Occasionally in the 90s we’d get a cartoon that would dedicate at least one episode to feminism or at least some vague notion of female empowerment. Batman: The Animated Series is no exception, and the episode “Harley and Ivy” is definitely one of my all-time favorites—after all, it introduced me to my absolute favorite femslash pairing. The episode in general does some great things, but it’s also still pretty problematic. At the heart of these problems is how we get feminism promoted to us through two female villains, causing it to look more like straw feminism than actual feminism. Despite that, though, this episode addresses everything from sexism to abusive relationships, street harassment, and female friendships.
We all remember DC Wedding-gate, right? When DC’s editorial department decided that Batwoman and her girlfriend Maggie couldn’t get married out of some misguided belief that marriage makes characters boring? When they seemed to believe that forbidding a same-sex marriage had the same weight as forbidding a straight one, and their Eisner-winning creative team walked off the project, citing irreconcilable creative differences? I stuck with the series for a while after that out of a desire to not be unsupportive of DC’s only queer headliner, but it finally broke me. I dropped the ongoing comic a few months ago as the storytelling drooped from fascinating down to mediocre and episodic.
Just recently, however, my birthday rolled around, and I found myself missing Kate Kane. It being my birthday and all, I decided it was time to treat myself: I bought Batwoman: Elegy.