Controversy has surrounded special “women only” screenings of the DC Comics blockbuster release Wonder Woman, with proceeds slated to be donated to Planned Parenthood.
“What better way to spend an evening than with Gal Gadot, a vat of rosé and a blissfully bro-free environment?” asked feminist news website Jezebel in an article last month, praising the “no guys allowed” screenings, and adding:
Men, with their preternatural ability to sense that something might not revolve around them, immediately freaked out. Mind you, the screening was initially intended as a one-off affair, with men having the option to attend literally any other screening at either the Drafthouse or infinite multiplexes around the world. Men make 20 percent more money than women; they perform fewer child care duties and household chores (even when their wives are the family breadwinners). They pay less for pants and haircuts, and they are responsible for dictating our abortion laws.
The Austin, Texas cinema chain Alamo Drafthouse, where the screenings are set to be held, registered some fierce complaints from men on its Facebook account over what some critics called the “sexist” all-female showings.
In its report about the special screenings, CBS noted a comment from one woman who attended the Brooklyn, New York showing and told 1010 WINS News about the male complaints: “Screw them. I really don’t have a lot to say to them, because their opinion does not matter to me.”
In another twist of the controversy, the charges of sexism led Stephen Clark, a gay Albany Law School professor, to file a complaint.
“There was a vibrant argument happening on Facebook,” Clark, 48, told the Washington Post. “But when the theater responded to complaints, they were pretty snide about it and willing to mock anyone who had a complaint and that really struck me.”
“There is also the fact that what they were doing is illegal,” he added.
Clark reportedly filed an administrative charge with Austin’s Equal Employment and Fair Housing Office, alleging the Drafthouse’s women-only showing discriminated against men based solely on their gender.
He also claimed that, since the theater emphasized it would be staffing the events with only females as well, it was illegally practicing employment discrimination.
“It’s the principle of the thing,” he told the Post. “I’m a gay man, and I’ve studied and taught gay rights for years. Our gay bars have long said that you do not exclude people because they’re gay or straight or transgender — you just can’t do that for any reason.”
“We have to deal with the bachelorette parties that come to the gay bar,” he added. “They’re terribly disruptive, but if you forbid women from coming to a gay bar, you’re starting down a slippery slope. It’s discrimination.”
While the theater has reacted to the accusations of sexism by doubling down and promising to expand its all-female screenings at its locations across the country, the Post says it walked back that sentiment, with this statement: “Obviously, Alamo Drafthouse recognizes ‘Wonder Woman’ is a film for all audiences, but our special women-only screenings may have created confusion — we want everybody to see this film.”
The chain’s latest announcement, however, about its June 6 showing, is as follows:
The most iconic superheroine in comic book history finally has her own movie, and what better way to celebrate than with an all-female screening?
Apologies, gentlemen, but we’re embracing our girl power and saying “No Guys Allowed” for one special night at the Alamo Ritz. And when we say “People Who Identify As Women Only,” we mean it. Everyone working at this screening — venue staff, projectionist, and culinary team — will be female.
So lasso your geeky girlfriends together and grab your tickets to this celebration of one of the most enduring and inspiring characters ever created.
The sold-out screenings have led the theater chain to expand its women-only program across the country.
“We are very excited to present select, women-only WONDER WOMAN screenings at Alamo Drafthouse,” Morgan Hendrix, Alamo Drafthouse creative manager said in a statement to the Post. “That providing an experience where women truly reign supreme has incurred the wrath of trolls only serves to deepen our belief that we’re doing something right.”
Jezebel briefly mentioned that proceeds for the special screenings would benefit abortion vendor Planned Parenthood at the very end of its article:
The theater did apologize, cheekily, to anyone offended, saying it was “truly, truly, truly sorry sorry.”) But it needn’t have, especially since the screening’s proceeds are going to Planned Parenthood.
The Warner Bros. blockbuster hauled in more than $100 million in its domestic opening weekend — a historic feat for a female-directed feature film.