Vixen as Villainess - The Proliferation of Hot, Female Villains in Modern Storytelling

Okay, so, first an admission: I have never seen an episode of the reimagined Battlestar Galactica. All that I know about the show I have garnered from reading Wikipedia and Battlestar Wiki articles. So, there’s that. But, see, I do remember, however vaguely, watching reruns of the original show way back in the day. And I feel almost certain that I am right about one thing: Cylons were never as hot as they are now.

This past weekend, Shawn Lampron and I were talking about the proliferation throughout modern science fiction and fantasy of villains like the Skrulls (Marvel’s resident shape-shifters) and the Cylons (now, in the reimagined series, a quite human-looking race of machines). Hell, even Lost had an infiltrator in the beginning—Ethan. Shawn’s theory, which I buy into, is that writers and producers are turning to these themes more than ever because the villains in the real world don’t really look like villains anymore; they look like us. And, after September 11, what we westerners fear the most is someone sneaking into our society, co-opting some aspect of it that we never before thought of as a threat, and then using that against us.

A whole separate thing that’s been going on, though, is the proliferation of decidedly attractive women as villains. The idea of the villainess is nothing new, but it seems like lately it’s become almost a requirement to make a saucy young minx the face of evil in our stories. And why do we do it? Maybe because we’re a T and A society? I’m curious about what you think, Geek Forcers. Did we really need a female Terminator? And do we really need a hot woman as the face of the enemy on Battlestar? Or do we just have her there so that we have something nice to look at while we’re worrying about spys and sleeper agents and all that?