Dear Catwoman: When Did You Become a Sleaze Bag?


When the movie The Dark Knight came out, sure people were going to get hurt. Sure, maybe no one expected the “gore” that was with Two-Face, but it was still somewhat age-appropriate. A ten-year-old could watch the movie and grasp what happened in it. He could tell Two Face was burned badly and – although scary – would know he became a bad guy.

What I mean by that is people can tell the difference between right and wrong. If Batman hurts the Joker, it’s because the Joker hurt others. Although I don’t necessarily agree with that theory, it’s understood and is considered acceptable to a good majority of people. Bad people are bad.

A young person can watch that film, see what is happening, understand why it’s happening, and then do whatever they want with that knowledge.

Catwoman: Superheroine or Sleaze Bag?

So enter DC’s newest animated flick, Batman: Year One. It too, is rated PG-13 for the same reasons The Dark Knight was. But for the most part, arguably, parents will see an animated Batman flick and figure that it’s safe for kids.

As I watched Batman: The Animated Series as a child, I knew the difference between right and wrong. Violence was bad, bad guys get punished, Catwoman liked Batman (ew, cooties), etc.

But despite my understanding of right and wrong, or that Catwoman had a crush on Batman, as a child, I would not have known what to think of this:


Catwoman

Not too long ago, I mentioned the ridiculously over-sexualized characters in Superman/Batman Apocalypse movie – which was also rated PG-13. Evidently, who cares what our youth are watching, eh?

While I haven’t seen the movie (because it hasn’t been released yet), I have to ask: What the HELL is DC doing to Catwoman?

Here is Catwoman in Batman: Arkham City

Catwoman Clevage

Well that’s unnecessary.

And let us not forget the bondage concept art for the game!


Catwoman Bondage

So what we’re getting here is something entirely different from what I grew up with.


Catwoman Animated Series

So She’s A Sleaze Bag Now?

Oh, Catwoman. What has happened to you? You were so innocent-looking (for a villain) and you were so. . . clothed. What made you turn into such a sleaze bag? I wish I could narrow down the time where DC decided, “Marvel has the Black Cat, so we need Catwoman to mimic her.” I’m not saying Black Cat is any better than Catwoman, either. I’m just picking on Catwoman now because, unlike the Black Cat, Catwoman is a lot more popular and has gone under such a radical change in very little time. Why is that? When did she become such a sex-fiend? Since when did she start wearing sexy lingerie under her costume?

Catwoman Comic

. . .

Time for Some Major Damage Control

What I’m trying to get at is, as a child, I could understand right and wrong. It was given to me in the stories. Batman was a good guy fighting the bad guys. He wore a suit to protect him and had weapons to fight the bad guys.

As Catwoman – I have nothing. She’s unnaturally clothed for NO explanation, and is treated solely as a sex object. There is no purpose to why she dresses the way she does, nor is it explained.

So as a child, I can tell right from wrong, but here, the “issue” is not addressed. Therefore, naturally, I would have to assume Catwoman dressed as the way she is would be acceptable, right?

This is me, as a man speaking. I have problems with this because I just think it’s inappropriate to degrade any human to this level.

If I were a woman – if I had a daughter – what sort of implications would this have on me? As a boy, I know right from wrong. I would see Batman as a bad-ass and not know what to think of Catwoman. As a girl, I would know right from wrong, would see Batman as a bad-ass, then see Catwoman as what? A model? A skank? A villain? A good girl? A body? A pair of breasts? Is it acceptable then to dress as her? No one else seems to have a problem with it, right?

When the conversations about this are not being had, it is more damaging than just watching the cartoon and assuming it doesn’t affect anyone.

So now we have Catwoman in our cartoons, video games, movies and comics looking like this. If it’s acceptable for her in all of those mediums, surely it must be acceptable for other women in other mediums to be degraded too, right?

See?

This is conversation which needs to be had.

What do you all think?

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5 thoughts on “Dear Catwoman: When Did You Become a Sleaze Bag?

  1. nolimitsknown

    I agree. Every fiber that Batman is made of has been explained or told in the stories them self, wether to do with estetics, personality, action etc. I’ve never really grasped how they developed the character of “Catwoman” As a die hard Batman fan, I have never seem to have found an appropriate place for the character in the comic. Now I’m not trying to bash the character in any way, buuuuuut……even in my younger years I only saw Catwoman as a bad attempt to make the comic a little more….universal? or trying to capture a larger female audience? never landing a solid reason to be there. Not saying she shouldn’t be.

    Being said. Catwoman is here and yes, dress quite differently than most superheros. With the lace and leather soon they are going to have to change her name from Catwoman to Cougar……,with todays influence with movies and other media this isn’t somthing I would want my daughter going out as on halloween. Are they lacing her up to accent the character as far as identifiable image? Enhance her personality? or are they lacing her up and busting her out because DC struck a deal with kleenex and trying to spread their market for more than just blowing your nose. (look for DC kleenex boxes……….not underneath your bed)

    In my world, superheroes dont dress like they wanna screw and then put you in jail. Have Catwoman play a strong character, give her some solid story backing and have her be an important element in the story, not as a sex object that is after batman for somthing that is irrelivent to the comic. Because at that point you are screwing up the message being said on the ability to identify what is right and wrong, good and bad.

    Between the double D tits and the lace, why not just give Batman a cock flap and some trojans in his utility belt (dont wanna have batman unmasked)

  2. Wb4355

    Can we please stop with this whole degrading thing. Women are degraded in everything in this world is it right NO it is not but out of all media at least comics show them as being strong and noble look at Wonder Woman for many years her “Purity” is what gave her powers so was it degrading that they made the strongest female hero they have a virgin?

    1. Hi Wb4355, thanks for the comment.

      For sure, comics show women as strong, sometimes even noble characters. For sure, comics can make women be some of the most bad-ass people in the galaxy. Supergirl, Power Girl, Wonder Woman, Emma Frost, the Invisible Woman – all powerful women in comics who’s character is a good role model – I mean, if you’re for everything else but violence, I guess.

      But the degradation of women in comics should not be pushed aside because they show a more positive role for women then say, a perfume or clothing ad. It’s as if comics were *almost* there – but in all-honesty, they’re not even close.

      In a way, it cancels each other out. Sure, super women are positive role models, but is it more or less effective when she’s hardly wearing any clothing? What if her clothes always got torn or ripped in battle? Despite the positive role models, having the characters dressed inappropriately takes away a good part of the message.

      And seeing women dressed improperly is not just meant to be seen at face-value. Subconsciously, mixed with all the other advertisements in the media and our world, women reading comics with women who are degraded will just keep piling up against them.

      What I mean is a woman seeing a comic about a “powerful woman” who dresses wrong may remind her of an ad she disagreed with in the past. Or may remind her of something else negative. Or be made to feel less-worthy because while she believes in the hero, she knows she’ll never look like her.

      It’s the little things like that which we can never neglect when discussing women in comics.

      You asked, “Can we please stop with this whole degrading thing?”

      My answer is: Not unless people see what harm it’s doing to others.

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