1. preheated.blanket
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    preheated.blanket New Member

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    Male Villains vs. Female Villains

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by preheated.blanket, Nov 21, 2008.

    I just wanted to know what your opinions were on if there are advantages and disadvantages of having a male villain compared to a female villain and vice-versa, or if you believe that they're both pretty equal in advantages and dissadvantages. Also are there some stereotypes when it comes to male or female villains? Ex: Female villains are usually good looking, cruel and agile. (Not my personal opinion, just an example) Thankyou :D
     
  2. Silver Random
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    Silver Random Senior Member

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    Though i can, if i try, remember some books i have read that have female villains, none came to mind straight away. I cant think of any that were particularly memorable or enjoyable to read :confused:. That may be just because there are many more male villains though, as there are many male villains that arent particularly memorable.

    So personally i prefer male villains. I think males are more often associated with personality traits that go better with "villains", so although you can get rather boring and flat villains of either gender, ones that are really memorable/ funny / scary are more likely to be male.
     
  3. Emerald
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    Emerald Contributing Member

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    Yeah, the inclination is to sexualise female villains. It probably stems from man's fear of being manipulated by attractive women.

    I'm always nervous about having 'villains' of the 'Lex Luthor' variety (i.e. existing solely to antagonise the protagonist) which usually causes me to make my villains very complicated individuals.
    My favourite kind of villains are the ones who make the reader feel they deserve to be villains.

    Take Ben from Lost (if you've seen that show). He's definitely an antagonist -- you might even call him a villain -- but ultimately he's just doing what he feels is right. And with everything that happens to him -- and the responsibilities he shoulders -- you can forgive him for being a bit callous.
    (Apologies if you've never seen Lost :p)

    In regards to the male versus female issue, they're pretty much equal. Just don't have her in a skimpy leather outfit and bullwhip or something :p
     
  4. Nilfiry
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    Nilfiry Contributing Member

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    A stereotype I've seen many times is that female villains can seduce and manipulate many characters better than male villains. The female villains make better for the cold killer type, and they tend to live longer.

    I think most male villains are a bit more complex than the female ones, however.
     
  5. lipton_lover
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    lipton_lover Contributing Member

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    I think it depends on what you want. Male villains tend to do more brute work themselves I think, and female villains tend to be more cruel in their thoughts... like cutting the heart out of someone instead of simply kniving them, for a nice example.
     
  6. Ore-Sama
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    Ore-Sama Senior Member

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    I think they're equal in terms of potential, it just comes down to how they're written. If there are more badly written female villains then badly written male villains, that's a reflection of incompetent authors, a reflection of sexist ideals of the author in some cases, it has nothing to do with one being inherently better then the other.

    One of the most easily hateable villains in literary history would no doubt be Nurse Ratchet from "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest"
     
  7. Carthonn
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    Carthonn Active Member

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    Ben is one of my favorite characters. It's obvious the writer wants you to believe him to be the villain. And you can debate that he is. However, in the end he really wasn't as violent as some of the inhabitants of the island.

    When I think of female villains what comes to mind is witches. Like in Narnia for example. Or Disney has several female villains who are witches.
     
  8. architectus
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    architectus Banned

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    I just read Flowers in the Attic, and it has two female antagonist, and boy is the grandma mean. Stephen King's Misery comes to mind.
     
  9. Emerald
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    Emerald Contributing Member

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    Ooh, that's a good example. Although in a way, the 'fascist vindictive disapproving mother' is almost as much a caricature as the 'sexy manipulative femme fatale'...
     
  10. sharp_quill
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    sharp_quill Member

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    I think that taking the 'nurturing' and 'gentler' gender and twisting that around to make a cruel villain has something nasty on a base level. At the same time, and like anything else, you have to be quite careful to explain the character's reasoning. Although often women are not as physically imposing as men, that is hardly a handicap in today's society or any other setting you plan to write in.

    I think a female villain would have to be especially smart to make sure she avoids any situation that would put her at a disadvantage, but that is quite possible for someone who wants to do it.
     
  11. NaCl
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    NaCl Contributing Member Contributor

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    I would look at historic female killers for role models in crafting an MC antagonist. Here is a quote from an interesting website about mass murders.

    "...women commit the majority of child homicides in the United States, a greater share of physical child abuse, an equal rate of sibling violence and assaults on the elderly, about a quarter of child sexual abuse, an overwhelming share of the killing of newborns, and a fair preponderance of spousal assaults."

    This offers an idea of the kind of behavior that is typical for violent women. You could easily begin with a "common" form of female aggression and evolve it into a mass murderer or evil MC. There is a book called "When She Was Bad: How and Why Women Get Away With Murder" that gives a close look at female violence. I haven't read it but the synopsis sounds like a good reference for such information.

    http://www.trutv.com/library/crime/notorious_murders/mass/female_mass_murderer/4.html

    In Sacramento, California, we had a cute little old lady who was a serial killer! She murdered 9 men, boarders in her boarding house, and stole their social security checks. Talk about evil in disguise!!!

    You can read about her here:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dorothea_Puente

    Hope this helps.
     
  12. Suomyno
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    Suomyno Member

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    I agree with NaCl... especially if you look at female serial killers. They aren't as well known as the male serial killers (BTK, Zodiac, Jack the Ripper,ect.) but is this because they are less common? No, from what I can tell the amount of difference in the numbers of male vs female serial killers isn't as significant as people think. The male serial killers are just more often talked about and more often on the news. The female serial killers have been known to be a bit... I don't want to say smarter, but more careful about getting caught. Which is helped by the fact that the public will hear about Zodiac or Jack the Ripper on the news, so we expect men more than women.
    But that's just the true-crime nerd rambling about nothing. The point is, I agree with NaCl and female killers might be a good place to look when creating a female antagonist.
     
  13. Emerald
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    Emerald Contributing Member

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    There's another example. Religious extremism is a believable motivation for anything...
     

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