Pregnant ‘Avatar’ warrior is ‘last bastion’ of empowering female roles


James Cameron claims “Avatar: The Way of Water” is the most “empowering” film for women yet — thanks to the sight of a pregnant warrior.

The upcoming film picks up a decade from where the original left off, with the story of the Sully clan training as warriors as they start a family — and Cameron chose to have Neytiri (Zoe Saldana) be pregnant.

“Everybody’s always talking about female empowerment,” Cameron told Robert Rodriguez in Variety’s Directors on Directors series. “But what is such a big part of a woman’s life that we, as men, don’t experience? And I thought, ‘Well, if you’re really going to go all the way down the rabbit hole of female empowerment, let’s have a female warrior who’s six months pregnant in battle.’ ”

The 68-year-old director explained that the character’s pregnancy is meant to break the stereotypes that expecting women are unfit and powerless and showcase a society in which women had to fight in order to survive.

Director James Cameron says “Avatar: The Way of Water” is an “empowering” film for women.
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Jake Sully, voiced by Sam Worthington, left, and Neytiri, voiced by Zoe Saldana in a scene from "Avatar: The Way of Water."
Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) and Neytiri (Zoe Saldana) in “Avatar: The Way of Water.”
20th Century Studios via AP

“It doesn’t happen in our society — probably hasn’t happened for hundreds of years. But I guarantee you, back in the day, women had to fight for survival and protect their children, and it didn’t matter if they were pregnant. And pregnant women are more capable of being a lot more athletic than we, as a culture, acknowledge. I thought, ‘Let’s take the real boundaries off.’ To me, it was the last bastion that you don’t see,” he said.

Cameron also claimed that this film shows female empowerment better than Marvel.

“Wonder Woman and Captain Marvel — all these other amazing women come up, but they’re not moms, and they’re not pregnant while they’re fighting evil,” he said.

Kate Winslet, who portrays Ronal in the sequel, championed Cameron for creating “feminine” roles that have “balance” to them.

Ronal, voiced by Kate Winslet, left, and Tonowari, voiced by Cliff Curtis in a scene from "Avatar: The Way of Water."
Ronal (Kate Winslet) and Tonowari (Cliff Curtis) in “Avatar: The Way of Water.”
20th Century Studios via AP

“Jim [Cameron] is so remarkable at creating roles for women that are both powerful and measured and physically capable, and I really admire that. It’s something that, of course, we need more of and we’ve been talking about that stuff for years,” Winslet, 47, told Total Films magazine via Games Radar.

“But the point is, Jim has been doing it for years: He’s been creating great roles for women for years. There are more central leading female roles in his films than there are men, and that’s really, really important, and really inspiring,” the “Mare of Easttown” producer continued.

“Avatar: The Way of Water” opens in theaters Friday, Dec. 16.

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