It’s come to my attention recently (by which I mean, I’ve kind of always known in the back of my mind, but am only now saying something because I’m sick of not addressing it personally) that Kate Kane is a controversial character. For reasons, even! In any case,
HERE IS AN ARGUMENT AGAINST EVERY REASON TO HATE KATE KANE, AS PRESENTED BY ME:
- Fetishizes lesbians for male readers
Well, there’s some bullshit right there. First off, there was a ton of controversy around introducing a new Batwoman in the first place, even before DC got around to her sexuality (which was made to be a Big Deal by execs, though not as big a deal as they made about Alan Scott’s new sexuality), but that’s what 52 was about. It was a year without the Trinity, but not a year without heroes. If Isis was going to be the new character that served as the ersatz Wonder Woman, and Supernova was our ersatz Superman, they couldn’t simply leave Batman out of the ersatz trifecta, and we got Kate.
No, literally, we got Kate. Kate Kane was introduced before her alter-ego was, and to anyone who didn’t read forums, the revelation that Kate was Batwoman came for them around the same time it came for Renee. If we hadn’t met Kate first, if we didn’t know that she was Renee’s ex, Batwoman would just be another woman in a cape with a Bat-symbol. Her sexuality wouldn’t be an issue, because she would just be treated as every superheroine is treated, by male readers: like a sex object. She wears a tight, sexy costume! She’s got long, flowing, sexy red hair! Yes, she was introduced as a lesbian first, but she wasn’t a lesbian that evolved into a character. Even in her first scene, you can tell she’s got brains and knows how to use them. That she’s willing to kick ass. And really, you’d think that would be more important than her fucking women.
Actually, wait, that’s pretty important, too. Because who was the highest-profile lesbian at DC before Kate? Renee, in terms of longevity, but Scandal Savage was certainly catching up in popularity. Who was the highest-profile gay man? Through a technicality, Hartley Rathaway, because he was pretty much the only one that was still being used in things. If the Authority was in the DCU proper back then, the title would have gone to Midnighter, because I think at that point, he had his own series. Point being, there weren’t any lesbians that kicked ass and took names like Kate, before Kate. Renee and Maggie were police so while they were badass, they weren’t vigilante-level badass. Scandal and Knockout are technically criminals. So while little girls have always had Wonder Woman to look up to as a hero, little girls who liked other girls didn’t. Kate changed that.
- “forcing diversity”/replacing Cass
Can I get another bullshit! Cancelling Cass’ series, a very popular and high-selling series, even, was the first nail in her coffin. Having her show up in Robin and Teen Titans OYL running the League of Assassins and working for Deathstroke were another whole mess of nails. Kate? Wasn’t the final one. In fact, there isn’t a final one, not yet. Every time DC tries to nail her in, the fans keep prying the lid open. Good. Because here’s something that DC, and those who hate Kate, need to learn:
You can have a white lesbian and a straight Asian woman in the same hero family and not have either replacing the other.
DC, for one reason or another, has been trying to get rid of Cass for years. The most common theory, racism, is usually the most accepted one. And the fact that Cass has been conveniently left out of the New 52 while Kate has her own series, probably has Cass-loving Kate-haters grinding their molars to the gum. But they’re forgetting something! Or should I say, someone. Stephanie Brown was left out of the New 52 as well. Along with Donna Troy, Jesse Chambers, Charlotte Gage-Radcliffe, Helena Bertinelli, Dinah Laurel Lance, Jenny-Lynn Hayden, Linda Park, Irey West, Lashawn Baez, and many, many, many other ladies we’ve come to adore. Which really, proves one thing to me:
DC doesn’t hate Cass, specifically, they just hate powerful, inspirational women in general. I mean, have you seen the shit they’ve been trying to talk about Lois Lane?!
- only being defined by her love interests
Renee and Kate broke up. They broke up because of reasons (most likely related to Renee’s obsession with the Religion of Crime). Kate moved on. Kate’s relationship with Maggie, while an important part of her series, as it shows her in a more vulnerable place than when she’s Batwoman (Kate is afraid of the people she loves leaving her because…well, her mother and sister did, what’s to stop her girlfriend?), is not the central focus. In fact, even in 52, Kate’s central plot had very little to do with her rekindled relationship with Renee, and everything to do with the fact that she, the twice-named daughter of Kane, was destined to have her heart carved out by the Religion of Crime. You’ve stumped me, oh haters of Kate, because I can’t quite figure out where this reason came from. Because…she dared to have a relationship, two, even, with already established lesbians within the DCU? Does that mean that, since Superman is dating Wonder Woman now, she’s defined entirely by him existing? After all, he did come first, in the superhero timeline. Lend me some logic, here.
Hey, you know who else is a bitch? Wonder Woman. Oh, and Power Girl, Supergirl, Huntress, and pretty much every female hero ever, especially that Stephanie Brown chick. Because being a bitch, I’ve noticed, seems to mean that a woman is unwilling to just sit around and take the shit she’s handed, by men or society, take your pick. Kate Kate is determined to make a difference in her city, in the world, and because of that, she’s a bitch. Good for her, I don’t want her any other way.
- not being a ‘real’ member of the Bat-family
That’s all on Bruce, guys. That’s entirely on Bruce. His Bat-family is as follows: Alfred, Dick, Tim, Damian, Babs. Cass isn’t a ‘real’ member. Steph isn’t, either. Jason, Helena, Dinah, all the folks in Batman Incorporated? Nope.
BUT GUESS WHAT?!
That’s not entirely on Bruce! There have been some extraordinarily shitty writers on the various Bat-books over the years, and a lot of them tend to forget that there is a lot of vagina in the Bat-family. She’s got a bat on her chest. She works in Gotham. Like it or not, Kate is part of the Bat-family. And in the reboot, where it became really obvious that the D.E.O. wasn’t going to let her get away with being a part of the Bat-family? She made her own. She Jaime Reyes’d that shit up, pulling in her fiancee, her cousin, her dad, and her step-mom to be her support network. Damn, girl.
Well, duh. Did we really need another? Kathy Kane was actually a super cool character, despite being created for the sole purpose of deflecting all those pesky “Batman and Robin are gay” rumors that were destroying the moral fiber of the nation. She kicked ass, everyone’s ass. She had a fly motorcycle. Yeah, she was in love with Batman, and he fell for her too, but when he told her to quit it with the crimefighting and get in the kitchen, she basically told him to fuck off. Once she got tired of being a vigilante, she went back to run her circus, only coming out of retirement when Ra’s al Ghul forced her hand by sending the League of Assassins after her. She was killed, but her legacy lived on.
Kate Kane will never be Kathy Kane.
Personally, I like her better. I’ve only read a few pre-Crisis Kathy stories, and if anyone should be hated for being defined by a love interest, ding ding ding. But she’s not. In fact, now that she’s been replaced, Kathy is being looked at as some sort of reverent figure. Why? Well, probably because she’s a straight woman than male fans can project their fantasies onto. In fact, by being a love interest of Batman, male fans can double their fantasy by treating Kathy like a sex object and pretending to be Batman.
In conclusion, sorry Kate-haters. I really am. I’m sorry that you’re unable to look past your…hatred of lesbians, I’m going to assume, to see what an amazing character DC has actually let us keep.