Saturday, April 7, 2012

What's Her True Identity: Batwoman or Kate Kane?

     In class this week, we talked a lot about Kate's true identity. As Kate Kane, Batwoman is merely a civilian who has a father who used to be in the army and a rich stepmother. She got kicked out of West Point due to her sexual preferences. She could have hid her lesbian identity and stayed in West Point, but doing so would have caused her to be someone she is not. Instead, Kate went back home, embraced her true character, and became Batwoman.

     As Batwoman, Kate is a fierce, powerful, and courageous superheroine. She fights for justice, just as she would have had she stayed in West Point. However, she does not have to hide her sexual preferences, and instead is allowed to live her life in any way she chooses. As Batwoman, Kate is her true self, and this leads me to believe that Batwoman is her true identity and Kate Kane is the mask that "disguises" her from the public eye.

     J.H. Williams III draws Batwoman and Batman in a different style than he draws the other characters (Kate Kane included). Using a different method and different paints causes the superheroine and superhero to appear more realistic than the other cartoon characters. In class I was quick to dismiss this as an attempt to simply distinguish the two characters as "super" compared to the other characters, but I now realize that the artist definitely had ulterior motives when using such a changed style. Perhaps he was attempting to convey the realistic nature of Batwoman and Batman's identity. They weren't born as heroes like Superman and Wonder Woman, but instead became them later in life. This can cause some to believe that they disguise themselves as Batwoman and Batman to fight crime and that their real identities are Kate Kane and Bruce Wayne. However, they actually use Kate Kane and Bruce Wayne as disguises, for their true selves are only revealed when they are in their Bat-state. Just like Superman uses Clark Kent and Wonder Woman uses Diana Prince, Batwoman and Batman use their "human" disguises to shield their identity from the public. Batwoman true identity is Batwoman, but she uses Kate Kane when she needs to be in her "normal" everyday life. By using such an altered style to draw Batwoman, Williams reveals that her true identity, her more realistic self, is Batwoman rather than Kate Kane.


  1. Does this realization say something more about true identity, and specifically, gender identity? Maybe not for Batman, but for Batwoman, she doesn't feel comfortable in her skin as Kate Kane. Perhaps the authors were trying to make the point that because Kate Kane is a lesbian, she has never felt like she truly belonged to a gender grouping, and so she created something entirely different for herself, instead of conforming to societal norms. Yes, this got her kicked out of West Point, but she got to be something so much more unique and admirable because she didn't change who she really was just to fit in.

  2. One thing I found quite interesting about this was that many superheroes hid their true powers, which made them their true selves, behind the façade of a normal person. Kate Kane, however, does not have any super powers that would make her a superheroine, just a longing to “serve” and fight for justice. Like the other superheroes who repress their powers in public, Kate was repressing an aspect of herself that was very important to her identity. By becoming Batwoman, she was able to truly express herself and have others appreciate her for who she is, regardless of her sexuality. Overall, I think all of the superheroes tell that it is important to be able to express yourself fully and find an outlet to do so. It just seems like a shame that Kate Kane could not be herself as Kate Kane and had to create another identity in order to be able to be her true self without losing respect from others.

  3. I also understood the differences in the drawing style as a representation of the realness in the idea of Batwoman. Kate Kane truly can be who she really is without hiding when she is in this form. It was necessary for her to be kicked out of West Point in order to have this alter-ego, which serves almost as a vehicle to self-actualization. She can finally accept who she is and feel that others will not judge her for it. However, I do not know if the public in this series know that she is a lesbian. If they do, then it would mean that she can live fully through Batwoman, but if not it would mean that there is not an alter-ego where she can express that part of herself to others without fear of judgment.

  4. The comment posted by Emily Lutz on this subject really intrigued me. The fact that Kate Kane was able to step out of her body, her "gender role", to create something completely different that allowed her to be herself is very admirable. I wonder how many people would choose to do something like this. It's not that we want to be someone else or hide who we are, rather, we want what we look like and are perceived by other people to be like what we are on the inside as well. Many people can accomplish this because they have the luxury of being given the body that matches their inner self. However, there are also many people out there who do not have this luxury and I am sure would like to be able to.


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