23 votes

Please just let women be villains

16 comments

  1. [2]
    chrysanth
    Link
    If you're looking for a subversion of this particular trope, justifying the "evil" actions of women through tragic backstory, consider watching The Woman Called Fujiko Mine. Not a movie but rather...

    If you're looking for a subversion of this particular trope, justifying the "evil" actions of women through tragic backstory, consider watching The Woman Called Fujiko Mine. Not a movie but rather a short anime series. Don't want to spoil too much, so I won't add any more details.

    8 votes
    1. bilbodwyer
      Link Parent
      Thanks for the rec! I've been eager to watch more anime so I'm going to go try to locate it :D

      Thanks for the rec! I've been eager to watch more anime so I'm going to go try to locate it :D

      2 votes
  2. [3]
    Sand
    Link
    Seems like this article is reaching a bit. Most of Disney's villains are women. Hollywood movies usually make the main character's actions justifiable. There doesn't seem to be an issue with...

    Seems like this article is reaching a bit. Most of Disney's villains are women. Hollywood movies usually make the main character's actions justifiable. There doesn't seem to be an issue with female villains as long as they aren't the main character.

    5 votes
    1. [2]
      TheJorro
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      This article is driven by Disney's re-tooling of those villainesses, with their new Cruella movie as the inciting incident. The end of the article talks positively about a work where a female...

      This article is driven by Disney's re-tooling of those villainesses, with their new Cruella movie as the inciting incident. The end of the article talks positively about a work where a female villain is the main character.

      What's the reach?

      11 votes
      1. Sand
        Link Parent
        That Disney is doing this because of some sort of revival of the True Womanhood movement.

        That Disney is doing this because of some sort of revival of the True Womanhood movement.

  3. vord
    Link
    In that vein, I think Cutthroat Island is an incredibly feminist film, because they wrote and treated a female pirate the same way they'd treat a male one.

    In that vein, I think Cutthroat Island is an incredibly feminist film, because they wrote and treated a female pirate the same way they'd treat a male one.

    1 vote
  4. [10]
    AugustusFerdinand
    Link
    This is an unknown and complete assumption by the author in order to justify the rest of the article. While all of the examples given are true in that they are female villains that have been given...

    She is a misunderstood #girlboss whose actions will be justified by the film, and whose actions most likely were in reaction to bad things other people did to her first…

    This is an unknown and complete assumption by the author in order to justify the rest of the article.

    While all of the examples given are true in that they are female villains that have been given justification, there are numerous examples of female villains that exist without justification: the Sanderson sisters, Nurse Ratched, Jadis - The White Witch, Agatha Trunchbull, Dolores Umbridge, Miranda Priestly, Rita Repulsa, Klara Risinger aka Liberty aka Stormfront, Nemene Damendar Boann, Catherine Tramell, Jill Roberts (Scream), Queen Ingrith (who is ignored in the article while the author complains about Maleficent being given justification for villainy), and most importantly Cruella de Vil.

    Add to the argument that the author uses Circe as an example of an unjustified villain while providing the reason for her villainy, jealousy. Her love was rejected by another god and so she decided to "do evil." Now we can argue if mere jealousy constitutes "justification" or not until the cows come home, but if we decide it doesn't then the list of unjustifiable female villains grows exponentially. Add to it the fact that the author elected to use Circe as an example of unjustified villain knowing that mythology tends to have little to no background to all the acts the gods carried out.

    If anything, I'd argue that Circe is a terrible example of a villain and is far worse than the mere claims that writers unnecessarily give female villains justification because in Miller's Circe she redeems herself by righting the wrongs she committed.

    Circe has the benefit of being a novel, rather than a corporately owned and produced piece of intellectual property.

    Cruella was a villain in a novel first and an unjustifiable villain in it as well.

    1 vote
    1. [9]
      TheJorro
      Link Parent
      Was that trailer supposed to impart any other sentiment or assumption? Pretty much every line in it reinforces what this article describes it as. I'm not sure what the point of making a list of...

      Was that trailer supposed to impart any other sentiment or assumption? Pretty much every line in it reinforces what this article describes it as.

      I'm not sure what the point of making a list of other female characters is. This article isn't saying it's happening across the board and no stone has been left unturned, it's an argument against the current trend of approach to the concept. If anything, it's suggesting that if Disney turns its eye to any of these characters for whatever reason, they may get the treatment this essay is taking umbrage with. And Cruella is the one that is the catalyst for this, after all, because how is anyone going to justify killing a bunch of puppies?

      Lastly, this article brought up Circe (specifically, the version as written in Madeline Miller's book) as a way to do an approach to do justifications in a good way, not as a character that avoided any justification.

      8 votes
      1. [8]
        AugustusFerdinand
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        Did we watch the same trailer? I got zero impression that they were going to justify her being cruel. In fact one of the key quotes in it is "I was born brilliant, born bad, and a little bit mad."...

        Was that trailer supposed to impart any other sentiment or assumption? Pretty much every line in it reinforces what this article describes it as.

        Did we watch the same trailer? I got zero impression that they were going to justify her being cruel. In fact one of the key quotes in it is "I was born brilliant, born bad, and a little bit mad." It's stating, to me at least, quite clearly that Cruella needs not justification as she entered the world a a villain. Hell, the first line in the trailer is "From the very beginning I realized I saw the world differently from everyone else."

        I'm not sure what the point of making a list of other female characters is.

        My argument is against the premise that women aren't allowed to "just be villains." I'll concede that retellings tend to provide justification to a villain, but that's not something exclusive to women.

        And Cruella is the one that is the catalyst for this, after all, because how is anyone going to justify killing a bunch of puppies?

