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  1. #1
    Astonishing Member mathew101281's Avatar
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    Default Is the fear of certain perceived negative consequences holding back female villians?

    We need to talk about female villians in the Marvel universe. Their are few of them that rise to borderline a list level, like Mystique, but even among those select few their is a distinct lack of variety. Your either a femme fatale type of villainess(Enchantress for example) or your relegated to being a villain that really only squares off against female heroes( Thundra). What is the cause of this? I've come to the conclusion that Marvel and to a lesser degree DC is afraid of showing a male hero hitting a female villain to some degree and their for most female villains are relegated to archetypes that will keep physical altercations with male heroes to a minimum. Could someone convince me that I'm wrong about this?

  2. #2
    Extraordinary Member ExodusCloak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mathew101281 View Post
    We need to talk about female villians in the Marvel universe. Their are few of them that rise to borderline a list level, like Mystique, but even among those select few their is a distinct lack of variety. Your either a femme fatale type of villainess(Enchantress for example) or your relegated to being a villain that really only squares off against female heroes( Thundra). What is the cause of this? I've come to the conclusion that Marvel and to a lesser degree DC is afraid of showing a male hero hitting a female villain to some degree and their for most female villains are relegated to archetypes that will keep physical altercations with male heroes to a minimum. Could someone convince me that I'm wrong about this?
    Emma's not a villian anymore but that rule never applied to her.

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  3. #3
    The One Above All 616MarvelYear is LeapYear's Avatar
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    Default Always a treat to behold Spider-Man's speed, strenght and agility


    Titania can take it! Outstanding!
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  4. #4
    Invincible Member XPac's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mathew101281 View Post
    We need to talk about female villians in the Marvel universe. Their are few of them that rise to borderline a list level, like Mystique, but even among those select few their is a distinct lack of variety. Your either a femme fatale type of villainess(Enchantress for example) or your relegated to being a villain that really only squares off against female heroes( Thundra). What is the cause of this? I've come to the conclusion that Marvel and to a lesser degree DC is afraid of showing a male hero hitting a female villain to some degree and their for most female villains are relegated to archetypes that will keep physical altercations with male heroes to a minimum. Could someone convince me that I'm wrong about this?
    I think there is and always will be some stigma surrounding males hitting females.

    But we do see it in comics. Even squeky clean heroes like Spidey and Cap will hit females that can take it.

  5. #5
    Extraordinary Member Holt's Avatar
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    It's what you said, that a lot of the writers and artists don't want to show male heroes hitting women. This isn't just comics either, it happens a lot in movies and TV shows too. Think of how many action movies you've seen where they have a female villain and then make sure she gets taken down by the token female heroine of the group but not one of the guys.

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think Venom was supposed to be a woman at one point right? But then editorial put the kibosh on it because they didn't want Spider-Man beating up a woman.

  6. #6
    Mighty Member ian0delond's Avatar
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    I also feel like there is a risk that a part of the audience who crave for more female/LGBT heroes would not be confortable with a villainess.
    Some creative teams had to do public apologies because they did not show X under a positive perspective.

    I don't think it is necessarily the case, but just more risky.

  7. #7
    Astonishing Member mathew101281's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 616MarvelYear is LeapYear View Post

    Titania can take it! Outstanding!
    Isn't she primarily a She hulk villian, and how often does she actually show up in books really? And to the person who said Emma counts ,Emma when she was a villian was very much in the femme fatal vain. Even her powers (telepathy) were as far away from physical as possible. It wasn't until she had made almost a complete face turn that she got the dimond skin allowing her to be a more physical opponent. This whole thing disturbs me because I feel it type casts females out of particular but important roles. A lot of writers will tell you that villians make the series. What does it say when females or other minorities aren't aloud in those roles?

  8. #8

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    You're probably right about the fear of showing a man hitting a woman. It's a squeamish subject to show or talk about.

  9. #9
    Veteran Member jphamlore's Avatar
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    Madame Masque has long been a part of Iron Man's rogues gallery and is making another appearance at the start of Bendis' Invincible Iron Man? Bendis also used the Viper in his Avengers run.

