You are watching: Is catwoman a villain or hero
Catwoman…”the hero Gotham deserves, but not the one it needs right now.”
Sounds weird, right? Catwoman, a hero? Is she really, though?
Fans of Gotham City musings have been discussing whether or not Catwoman is a good kitty or a bad kitty for a long time now. It’s an interesting debate, because she’s neither. She’s both.
Deadpool might be the most famous male anti-hero, but Catwoman is the most famous female anti-heroine.
Catwoman’s backstory has changed many times through the different Batman canons and mediums that portray her. She is technically seventy-seven-years-old. In that time her job title and backstory has had way more than nine lives. All of her different “lives” have made her a more complex and compelling character to follow. However, regardless of which incarnation you follow, certain aspects of the character remain intact. The leather rocking, cat burgling, orphan plays the role of Batman’s on-again-off-again love interest who’s willing to bend morality and has an affinity for all things feline.
Her unique characteristics make her extremely versatile. Catwoman is the perfect shade of grey to be the exact anti-heroine Gotham needs and definitely deserves.
Created by Bill Finger and Bob Kane to appear in Batman #1 in 1940, she continued to be a character in the series until the late 1950s. She later resurfaced in the television show Batman from 1966 to 1968, played by Julie Newmar and then Eartha Kitt. Lee Meriwether played Catwoman in the film Batman Movie in 1966. Catwoman also reappeared in DC Comics during the 1960s, but didn’t receive her own comic book series until 1993. This was probably due to the popularity of Michelle Pfeiffer’s version of Catwoman in 1992’s film Batman Returns. In a widely unsuccessful attempt at giving the anti-heroine her own film, Oscar-winning actress Halle Berry starred in Catwoman in 2004. Another Oscar award winner, Anne Hathaway portrayed the character in the 2012 hit The Dark Knight Rises.
Catwoman has also made various appearances in video games and animated cartoons, such as Batman: The Animated Series (1992-1995) and more recently DC Super Hero Girls (2015-present). Needless to say, it’s a safe bet that the feline femme fatale will be a Gotham resident for decades to come.
Via DC Comics
At a point in time when female characters were usually depicted as “the girlfriend” or “the damsel in distress,” Catwoman sure stood out. She’s come along way since 1940, a time when women were relegated to stand on the sidelines and look pretty. However, a female villain in a male dominated comic book world, she was among the first of her kind and she paved the way for others like her to develop.
A transgressive action star that defied society’s notions of how a woman should act and look; a “bad girl” who didn’t apologize for her actions. She didn’t abide by the rules and she refused to submit to the patriarchy. Catwoman stood up to “the man” before “standing up to the man” was cool.
Being a feminist simply means someone who is an advocate for not only women’s rights, but equality for all. The Catwoman character has always pushed the boundaries of societal norms and defied social conventions, but Batman pushed the bar further when Eartha Kitt portrayed Gotham’s most notorious jewel thief.
With her well-known “cat-like” demeanor, the role of Catwoman seemed tailor-made for the actress, but Kitt’s casting was considered a landmark milestone in television history, even though she only appeared in three episodes. Not only was the role of Catwoman always portrayed by a white woman, but in the late 1960s, African Americans had hardly any media representation. It wasn’t until 1975 that an African American woman starred in a mainstream comic book, when Storm was unveiled as the newest X-Men member.
Feminists make the best heroes, because a true hero is all about inclusion, not segregation.
12 She knows how to use her womanly wiles
Before her friend Poison Ivy made her way to Gotham, Catwoman was the queen of using her feminine prowess to get what she wants. Throughout all her incarnations, Catwoman has always been glamorous and sexualized. The skin-tight leather-clad thief is usually shown taking sensual walks on top of towering buildings under the moonlight.
Some second-wave feminists argue that the image of the Hollywood femme fatale is derogatory towards women. To some, her petite frame, adventurous personality and overt sexuality objectifies women. However, she also reinforces an image third-wave feminists approve of.
Catwoman was one of the few roles that allowed a female to be active instead of passive, powerful instead of decorative. She also dared to challenge Batman and Bruce Wayne’s morality, while she also romanced him. In the process, Catwoman never loses her heart to him. She defies the stereotype of the “love obsessed woman” and he plays the part of the “heart-sick man.”
Gotham, who would you rather have protecting you? The strong willed woman who doesn’t let anything get in her way, or the guy wearing a cape that gets easily seduced by a voluptuous law breaker? That’s what we thought.
