Lady Problems is a weekly column that looks at how the entertainment industry — and its corresponding culture and constituents — is treating women in a given week. (Hint: It will almost always be “poorly.”) Every Thursday we’ll review the week's most significant woman-centric conflicts, then provide a brilliant solution to each problem that nobody in Hollywood will ever listen to or enforce.
The Lady Problem: Last week, I punished myself for no specific reason by watching two-plus hours of the digital extras for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and writing about them. I had not seen the film, though I’ve been told by everyone I love and respect that it’s nearly life-ruiningly terrible. As I rounded the bend of hour two, I began to question not only my decision to watch these extras — the mental equivalent of eating a bunch of bugs on live television — but every single decision I’ve ever made in my life that had, in some sort of malevolent butterfly effect, led me to make this specific decision.
One of the most egregious parts of the Batman v Superman extras is that they (the extras themselves, which I am certain are sentient) tried to trick me into believing that Wonder Woman was the third main character in the film — that she, Batman, and Superman formed a beautiful “trifecta,” that DC was proud of themselves for making a film about such a “badass woman” (this phrase was repeated roughly 6,000 times).
By the end of the extras, it was abundantly clear to me that this was not at all the case. Every time Wonder Woman was mentioned by someone onscreen, only one of two scenes played as B-roll: In one, she was about to stab some kind of giant mammal; in the other, she was icing Ben Affleck at a fancy gala. In other words, DC put a woman in its movie for 14 seconds and then was like, “OK! We put a woman in the movie! Now you can’t say we don't care about women! We did it! We’re heroes!” The only redeemable thing about all of this chicanery is that there is — ALLEGEDLY — going to be a Wonder Woman movie in 2017 directed by Patty Jenkins.
All of this is to say that when I opened Twitter the other day and saw that the Wonder Woman movie’s original writer, Jason Fuchs, had been swapped out with a few others, I thought, “Oh, good, they’ve actually hired a woman to write a movie about a woman, meaning there is a solid chance that this movie about a woman will actually be about a woman.” Reader, I was incorrect. Rather than hire even ONE female writer, DC doubled down and hired two more male ones (four if you count the “story by” credits). As a fun additional fact, out of the film’s eight producers, only two are women.
The Solution: There’s a particular thing that happens when a bunch of men try to write a movie about women: The women say weird, uncanny shit, like they’re all bots malfunctioning simultaneously (please see: any Woody Allen movie ever made). It’s too late for the obvious solution to this Lady Problem, which would’ve been to hire at least one female writer. That would’ve been really hard, DC, I totally get it. As such, we must resort to other means. Specifically: female screenwriters everywhere must start to write their male characters in the same simplistic-to-the-point-of-surreal vernacular. A sample scene, for inspiration:
Dave: Hi, Joe.
Joe: Hey, Dave.
Dave: What are you doing today?
Joe: I'm going to work.
Joe: I work in finance.
Dave: I'm a lawyer.
Joe: I hate my wife.
Dave: Me, too.
Joe: Sometimes I picture fucking another woman.
Dave: Me, too.
Joe: I masturbated today.
Dave: Me, too.
Joe: I love sports.
Joe: I can't feel anything except rage.
Joe: I make homophobic jokes because I’m uncomfortable with the nuances of my sexuality and the constantly vacillating societal expectations of masculinity.
Dave: What? That’s gay.
The Lady Problem: Late last week, William Shatner got it into his shatbrain that it was acceptable to fuck with Kate Mulgrew. At a Comic-Con event in Montreal celebrating the 50th anniversary of Star Trek, Shatner, Mulgrew, and Brent Spiner sat on a panel together, and Shatner took this as an opportunity to make a bunch of categorically weird, sexist jokes. As The Mary Sue reports: “Shatner broke off in the middle of a sentence to take a dig at Mulgrew. It started fairly harmlessly, with him just joking that he'd never seen her series. But then a fan supporting her called out: ‘A woman's place is on the bridge.’ Mulgrew took a sidelong look at Shatner and sarcastically said, ‘Or in the kitchen, as the case may be.’ Shatner immediately jumped in saying, ‘A woman's place is in the fridge.’” Shatner went on to make this same completely nonsensical joke twice more, once while interrupting a female fan as she asked Spiner a question, and again when the fan clarified, “It's Spiner's turn [to speak] now.” Shatner replied, “This woman is dangerous: Put her in the fridge.”
As The Mary Sue points out, it’s highly unlikely that Shatner is referring to the criticized comic-book trope of “fridging” women; it’s more likely that he is just being an idiot dick, especially considering the final exchange he had with Mulgrew. Again according to The Mary Sue: “Mulgrew and Spiner tried their best to take back control of the situation and ensure the fans were getting to ask their questions. But Shatner didn’t seem to get the message. Later, a fan asked Mulgrew about how it felt to wrap filming on Voyager. Mulgrew’s response was heartfelt, but also included a jab at Shatner:
Mulgrew: I wept. I wept, because you’re in the trenches for seven years (Mr. Shatner doesn't know about this) you’ve invested so much. I loved being the Captain.
Shatner: You say you wept? Wow. That's so female. I can’t imagine the captain of a starship weeping.
The Solution: William Shatner proudly admits that he’s never seen Kate Mulgrew’s series, which probably means he also hasn't seen a little prison dramedy we like to call Orange Is the New Black (because that’s its name). Thus, it’s likely he won’t object to a li’l Orange Is the New Black role-play. So, Shatner will spend two weeks cooking at a women’s prison: Waking up at 4 a.m., putting impeccably disjointed eyeliner on both lids, heaving spoonfuls of liquid-to-solid matter onto cafeteria trays, trying to wean his prison family off of heroin, being wrongfully accused of murdering a guard and burying his body in a garden, and, oh, also dyeing his hair the same color as a stop sign. When he inevitably breaks down, Kate Mulgrew will show up, wearing a mask of his face. “You wept?” she'll say. “That's so Shatner.”