Female characters are readily murdered and we gleefully pity them. So long as the victims are innocent we think nothing of it. Their fatal misfortune demonstrates the villainy of our villains. It may keep our heroes single and rouse them to heroic vengeance. Our sacrificial virgins smile in life and scream in death. They are our offerings to the gods of thrill and melodrama.
We enjoy our female villains but with conscientious reserve. We have decided that the classical seductress is misogynistic unless tweaked into a warrior dominatrix. The more dastardly her deeds the greater our expectation that she is somehow a victim in her own right. We loathe to kill her but should she be slain her death is to be mourned.
I am a writer and an artist. My specialty is the exotic female antagonist I call the useless henchwoman. She is simply the anonymous foot soldier of villainy made female. Like her brother she is plentiful, expendable and readily bested by heroes. Unlike her brother, whom heroes slaughter with heroic abandon, the expendable henchwoman is not to be expended. Girl baddies are not to be taken seriously lest they perish in mortal combat.
Our mainstream is more comfortable with the idea of women being innocent victims than serious villains. Ironically, we are to “respect” women by limiting their roles in our fiction. If the idea is truly equality then the least and the greatest should be male and female alike. Strength and weakness, courage and cowardice, good and evil, life and death are the depth of characterization if characters are to have any depth at all. I shall not flatten my creations for the lowly comfort of the shallow mainstream.