastic Four, he has a healthy clump of chest hair – the kind of thing you’d expect from a normal human being.
Yet the actor is now entirely hairless whenever he appears without shirt in his new role as Captain America. The fact that Steve Rogers waxes his chest is but one of many anachronisms in The First Avenger, but it’s hard to ignore it when this hero is compared with Evans’ previous role.
So what’s so bad about a bit of body hair? Does it distract from a superhero movie so terribly that it must be eradicated from off the face of existence, alongside any hint that the actor in question might be an actual, relatable human being?
Marvel and DC both seem to think so, and the result is a version of Wonder Woman whose armpits magically change in color when viewers look away for two seconds.
This is all fine and good, DC. We understand that you want Wonder Woman to look her best, and we appreciate that a more believable furry-pitted Amazon would probably turn some viewers off. She is meant to be more of a god than a human anyway, and if you’ve decided to interpret the perfect female body through the current Western belief that body hair is an abomination, we can at the very least understand your perspective.
But if the Wonder Woman movie turns out to be lacking in characterization and a coherent plot, as is the case with many DC movies, and it turns out that the studio was more concerned about unsightly body hair than about actually making a watchable movie, it’s not going to do much to help DC overcome their reputation as a movie company that completely and totally misses the point.