JUSTICE FOR BADASS VILLAINOUS LADIES!!!
Sexism in TV and film can often be really apparent. Like when there are no female characters.
But oftentimes it can be a lot more subtle — yet still just as damaging. One example of subtextual sexism in television comes with the handling of male vs. female villains.
Below, let’s look at different ways that female villains are just done dirty in TV and film!
Most supposedly “legendary” or famous villains are male.
Male villains are often three-dimensional, while female villains are two-dimensional.
Going even further than that: Female villains often don’t have any real justification or explanation for their actions.
Many times, two villains (one male and one female) are introduced together, are presented as equally evil, and share a common goal; but as the show goes on, it’s the male villain that is redeemed and further developed, while the female villain remains the same.
And oftentimes, the female villains aren’t written in a way that makes us want them to be redeemed.
When the female villains are redeemed, the arcs are much shorter and sometimes go backward…
…or the female villains are brought back seasons after their arc is over to serve as another brief Big Bad, showing that they haven’t changed or developed at all (and, in some cases, have gotten even worse).
Male villains are often shown as just needing love from a woman in order to become better.
Male villains die heroically, while female villains die in disgrace.
The male villains get to be the “fun” villains, while the female villains are just bad.
And finally, male villains that really shouldn’t be humanized (especially if they’ve committed crimes like rape) often get humanized.
I want to end on a positive note, so finally, here are some AWESOME female villains that shows did a great job with!
TV and Movies
Get all the best moments in pop culture & entertainment delivered to your inbox.