Opinion: Costumes in Justice League

Following the highly successful release of “Wonder Woman,” DC Comics’ latest movie, “Justice League,” instantly became one of the most anticipated films of 2017. Recent events, however, left certain aspects of the movie shrouded in controversy.

One drastic change is evident from the trailer alone: in “Justice League,” the Amazons, the group of women that Wonder Woman is a part of, are dressed in much more revealing costumes. The question, then, is why, after being depicted as such strong, feminist idols in “Wonder Woman,” are the Amazons are suddenly being sexualized through their clothing? While the answer isn’t black and white, a couple key differences between “Wonder Woman” and “Justice League” could point to an explanation.

Along with the costumes, the director and the costume designer differ between the two films. While “Wonder Woman” featured women in both positions, with Patty Jenkin as the director and Lindy Hemming as the costume designer, the crew of “Justice League” is much more male-dominated, with Zack Snyder as director and Michael Wilkinson as costume designer.

Fans of the franchise have taken to Twitter and other social media platforms to express their disappointment in the costume change, calling it a “step backward”. While on social media the costumes have been dubbed as highly sexualized thanks to the men producing the movie, there are other theories — theories which the women playing the Amazons have voiced themselves.

Some argue that the altered costumes are sheerly a change made to ensure historical accuracy; the Amazonian costumes in “Wonder Woman” are made to depict an entirely different era than those in “Justice League.” The latter film dresses the women in armor which is eerily similar to that of the women in the movie “300,” suggesting that their armor was modeled after that of the Spartans.

Meanwhile, the actresses who play the Amazons have stepped in to defend their male director and costume designer, saying that they should be able to wear whatever they desire without hearing commentary about how much skin they’re showing.

Perhaps by wearing such costumes, the actresses themselves are making a much different point than fans first speculated; rather than allowing their characters to be sexualized, they are making a feminist statement, proclaiming to women everywhere that it’s empowering to be confident in their own skin and wear whatever they want to wear.

Women have been fighting this battle very publicly in recent years, from smaller scale crusades, such as high school dress codes, to larger ones, such as this. We’ve all heard the argument that if a woman wearing little clothing gets negative attention from men, “she was asking for it.” With yet another new year looming over our heads, it’s about time for that sentiment to change.

Photo via Wikimedia Commons.

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