On Xena and A Lack of Female Villains

July 19, 2013

If you’ve seen an episode of Xena, hell, if you’ve seen the opening titles to Xena, you know that you don’t mess with Xena. She’s strong, clever, resilient, and at times, ruthless. The show remains an important feminist text for a number of reasons, reasons reinforced by the likes of Joss Whedon and Quentin Tarantino. It champions strong women, but at the same time, it does not paint them as these infallible, flat superheroines. The female characters of the show, allies and villains alike, are rounded, with complex back-stories and goals that range from trying to lift a city-wide ban on dancing to wanting to become the queen of the Amazons.

But this is old news. What’s really striking about the show is just how many of the central villains are female. To date, I believe Xena still has the most female big-bads of any television show.


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