Yesterday, my fiance popped a “surprise” into our DVD player: a feminist episode of the amazing 1990s show Batman: The Animated Series. I have always thought of Gotham as a pretty progressive city; Catwoman is at least as terrifying and powerful as Batman, and other female villains abound. But this episode is explicitly feminist. My fiance attributes to it his early discovery and association with feminism.
In the opening scenes, we see that the evil Joker has some awful attitudes about women and their place in his gang. As Harley performs domestic duties, like feeding the hyenas, he kicks her to the curb: “when have you ever contributed a worthwhile idea to the gang?”
But don’t worry! Throughout the episode, Poison Ivy partners up with Harley and gives her “some lessons in good old female self esteem.” They raid a “Men’s Club” and blow up a car of cat-callers. The best part is that instead of portraying these feminist super-villains as evil, the episode suggests that their views are correct and just. When the two capture the heroic Batman, the following dialogue occurs:
Ivy: Here we have the typical male aggressor, fittingly imprisoned within the bonds of female domestic slavery.
Batman: Man or woman, a sick mind is capable of anything.
Ivy: A very enlightened statement, batman.
Not only is Batman enlightened on female power, but he also fails at capturing the women... for maybe the first time in Batman history. After Ivy speeds away and declares, “No man can take us prisoner!” a female police office takes the two awesome thieves into custody. Next time, girls! And let's hope Harley kicks that icky Joker to the curb.
Watch a clip of the episode below, and watch the whole thing here.