The real reason Lebanon's satraps banned the 'Wonder Woman' movie
I don't go to movies much, but I live in Los Angeles, and that means every billboard up there is to advertise some movie opening. At rush hour, that means looking at and studying movie art, and it is generally a very high grade of commercial art. In some of my art textbooks, it's even classified as actual art, not applied art, given the talent it attracts.
So yes, I was struck by the advance billboards for the upcoming Wonder Woman movie. The actress in the title role in this art had an interesting face – it wasn't the typical face of a Hollywood starlet, and it wasn't anyone I recognized. In fact, it was a fierce, sultry, passionate face, not exactly what we recognize as Pop-Tart teenybopper imaging. I wondered who she was, and I mentally applauded Hollywood for not choosing a garden-variety Hollywood face.
Turn out it's an Israeli actress in the title role, and suddenly everything snapped into place as recognizable – the actress, a former Miss Israel named Gal Gadot, looked very Israeli – Israel being the only country on Earth where women play up their sultry features and downplay their Nordic ones. They like that fiery look, beauty-wise, and it makes them rather unique compared with the rest of the world, where being blonde seems to be the standard for beauty. Here's a Reuters photo:
She not only looks like a glamorous Israeli – the only reason I didn't recognize her look instantly is that Israelis aren't all that common a sight here – but also resembles one of the Babes of Beirut, the young Lebanese women who marched for democracy in what was known as the Cedar Revolution of 2005. They are pretty much the same Semitic nationality, after all, and to an outsider, they look pretty much alike.
So when I read the recent dreck about the mullahs (or whoever the hell they are) running Lebanon banning this movie in Lebanon, due to the former Miss Israel's tweeting support for Israel's Defense Forces, my BS meter went up.
Screenings of Hollywood superhero blockbuster "Wonder Woman," starring former Miss Israel Gal Gadot in the titular role, are set to be canceled in Lebanon, following a months-long public boycott campaign.
State-run National News Agency announced the ban Tuesday, while an anonymous state security official told AP that it had not yet been made official, but a six-person committee at the Ministry of Economy and Trade was expected to rubber stamp the revocation of a screening license. The official cited Gadot's nationality as the reason for the prohibition.
Promotional materials for the $120 million US film were plastered around the streets of Beirut, and a premiere showing was scheduled for Thursday.
Thirty two-year-old Gadot completed two years of compulsory service in the IDF, and in 2014, as the height of the Israeli incursion in Gaza, tweeted a message sending "love and prayers" to Israeli soldiers "risking their lives protecting my country against the horrific acts conducted by Hamas."
Oh, what horse hockey.
Here's the real reason they banned the movie: they don't like seeing an obviously Semitic woman playing a heroic, glamorous role in the movies. They don't want her idolized, they don't want her looked up to by little girls, and they especially don't want her visible. She, after all, is a woman who could just as easily be Lebanese as Israeli based on how she looks. Such a film might give Lebanon's – and the entire Arab world's – repressed women ideas about what roles they are capable of playing in their own countries and offer some new options.
That's what this rubbish is really about. What I want to see is Hollywood pushing back at this Dark Ages petty repression in the name of real feminism, and demand that the film be seen in Arab countries. Based on its imagery, it could be one of the most subtly subversive movies in years. So, yes, shove it at them. And if they try to repress it, release free bootleg copies of the film to make sure it gets seen all over.