Earlier this week, The CW dropped their first picture of Ruby Rose as Batwoman, aka Kate Kane, and she looks absolutely amazing.
Ruby Rose was first tapped to play the part last August and the decision was met with so much backlash that Ruby ended up temporarily deactivate her Twitter. To say the casting was controversial would be an understatement.
Some claimed that Ruby just wasn’t right for the part, while others believed she “wasn’t gay enough” for the role (whatever that means).
But now that The CW has released the first picture of Ruby in costume, she seems to have won over a lot of previously skeptical fans. And more importantly, she’s won people over for the right reasons.
Ruby, as an actress, a character, and as a superhero, looks like the world she’s saving. And Batwoman’s costume looks like the world she’s saving: Fluid in all the right ways and complex and controversial. Ruby may identify as “queer” and “genderfluid” — labels her haters have used against her because she doesn’t specifically use the word “lesbian” — but she has played lesbian characters before now. Regardless of what opponents say, sexuality and gender are both remarkably fluid. What The CW is trying to do here is embrace that fluidity and allow it to inform the Arrowverse.
The costume reveal reiterates that the Arrowverse is taking a step in the right direction. It’s two-fold, really: casting a queer woman to play a queer superhero is a great, feminist move and the costume only adds to it. Not only does the overall styling of the costume reference classic comic book tropes, but it doesn’t feel degrading or overly-sexualized.
Yes, Ruby Rose looks sexy as hell. First of all it’s Ruby Rose and second of all, it’s a black unitard. Just by the laws of Beyoncé alone, a black one-piece is forever sexy. But it’s not some cheap getup in the midst of a sexed-up overdose. It’s a practical, appropriate amount of attractive; it’s not blatantly calling attention to curves or making boobs or a thigh gap the focal point. It’s not a woman’s outfit designed for a man’s pleasure; it’s a woman’s outfit designed for saving the world. There’s more utility present in the costume than there is an egregious amount of objectification. Ruby as Batwoman, in this particular costume, reads less like a cis white man’s fantasy of a stripper-turned-vigilante and more like an LGBTQ+ friendly superhero, a superhero that kids can grow up watching and relating to.
Regardless of any issues critics may have of the casting, Ruby is definitely moving the superhero space in a positive direction: inclusive, fluid, and ultimately, feminist.
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Steph Osmanski is a freelance writer, brand consultant, and blogger (@stephosmanski) who specializes in health and wellness content. Her words have appeared on Seventeen, Life & Style, Darling Magazine, and more. She is currently pursuing an MFA in Creative Writing at Stony Brook Southampton and writing a memoir.