I Tweeted About The Joker Being a Woman Who Was Tired of This Shit
June 4, 2019 5:30 PM   Subscribe

Most people got the joke. They found it funny. And some people … well, they did not. I tweeted about the Joker being a woman who was tired of this shit and it now feels auto-biographical.
posted by adamcarson (48 comments total) 66 users marked this as a favorite
 
I want this Joker to be Kate McKinnon, or maybe Lupita Nyong'o (considering Us).

Early on in my writing life I noticed the relative absence of female trickster characters from media in general. There was a particular gap in cartoon characters. The only lady cartoon character I could name who was supposed to be funny rather than sexy without being the butt of the joke was Slappy Squirrel. It's gotten better since I was a girl, but there's still a long way to go. (Tuca is a revolution all by herself, though.)
posted by Countess Elena at 5:41 PM on June 4 [39 favorites]


Honestly, a Joker of any gender showing up for a chat with all male Twitter users would be a good start.
posted by GenjiandProust at 5:45 PM on June 4 [20 favorites]


This is a great post!
posted by medusa at 5:52 PM on June 4 [2 favorites]


As someone who has a soft spot for Moriarty, I don't want to be too judgy about people who stan for fictional villains, but I have noticed that the dudes I've seen wearing Joker t-shirts on the subway have either been manspreading or knocking aside old ladies as they sprint down the stairs. I mean, that is typical subway misbehavior, but I've seen far more dudes in Goku t-shirts and they all seem to know how to go around the slow movers on the stairs.

Anyway, some people have no sense of humor when it comes to the Joker.
posted by betweenthebars at 5:57 PM on June 4 [8 favorites]


Being told to smile fills me with the white hot rage of a thousand suns. A female joker would be fucking perfect.
posted by shoesietart at 6:00 PM on June 4 [62 favorites]


Nothing more illustrative of the illusion of superior male geek knowledge than the guy who said no woman could terrorize Gotham. Drs. Quinzel and Isley will see you now.
posted by praemunire at 6:00 PM on June 4 [24 favorites]


One thing I would mandate as "king of the world": rebooting a major franchise is only allowed if you change the gender and/or race of the protagonist. We've got a great batman movie. Want to tell another? Neat. Think a black Bruce Wayne might deal with petty criminals differently? A female joker? Hell yeah. You could have scenes where the police don't take her seriously, return victims to her, etc etc.

Consider Spiderman. We've had three different white dude spider-men in the last few years, and we don't need another retelling of the same story.
1) Tom Holland is perfectly cast: He can actually move
2) Spiderverse proves my point better than I could.
3) If trends continue when they reboot live-action Spiderman again, I'm worried that Aunt May is going to be Peter's same age.
posted by MengerSponge at 6:04 PM on June 4 [43 favorites]




My girlfriend and I wrote the beginning of an alt-universe female Joker script that I think really works after reading this.

It ends with her discovering who Batman really is and trying to blackmail him, but that's a bridge too far and she gets sent to Arkham for essentially being a deranged fan of a billionaire. Which she is, of course. And then she is treated by a certain Dr. Henry Quinzel...
posted by East14thTaco at 6:27 PM on June 4 [4 favorites]


While getting lost in a wiki-hole on alternate Harlies Quinn, I noticed this appearance in an Elseworlds one-shot where "This version of Harley is a schoolgirl named Hayley Fitzpatrick who dresses up in order to help a female version of the Joker called Bianca Steeplechase."

So, let's just have that movie, please and thank you.

(Also I love the must-explore-alternatives new-Bechdel-test for reboots)
posted by abulafa at 6:56 PM on June 4 [12 favorites]


Great tweet, great article, gross dudes, but a good reminder for me of how not to be as a man.
posted by The World Famous at 7:39 PM on June 4 [2 favorites]


It is every time we’re told to smile when we feel like shit, every time that we have our own jokes or experiences explained back to us because we’re apparently too stupid to understand them

The idea is so good that even just by *saying* "The Joker is a woman" you're saying that the woman is the one who is making the jokes this time, which just by itself is powerful.
posted by bleep at 7:47 PM on June 4 [31 favorites]


You know the next person she kills after the pencil trick is a man who tries to explain the pencil trick back to her.
posted by The World Famous at 7:55 PM on June 4 [81 favorites]


I would fully support a Joker who refuses to shave her leg hair and just covers it with body paint.
posted by shapes that haunt the dusk at 8:04 PM on June 4 [53 favorites]


I read about this here a few days ago, it has more of her tweets and they are fucking gold.
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 8:37 PM on June 4 [3 favorites]


My favorite was the guy who told me to get back into the kitchen, and when I replied with this, HE INSTANTLY DELETED HIS TWEET.
Link to tweet: LOL, why, do you want me to win another James Beard award?

I literally applauded just now, reading this in my hotel room.
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 8:44 PM on June 4 [47 favorites]


You know, I have been thinking a lot about all-women utopian visions (which usually aren't all that uptopian, strictly speaking; I think women see too much of the real work that has to be done to ever believe in a world that doesn't include some boring, tedious or exhausting shit in it) like Herland and The Female Man but also Women's World, and Seggri in Le Guin's "The Matter of Seggri," a lot lately, and I'm actually surprised women haven't written more of these.

