Actress Gal Gadot said recently that Wonder Woman, the iconic super-heroine who punches, kicks and otherwise bludgeons her foes, will no longer carry a sword because it’s too “aggressive.”
Gadot, who is set to reprise her role as the Amazonian warrior princess in the upcoming “Wonder Woman 1984,” made the remarks on Sunday while addressing media and fans at Comic Con Experience in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
“Wonder Woman does not carry a weapon. We had an intention to let go of the sword because there’s something very aggressive with the sword,” she said in footage of the event captured by CinePop. “If you have a sword you need to use it, so we wanted to give that up and we didn’t feel that the shield was necessary either. She’s a goddess, she can fight, she’s super strong, and she has the skills and the lasso.”
Gadot also spoke out in support of victims of domestic violence.
“I would deeply encourage every woman, person, who is in a violent relationship to reach out for help,” she said. “No one deserves to be in such a situation.”
Media outlets have made much of the supposed cultural resonance of the “Wonder Woman” film series, which features Gadot in a lead role and is helmed by a female director, Patty Jenkins.
Some of them might welcome the decision to relieve Wonder Woman of her “phallic” sword.
A small minority of Twitter users on social media took issue with the weapon around the time the first “Wonder Woman” film debuted.
“Am I the only one bothered by the sword in the new Wonder Woman poster? Why does it look so phallic? Why is that all I can see?” tweeted one such user.
Saw someone complain about Wonder Woman using a sword because it's phallic. I'm blanking on the deadly weapon that's vaguely vagina shaped
— The Doktor (@ScienceJesus) June 29, 2016
“Wonder Woman is an ultra-feminine peacemaker. A sword is a lethal phallic symbol. Why they don’t go together is not complicated,” said another.
British comics creator Rich Johnston has written on the tension between Wonder Woman’s “feminine” pacificity and her martial aggression.
“[T]he original conception of Wonder Woman saw her hardly ever used a sword, preferring the pacifying power of the lasso. There are gender issues here, the sword being a phallic symbol in fiction, with the lasso being more, well, yonic. And yes, that does make for an interesting rereading of much of the original Western pulp literature,” Johnston wrote in a 2017 blog post for Bleeding Cool.
According to Johnston, Wonder Woman’s origins stem from the women’s sexual liberation movement and the “rise of Planned Parenthood in the USA.”
“Wonder Woman creator William Moulton Marston‘s polygamous girlfriend Olive Byrne was the niece of Margaret Sanger, the founder of that movement. Wonder Woman can be interpreted as a symbol of the decoupling of sex and procreation, with women very much being given the right to choose what they do with their body,” Johnston wrote.