Sexualized Saturdays: Oversexualization of Female Villains

Lady Saika and I made the mistake of watching Man of Steel together. While I was up in arms about the problems I had with the movie versus the comic books, Saika was actually excited for what the movie did right, specifically women characters.

Man of Steel Lois LaneShe had a point. Lois Lane is just all sorts of awesome, although she still kept her ridiculously bad luck when it came to falling from high heights (or good luck, in that Superman is always there to catch her.)

faora evilIn addition to Lois being written to act like a freaking human, Sub-Commander Faora-Ul just oozes awesome. The sub-commander spends a great chunk of the movie beating the piss out of Superman. Also, in a rarity for most female superheroes and supervillains, Faora is allowed to fight in full battle armor. No chainmail bra. No swimsuit. Full-body armor. Hell, I’d argue she has more protection than Superman. Yes, she’s defeated in the end, but she’s was defeated on equal footing.

You have to be happy for Faora. She got something that women in comics and comic movies rarely get; body armor. Most women villains have to fight in leotards or some other costume that gives them little or no protection. These skin-tight costumes the female villains wear serve no purpose on the battlefield. They are solely there to make the villain look sexy. If you are fighting a superhero, I don’t care how fast the female villain is. She needs protection. No villain is going to win a fight because she seduces the hero with her breasts popping out in a leotard. It’s an over-sexualized visual solely for the reader’s (or viewer’s) benefit. And it’s just bad strategy for the character. 

What a ridiculous panel.

What a ridiculous panel.

In addition, supervillains generally don’t get that leadership role. There are examples, sure. Lady Saika and Lady Geek Girl gave me a great list of villains that get to do their own thing. But there are outlying problems. Most of the female villain leaders are pitted against female superheroes, like Wonder Woman’s cache of villains. 

In addition, the women villains that exist rarely get a mainstream movie. Catwoman in Batman Returns and Talia Al-Ghul in The Dark Knight Rises were very strong, but Poison Ivy’s character suffered immense damage after she was destroyed in Batman and Robin. And it may just be me, but I never thought the female villains in the X-Men movies were allowed to be anything other than an extension of Magneto.

So for Faora to carry a huge part of Man of Steel as the fully-clothed villain of note, while beating on Superman, was amazing. But generally, I think that women supervillains are not given enough ability to just be evil, horrid people without rhyme or reason, dressed in the best armor money can buy and using the best powers God has given them. That would be a heck of a supervillain, man or woman.

2 thoughts on “Sexualized Saturdays: Oversexualization of Female Villains

  1. Pingback: Jacquel Rassenworth and the Inept Villains she Fights~by StellarGeek | The Jacquel Rassenworth Blog

  2. Its simple really. If you usually come up with cool male villains, do the same thing only make the villain female. Don’t sexualize them. Just give them normal clothing and a cool personality.

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