Of course, gender isn't really that binary so you really can't write those stories, strictly speaking, without ignoring people who don't fit a strict binary for whatever reason.

I think I'm just tired, and I kind of wish there were a lot of dudes (and yeah, some enabling non-dudes) we could put in a compassionate stasis for like, 100 years, while the rest of us fix the broke stuff and deal with our various traumas and raise kids who are free of that bullshit. Then we could let them out.

Maybe.

Just so tired.
posted by emjaybee at 8:50 PM on June 4 [11 favorites]




My own offering. (With due credit.)
posted by cstross at 4:46 AM on June 5 [17 favorites]


I know that this is not the gendered version of this, but I have been accosted by some jackass on the public street who handed me a "ticket" for "not smiling". I think he was canvassing for some kind of Up With People church.
posted by thelonius at 4:58 AM on June 5 [1 favorite]


Geraldine is the type of twitter I miss most. The responses she had to deal with are the reason I'm not on there much any more. I want to engage with intelligent and progressive individuals who are about advocating for space for the rest of us "others", whether it's people of color, women, queer people, trans people, the rest of us that don't fit the mold, but those responses she dealt with. Ugh. It makes you feel sick in your stomach.
posted by Fizz at 5:06 AM on June 5 [15 favorites]


Would that we had more women breaking The Men. I want a constant stream of men formerly deluded by masculine toxicity now broken by strong, sarcastic, unapologetic, women.
posted by kalessin at 5:21 AM on June 5 [2 favorites]


If trends continue when they reboot live-action Spiderman again, I'm worried that Aunt May is going to be Peter's same age.

The last three Aunts May have been played by actresses in their seventies, sixties and fifties, and who were born in 1927, 1946, and 1964 respectively. These are gaps of ~18 years in birth date, which brings us to maybe 1982. Candidates would therefore include Cobie Smulders, Jewel Staite, and, er, Kirsten Dunst.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 6:32 AM on June 5 [11 favorites]


You know what, I had been thinking to myself lately that it would be fun to get into cosplay, but it's been hard to imagine a character that would suit my body type and my general entire deal without being too obscure. This, though, this is an idea any lady could work out from the ground up, adapting the costume just as she likes.
posted by Countess Elena at 6:59 AM on June 5 [5 favorites]


"Geraldine, you've broken the men."
"They were like that when I got here."

Epic. <3
posted by xedrik at 7:00 AM on June 5 [45 favorites]


Countess Elena, I had the same thought and am now pondering cosplay for an event next month.
posted by mogget at 7:12 AM on June 5 [1 favorite]


Hasn't this already been done? In the ten thousand versions of the Batman universe (I don't pay attention to to comics that much, but there are sure lots of different Batmans, Robins, etc.) that have existed, isn't Bruce Wayne's mother The Joker in one of them?
posted by sideshow at 9:08 AM on June 5


A point made in the linked article, sideshow. Along with why this would be different, and that we seem endlessly willing to accept reboots of Batman as a white male, but goddess forbid somebody recycle an idea like a female Joker.

Anyways, I think this would make an awesome story and I would be there for it.
posted by nubs at 9:20 AM on June 5 [10 favorites]


While getting lost in a wiki-hole on alternate Harlies Quinn, I noticed this appearance in an Elseworlds one-shot where "This version of Harley is a schoolgirl named Hayley Fitzpatrick who dresses up in order to help a female version of the Joker called Bianca Steeplechase."

Thrillkiller and its followup were amazing. They are ... I'm not sure of the right way to describe the comic style ... like Marvels, in that it's all painted panels, looking more like illustrations?

In any case, it's a hell of a story and the visuals are just great, too.
posted by WCityMike at 10:47 AM on June 5 [1 favorite]


If the Joker were not a supervillain and more like the central figure of a horror movie then maybe it would work as a sort of "beware, men" message. But as a villain it means she's going to be the "wrong" one and come off like a villainized angry feminist. The only thing justifying her needing jailtime is tacking on the kick-the-dog moments (killing/stealing/etc). I felt similarly about the villain in Shazam.

It's reminiscent of when I was a kid watching both Batman and Captain Planet, and wondering why it was that if Poison Ivy infiltrates a polluting organization and fucks shit up it's bad, but if the planeteers do the same thing it's good. The only differences were in the surrounding presentation--the kick-the-dog/pet-the-dog moments, the character designs, etc.
posted by picklenickle at 11:29 AM on June 5 [7 favorites]


one time I was taking the train somewhere (and reading a BOOK!) and a man sat across from me, and said "You would be prettier if you smiled - but like, not THAT pretty."

I rolled my eyes and continued reading and he said "can't take a compliment, eh?"

maybe HE was the joker.
posted by euphoria066 at 11:43 AM on June 5 [13 favorites]


Hasn't this already been done?

