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Female Ass-Kickers Opinion Article

Where are all the female werewolves?

Opinion by Mermaid-Tail posted over a year ago
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No matter how long I thought, I just couldn't think of a good way to start this, so I'll just get into it. Where are all the female werewolves? Not something I noticed until recently, but of all the commonly done monsters, that must be the one with the least females. Even in the rare cases of female werewolves they never seem to be important characters, or even characters we are supposed to like. Off the top of my head the only example of a female werewolf protagonist I can remember is from the Ginger snaps movies.

Is it a sexist issue? Of the more established monsters in our culture, werewolves must be the most primal in their power. Is that type of unbridled strength something we simply have a hard time attaching to women? You could argue we don't lack female characters that are strong mythical creatures, the most common perhaps being vampires, but while they are strong their strength is very different. They are cold. Not just physically but emotionally. There is an elegance attached to vampires, right down to the almost sensual way they kill (sucking on people's necks) werewolves are all about raw power. They don't go through a seduction scene before killing you, they jump out of the bushes and rip you to shreds. A werewolf character's power is a much stronger focal point of their myth. It's not bogged down by any link to their humanity, neither mentally nor physically. Their strength has no ifs or buts, it just is. I think Primal is the best word for it, and it seems that still in this day and age we can hardly comprehend a woman having such animalistic power. If you asked a large group of people to picture a man being emotionally extreme and a woman beng emotionally extreme they would probably picture the man screaming and the woman crying. A werewolf is your pure animal instincts, no holds barred, to hunt, fight and eat. But switch that from a male to a female and it seems hollywood changes those instincts to hunt (for love) fight (for a bargain on your shopping trip) and eat (a calorie controlled diet so you don't get fat). Are ingrained stereotypes about women that, if they were ever true certainly aren't anymore, keeping people from being able to see us as werewolves?

Does the severe lack of female werewolves also have something to do with the prioritisation of sexualising 'strong' women? These days almost every writer/director seems much more concerned with their heroine being considered hot than considered tough, so it's easy to see them wanting to skip past the big hairy monsters that are werewolves. It would be pretty damn hard to sexualise them. It's easy to make a monster like a vampire sexy, they're elegant, eternally youthful and really want to suck on you, and unsurprisingly our culture has no shortage of female vamps. Werewolves lose their sexy human forms, sprout all-over hair and are fuelled by primal instincts. Not as easy to sexualise. It seems like that is connected to the point about power. Like it makes it easier to accept strong women if they're sexy, because that way their first priority is still serving men, by attempting to appeal to them often at the detriment of their supposed mission. For example the many fictional women who enter battles in no armour (it would cover the boobs!) or brave harsh environments in micro shorts. That could only hold them back from their goal, so some can avoid being intimidated by her strength by perceiving that her most important instinct is still pleasing men. A message not really possible to send with a big hairy beast.

So, how about the times a female werewolf does mange to sneak into a story? Well, it's often not exactly a victory. The rare times I have encountered them they often take the dog connection too literally by being total bitches. They are there for us to dislike. Their strength is kept from overstepping bounds by having them be thoroughly unlikeable. Either that or attempting to separate them from their femininity in some way (often both). One example is Leah from Twilight, a character I hesitate to mention as not only have I ranted about her in the past, but I don't want my anti-Twilight status seeming to colour my opinion, but the fact is she's a relevant example. The only female werewolf/wolf-shifter-thing in the books, and one whose attitude I've heard many fans insult. So she already fits into our disliked point. She also inexplicably cannot have children (something Meyer seems to connect heavily with the women in her story and see as a priority). To make it possible to attach this female to primal werewolf power what has to be done? Step one take away a piece of her femininity, so she's more far removed from women and therefor easier to see as strong, step two make the fans dislike her (secret step three: make her attempts to prove she's as strong and valuable as the male werewolves result in a screw up, just to make sure it's perfectly clear a woman shouldn't be trying for this style of strength)
Even a fantasy show known for it's strong women and willingness to look at gender roles, Buffy the vampire slayer, went the more traditional route of not only making it's resident werewolf a male, but having the only female werewolf shown, a one episode character named Veruca, be a villainous horny woman trying to steal Oz away from his girlfriend. She was barely a villain, more a bitch who happened to be a werewolf. Her motivation wasn't gaining power, saving the day or even simply eating people. It was getting Oz to dump his girlfriend and go out with her instead.

