The selfishness at the heart of Batwoman

I haven’t blogged about stuff for awhile, but I had to speak up on the subject of the CW’s laughably bad TV series, Batwoman. The shared universe formerly known as the Arrowverse is now several years past its sell-by date, and while it’s never been good exactly, it is pretty rancid by now. It didn’t help that they cast Ruby Rose as a character we’re presumably supposed to like, despite her inability to do anything but smirk.

Lately, I’ve been watching Youtuber ProcrastiTara’s reviews of Batwoman, and also keeping abreast of the news of the second season, which will be recasting the role with an entirely new character… more on that later. I’ve known for awhile that the people making this show don’t understand Batman, but I’ve recently come to the conclusion that the reason they don’t is because they’re too selfish to appreciate a character whose core is selflessness.

At the beginning of Batwoman, we’re informed that Batman’s real reason for donning the cowl and fighting crime isn’t to save others from the heartbreak that he has suffered, and it isn’t to protect the people of Gotham from evil. No, it’s because he’s edgy and he doesn’t like rules!

You see? They cannot grasp that he chose to be Batman for unselfish reasons, because the kind of people who write this sort of character are in themselves fundamentally selfish. If you have any doubts, we’re assured, at the end of the very first episode, that Kate’s reason for becoming Batwoman is because she wants “the freedom to be myself.” Her core reason for being a superhero is purely about herself, not about wanting to help others. No wonder the character is such a despicable tool.

Honestly, there is nothing heroic about a person who only does good things because they want to “be themselves.” Batman may be more fully himself when he dons the cowl than when he is Bruce Wayne, but that is NOT his motivation for doing what he does.

This was absolutely cemented by the promotional text released to publicize Batwoman 2.0, who is an entirely new character who is somehow able to be a superhero despite being a homeless drug addict with no combat training. What is this new character’s motivation? To “no longer be a victim” and “be powerful.” Again, it’s not about being good, noble and unselfish, about saving people who cannot save themselves – it’s about feeling an artificial sense of empowerment (which, let’s face it, describes pretty much all empowerment – most of the time, it’s just feeling a fake pleasant sensation, not actually changing anything or accomplishing anything).

People who are too selfish to come up with noble reasons for superheroes to do what they do should not be allowed to write/showrun for them. Period. I have zero admiration for these characters, and zero reason for cheer for them. Hopefully they’ll shoot this series in the head at the end of the second season, which they really should have done already when you consider the ratings.

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