Didn't we already have a woman on the Supreme Court?
posted by straight at 11:52 AM on June 5 [23 favorites]


One of the ideas in the followups was Batman being very reluctant to fight this Joker - not because of any "don't like hitting a woman" thing, but because she's not a psychotic killer, just someone who got pushed too far one day and started hitting back, and honestly she has a point, but he can't just let her crimes go unpunished.

It would be amazing to have this happen, and I would read it if it was done well. In single-issues and then the collected trades.
posted by mephron at 12:43 PM on June 5 [7 favorites]


TIRED: Hollywood is rebooting Ghostbusters again
WIRED: The 4 main characters are played by Simone Missick, Jameela Jamil, Awkwafina, and Hannah Gadsby. Also features Kate McKinnon and cameos by the other three original Ghostbusters.
posted by straight at 12:46 PM on June 5 [9 favorites]


Early on in my writing life I noticed the relative absence of female trickster characters from media in general.

I wonder if there any female trickster characters in mythology.
posted by ZeusHumms at 1:01 PM on June 5 [1 favorite]


Eeeeeep. live action Ghostbusters 3, to be directed by Jason Reitman.
posted by ZeusHumms at 1:05 PM on June 5


>I wonder if there any female trickster characters in mythology.

Just tossing that golden apple out there, eh?
posted by Easy problem of consciousness at 1:05 PM on June 5 [19 favorites]


I wonder if there any female trickster characters in mythology.

Eris and Laverna are the first two that come to mind, but I'm sure there are more.
posted by hanov3r at 1:07 PM on June 5 [2 favorites]


Eris and Laverna are the first two that come to mind, but I'm sure there are more.

I am too. Burden's on me to look them up.
posted by ZeusHumms at 1:19 PM on June 5 [1 favorite]


Hang on, though....which Ghostbuster is Awkwafina going to play? Because I would love for her to be Egon.
posted by wenestvedt at 1:26 PM on June 5


@picklenickle Why does this Joker have to be a villain? I mean, if we're already offering an alternate take on gender, origin, raison d'être, why not make her an anti-hero as well?

Then you could have all kinds of great takes between her and Batman, who is essentially doing the same thing as her, just that he's enforcing the law, and she's enforcing common goddamn decency, and now there's an interesting exchange to be had.
posted by Imperfect at 2:03 PM on June 5 [10 favorites]


Why does this Joker have to be a villain?

Why not? Personally, I enjoy stories with "villains who actually have a good point", but women tend to get "evil because sexy" and "evil because boyfriend" or "evil because".
posted by betweenthebars at 2:46 PM on June 5 [3 favorites]


This article and tweet spoke to my soul. Especially being disabled and constantly judged by "not looking sick" but then if you "look sick" you're faking it and should "smile more" or "cheer up." So I stayed up until the sun came up and illustrated an old look of mine. (twitter.)
posted by Crystalinne at 3:39 PM on June 5 [14 favorites]


Eeeeeep. live action Ghostbusters 3, to be directed by Jason Reitman.

Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together... mass hysteria!
posted by kirkaracha at 10:54 PM on June 5


I wonder if there any female trickster characters in mythology.

"Baubo (Ancient Greek: Βαυβώ) is an old woman in Greek mythology which appears particularly in the myths of the early Orphic religion. Known as the Goddess of Mirth, she was bawdy and sexually liberated, and is said to have jested with Demeter, when Demeter was mourning the loss of her daughter, Persephone."
posted by ottereroticist at 12:18 AM on June 6 [1 favorite]


Then you could have all kinds of great takes between her and Batman, who is essentially doing the same thing as her, just that he's enforcing the law, and she's enforcing common goddamn decency, and now there's an interesting exchange to be had.

Batman, Fed Up Female Joker, and the Alt Right "Free Speech" Creeps...?
posted by eviemath at 6:07 AM on June 6


With Gotham's interpretation of the Joker as a kind of meme, I was hoping we'd get more than one episode of Lori Petty's Jeri as the Joker. She had so much potential to be an interesting incarnation of the idea, and a Joker who runs a punk club would be near and dear to my heart. Alas, we only had one episode of her, and then back to Jerome and Jeremiah. Not to diss on Cameron Monaghan in any way, but more Joker diversity = more awesome, and more of an exploration on a Joker who was totally outside of that would have been fantastic.

I know everyone is talking about the time Martha Wayne was the Joker, but I haven't read that and so Lori Petty's Jeri is the woman Joker I've seen, and I want so much more.

The idea of the Joker as a woman who's just had too much is great. I felt like this was what Batman Returns was trying to do with Michelle Pfeiffer's Catwoman, but the rest of Batman Returns was so bad that it kind of ended up getting buried. And of course the ways that the Joker would respond to that experience are different from how Catwoman would respond, but that just leaves a lot of space for interesting interactions between them.
posted by bile and syntax at 10:05 AM on June 6 [1 favorite]


I wonder if there any female trickster characters in mythology.

Penelope! Outwits the suitors with an ongoing illusion, causes Odysseus to lose his cool in one sentence.
posted by clew at 8:24 PM on June 6 [5 favorites]


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