Our film industry has a significant shortage of good female villains.
I’ve recently been on a Die Hard Holiday Movie binge, working my way through the series. Having just finished number 4, I was once again reminded of the “Action Movie” genres inability to produce female baddys.
I’m not saying they don’t exist, there are plenty of female badasses in movie history, however very rarely are they the ones calling the shots. Often they are the wickedly loyal second in command to the man in charge (Bellatrix Lestrange, Dolores Umbridge, and many others). However it’s nice on the rare occasion when this relationship is reversed and the men answer to the woman (The Queen of Hearts, Irina Spalko, Jadis the White Witch).
A popular theme in the action genre is to have a beautiful sexy woman, purely to be the main villains girlfriend. She can provide moral support and arm candy, but is dismissed when “serious bad guy talk” is needed (God save us if she’s actually Intelligent or something…). Obviously this is not necessarily a villain thing. I mean isn’t that what every Bond girl is. Ever? (Until Naomie Harris, came over and started kicking ass). But it is nonetheless, irritating when a female villain is there only to support the man.
After watching the first two Die Hards, I was holding out for a female baddy, However all that came was the sexy and dangerous Katya and Mai Linh, the purpose of both, it seemed was to look good, kiss the bad guy, kill a few people and then die.
However, Die Hard, is not the only series guilty of the under representation of the female baddy. The Indiana Jones and the James Bond series are also desperately lacking. According to the James Bond Wiki , 6 out of more than 100 villains were female. And men made up 90% of the villains in the Indiana Jones series.
The double standard of female and male villains is incredible. While the male baddy comes in all shapes and sizes (Often the uglier the better-take James Bond’s Jaws for example). The appearance of the women baddy rarely strays from the skinny, sexy type.
Also disappointing is how, when the film industry does pump out some great female villains, they seem to be motivated by trivial things like beauty and objects (Maleficent and The Wicked Witch of the West). However years after their initial release, filmmakers do like to retell these classic stories, giving the villains a depressing back story that justifies their heinous crimes (In Maleficient and the musical Wicked).
Regardless of the stereotypes of the action movie genre, I shall find comfort in the fact that there will always be the female villain who is motivated by revenge, money and power- Just like the guys.