Monday, March 5, 2012

The Way We See Female Supervillians

This week, I want to write my blog about a part of comics that I feel is very is undervalued: female supervillains. Everyone seems to know about supervillains like Lex Luthor and the Joker, but such supervillains such as Eletrka and Mystique don't get as much attention for their evilness.I wonder why. Is it because one just expects men to be more evil and women to be nicer? Maybe, but I feel that is just a glazing over of the issue. The problem is that female supervillains suffer from the same problem that female superheroes do: people don't see them as supervillains first; they see them as females. Unfortunately, that usually leads to a view that objectifies them.

I was just reading an article that ranked "The 8 Hottest Female Super Villains"  when I ran across a very nice comment about Rebecca Romjin when she played Mystique in the X-Men movie. It said "We'll let Rebecca give us blue balls....literally. Sure it may be funny to me at first, but the reason why it's funny doesn't sit well with me. She's not getting judged on how well she played her role as Mystique because all that matters to the readers of the article is whether or not she looked good. The full article can be reached here:

Look, I'm not out to make villains of those who cares about how female supervilliains look. Heck, I care about how female supervillains look. However, there is way more to being a female supervillain that just looks. As one can see with Catwoman here: there is lots more to being a female supervilliain that just looking good. Female Supervillains are be just as cunning and ruthless as male supervillain, if not more so.


  1. I agree with your comment on how "people don't see them as super villains first, they see them as females" and I have to wonder if this is because of gender stereotypes, the outfits that female super villains and superheroines wear, or because of some other innate trigger that has been ingrained in our brains because of societies hold on us. I must admit, that when I was about eight, I thought cat woman and Poison Ivy were the good guys. (Granted poison should have tipped me off, but hey, I was eight.) I feel like female supervillians aren't taken as seriously, and I think a lot of that is attributed to their sexy outfits, where they are seen as hot females first, evil villains second. I'm not saying that female super villains should all look as ugly and creepy as Ursula from the Little Mermaid, and I'm not even sure if they should even change their outfits. I think what really needs to change is societies viewpoints, and stop thinking of female villains as hot or sexy, but rather as the evil villains they are.

  2. I think that the problem with taking female supervillains seriously comes down to the fact that the creators are over-sexualizing these characters. They are putting attractive women in revealing outfits and in Mystiques case, a lack of an outfit. It is difficult to focus on the villain's authority as a troublemaker and as an evil being when she is parading around improperly clothed. This can be applied to a male supervillain as well because if he was an attractive man in a speedo like outfit then I doubt people would focus on matters other than his appearance. However, it is important to note that most male supervillains are not attractive and are scary looking. The question to ask is why are female villains created as attractive beings while male villains are down right creepy?

  3. It irks me to think that what defines a super heroine or a supervillainess is what she wears, compared to a superhero or male villain, in which physical strength and their super powers. The problem is that in the majority of comics, the appearance is more important than their abilities in fighting crime in judging superheroines or supervillains. This leads to the portrayal of the females in comics to be oversexualize as the comment above states. Consequently, many female comic characters are dressed in skimpy outfits or almost nothing as Mystique is.

  4. Often, the over-sexualization of female supervillains can detract from their great power. However, when supervillains are not over-sexualized, I think that they can be seen even scarier and more powerful in a storyline than a male villain. Perhaps this has to do with societal stereotypes. We expect men to play the role of the villain, so when a woman fills this role instead, it can make her seem all the more scary because her behavior is unexpected. Take for example, the television show Once Upon A Time whose supervillian is the evil stepmother. The way she acts as a villain, abusing her immense evil power, is truly frightening. And because she is a woman, her power is emphasized because society does not expect such evil behavior from women.


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