Here in the States, we have always been told that our Israeli cousins, who are sometimes our actual cousins, possess a mental toughness developed in large part because of their mandatory military service. Our pampered and neurotic American brains, of course, can only dream of such service and physical development. We American believe that Israelis are our physical superiors in ever way.
It makes much sense then, that Israeli actress and model Gal Gadot, was cast in the role of Wonder Woman in the much-anticipated worlds-collide movie, Batman v Superman (March 25). Who better to wield the whip of Paradise Island than a genuine army veteran with an exotic and only semi-placeable (to most) Mediterranean accent? This week, however, Gadot took her candidacy to new heights.
During an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live on Tuesday night, Gadot showed herself to be in possession of that final and perhaps most definitive piece of the sabra trinity: complete, total, and disarming bluntness. In response to a question Kimmel asked about the (presumably male) comic-book-geek reaction to her Wonder Woman portrayal, Gadot, without missing a beat, replied with equal parts humor and derision: “So, what do you think of my breasts?”
Kimmel’s jaw dropped, his eyes nearly popping out of his head.
Gadot then explained that there is discussion, in the geeky comic book circles about her breasts. Kimmel, a self-proclaimed comic book nerd, he had taken issue with Gadot’s new, non-Wonder-Woman-regulation costume, which, without its bustier/hot pants set (feminism!) is, of course, not exactly, canonical. That is to say, Gadot’s Wonder Woman looks is a willowy, athletic former model who practices martial arts, and not the depiction from a comic book artist (and hero) who could circumvent the laws of physics with the stroke of a pen. That, she said, is what she thought he was getting at, so why not just hit it straight on?
Kimmel protested, but of course, that’s precisely what he was going to get at. The point was to talk about Gadot’s décolletage in a way that allowed him to control the conversation, to make her the butt of the joke instead of in on it, or, indeed, its instigator. You know, like the habits of the way late-night talk show hosts who leeringly sexualize their young and attractive female guests, while making themselves out to be nerdy, nebbishy guys who would never have the guts to talk to someone who looked like her.
In one fell swoop—and possibly, by dint of her sheer Israeliness and all its attendant chutzpah—Gadot foiled all that. She stole his Kimmel’s punchline, let the metaphorical air out of his tires, and made it clear that if there were any self-deprecating comments to be made about her body in its skintight costume, she would be the one who would make them, and somehow, seem breezy and charming and good-humored in the process. Now that’s what I call a wonder.