female villains

A Certain Type of Girl: A Portrait of Fictional Female Villains

Megan Walsh

Villainous women have existed in fiction for as long as there's been fiction, though they often fall into types: mean girls, evil queens, harping wives, revenging mistresses. Often, they all share one quality: they are unsympathetic. This is not a sweeping statement across the board, of course, and characters intended to be unsympathetic can be read sympathetically by certain audiences. However, female characters of questionable morality are not always granted the automatic sympathy of a lot of their male counterparts. Men can be antiheroes; women often aren't allowed that luxury. 

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