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Ruby Rose as Batwoman: Is She Really the Best Choice?

No, not Batgirl. Batwoman!

Yesterday, it was announced that The CW has cast gender fluid actress-model Ruby Rose to portray the character of Kate Kane (known to many of us as Batwoman), and will debut her in their annual crossover event this winter. In addition, the network is also developing a standalone series about Batwoman, but precious few details exist on that.

Ruby Rose is a name familiar to many television viewers, as she portrayed the character of Stella Carlin in HBO’s Orange is the New Black. She is also known for her roles in John Wick: Chapter 2 (wherein she can be seen trying to kick the crap out of our boy Keanu), Pitch Perfect 3, and XXX: The Return of Xander Cage (no, we didn’t see that one either). She’s also got a part in the upcoming The Meg, about the discovery of a living megalodon.

We’ll have to see what happens with the DC crossover later this year, but if The CW actually does get to make Batwoman into a series, it’ll be the first TV series to focus on an openly LGBT superhero.

As the show’s official logline reads:

“Armed with a passion for social justice and a flair for speaking her mind, Kate Kane soars onto the streets of Gotham as Batwoman, an out lesbian and highly trained street fighter primed to snuff out the failing city’s criminal resurgence. But don’t call her a hero yet. In a city desperate for a savior, Kate must overcome her own demons before embracing the call to be Gotham’s symbol of hope.”

Ruby Rose’s debut as Kate Kane will come in December, when The CW will air their superhero crossover event. This year’s iteration is set to include The Flash, Supergirl, and Arrow. DC’s Legends of Tomorrow is not involved this time, though. Following that, the Batwoman series is set to be written by Caroline Dries. Known for her work on The Vampire Diaries. Dries is also taking on a co-executive producer role, right along with Geoff Johns, Sarah Schechter, and of course, Greg Berlanti.

Batwoman panel

Here’s where things get complicated

The fact that we’re getting a Batwoman on TV is all well and good. However, there’s some issues here that I want to address…

I don’t have any problem with Rose herself, but I do take issue with the fact that she seems to have become Hollywood’s default setting for both gender fluid and often femme LGBTQ presence in action media. As with any struggle for visibility, I understand carving out a path by any (reasonable) means, but once an individual of any marginalization successfully paves the way to stardom, I feel that it also behooves them to make way for others, particularly if their palatability can be manipulated into one flavor of representation, a la light-skinned casting. I am by no means suggesting that an individual of Rose’s caliber or stature is incapable of donning the cape and cowl required to step into a superhero’s shoes, but the notion that it takes all kinds can only go so far if casting directors continue to select a consistently homogenized aesthetic. No one needs to get fired or left out in the cold, but there is without a doubt room and ability to give a hand up to others who haven’t been afforded the advantages of traditional blockbuster appeal and a supermodel’s bone structure.

At this point, with Batwoman‘s lead casting all but a forgone conclusion, and in spite of any salt I have to throw, it bears constant repeating that this long-awaited progress is a large stride in the right direction. I can only hope that, in finally moving its LGBTQ characters into the spotlight, the network will realize that the community is as varied the DC Universe’s own cast of characters, and act accordingly.

About Alec B. (29 Articles)
Alec is a DC-based writer of short and long form fiction stories, and an eclectic (shameless?) nerd of color.

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