Female characters who behave badly can of course be used as sticks to beat other women — though so can female characters who behave well, witness the cult of the Virgin Mary, better than you’ll ever be, and the legends of the female saints and martyrs — just cut on the dotted line, and, minus one body part, there’s your saint, and the only really good woman is a dead woman, so if you’re so good why aren’t you dead?
But female bad characters can also act as keys to doors we need to open, and as mirrors in which we can see more than just a pretty face. They can be explorations of moral freedom — because everyone’s choices are limited, and women’s choices have been more limited than men’s, but that doesn’t mean women can’t make choices . Such characters can pose the question of responsibility, because if you want power you have to accept responsibility, and actions produce consequences.
So true. They have you coming and going: being ‘bad’ or ‘good’ is not a game you can win, so be your magnificent self.