Way back in the first week of July, I touched on the topic of Bad Boys. I was asked by a few people about Bad Girls. It was noted that they tend to be called Femme Fatales, but that had me thinking. Unfortunately, I had already scheduled the summer posts and October is reserved for Monster/Halloween stuff. That left me with November, so here we are . . . I may have gotten distracted from this top. Why is that?
The main reason is that I kept getting frustrated by what I was finding whenever I did a search for the Bad Girl. Images alone were predictable in that they were predominantly sexy, promiscuous, flirty, and/or naughty characters. Unlike the Bad Boy, who is defined a lot by his dangerous rebel side, the Bad Girl centers around sexuality. Even now, I’m hard-pressed to think of a character who would fall into this category and not either look sexy or act sexy. I’m reminded of the old vamp characters and the Scarlet Letter in that women who enjoy or use sex are considered ‘bad’. Meanwhile, their counterpart could bed the whole cheerleader competition (judges included) and it won’t really bring in the same level of infamy. Again, I got frustrated here.
You might be saying, “But what about Wonder Woman or Captain Marvel or Xena or Nyx?” These are BADASS female characters. Although, Xena does use sex at times, so she might be an outlier here. To be fair, I was more of a Gabrielle fan . . . Moving on. You can’t really call the other characters Bad Girls because they are working within the rules of system. There has to be a rebellious nature to these characters, which comes off one of two ways. Typically, it revolves around sex. We went over this and I’m sure we’re all familiar with it. The other is where it’s a woman rebelling against a man. This pulls in the gender issues of society, but the Bad Girl doesn’t really appear here. The women in this scenario don’t have that aura of danger that the Bad Boy does even though they are acting against a system.
This makes me think that there’s only a verbal connection between the two since we define a rebellious nature of every gender differently. For men, being bad involves not following the rules and being socially aloof. Don’t go near that outsider because he’s obviously dangerous and unruly. For women, being bad involves indulging and accepting their own sexuality. Don’t go near that woman because she’s *insert one of many insulting names* and you may need to get tested afterwards. Seriously, you never see female characters who hook up with the Bad Boy heading for the free clinic when they really should. It’s really unfair and kind of boring since it limits the versatility. Not to mention people will have trouble sympathizing with a character whose key component is sex even if they’re shown to have a traumatic past.
So, those are my thoughts and frustrations with the history of the characters. I can’t think of any character of mine who would be a Bad Girl . . . I think . . . Would Queen Trinity count? She started as a villain and became a hero, but she had an anti-hero vibe. There wasn’t much sex about the character even though she dressed in tight leather and flirted every now and again. She was mostly a trickster and BADASS type. Maybe that’s what the non-sexual Bad Girl has to be. A BADASS female who is either borderline or entirely a villain. This means the Bad Girl is found more often among antagonists . . . Is that a step in the right direction?
What are your thoughts on Bad Girls? Do you think they get a bad rap? I really hope somebody can show me examples that don’t fall into the ‘sex’ or ‘BADASS’ categories. By the way, I’ve been capitalizing that word to make sure people didn’t mistake it with the other one. Anyway, the topic will be here all week. Enjoy.