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‘Justice League’ sparks controversy over alleged costume changes

Sara Elliot November 17, 2017 November 17th, 2017

Remember Themyscira, the all-female warrior island on “Wonder Woman”? One of the many amazing things about the Amazons were their costumes. We’re used to seeing women in superhero stories wearing impractical outfits made exclusively for the male gaze. Not so on “Wonder Woman”.

The Amazons wear midriff armor and breastplates. Costume designer Lindy Hemming was clearly¬†inspired by Roman armor,¬†and she did extensive research on sportswear for their training outfits. As Hemming said herself, she wanted the outfits to be “authentic and real” but “hot as hell”.

This is not the case for “Justice League”. Cosplayer Kimi shared a comparison picture on her website, showing the Amazons’ new costumes.

The pictures spread like wildfire, gaining criticism for the very obvious male gaze. While “Wonder Woman” had a female director and costume designer (Patty Jenkins and Lindy Hemming), “Justice League” has two men: Zack Snyder and Michael Wilkinson.

Brooke Ence, a Crossfit champion who plays an Amazon in both movies, seemed unbothered by this change: “the girls on set, we never thought of (the new costumes) as a sexy version. It felt a little more glamorous, if anything, because we had bigger, beautiful hair, which I loved.”

Though we still haven’t seen them in action, Wilkinson’s costumes take us back to the sexy female superhero we know too well. There’s still a long way to go in freeing costume design from the male gaze. Let’s not forget last year’s “Suicide Squad”, where the guys wore almost military gear, while Harley Quinn and Enchantress were fighting crime in booty shorts and a glorified bikini.

Hopefully, Lindy Hemming’s practical, well researched outfits will be back for “Wonder Woman 2”.