To say Catwoman has the Prince of Gotham wrapped around her pretty little paw would be an understatement, and it’s not an easy task to make it into Bruce Wayne’s heart.
Catwoman is usually torn between reeking havoc in Gotham, while simultaneously seducing the masked vigilante. Batman witnesses her good hearted nature on multiple occasions; so he is conflicted with capturing one of GCPD’s most wanted, and trying to tame The Cat.
Batman’s secret identity is highly classified and a source of intrigue for residents, police and villains of Gotham. Therefore, there’s a great deal of responsibility that comes with that information. Catwoman is one of the few people who know The Dark Knights true identity.
Batman’s influence on Gotham is notorious; Bruce Wayne’s influence on Gotham is necessary. Wayne Enterprises is a big component of keeping the city afloat. The fact that Catwoman has any sort of influence over him makes her a pretty powerful player herself.
10 Everyone roots for the underdog
In most of her incarnations, Catwoman plays the role of the woman with a troubled past. She was an orphan, or her mother abandoned her and she never knew her father. A victim of child abuse, growing up on the streets, she turned to prostitution as a means of survival. Later on, she even gave her daughter that she had with Batman (who would become the Huntress) up for adoption. Catwoman turned to a life of crime and caused lots of trouble for The Dark Knight.
Catwoman briefly reformed, working alongside Batman on multiple occasions to stop the evildoers of Gotham. However, she prefers a life of adventure and still has not fully retired from her position of living life outside the law.
She has yet to submit to traditional female roles, or settle down. Catwoman has earned the respect of many Gotham residents. Despite using malevolent ways to do so, she was able to overcome her victimhood to get to a place of self-empowerment.
Often imitating a cat in combat, she usually appears as a proficient and powerful fighter. Catwoman is a trained martial artist, and is naturally more acrobatic and agile. Her gymnastic ability, mixed with her inherited petite frame and flexibility, she’s able to sail through the air effortlessly, always landing on her feet.
In some renditions, Catwoman has no superhuman powers; in others, she has nine lives, which makes her semi-immortal.
Batman relies on the use of his nifty gadgets more often than Catwoman does, and she has her fair share of cool toys to play with. She prefers more of a hand-to-hand ground style form of combat, more so than most other characters. She relies on her acrobatic expertise because she knows her best weapon of defence is herself.
8 The chick knows how to work a whip
Whether Catwoman is Selina Kyle, Ms. Kitka, Holly Robinson, or even Patience Phillips, the women who have donned the black jumpsuit have had some badass weapons.
Who needs the Batmobile when you can drive the Catmobile? Inspired by Batman’s ride, Catwoman drives a custom made car that is also loaded with gadgets and weapons. The “Kitty Car,” or “Cat-illac,” can outrace the Batmobile, which has helped Catwoman escape a time or two after a crime spree.
Just like any street cat, Catwoman uses her claws when she needs to. Her gloves and boots contain retractable steel claws, which which she can trigger during a fight.
The weapon that really tickles her feline fancy is her whip collection. Catwoman has been shown wielding a twelve-foot long black leather braided bullwhip; as well as the notorious cat-o’-nine-tails, a medieval multi-tailed whip used for flogging because it is specifically designed to lacerate the skin.
When Catwoman comes across a victim in need in a Gotham alley-way, one crack of her whip could send the attacker running scared.
Catwoman prowls Gotham’s rooftops during the evening, but she also keeps a day job. Many of them, in fact. Besides being a jewel thief and a prostitute, Catwoman has experience in the magazine publishing world. She’s also been a maid, a beautician, a stewardess, a secretary, and even a Chief Executive Officer of a major company.
Since she has a lot of love for her feline friends, it would make sense that Catwoman is an animal rights activist and was also the owner of a pet shop.
Throughout her many careers, Catwoman has shown strength, compassion, intelligence and good will, all qualities necessary in a great hero. Besides, anyone who can run a business well can run a city, right? It’s not like Gotham City is leader of the free world or anything.
6 She"s streetwise
Unlike Batman, who grew up at Wayne Manor just outside of Gotham, Catwoman was actually born and raised on the streets. She needed to learn very quickly, at a young age, how to survive on the mean streets of the city. This meant maneuvering in-and-out of some sticky situations, and being able to hide in the shadows like a black cat in a dark alley. Not only does this give her more ‘street-cred’, but it also gives Catwoman an innate advantage.
Whether she’s leaping from rooftop to rooftop, riding away in The Kitty Car, or hopping on a motorcycle, the woman knows how to get around.
