VILLAINS & SIDECHICKS - The Other Characters That Made Me...
Updated: May 15
INCOMING: Shocking, offensive labels. From me? I know. Shocking.
CONTINUED FROM: SHE-ROS & VILLAINS - The Characters That Made Me
...countless other leading ladies in towers, dragon caves, railroad tracks, cellars, seaside rocks, cliffs, and dungeons all had to be rescued by males.
Alas, you had to be beautiful to be rescued, so it was very clear to me. I was going to have to rescue myself. Either that, or become the flippin' dragon, tiger, witch or villain.
As we've seen, a lot of my favorite characters could be classified as antiheroes. Others are downright baddies. I have also been long fascinated by the stories that turn villains and heroes on their heads. Wicked and Maleficent rank at the top. After all, many villains could be the protagonists of another story--or they are, but they're the ones on the losing side when the curtain closes.
Sometimes the villains work with or for the good guys, and have you ever noticed how often they steal the show? In my life, the most obvious is the one who sparks the words, "Wow, Izzy! I didn't know you were in a movie! Hahahahah..." That would be the Maiden of Mischief, Harley Quinn.
I've found that it's often much saner to stop fighting the tide of the way people label you. Can't do anything about other people's actions, and spending one's life trying to convince people of their misconceptions becomes really exhausting. It's also a waste of precious time.
So I get called crazy a lot. Sometimes it's because of the way my TBI symptoms manifest. Sometimes it's because of my eccentric, spiritual, HSP, artistic nature. It happens most often when I won't let males stuff the personalities of their dream girls into my body, and I call them on their shit when they cheat on me, lie to me, abuse me, and try to use me.
On the other hand, I get called slut because I pursue sex in the way that my generation was told that we could no matter what we had between our legs: any way we wanted to. I find it funny when I get labeled that during the years when I'm celibate or faithfully monogamous. But, you know...
So I had to just accept the sluttastic label, and work to educate my audiences if I was able to. That was always a blissful satisfaction--to hear formerly prejudiced people after a show congratulate us on reforming their stereotyped ideas from "wicked, crude, lewd hoochies shakin' their shit" to artists and athletes deserving of respect and admiration. Thanks. In the words of the Dread Pirate Roberts: "I've worked hard to become so."
But changing someone's preconceived notions is a rare treat. Usually it happened in rural communities while organizing a benefit show for a local cause, like wildfire refugees or the restoration of a historical theater. People who normally wouldn't have touched our tickets with a ten-foot twig would show up to support the benefit, then leave astounded by how much they enjoyed an evening of art, culture, education, humor, and yes--pretty people shaking their shit and twirling toys in mind-boggling ways.
Mostly we evil deavils have to let the labels slide. (Or have fun playing with them.)
Bitch is another one. I get this most often from males when I don't let them push me around, or when I refuse to flirt or have sex with them, and especially when I choose their wives or girlfriends over their lying, sneaking, cheating asses. I've had my life threatened for that one, and I gladly wear the Bitch Badge.
Interestingly, I rarely receive this label from females, which I think says a lot about my personality. The one I also don't get a lot of is "stupid" except in reference to my humor. It might have something to do with me using vocabulary they don't want to admit that they need to look up.
Evil psycho-b!tch wh😱res.
Stupid, useless f#ck-h😱les.
Insane, loudmouth c#nts.
W!tch. B!tch. B!mbo. Sl#t.
Want to destroy a woman's credibility? Want to eliminate her support base so she's easier pickins? Want to make her go away, give up, or STFU? Want to convince other people that they should revile her as much as you do?
Disparage her mental/emotional stability.
Undermine her professionalism, intelligence, and competence.
Mislabel her refusal to sit pretty and put up with your shit as a lack of kindness, tact, or class.
Malign her moral compass and align it with All Things Evil.
And of course, impugn the cleanliness, elasticity, scent, and hazard-free nature of her penetrable bodily orifices.
These are time-honored, well-proven tactics of war. Sometimes, as we shall be discussing at length in the near future, these tactics have literally been used in warfare. Quite successfully, I might add.
I find something really sad about the fact that my personality type has more in common with characters who are rightfully classified as villains because they murder, maim, harm, and steal, when these acts are anathema to my being. Because when it comes to real-life women who don't commit crimes like these, possessing intelligence, skill, assertiveness, and direct communication will get you landed in Camp Evil more times than I can count. It's worse if you add sexual liberation. That one by itself will get you thrown to the Dark Side. (Of course, so will being "ugly, butch, prissy, frigid, mousy, dowdy, fragile, or a scaredy-cat.")
Speaking of cats, I wasn't very old when I started identifying with male heroes of questionable morals and with female villains.