    Hickman invented Proxima Midnight as maybe the best hand-to-hand combat fighter in Thanos' Black Order.

    Thor's most powerful female opponent has been perhaps Hela, although Hela is not really a villain these days.

    The X-Men have Selene, Cassandra Nova, and Deathbird.

  10. #10
    Keeper of the Torch Ravin' Ray's Avatar
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    In as much as Lee and Kirby had Ben Grimm state he doesn't want to hurt women, later writers had him violating that (Roy Thomas was the one I think who had him battle Thundra in the 70's, and then he fought Titania in Wizard's Frightful Four, this time under Steve Englehart in the late 80's). Post Heroes Reborn, he fought the HR version of Dorma, under Chris Claremont. Even Spider-Man's had to hit women; he took out Skein/Gypsy Moth with one kick to the head in his ASM #1 (2014).
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  11. #11
    Astonishing Member phantom1592's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Holt View Post
    It's what you said, that a lot of the writers and artists don't want to show male heroes hitting women. This isn't just comics either, it happens a lot in movies and TV shows too. Think of how many action movies you've seen where they have a female villain and then make sure she gets taken down by the token female heroine of the group but not one of the guys.

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think Venom was supposed to be a woman at one point right? But then editorial put the kibosh on it because they didn't want Spider-Man beating up a woman.
    Even as a kid I always thought it was interesting in the old Batman tv show that whenever Catwoman showed up... she had a ton of Minions that could get punched while she stood in the background directing.

    UNLESS....

    Batgirl happened to be guest starring. THEN Catwoman could get into the fight. Apparently it was OK for Gals to hit Gals, but NOT ok for Guys to hit Gals..

  12. #12
    Incredible Member megaharrison's Avatar
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    There aren't any black villains either. Endless amount of black superheroes, the only relevant black villain I can think of is Black Manta in DC.

    It's about public perception, yes. They don't want to be called racist.

  13. #13
    Fantastic Member areacode212's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mathew101281 View Post
    Isn't she primarily a She hulk villian, and how often does she actually show up in books really?
    Yes, she ended up becoming primarily a She-Hulk villain, but she does show up from time to time as a member of the Frightful Four, or as part of a duo with Absorbing Man. And even she is getting something of a face/tweener turn in Illuminati next month. Which I'm all for, by the way, but yes, it does remove a prominent female bruiser villain from the mix. Still, there are a few out there currently in limbo that should be used. The Grapplers, Anaconda, Man-Killer (does she still count?)

    You're not wrong, they probably don't want to show a lot of male hero-on-female villain violence, but with more female heroes getting pushed, hopefully this will give more female villains exposure.

  14. #14
    Veteran Member jphamlore's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by megaharrison View Post
    There aren't any black villains either. Endless amount of black superheroes, the only relevant black villain I can think of is Black Manta in DC.

    It's about public perception, yes. They don't want to be called racist.
    Didn't Busiek use Moses Magnum?

  15. #15
    Ultimate Member t hedge coke's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jphamlore View Post
    Didn't Busiek use Moses Magnum?
    That's the first one I thought of. Followed by Killmonger, who isn't "relevant," just on my brain a lot.

    As far as female villains, Titania gets a lot of play. Moonstone was her own team's villain regularly, for decades of issues. Elektra tends to be all over the place, even if she probably should have been left to rest after Elektra Lives Again. Mystique is close to the last really evil mutant villain there is. Syn had an entire Event to herself, more or less. Over at DC, Catwoman, Poison Ivy, Harley, and Talia do pretty good in terms of recognition and image.

    The Code did, for awhile, actually inhibit or outright prevent men from striking women or vice versa, so you do see this weird hands-off-ness with fights for awhile in the 60s and even a consensual spanking scene redrawn and re-dialogued. (Semi-connected, I've never seen Steve Rude show a superheroine striking a villain straight on in any of his pinups or paintings. It's always men hitting men or women hitting trees or holding things.) This affects how female villains are presented, of course, and inevitably helped to sell them less than male villains who could be more readily directly confronted. So, in terms of "classic" villains, this is more or less true.
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