If a Gotham resident finds themselves in a tough spot, and Catwoman says, “follow me,” there is a good chance she’ll know the fastest, easiest way to get to safety.
When she’s not playing the role of the streetwise vigilante or the voluptuous vixen and it suits her needs, she’s teamed up with some of Gotham’s most notorious villains.
Catwoman mainly worked alone when it came to jewel heisting, but she was powerful and smart enough to be ranked alongside such infamous characters as The Joker, Bane, Penguin, and The Riddler. In some incarnations she may have had some relation to the Falcone family, and has also worked beside other Gotham crime families. The astute femme fatale knows to “keep your friends close, and your enemies closer.”
Of course you always have to be wary when it comes to trusting criminals, but having a decent relationship with the big baddies comes in handy—an advantage the Caped Crusader lacks.
4 She’s a humanitarian
Via DC Comics
Being a true anti-heroine, and operating in the world of grey she’s created for herself, Catwoman is able to ‘be bad’ while also ‘doing good’. She’s sort of like Robin. No, we’re not talking about the virtuous Boy Wonder sidekick of the big Bat. The other one, who lives in Sherwood Forest. Just like Robin Hood of Locksley, Catwoman steals from the rich to help the poor. Much of her stolen loot is donated to Gotham’s orphanages and cat-saving charities all over the world.
Often befriending other victimized women on the search for empowerment—i.e. other female criminals of Gotham—like Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn, or her "surrogate sister," Holly Robinson. Catwoman’s heroism can be seen on numerous occasions, when she is rescuing a victim of an attack in Gotham’s East End, caring for abandoned animals or lending aide to the city’s homeless population.
It seems as if Gotham City has had more problems than the average comic book backdrop, except for maybe Marvel’s version of New York City. Between earthquakes, plagues, and a revolving door of Arkham Asylum patients destroying property, blowing up bridges and murdering citizens, Gotham is a messed up place to hang up your whip.
The city’s name even comes from its history with dark magic. Centuries before the city’s founding, Doctor Gotham, a warlock, was burned to death on the island that becomes the centre of the modern day city. Throughout the years, the spirit of the ol’ Doc corrupts the minds of the citizens, making it a breeding ground for criminal activity. After Doctor Gotham’s death, the city has been ruled by an evil organization known as The Court of Owls.
The set designer for Tim Burton’s Batman, Anton Furst, described Gotham as if “hell erupted through the pavement and built a city.” However, where there’s bad, there must also be good. Despite it’s tendency to draw super villains and bad traffic, Gotham has been trying to progress through the decades. Gotham has a killer nightlife scene, great restaurants, and a few masked vigilantes. It really is the purrrfect city for the feline felon who has egalitarian tendencies.
2 The Justice League likes her
Via DC Comics
See more: Ariana Grande Phone Number ( What Phone Does Ariana Grande Have
It’s no secret that corruption runs rampant through the Gotham City Police Department and even elected government officials. Both high and low ranking officers have been tied to bribery, drug trafficking, and even murder. The GCPD has been an ally and an opponent to both Catwoman and Batman. However, when the poop stinks up the litter box, Catwoman helps scoop it out.
Criminals understand criminals, which is why Catwoman makes a surprising, yet remarkable champion for the city of Gotham. She’s able to stop the bad guys because she knows how they think. She teams up alongside the heroes and has helped rescue Batman from Bane and The Joker. The reluctant Cat has even saved the lives of all the Justice League members once before and is currently an unofficial member.
“A man dressed as a bat is a he-man, but a woman dressed as a cat is a she-devil. I’m just living down to my expectations,” says Catwoman.
After being vilified and criticized for too many decades, Catwoman took on the most risky female identity yet, a woman who knows she’s being depreciated and won’t stand for it. “I’m a woman and can’t be taken for granted…life’s a bitch. Now so am I!”
Catwoman is a confident risk taker who doesn’t take bulls**t from anyone. She’s not “playing hard to get” with Batman, she is hard to get. She’s sneaky, courageous, and looks amazing in a black leather jumpsuit. Catwoman is not easily persuaded and sticks to her convictions more than most of her other female cohorts. She’s a true leader.
She"s made it onto the GCPD’s most wanted list because she preys on the wealthy, Gotham elite, but not at the expense of society’s marginalized groups. This is why the Caped Crusader allows her crime sprees to slip through the cracks. Her law breaking actually does more good than it does bad.
Besides, last year proved more people would rather be rescued by the badass feline rather than a bratty (or in this case, batty) billionaire.