Catwoman was much more attainable than Wonder Woman. She wasn't supernatural or royalty, she wasn't a towering glamazon, and nobody knew if she was ugly or pretty under that mask. They only knew her deeds. Deeds committed by someone less than perfect. Someone purrrrfectly feline who used words like "prrrattle" and "purrrloin." Someone who could prrrowl and slink and sneak through the undergrowth and defeat anybody at hide-n-seek by squeezing herself inside the kitchen cupboards.
Which I did.
The Catwoman I loved best as a kid was by Eartha Kitt. She's obviously sexy--c'mon, it's Eartha and Catwoman--but her version wasn't as overblown as some of the others. Neither was her sex appeal the thing that captivated me about this character the most. She wielded an intellectual's vocabulary in addition to her claws and plots, and she showed off that same kind of trrrrrrixxy tongue for which I was so well known.
Michelle Pfeiffer's Catwoman is my favorite of all time, and the one I identify with the most (although I kept my stuffies and I still love pink).
Miss Kitty is one of my most frequently portrayed characters onstage, especially around Halloween. Although, in classic feline fashion, she is elusive and shifty, shadowy and sneaky. She is rarely caught on camera:
Except when she goes to 👆Kirk Lanier's studio👆 or while playing with her friends. The Kitty Dance I choreographed with my Silky Lionesses in 2009:
I swear I should have been a burlesque dancer. I probably would have been if I had been open to performing strip-tease, or if the troupes and shows I encountered would have had more dancers who performed like the movie, without stripping. As it was, the years I spent being the lone token belly dancer for our local burlesque extravaganzas were some of the most freeing and enjoyable shows I've ever done in my life. Character, storytelling, play - all the sexy-silly-savvy a gal could hope for.
Alas, this type of theatricality did not go over well in the belly dance communities outside the ones I formed myself, or in other black sheep and creatively artistic communities who adopted me. The actress and storyteller were impossible elements to obliterate from my dancing. Every time I tried to conform by boxing myself into what the authorities (some well-accredited and some self-attributed) said I "should" stick to, I was left unfulfilled and heart-sore.
The Dark Side is strong with this one, and I can't not play.
Domme Izzy with the infamous riding crop.
This piece from 2006 was called "Ode to Izzy", one of the delightful Halloween adventures I embarked upon with three of my original Fremont County Sahirrnee playmates, Luna, Despina & Annalya.
The concept was delivered one day by a deviously cackling Luna, along with the spooky music, complete with whip-cracks, groans, moans, clanks and howling. I could only cackle with her, twist my mustaches, and drool in excitement. The first half uses elements of my Basics Drills, which I then reorganized for the second piece.
Naturally, there was the vampire obsession that started way back with Dracula and Dark Shadows, and progressed to Lestat & Co. - and no. In my world, vampires do not sparkle and yes, they're allergic to garlic. Thankfully, when I appear as food, I do not wear any around my neck so I am quite the tantalizing treat.
Izzy as "Dinner"
with a cameo by "The Vampire" Annalya
Halloween Show 2009
In my youngest years, the protagonist role models I identified with most strongly were Dorothy Gale and Little Orphan Annie. They were girls, not women, and they weren't supernatural. They also weren't rescued as a romantic love interest reliant on their prettiness, and they took very active roles in their saving, so they gave me more hope than relying on that miraculous prayer of Swanning Someday.
But no matter if that happened or not, enter sex, stage right.
Alas to my earliest childhood makeup, I had learned about this subject far too young and in a way that was anything but pleasurable. That messed me up almost from Day One. Adults already didn't want to acknowledge that children have sexual curiosity, especially if they were girls, but then adding sexual trauma to my toddler's psyche created a mess I'm still trying to untangle.
Why DO I love playing the villain onstage more than playing the heroine? Why AM I kinky? Why DO I love to write explicit sex scenes into my intricate fantastical world-building and plot lines? Why AM I attracted to the types of people I'm attracted to? Why DID I gravitate toward the worlds of belly dancing and burlesque rather than ballet?
That last one wasn't merely because the physical movements fit my body's construction and experience better. It was equally about the dance style being a better fit to my personality and self-expression.
And who danced into the heart of that?
More villains & sidechicks, of course:
A courtesan-dancer who was executed as a German spy in WWI
Another nefarious temptress-dancer who got a guy's head tossed onto a platter
And one of the most disparaged, demonized, defamed queens in history
CHOOSE YOUR OWN ADVENTURE
--UP NEXT: VILLAINS & SIDECHICKS 2 - Mata Hari
--OR if you want to know how that trrrrrixxy tongue and my early interrrrrest in the Dark Side got me in trouble--and got me slapped with some of those horrible labels--you can find the beginning of those tales HERE...but I'll warn you now. There are raisins in the cookies, and it's not all fun & games.
--OR if you'd like to stick to the dancey adventures, you can find those HERE.