No matter which way you turn, it feels like everyone is talking about Wonder Woman.
The female-led, and female-directed superhero film has been both a critical and box office success. Vox headlined their review, Wonder Woman isn’t just the hero Hollywood needs. She’s the one exhausted feminists deserve and it’s been widely proclaimed a “tremendous win” for the superhero genre.
Wonder Woman broke the record for the biggest opening weekend for a female-directed film, and they did so by attracting a largely female audience.
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The film’s success has been a liberating ‘told-you-so’ moment at a time when industry heavyweights continue to claim that female superhero films don’t make money, or that women in lead roles will somehow turn audiences off.
But despite the film’s popularity, Wonder Woman has been banned in Lebanon. And it’s all because of the leading actress’ political past.
Israeli-born Gal Gadot (pronounced ‘ga-daute’) began as a model in her late teens, and in 2004 won the Miss Israel beauty pageant. That same year, Gadot competed in the Miss Universe pageant, when she says she intentionally ‘rebelled’ against the competition.
“I was 19. I wasn’t that type of girl. I rebelled,” she told People magazine.
“I came down late, I showed up late to everything… I didn’t wear my makeup.”
But only a year after representing Israel in the Miss Universe pageant, Gadot was enlisted into the Israeli Defense Force.
Military service is mandatory for all men and women over the age of 18 in Israel.
For two years, Gadot trained with the Israeli army, and has said since that her combat training was helpful in preparing for her role in Wonder Woman.
In 2007, Gadot was featured in Maxim magazine's round up of "the world's sexiest soldiers".
The article was titled, "The chosen ones: Israeli Defense Forces," and introduced the women as, "drop-dead gorgeous and can take apart an Uzi in seconds. Are the women of the Israeli Defense Forces the world's sexiest soldiers?"