So, what do you think about our lack of likeable, non useless female werewolves? And does anyone have a recommendation for a good story featuring one? (book, movie, comic book, anything would be good)
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15 comments

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Cinders said:
One word: Wolfbreed. I'm reading it now, fantastic novel. Stars a female wolf named Lilly. It's interesting because she was raised in such a violent and abusive environment that she's almost lost all of her humanity. I'm not too far into it - school reading takes priority - but it's great so far.

Does Nina count? I mean, she's clearly a werewolf, but I don't think she's very well-liked in the fanbase. I like Nina in the comics more than I liked her on the show. Like when the sun and the moon were out at the same time and she was literally going insane.

Also, Madison in Supernatural was pretty cool... and sad (the story, I mean).
posted over a year ago.
last edited over a year ago
 
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fanfly said:
I've thought of this before too- not in as much depth as you have though so bear with me- a lot of this is just thinking aloud.

I really think it is based on their sexuality- werewolves are hairy and therefore do not conform to the ideal of female attractiveness. And like you said, all strong fictional women must be attractive- but that's a marketing issue. They have to appeal to men and I guess the bigwigs think that the only way a strong female can appeal to the male demographic is if they're sexy.

About Veruca- I'm not sure it's fair to criticize her as a bad example of a female werewolf. It's true that she had no larger goal than hooking up with Oz. But in the same breath you say that werewolves are driven by instinct. Her instinct was telling her to find a mate. How much more animalistic can you get? It wasn't about love, it was completely primal and instinctual. Maybe that's another reason there aren't as many female werewolves. Because the idea of them behaving in such a sexually predatory way is unfeminine. I think people relate werewolves to men because men are stereotypically driven by their animal instincts.

As for other female werewolf characters...there was a movie called Blood and Chocolate where the female protagonist was a werewolf. Unfortunately, it wasn't a very good movie and I don't remember much about it. I do remember an interesting point though that kind of supports the 'hairy is not sexy' idea; when the werewolves transformed it was in a kind of blur of mist so that one moment they were human and the next they were a wolf- no ugly hairy girl to be seen! Actually it was probably for budget reasons- I imagine mist is a cheaper effect than a full-on morph.

Also there's the Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs. Although the wolf packs there are male-dominated [they follow the societal structure of real wolves pretty closely] there are some strong female werewolves among them. Also the main character, Mercy, turns into a coyote. But she's very different from the werewolves- they have much more savage instincts than she does.

And that's all I can think of for now!
posted over a year ago.
last edited over a year ago
 
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smile
Fair point about Veruca, my judgement was based on her actions as a human though, since Oz showed that in the Buffverse werewolf mythology they were not so affected by their wolf side that it overtook their personality or morals when human, so the implication is Veruca is a raving beeyotch even without the werewolf side. Though, on the other hand Veruca did talk about how she was more accepting of her wolf side, so we can't be too sure how much that altered her wolf experience compared to Oz. For all we know her acceptance and oneness with her wolf side meant it played a much greater part in her non-wolfy personality compared to Oz, I don't believe that was ever expressly answered or explained in the show (maybe it was, can't remember). If it did, then her behaviour does seem more like an expansion of the show's take on the mythology than anything else. Although I still feel it's relevant that if that is what happened, that the male werewolf was able to control this power and wield it responsibly while the only female lost herself in it at the cost of her personality. To be fair, that's up for interpretation, because you can either see it as her lacking the ability to control the power like Oz did, or as her handling it best because she was able to become one with it without shame or holding back.

Thanks to you both for the recommendations too, I'm definitely going to check them both out :)
posted over a year ago.
 
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fanfly said:
Yeah, I always interpreted it as Veruca being at one with her wolf side- because she and Oz talked about how they could feel the wolf inside at all times and she was always urging him to give into it. So I guess that yes she could be considered "weak" for giving into it and not disciplining herself like Oz did. Or she could be considered "strong" for embracing what happened to her and finding happiness in it. [Like you said it's subjective]
My take on Oz is that he tried so hard to tamp the wolf down and deny it [he never talked to anyone about feeling wolf-like while in his human state] that when Veruca confronted him with his own bestiality he had no defenses against it. So I'm not sure his path really made him stronger. After the incident with Veruca he realized that he had to do something, but instead of staying and dealing with his emotions or asking for help, he left and again tried to tamp the wolf[and his emotions] down. And again, it exploded as soon as he was confronted with an emotional trauma. He returned, having made himself even more dangerous than he was before because he was no longer limited to changing during the full moon. So personally I don't consider Oz a great success at "discipline".
posted over a year ago.
last edited over a year ago
 
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Theres also Maia from the Mortal Instruments series.
posted over a year ago.
 
