There is no denying that James Cameron's films have often had strong female characters but his latest comments about the most recent onscreen female icon have garnered severe criticism from feminists.
"All of the self-congratulatory back-patting Hollywood's been doing over Wonder Woman (starring Gal Gadot) has been so misguided," he opined. "She's an objectified icon, and it's just male Hollywood doing the same old thing! I'm not saying I didn't like the movie but, to me, it's a step backwards."
Cameron then compared the Amazonian princess to one of his own famous female characters. "Sarah Connor was not a beauty icon. She was strong, she was troubled, she was a terrible mother, and she earned the respect of the audience through pure grit. And to me, [the benefit of characters like Sarah] is so obvious. I mean, half the audience is female," he added.
These are strong words coming from a man who has made it his career to create female characters that are not overshadowed by their male counterparts. After the interview was published a number of feminists along with fans of the comic super hero took to social media to slam the Avatar director.
"The point Wonder Woman made was that women don't have to have "masculine" features like Sarah Connor or Ripley to be strong and powerful. They can be traditionally feminine. To say she was objectified is just asinine," one individual wrote on Reddit.
Most prominent among them was the director of Wonder Woman, Patty Jenkins, who posted a scathing reply to the critique of her hero. "James Cameron's inability to understand what Wonder Woman is, or stands for, to women all over the world is unsurprising as, though he is a great filmmaker, he is not a woman," she wrote on Twitter.
Referring to his praise of her 2003 film Monster starring Charlize Theron, Jenkins acknowledged that his words were appreciated but it did not mean that portrayals of powerful women had to fit a mould.
"If women have to always be hard, tough and troubled to be strong, and we aren't free to be multidimensional or celebrate an icon of women everywhere because she is attractive and loving, then we haven't come very far, have we?" she continued.
"I believe women can and should be everything, just like male lead characters should be. There is no right and wrong kind of powerful woman. And the massive female audience who made the film the hit it is, can surely choose and judge their own icons of progress."