Since 1940. Catwoman has become a part of comic iconography; later cultural. As I am not a comic book fan, my attachment to Catwoman is not in the context of Batman (either comic or on the TV series). As a child of the early 90’s, I remember seeing images of Michelle Pfeiffer’s Catwoman from ‘Batman Returns’. I did not manage to see the full film until rather recently. Strictly speaking I have never been a Batman fan, having seen earlier films. I have never seen the big fuss, however Pfeiffer’s Catwoman was an intriguing enigma. Red lips and her crudely stitched latex skin.
It should come as no surprise that Tim Burton’s Batman was brooding, dark and heaving with gothic imagery. So what makes for a gothic cross over that would enable his Catwoman to retain her feminity yet be able stay agile? PVC of course.
What struck me the most about Pfeiffer’s portrayal of Catwoman was her understated sexuality. Clearly a woman brimming with sexual energy but never a ‘selling point’. From my ‘limited’ exposure to Halle Berry’s Catwoman, it would appear that sex was her major skill. As for Anne Hathaway’s version. I cannot comment. Plus Pfeiffer gave Selina Kyle (Catwoman’s human beginning), a fragile flower who was pushed too far. Abused and taken for granted. Selina (as Catwoman) seeks revenge and wishes to destroy those who have hurt her. Yet she is not without a heart. She intervenes and rescues a woman being attacked in an alley. Again in the limited versions of Catwoman that I have seen, I have never seen the more feminist interpretation. My favourite line that Catwoman ever muttered was “I’m Catwoman, hear me roar”. An apt quotation for anyone who has been silent for too long and decides that the world needs to hear their booming voice.
What rekindled my fascination with fetish Catwoman was thanks to Olivia Debardinis. My favourite pin-up artist has turned her paint brush to this fetishist feline. As you can see by the last four images, her talent has breathed new life into this siren.