“The thing about this is that it’s controversial, so we added more controversy,” explained Azzarello. “I think she is stronger than the men in her life in this story. She controls the men in her life in this story.”
“They both make mistakes, but she’s the one who decides, ‘I have to stop. There’s a problem here, and I need to step away from this,’” Liu explained. “I think that comes from an emotional strength. I think she makes the decisions that strong people make.”
“She comes off as a stronger character at the end of that arc,” Azzarello agreed.
Pfft yeah sure. Suuuure. Turning Batgirl and Batman’s relationship to a sexual one is about showing she’s “stronger” and “controls the men in her life” in a story that’s all about how Joker being a monster and shooting her makes the men feel terribad.
I don’t think these guys understand what’s wrong with this picture. Making Batgirl into a bigger prize for the men to feel a sense of loss over isn’t in any way making Batgirl a strong, more fleshed out character. All it’s doing is further establishing the idea that Batgirl’s only value is in her relationships with men, not in who she is as her own character.
Comparison point here. I’ve complained a lot about Capcom’s poor treatment of Jill and Claire in the Resident Evil franchise over the past decade. One of the BIG things I’ve pointed out as a major problem is Jill’s treatment in Resident Evil 5.
In Resident Evil 5, we find out Jill Valentine was tormented and abused horribly by Albert Wesker. For two years, her body was used to make the worst biohazard ever (after a decade of her fighting to STOP biohazards), and then she was body-controlled into murdering her friends at the BSAA and serving Wesker’s interests.
When she finally broke free of Wesker’s control, she outright says she was aware the whole time. She had no control of her body or her actions, and she had to suffer through being used to do horrible things. And you know what all that was done to build up to?
Chris Redfield’s “suffering” over seeing Jill in that state.
The trauma and suffering Jill endured during those two years is brushed aside like a trivial detail. She doesn’t get to fight Wesker for some redemption. In fact, she’s written as “passing the torch” of being Chris’ partner to Sheva, and even tosses a rocket launcher to Chris and Sheva at the end so THEY can finish Wesker off while she just stands back and watches with a smile.
It was all about Chris, the big burly manly man getting to react to what happened to Jill, and then just shrugging it off once the moment passed.
That’s what DC did to Batgirl with the Killing Joke animated film. They doubled down on the notion that what Batgirl suffers through should be seen as important because, oh golly gee, she banged Batman.