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  1. #1
    Moderator Nyssane's Avatar
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    Default Why can't female villains be taken seriously?

    This preview for Wonder Woman #41 shows the Female Furies, some of the deadliest women in the galaxy, getting defeated by a handful of human soldiers. That got me thinking... why can't female villains be taken seriously in comic book lore?

    The Furies are literal gods from Apokolips, considered Darkseid's elite, and have been semi-successful in their 40-ish year comic history for the most part. In animation, they've been even more successful, defeating both Superman and Supergirl in their first appearance on Superman: TAS, as well as having one of the best animated battles with Wonder Woman and Big Barda in Superman/Batman: Apocalypse. Yet, three of them were defeated single-handedly by Lois Lane after being depicted as staunch feminazis in the recent Superman arc, and now five of them were decimated by Steve Trevor and his merry men which resulted in Lashina and Mad Harriet being captured.

    And this isn't limited to just the Furies. Cheetah is one of Wonder Woman's top villains yet has been cursed with unforgivable depictions getting defeated by Batman, Catwoman, and Green Arrow (to name a few), despite being empowered by a god in ways similar to Diana herself.

    DC's biggest female villains (Catwoman, Harley Quinn, and Poison Ivy) have all crossed over to being antiheroes or just straight up heroes. Killer Frost, while not a huge name at DC, also recently crossed over to antihero.

    When there's a big crossover event, rarely does a female villain shine. Circe is the closest thing to a global-scale villainess that could stand with Brainiac or Darkseid, but she's rarely used outside of the Wonder Woman comics and has also faced a number of embarrassing defeats (usually by Batman of course).

    Marvel has virtually no A-List female villains, so there's also that. I guess Hela's popularity/awareness is rising, but it hasn't really been reflected in the comics.

    So, what I'm getting at...
    • Are female villains treated differently from male ones?
    • Why does it seem that the majority of powerful villains at a global scale are men?
    • Why are female villains often relegated to femme fatale roles of lesser importance?
    • What female villains do you think could be elevated to a higher standing in the DC Universe?

  2. #2
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    I think that Superman/Batman film was rubbish because it utterly neutered Darkseid. New Gods in general suffer from rubbish writing. But I'll take powerful Darkseid with weak Furies over vice versa.

    Talia al Ghul from Morrison's run is arguably the most dangerous Batman villain. I cant exactly blame writers for the face turns of the Sirens when there's a brigade of entitled fans pestering writers every hour to make Ivy a hero and using politics to make their points.
    Talia fans are just vicious, their hate for Morrison is alarming.

    Brubaker tried with Sin on Captain America though.

    I attribute the femme fatale roles to the predominant male gaze. The lack of dangerous/powerful I attribute to politics.
    Maxima was/is outrageously powerful but using her character like she was intended to be will result in crucifuxion from the Liberal media. They even tried to make her Lesbian which was just laughable. An in character Maxima would be an extreme homophobe. But ofcourse we cant have that. So Maxima is over as a result.

  3. #3
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    Yeah, this is definitely an issue.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nyssane View Post
    [*]Are female villains treated differently from male ones?
    Female characters in general receive worse treatment on the whole.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nyssane View Post
    [*]Why does it seem that the majority of powerful villains at a global scale are men?
    Likely because of unintentional but still present sexism in writers, they feel that a larger than life, domineering figure to be feared by all is a role best played by a man.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nyssane View Post
    Why are female villains often relegated to femme fatale roles of lesser importance?
    This

    Quote Originally Posted by Barbatos666 View Post
    I attribute the femme fatale roles to the predominant male gaze.
    Quote Originally Posted by Nyssane View Post
    What female villains do you think could be elevated to a higher standing in the DC Universe?
    While obviously I'd want my favorites (Scandal, Knockout and Jeannette) to be the ones to get more use in general, as far as villains who I could see being elevated to being larger threats to the DCU? There really aren't many choices, but maybe Blackfire?

    Quote Originally Posted by Barbatos666 View Post
    New Gods in general suffer from rubbish writing.
    I haven't read any of the recent New Gods one-shots, but did any of them actually remember the POINT of them that DC has seemingly long forgotten?

    Quote Originally Posted by Barbatos666 View Post
    Maxima was/is outrageously powerful but using her character like she was intended to be will result in crucifuxion from the Liberal media. They even tried to make her Lesbian which was just laughable. An in character Maxima would be an extreme homophobe. But ofcourse we cant have that. So Maxima is over as a result.
    Don't agree with this at all and I actually enjoyed her role in Superwoman.

  4. #4
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    Sure but the real Maxima can easily be Superman's Ra's al Ghul instead of being a reject in Supergirl and other lesser books.

  5. #5
    Astonishing Member Nomads1's Avatar
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    In the boring days we live, if you try to write a real bad ass villainess you end up being accused of sexism and other isms.

    That said, I'm total in favor of more female villains. Circe and Lady Shiva are two who come to mind that have real potential, but seem to be seldom used.

    Over at Marvel, Superia is the only major player that comes to mind, and her motivations as a female supremacist tend to be used in, quite frankly, ridiculous ways.

    I liked Maxima as a villiain, but i also liked her a lot as a hero too.

