Orientalism In WW88

When connecting Orientalism to real life the first thing I think of is Hollywood movies. More specifically superhero movies. The first movie that comes to mind is how the theory of Orientalism connects to Wonder Woman 1984. Edward W. Said is someone who is known for diving deep into Orientalism.  He argues that Orientalism is “a style of thought based upon an ontological and epistemological distinction between ‘the Orient’ and ‘the Occident’. In this way, Orientalism tends to rely on binary opposition and stereotypes between the West and the East that most of the time is misleading and destructive. WW84 shows perfectly how little has really changed when it comes to Hollywood’s treatment of other countries and other cultures. Specifically those of the Middle East and North Africa. WW84 indulges a view of Middle East and North Africa, that bears little resemblance to its myriad and unique identities, in the 1980s or now. A clear example of this is in Wonder Woman 1984 is how the movie tells the story of Wonder Woman fighting against a supervillain. But what was disappointing was a sequence in which the villain meets with an overthrown Egyptian King who wishes to return to power and kick the “heathens” out of his land. The villain helps him, but the guy already sold his oil to the Saudis. Then the villain raises a wall, cutting off the poorest people of Egypt from their water sources. After that scene, we are shown Arab children playing in the road as military vehicles race towards them; their nearby parents do nothing, requiring Wonder Woman to save them. And in one brief moment, an Iraqi official asks the villain for help because the Soviets were backing Iran. This is filled and I mean filled with historical inaccuracies. And some insensitive depictions of Middle Eastern people. This showed a lazy, sort of Orientalism by Hollywood. The film’s creators needed a foreign locale to show off the villain’s powers. They wanted people the hero could save. And they wanted a foreign conflict for the villain to get involved in. So they turned to the Middle East. This is the disappointed truth of Hollywood but a sad one as it never seems to get better. 

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