Catwoman, the “F” Word and Why the Catsuit Needs a Zipper

So those pics of Anne Hathaway as Catwoman are pretty awesome huh? Yar, I think so too. Got me thinking though (and don’t worry this isn’t going to be a twee Carry-Bradshow-type post full of rhetorical questions and metaphors about dating and high calorie foods) about the different ways in which this iconic femme has been portrayed on screen.

My first encounter with Catwoman was thanks to Julie Newmar back in the campy, Adam West Batman days. She reminded me a lot of Anne Bancroft circa The Graduate – sophisticated, sassy and sporting one hell of a manicure. She was smart too – a true bosslady and the brains behind the heists she pulled – not just the legs sent out to distract the security guards (ok, there was a little of that). And because of that I liked her. I mean I was, like, nine and to a nine-year-old girl that loved watching action movies and reading comics, smart female characters were hard to come by (the females were usually the ones hanging from the rafters by their ankles waiting for the guy in the spandex to save them). And from what I remember of the Catwoman/Batman love story arc, their relationship was pretty cute.

Then came my favourite Catwoman, Michelle Pfeiffer in Batman Returns. Lady was CRAY CRAY, but in the most endearing of ways – she was strung-out, over-worked, under-valued and lonely. All the men around her had driven her to madness with their self-absorption and power blindness, and sista was no longer taking it lying down. I was in my teens when I saw this. And the scene I loved most was when Selena Kyle strips off her tweed and woolly twinset and starts sewing together her latex catsuit. It was the makeover scene to end ALL makeover scenes.

And well, what do you know, the boys come-a-runnin’ – including, but not limited to, Batman.

Now, without stripping off my burning bra, I am sad about two things when I think back to this Catwoman. 1. Catwoman doesn’t get to just change into her black catsuit and be awesome like Batman just decides to put on his suit and be awesome. No. Girlfriend has a breakdown, cries into her milk, then puts on her costume. 2. Batman ends up being the suckiest boyfriend EVER. LOOK WHAT HE DRIVES HER TO!

This Batman/Catwoman relationship was TOXIC. At the time I didn’t even notice (just like I didn’t notice Troy Dyer from Reality Bites was NOT the dream guy I thought he was), but looking back now I have some serious questions for my girl Selena Kyle and her taste in men. And also how she pees in that suit.

Then came Halle. Who was, ya know, fine I s’pose but seemed to suffer from the same issues as her Tim Burton predecessor. She was helpless, died, came back to life, put on leather and started scissor kicking fools and baring her midriff. From that moment co-incidentally, shots of Halle from behind increase by 500% (classy guys).

So finally the dude she likes notices her, but in order to sustain any type of relationship with him she has to pretend to be someone slightly more digestible. Yadda yadda you know where this feminist argument is headed…

So here we are, squarely in 2011, on the cusp of meeting one of the most famous female characters in comic book history for another time. Will she and Batman have an intense affair which will include a little hand-to-hand and cheesy double entendre (yes please) and exclude Batman’s I’d-love-you-if-you-weren’t-such-a-looney stink eye (hope so!)? Will they finally include a zipper in her costume so girlfriend can go potty (would be considerate)? This is my plea: make Catwoman smart. Let her beat a fool or two. Let her have a bit of an identity crisis and go a little crazy – happens to all of us, boy or girl. Let her and Batman smooch and maybe even get caught up in how complex their relationship is (I’m even down for a bat and cat metaphor). Just please, PLEASE don’t make her worried that Batman isn’t going to take her home to his Mamma for Thanksgiving unless she puts on a sweatervest.