    Peace

  6. #6
    Astonishing Member HandofPrometheus's Avatar
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    Don't know, but I've been having less enjoyment with female villains. Poison Ivy is in the verge of losing it all just so she can be good and be with Harley, DC ruined Maxima for me (no surprise there). Can't even remember the rest. The last I enjoyed was Morrsions Talia.

    Female villains are definitely getting treated differently than male ones. They're aren't written with a global scale that males are depicted. Only one I can think is Cassandra Nova from X-men who surprise surprise is also written by Morrison.

    DC needs to bring back Queen Bee, the one from Bialya not the alien one. YJ used her great and I enjoyed her in JLI.

    Circe needs to be used more. DCUO uses her great.

    Emerald Empress has potential.

    Superwoman from Earth 3 should've stayed alive.

  7. #7
    Extraordinary Member Zero Hunter's Avatar
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    The Legion has some of the most dangerous female villains. The Emerald Empress, Glorith, and Saturn Queen are never treated as a joke and are some of the most powerful and dangerous foes the Legion ever faces.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zero Hunter View Post
    The Legion has some of the most dangerous female villains. The Emerald Empress, Glorith, and Saturn Queen are never treated as a joke and are some of the most powerful and dangerous foes the Legion ever faces.
    A relatively minor, but nonetheless interesting and dangerous villain, was Brainiac 4; she committed genocide on a galaxy wide scale.

    It is kind of funny to think about just how many things the Legion as a whole does better than the present DCU.

  9. #9
    Astonishing Member mathew101281's Avatar
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    Sexism. In order to be an A class villain you need to have power, and a lot of men still have issues with women having that level of power. Their is also the issue of the lack of popular female heroes. This is what causes people to want to convert any villainess that gets popular into a hero. Its a real shame that if you were to make a top villains in comics list youd be hard pressed to find any females that cracked the top ten. Even top twenty would be really difficult.

  10. #10
    BAMF!!!!! KurtW95's Avatar
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    People are afraid to make women bad guys these days. Why do you think people are suddenly pretending Harley and Ivy are good guys and Mystique is portrayed as a hero onscreen?
    Good Marvel characters- Bring Them Back!!!

  11. #11
    Extraordinary Member Zero Hunter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Assam View Post
    A relatively minor, but nonetheless interesting and dangerous villain, was Brainiac 4; she committed genocide on a galaxy wide scale.

    It is kind of funny to think about just how many things the Legion as a whole does better than the present DCU.
    I liked what the way they set up Brainiac 4. She was just a sociopath who felt no empathy with anyone not even her own son. She literally was like living machine all logic and no feelings more or less. The only problem was that story was just so bad it kind of dampened the cool take they were going for with her.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zero Hunter View Post
    The only problem was that story was just so bad it kind of dampened the cool take they were going for with her.
    Eh. While I definitely agree that the run was running out of steam at that point and DnA's fresh take was needed, I still wouldn't call the story bad. Just fairly average with a few highlights (like 4 herself.)

  13. #13
    Death becomes you Osiris-Rex's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mathew101281 View Post
    Sexism. In order to be an A class villain you need to have power, and a lot of men still have issues with women having that level of power. Their is also the issue of the lack of popular female heroes. This is what causes people to want to convert any villainess that gets popular into a hero. It’s a real shame that if you were to make a top villains in comics list you’d be hard pressed to find any females that cracked the top ten. Even top twenty would be really difficult.
    Quote Originally Posted by KurtW95 View Post
    People are afraid to make women bad guys these days. Why do you think people are suddenly pretending Harley and Ivy are good guys and Mystique is portrayed as a hero onscreen?
    Seems like TV does a better job at making female villains truly dangerous than the comic books do. On Arrow there is Black Siren. On Supergirl this season alone there is Reign, Purity, Psi. Flash has Amunet, Hazard and
    Killer Frost (though somewhat neutered now). And Gotham has Barbara, Tabitha, Selina, and Sophia. With Poison Ivy coming. Which is odd because far more people watch TV or even go to the movies than read comic books. You would think if people were offended by making women evil TV would get a lot more criticism. But people love Black Siren, Reign, evil Killer Frost, crazy Barbara. (People hated sane Barbara)
    Last edited by Osiris-Rex; 02-23-2018 at 11:40 AM.

  14. #14
    Astonishing Member CRaymond's Avatar
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    [*]Are female villains treated differently from male ones?

    Female antipathy is unexplored and devalued.

    [*]Why does it seem that the majority of powerful villains at a global scale are men?

    Women are informed by the patriarchy to be more emotionally intelligent and wise. Men can act like children, which is what most supervillains act like.

    [*]Why are female villains often relegated to femme fatale roles of lesser importance?

    Female motivations and methodology are informed by male contexts.

    [*]What female villains do you think could be elevated to a higher standing in the DC Universe?

    Circe, Zazzala, Clea, Eclipso, Naiad, Cheetah.
    Last edited by CRaymond; 02-23-2018 at 11:58 AM.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by CRaymond View Post
    Female antipathy is unexplored and devalued. Female motivations and methodology are informed by male contexts. Sexism, but the things listed are the knobs that need turning.
    I think this is where TV has the advantage, Arrow, Flash, and Supergirl all have women writers as well as men writing the stories. Most comic books and movies are written by men. So TV shows also get the female
    point of view as to how the characters act.

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