She’s supposed to be Wonder Woman but she’s not. Her name is Gal Gadot, she is problematic, and she should answer for these allegations.
[TW– discussion of sexual assault and victim-blaming]
Gal Gadot is on everyone’s radar right now, not just for her portrayal of Wonder Woman but for seeming to be a real life wonder woman due to her hardline stance against continuing to work with Brett Ratner, who has had sexual harassment allegations brought against him. All that is awesome but it seems extremely hypocritical that no one is taking her to task for her own victim blaming past.
On Nov 14, an anonymous woman going by the name “Ima Survivor” published a Medium post that detailed how Gadot bullied and shamed her for being raped by a friend of theirs while modeling in Milan thirteen years ago. The post has been removed from Medium but a cached version can be read here. For those who have not read it yet, the first-person account is extremely graphic and details her rape and subsequent mental and emotional abuse by Gadot.
The post made very few waves in the media cycle. Where it was shared, its authenticity was called into question immediately. How do we know this “woman” is telling the truth? Wasn’t she in the military? How do you know this even real?
And the answer is, we don’t know if this is real. We don’t know if this account is any more true than the countless people who have recently stepped forward to speak up about the abuse and sexual misconduct they have suffered at the hands of Hollywood elites, some of whom are our faves.
Gadot has carved out her spot in many women’s eyes as a role model. A mother who has made a career in a tough industry and has come to embody one of the most iconic images of a powerful woman. She’s Girl Power for 2017. But she is not Wonder Woman. She is human and she is flawed. Ignoring her connection to the IDF, which has already been discussed as problematic, the history that Ima Survivor shares is goes against everything that Gadot is claiming to stand for and calls into question whether she truly believes in standing up for fellow women, or if she’s just profiting off of #solidarity to further her own image.
What Survivor wrote mirrors a tale so that many women could tell. Many of us, after being brutalized and hurt by men turn to our fellow women only to be blamed and bullied for the things that happened to us. This is especially true of young girls, which Gadot was at the time this took place, who often swallow rape culture simply because they don’t know any better.
In some cases, even more emotionally scaring than the violent acts of men are the ways that other women cover for them. According to Survivor, Gadot outright blamed her and another woman for their rapes. If they had both just known better, it wouldn’t have happened. This is common and constantly reinforced through ideas of respectability and responsibility.
The event in question took place 13 years ago and it is more than possible that Gadot has grown and learned more about rape and the culture that permeates it and that today she would absolutely never say the things she said to this woman or do the things she did. But today doesn’t erase yesterday.
Related: THIS WEEK IN FEMINISM: JOHNNY DEPP DOMESTIC ABUSE ALLEGATIONS SHOW THAT VICTIM BLAMING IS STILL A THING
If these events did not happen then it is very easy for Gadot or a member of her team to come forward and discredit them by providing history for her whereabouts or an account of what actually took place during that time. Instead there is radio silence, as if these allegations do not matter.
That silence is amplified by everyone around her. The same people who I see calling for blood when men are being (rightfully) called on their bad behavior are dead silent about this. I do not say this to entertain discussions of misandry because I don’t think it’s because she’s a woman that we are seeing the silence.
I think it’s because she’s a fave.
So many women have found such comfort and power in her portrayal on the screen that now it is hard to see her as flawed. She’s supposed to be Wonder Woman but she’s not. Her name is Gal Gadot, she is problematic, and she should answer for these allegations.
Toxic men are enabled and protected by toxic men, but they are also enabled and protected by toxic women. Toxic women help keep victims in silence and uphold patriarchal attitudes of “the right” type of girl. As long as there are women willing to put up with and protect bad behavior, such behavior will continue to happen.
Liking someone’s work should not protect them for having to answer for their past. Regardless of how much good Gadot’s portrayal of beloved character has done for representation, her past actions have also caused very real harm and she owes it to her fans to speak up about it. And her fans owe it to the world to hold their fave accountable.
Gadot shouldn’t be able to ignore this and we shouldn’t allow her to.