Since Wonder Woman hit the big screen in early June, several cinema chains around the world have laid on select women-only showings. Predictably, this has provoked grumblings of reverse sexism in certain quarters, with some men upset that they were being excluded from the audience.
At one recent women-only screening at a cinema in Belgium, however, it was members of the all-female audience who were left disappointed. Cinema chain Kinepolis handed out goodie bags to the women as they left the showing in Leuven – but rather than containing treats relevant to the film (a book on Greek myths and a voucher for kickboxing lessons, perhaps), the bags were… well, a little off-message, let’s say.
The pink bags bore the words ‘Cool things inside’. However, this promise fell flat when women looked inside and reportedly found a scourer, bathroom wiper, dish sponge and a pamphlet for slimming pills. Because cleaning and losing weight are at the top of every Amazonian warrior’s list of priorities, of course. (The bags also contained snacks, which we are happy to endorse.)
Diana Goodwin, an audience member at Kinepolis who happens to share a name with Wonder Woman (aka Princess Diana, aka Diana Prince), told Belgian outlet VRT: “It felt a little absurd.”
She continued: “Especially when you’re watching a movie that completely revolves around a strong, female superhero.
“At the very least it’s ironic and inappropriate that women get a scourer and an ad for slimming pills put under their nose during the movie.”
Laurent Delbar tweeted: “Exclusive goodie bag for ladies at the movies?! Sponge, brush and scourer… Perfect tools for a Wonder Woman?”
Kinepolis has said sorry for the gift bags, claiming that the products were provided by the cinema’s sponsors.
“We would like to apologise for this oversight, and understand the reactions,” tweeted the chain. “We will take appropriate action so that this will not occur in future.”
Elsewhere, Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins has said she has mixed feelings about women-only showings. “On the one hand, I’m so delighted by those screenings,” she told The Frame.
“On the other hand I can imagine being offended if I’m excluded from those screenings, particularly because Wonder Woman herself has a very, very passionate fan base, many of whom are men.”
Jenkins added that she thinks many male comic book movie fans already “feel disenfranchised from their own gender or their own identity. And I would never want to leave them out of anything, you know?”
Ultimately, however, she said that she thinks the screenings are “wonderful”. “I could switch to either side of the argument, but… there have not been that many female-skewed things and certainly there have been many, many male. So I celebrate that.”
Images: Rex Features