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Teawanee said:
I think It's just the wolf part people can't comprehend. There are a number of were-"Creatures" that are female, and they are powerful and primal, as you put it. I don't think It's totally sexist, they have were-cats, and were-jaguars, and such, so at least they have a female alternative to were-wolves. and rarely are they any weaker then were-wolves, just a different animal, because I think It's just hard to make something extremly furry, and muslcular as a wolf look feminine enough to not look like a girl on seroids. I can't remember any were-creatures aside from Cheetara from thundercats (which I've never acctually seen) But I know they are out there.
posted over a year ago.
 
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^ To me, the idea of there being many were-cat like females but still a drought of female werewolves still shows the problem. Cat-like creatures are considered more slinky and graceful than raging and primal in comparison to wolf-like creatures, so it still speaks to the idea of a society that has a harder time associating women with that style of strength. As for it being harder to show femininity in wolves, them looking like women on steroids, that's part of my point, why should appearance or femininity matter? It's a monster. It's not like we consider hairy, wolf shaped, slobbering men particularly attractive, so why should the look of a wolf matter in just the case of women? It implies that even as a monster, keeping some link to sexiness matters for women and not for men, and that's part of my problem.

Thank you for your comment, I'd actually forgotten about this article, but it's had some interesting comments, not to mention story recommendations to add to my books to read list.
posted over a year ago.
 
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Cinders said:
Women are cats and men are dogs? That does seem to be the stereotype. ;o)

Seriously, though, when I was little I do remember associating femininity with cats and masculinity with dogs. This may be due to the fact that our family dog was always male, and that one of my favorite films as a child was Homeward Bound, but still. Also, I can name more famous male cats (mostly cartoon) than I can name female dogs. Like Garfield, Top Cat, Salem or even Stimpy from Ren and Stimpy (I hate that show).

But to name female dogs... it's harder. I remember Delilah from Homeward Bound 2 (I told you, it was a favorite of mine). And Lady of Lady and the Tramp. And then I had to google to remember that Blue of Blue's Clues was even a girl at all.

That was a bit of a digression from the points of this article, but I think still relevant.

On the note of were-jaguars, I should mention Dez from Angel: Aftermath.
posted over a year ago.
 
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joe-kerr said:
First off, thanks.
This article turned up on Google when I was searching for books with interesting werewolf characters. This article was what got me hooked to fanpop.

I've read the 1st Kitty Norville since and I loved her.

While we are on the topic you might want to check out this link with vote results on the best she-wolf.

http://shewolf-manchester.blogspot.com//20­11/­10/­vot­e-n­o..­.tm­l
posted over a year ago.
 
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Cinders said:
^^ Yay, a Fanpop convert! XD

Also, I wanted to add to our growing list Nina Pickering, Nora Sergeant and Brynn Mclean from the Being Human series (first is UK, the last two are US).
posted over a year ago.
 
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smile
Read Bitten and Stolen, the first two books in the Women of the Otherworld series by Kelley Armstrong. The main character is a strong, kick-ass, female werewolf.
posted over a year ago.
 
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me i am a werewolf and a female
posted over a year ago.
 
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Dacl73 said:
If you include comics, I can think of one female werewolf. Rahne Sinclair (Wolfsbane) of Marvel Comics, sure she is a mutant werewolf, but I think it is close enough to count.
posted over a year ago.
 
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kittyboy said:
Reading this, I think back to all to a lot of fantasy females I have seen and, I must say, they were mostly what the typical male would consider "sexy" or "attractive". Some were quite feral in there appearance and demeanor and my male friends would typically find them "weird" or "gross", whereas I found there raw power quite beautiful, in a sense. I am currently writing a book on a woman "Umin" (an anthropomorphisized animal creature) who is a fox ( the animal kind), and has some very masculine traits along with a feminine twist. She contains traits, such as a large amount of muscle and a deeper, scratchy voice, that most would not typically associate with a woman. She is also a warrior and has survived through great physical, mental,and sexual trauma throughout her childhood and teenage years. Personally, I don't find the idea of a powerful woman queer or unappealing at all.
posted over a year ago.
 
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heart
Yeah the Kitty books are awesome!

And don't worry, I'm currently working on my first novel featuring a female main character who happens to be an ass kicking werewolf - and I don't mean that lightly. She's rude, crude, hot tempered and lovable as hell despite all of her faults.
posted 11 months ago.