Every casting choice and piece of leaked information is scrutinized by the online fandom. Studios need to improve their productions to meet a growingly aware global audience. This sense of community can be a wonderful boon for the genre, but being under this much scrutiny has its downsides. Case in point, the casting of Australian actress and model Ruby Rose (Orange Is the New Black) as the anti-hero, Batwoman, in a new titular series to begin next year.
Why is she so detested by trolls and the so-called Alt-Right? It seems to come down to two things: her appearance and her sexuality. Rose identifies as both queer and genderfluid, blurring the lines between a normative masculine and feminine image. For most of us, this type of appearance does not even warrant comment; yet, to the knuckle-draggers of Twitter, she is a threat. She has been met with criticism for not fitting into the adolescent stereotype of the female superhero: big boobs, tight lycra, long blonde hair and most of all, heterosexuality. In the comics, Batwoman is portrayed as a rebellious, expectation-defying, ass-kicking lesbian woman, so what are the fanboys crying about? In Rose they surely have the actress they’ve wanted.
Rose said in a recent interview with Jimmy Fallon that the role was a ‘dream come true’, going on to talk about her long-term affinity for the character. As with many things related to what some deem ‘boys only’ genres, women unfortunately often have to justify their own casting.
While Rose’s lesbian Batwoman may spread fear among the regressive, for many of us, our fears surrounding the new show is based on the declining standards in recent seasons of other DC Universe shows such as Supergirl, The Arrow, and particularly The Flash. Hopefully, the show will share a tone and visual style with more recent DC adaptations Black Lightning and Gotham – the latter a show which is the closest relative to Batwoman, and one whose most recent season was the best of any other DC show ever.
Ruby Rose’s version of Batwoman has yet to hit the screens, and who knows, she may well be the wrong person for the role. She hasn’t yet had a role like this in her career and it may prove to be beyond her. Whatever the end result is though, I would say that it is only fair to wait until next year to see for yourself.