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Wonder Woman star Gal Gadot: Anyone who is not a feminist is sexist

As the embodiment of one of the fiercest female characters ever to have graced our cinema screens, Gal Gadot knows a thing or two about the power of women.

By Anna Brech

It won’t be surprising to anyone who’s seen the recent record-breaking Wonder Woman film that its star Gal Gadot has strong opinions on the topic of feminism.

The former Israeli combat instructor and beauty pageant queen, 32, trained in swordsmanship, Kung Fu kickboxing, capoeira and Brazilian jiu-jitsu to transform into the legendary DC Comics superhero.

And she tackled challenging re-shoots for the blockbuster - currently the highest-grossing live-action film ever directed by a woman - while pregnant with her second daughter ("We cut open the costume and had this green screen on my stomach," she recalls).

The actress - who had almost given up on her film career when she landed Hollywood's most badass female role - believes anyone who is not a feminist is by default sexist.

"People always ask me, 'Are you a feminist?'" Gadot tells Rolling Stone, in a new interview out this month.

"And I find the question surprising, because I think, 'Yes, of course. Every woman, every man, everyone should be a feminist. Because whoever is not a feminist is a sexist.'"

Such a black and white view is perhaps informed by Gadot's childhood, where she and her sister were taught "to believe that we're capable, to value ourselves".
Gadot was "a tomboy", she says, "always with wounds and scratches on my knees".

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So, when Gadot was offered the opportunity to play Wonder Woman - a part which she describes as "propaganda for the new type of woman who should rule the world" - it was a win for her both as an actress, and as a feminist.

And it gave her the chance to re-dress some past grievances, with the portrayal of one of the most kick-ass women of all time.

"I've had my moments where I've felt like men were misbehaving – nothing sexual, but inappropriate in a sexist way. Dismissive," Gadot explains. "Life wasn't always rosy and peachy for me as a woman in the world."

Gadot and Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins worked hard to create the kind of female warrior who was strong because of her femininity, not despite it.

Wonder Woman wasn't "cold-hearted" but instead approached the world as a woman raised only by women. And the depiction hit home with audiences everywhere, as audiences held mass-screenings with their girlfriends and grandmothers, and young boys started snapping up Wonder Woman merchandise.

As Gadot says, Wonder Woman shows that "being a woman is a strength - in so many ways".