I talked about this a bit on the podcast, but I’d like to elaborate some on what I said here.
One of the siren calls of the “Nice Guy ™” is that women only like Bad Boys/assholes. And when we swoon over villains like Loki (Tom Hiddleston), Jareth (David Bowie), or the Sheriff of Nottingham (Alan Rickman)*, it just seems to vindicate these poor neglected creatures. /sarcasm Actually, no, it doesn’t. But enough of them seem to feel it does that it gets bandied about every time there’s geek media with a particularly handsome and compelling villain in it.
I’d like to tackle this in two parts.
Part the first, as you gents like to point out when we bitch about the lack of representation for any female form other than wasp-waisted and beachball-titted: this is fantasy. Fiction. Those guys I mentioned up there, the ones not in parentheses, are fictional characters. We can’t date them even if we wanted to because they don’t exist.
Now someone is going to say, “Well, isn’t that just hypocritical of you if that’s your excuse, but we can’t use that for the way women are depicted in comics?”
Well, no, because all male characters in comics/movies are not male (British) villains. There are a lot of different male heroes (and villains), from the heart of gold Boy Scout type, to the anti-hero in it for a buck and to keep his own skin, to the reluctant hero who just wants everyone to get along, to the glory-seeker. And, in addition to all the villains, you also have heroes, and bystanders and functionaries…
For women we have big-titted white woman, big-titted woman of color, and small titted, probably, Asian women. With an occasional big-titted Asian woman, or adolescent white girl thrown in for good measure. Oh, and old spinsters or aunts. Even moms have to be fuckable for the most part.
Wheee! Look at all that variety.
I’m sorry, is my cranky showing? And I’m digressing.
Anyway, if comics were populated solely by witty, sardonic, handsome villains you might have a leg to stand on, but you don’t.
Thing the second, fantasizing about Loki is not the same thing as dating an asshole. TRUST ME. I’ve dated assholes. I know.
“See!!!!” I hear the plaintive whines already. “You dated assholes!”
Yes, and I quit doing that because it SUCKS.
This is the thing, when I and other women (or dudes, lets not be heterosexist) fantasize about Loki, Jareth, the Sheriff of Nottingham, he can’t hurt us. Because it’s all in our heads. Those villains we think all the naughty stuff about will never slap us, put a cigarette out on our arm or sleep with our best friend. Because we control, utterly, what they do in our heads, in our fanfiction, in our incredibly inappropriate gif-sets on tumblr.
We can fantasize anything we want. It doesn’t mean we actually want those things to happen to us. You guys fantasize about fighting in wars with sword and shield (most of us do, too), but you really don’t want to do that. You don’t want to fight for your life in a battlefield turned to mud with the blood of combatants. No one really wants to do that unless they’re damaged. We fantasize about fighting starfleet battles, about fighting dragons, ghouls, ogres, orcs, but most of us freak the fuck out if someone tries to mug us.
Women like fantasizing about villains and bad boys because it’s interesting, and if you notice, the villains I listed here are all fully realized, complex characters with compelling stories, acted by guys who are mostly not conventionally handsome, well, Tom Hiddleston is, if a bit on the thin side to be a pin-up boy. But those men are also excellent actors who draw you into the character, and who make you believe them, and for many women, also believe there’s something in there to be redeemed.** I swear, Tom Hiddleston has some of the most heart-breaking facial expressions I’ve ever seen.
I’m going to let you in on a secret. We fantasize about villains precisely because we don’t want to date them. Dating them sucks. Trust me, there’s no room in your head for fantasizing about bad guys when you’re living with one.
What women want are men who are clear in their desires, respect boundaries, are smart, funny, compassionate, who share our interests, and, first and foremost, think we’re people, not a trophy, not a save point, and not a boss-fight. Seriously, go over to the Polimicks blog and read all the posts under the “Creep” tag if you want a blow by blow of how to not treat women. I’m not going to rehash it here, but they’re easy enough to find.
If you like the blog or the podcast, or if you would like to help fund buzzy toys to aid in the fantasizing about villains, please, please, please donate to keep us going. Donations go to pay for the podcast hosting and website domain, primarily.
Also, we’ll have an announcement about t-shirts soon. Really and truly. Soon. Damn life, always interfering. I SWEAR IT’S COMING!!!
Oh, and Honey Badger’s first two songs are available for download here, for free or pay what you want.
And oh, hey, guess who’s going to go see The Avengers for the third time in the theater?! Awww, yeah…
*Also, why are they all British? Is this some sort of colonial reactionary-ism?
**In real life, stay away from the ones who need redemption. Trust me, nothing but heartbreak until they have their own personal “come to Jesus moment,” and even then, the road back is hard. You can’t save other people, they have to save themselves or it won’t stick.