Here are my top three feminist villains. I first want to clarify that I when I say complex female characters I also mean women who are villains and heroes. These three women “villains” are not purely bad the same way that heroes like Buffy Summers or Lagertha are pure “white hats” like Olivia Pope would say:
- Patty Hewes (Damages 2007-2012): Patricia “Patty” Hewes is the main partner of her law firm Hewes & Associates where she brings down powerful business men in a ruthless manner. Hewes grew up in an abusive home with a judge as a father. Patricia also has spent her whole law life in a world dominated by men. In many ways Patricia Hewes is a feminist superhero she brings down masculine “bullies”, is a talented litigator and mentors up coming female lawyers like Ellen Parsons. In other ways Patty is the villain like fact that she manipulates the law and people to do her bidding; the top litigator’s obsession with work led to her son becoming a emotional mess; and because Ellen knew that Hewes led to the suicide of her adversary and fellow lawyer Ray Fiske she ordered her surrogate daughter’s attempted murder. Patty Hewes is a complicated character who while morally corrupt often has the right intentions or at least honorable reasons for her violent methods.
- The Master A.K.A. Missy (Doctor Who 2005-): Missy is a time lady whose both brilliant and insane. When the time lady was a child back on Gallifrey she was best friends with the Doctor. Unlike the male Masters, Missy does not kill or plot crazy plans to take over the world instead its because she wants her best friend back. Which in my opinions makes Missy more dangerous, but also human. She wants her best friend to like and desires to be understood by him. Who does not want that? For example, Missy almost turns the whole human race into Cybermen so The Doctor can have an army to protect the universe, which is twisted. Though the time lady does this because she knows wants to help her friend keep the universe safe. Missy may kill a person at the drop of a dime, but her one redeemable trait is she loves (in a friend sense) the Doctor.
- Faith (Buffy the Vampire Slayer 1997-2003): Faith is more complicated since she is both one of the Slayers and one of the Buffy villains. The second slayer reveals to the audience that the chosen one needs some emotional tethers and moral rules to serve human kind well. From what Faith reveals to the Scooby Gang we know she was raised by an alcoholic Mom, dropped out of High School and spent most of her slaying time running around the country with no supervision. Faith’s accidental killing of the Mayor’s henchmen leads her into the path of being a major villain in the hell mouth. The lost slayer becomes of the immortal Mayor’s followers since he is one of the few people to show her any kind of real love or understanding. This forces Buffy Summers to put Faith into a coma, but thankfully by the end of the series the lost slayer helps save the universe from the First Evil. The lost slayer is one of my favorite villains because her story line exhibits how we all have the potential to do both moral and immoral actions.