        Easily. Note: You'll need to scroll down to MimicSquid's collapsed comment and expand it to see the comment I'm linking since Tildes doesn't allow direct linking (or the browser won't scroll) to a comment under a collapsed one.

        1. [7]
          TheJorro
          (edited )
          Link Parent
          It also flashes the words "Hello Cruel World" across the screen after she specifically talks about how people didn't like or approve of her. There's a heavy implication that she's a product of her...

          Did we watch the same trailer? I got zero impression that they were going to justify her being cruel. In fact one of the key quotes in it is "I was born brilliant, born bad, and a little bit mad." It's stating, to me at least, quite clearly that Cruella needs not justification as she entered the world a a villain. Hell, the first line in the trailer is "From the very beginning I realized I saw the world differently from everyone else."

          It also flashes the words "Hello Cruel World" across the screen after she specifically talks about how people didn't like or approve of her. There's a heavy implication that she's a product of her circumstances, as the visuals signal a rise from what looks like a maid to a powerful socialite through what must be an application of untoward methods.

          This article also explicitly talks about the "mad, bad, and dangerous to know" allusion that that's referring to with Lord Byron, of the Byronic Hero archetype—otherwise known as the anti-hero—a character type that is pretty much all about justifying bad deeds with good intentions and unfortunate circumstances.

          My argument is against the premise that women aren't allowed to "just be villains." I'll concede that retellings tend to provide justification to a villain, but that's not something exclusive to women.

          Why? That's not even the premise, that's just the title. There's an entire essay beyond the headline that that is going unacknowledged as a result. The entire essay is about a specific method of justifying villainy for women characters, not that they're being justified at all. Thus the Circe mistake above. There's nothing about it being exclusive to women, only that it would prefer that this method was used less across all villainesses in favour of other ones. The whole point of this essay is to say that sometimes villainesses should just choose to be evil for the sake of being evil instead of this trend of revealing them as anti-heroes forced into the role.

          4 votes
          1. [6]
            AugustusFerdinand
            Link Parent
            Which isn't taking away from her "just being a villain", instead showing that she rose to power instead of being born into it. Titles are made by the author and as a result just as addressable as...

            There's a heavy implication that she's a product of her circumstances, as the visuals signal a rise from what looks like a maid to a powerful socialite through what must be an application of untoward methods.

            Which isn't taking away from her "just being a villain", instead showing that she rose to power instead of being born into it.

            Why? That's not even the premise, that's just the title.

            Titles are made by the author and as a result just as addressable as any other statement in an article.

            There's an entire essay beyond the headline that that is going unacknowledged as a result.

            Incorrect, my non-exhaustive list of female villains have almost all had some sort of re-write, reboot, or re-imagining and were done without the claimed justification of their villainy.

            1. TheJorro
              Link Parent
              It's also the exact thing that caused this essay, which you previously described as an "unknown and complete assumption" to suggest that it wasn't justified. But if everyone is in agreement that...

              Which isn't taking away from her "just being a villain", instead showing that she rose to power instead of being born into it.

              It's also the exact thing that caused this essay, which you previously described as an "unknown and complete assumption" to suggest that it wasn't justified. But if everyone is in agreement that the trailer imparts these things... then what's not jusftified?

              Titles are made by the author and as a result just as addressable as any other statement in an article.

              They aren't usually in publications. And the problem is when you only acknowledge the title, and nothing of the actual content itself. There should never be any resistance to reading someone else's piece, understanding it, and responding to its statements in full context.

              Incorrect, my non-exhaustive list of female villains have almost all had some sort of re-write, reboot, or re-imagining and were done without the claimed justification of their villainy.

              It's a counterargument to an argument that wasn't made at all. As you said, it's a counterargument to what you assumed the headline was about and not the actual essay. Between that and the statements about the Circe point, I'm still not convinced the essay is being acknowledged.

              4 votes
            2. [4]
              Deimos
              Link Parent
              Titles often aren't made by the author. It depends on the site, but it's very common right now for someone else at the site to write the titles, specifically gearing them to get...

              Titles are made by the author and as a result just as addressable as any other statement in an article.

              Titles often aren't made by the author. It depends on the site, but it's very common right now for someone else at the site to write the titles, specifically gearing them to get attention/reactions on social media, where a lot of people don't even bother to click through to the article itself.

              This is one of the main reasons why I like to re-title articles when I'm submitting them, and encourage others to improve them too. They're often sensationalized without the actual author even being involved.

              3 votes
              1. [3]
                AugustusFerdinand
                Link Parent
                My statement was worded poorly. You're correct for things like news sites, less so for opinion essays as is the case here.

                My statement was worded poorly. You're correct for things like news sites, less so for opinion essays as is the case here.

                1. [2]
                  cfabbro
                  (edited )
                  Link Parent
                  Considering the number of editors listed in the publication's masthead, I don't think that's true in this case. Especially since one of the editors for the Literature portion of the site is even...

                  less so for opinion essays as is the case here.

                  Considering the number of editors listed in the publication's masthead, I don't think that's true in this case. Especially since one of the editors for the Literature portion of the site is even specifically listed as a "Social Media Editor" which is precisely the sort of metric-maximizing, headline editing job that Deimos was describing.

                  3 votes
                  1. AugustusFerdinand
                    Link Parent
                    Getting derailed here, so I'll stop after this comment. Unless someone wants to reach out to the author to specifically ask who wrote the title, any statements about the title not being from the...

                    Getting derailed here, so I'll stop after this comment. Unless someone wants to reach out to the author to specifically ask who wrote the title, any statements about the title not being from the author are nothing more than assumptions, same as has been made about the movie no one has seen.

                    1 vote