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Batgirl Deserves a Woman Director and Here’s Why

Has DC not learned from its past mistakes?

Tara Strong as Batgirl in Batman: The Killing Joke (2016)

At first, the news that DC’s Batgirl was finally going to get the movie she deserved felt like music to my ears. Her film has been in development hell for years, and I felt relief that such an iconic DC hero was coming to the big and little screen. That joy and relief was dampened by the fact that the directors they have reportedly chosen are two men, Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah, who directed Bad Boys for Life, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

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Just to be clear, I didn’t hate Bad Boys for Life. It was ok, and I did get a tiny bit emotional at one part because of the bond between the lead characters. But I still remember how they treated women as if they were only worth screen time if the leads were romantically interested in them, and that right there made for boring storylines that barely scratched the surface of what it is to be a woman unless it was in relation to the men.

And now I’m supposed to trust Arbi and Fallah and that they aren’t going to bring the same energy to Batgirl? Yeah, I don’t think so. Instead, what Warner Bros. should’ve done is hire a woman as director. “But what about the writer,” you shout?! That’s Christina Hodson, who wrote Bumblebee wrote the script for Batgirl. That’s great, and it matters, but it would’ve been even better if a woman was directing and bringing her Batgirl to life.

Have we not learned anything from Batman: The Killing Joke? Did we forget what that director and his writers, who were all men, did to Batgirl and how her storyline was practically criminal? Because I do. I remember the misogyny, the sexism, and how they twisted Batgirl into knots as a means of propping up everyone else in the story. They made her into a victim in a retelling of a sexist story that is honestly overrated in the Batman mythos.

The hiring of two men to helm the story of Batgirl also tells me that Warner Bros. doesn’t understand how important it is for women to tell their own stories, especially with all the superhero movies focused on men being made left and right. Batgirl is an opportunity for women to once again show that we’re just as tough, brilliant, and badass as the men who protect the streets of Gotham, for example. And the studio is squandering this opportunity to have two dudes tell our stories.

It also paints this picture that there are only male directors out there that are willing and ready to take on such projects. And that’s a lie. There are plenty of women directors out there that would love the chance to tell Batgirl‘s story while avoiding the misogynistic and sexist garbage that previous directors have brought when it comes to this iconic DC hero. And it’s indicative of a wider problem in Hollywood that execs think women can’t helm blockbusters.

I’m pretty sure that Patty Jenkins killed it at Wonder Woman. I’m also pretty sure that Ava Duvernay is going to kill it with New Gods, if that ever gets off the ground again. And the same thing goes for our Marvel counterparts Cate Shortland for Black Widow and Chloé Zhao for Eternals. Women know how to tell stories that exemplify who we are as women. (I shouldn’t have to say something so basic, but here we are.) And they are at the helm of projects that will define how we see women superheroes.

So, why can’t Batgirl be given the same respect?

(image: Warner Bros./DC)

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Author

Lyra Hale
Lyra (She/Her) is a queer Latinx writer who stans badass women in movies, TV shows, and books. She loves crafting, tostones, and speculating all over queer media. And when not writing she's scrolling through TikTok or rebuilding her book collection.

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