(Credit: Geoffrey Short / Netflix)

“Horny male outrage” is responsible for backlash against Faye Valentine outfit in Netflix’s 'Cowboy Bebop'

The realm of superhero flicks featuring female superheroes has always been the subject of an aggressive debate, often due to various men complaining about the lack of sexualised outfits being donned in the recent past. Female superheroes have been fetishised and sexualised since time immemorial, and it is not until Captain Marvel or Birds of Prey that these norms were shattered. 

Now, after Netflix released the pictures of the live-action cast for their upcoming reboot of the popular anime Cowboy Bebop, Daniella Pineda’s character, Faye Valentine, one of the badass bounty hunters in Spike Spiegel’s ragtag team, has faced a lot of backlash regarding the lack of sex appeal in her outfit. 

Salon.com writer, Kylie Cheung, has attributed this backlash to “horny male outrage” and, in a scathing and politically jarring piece, has mocked the incels of the internet for mobilising yet again “not over the rapidly worsening climate catastrophe, stagnant wages, the broken health care system, or endemic rape culture, but rather, over a real issue: the outfit of a female bounty hunter in the live-action adaptation of beloved anime series Cowboy Bebop.”

Cheung has gone all guns blazing on the men who apparently hold the decisive power to reject or accept a character on whether their outfit choices manage to “sexually gratify them”. Cheung said that while most of the reactions were positive, some trolls, AKA “male internet basement dwellers”, were carrying out huge social media protests against “the unthinkable injustice of an on-screen woman existing while not being dressed or designed to titillate.”

Pineda as Fay Valentine, according to Cheung, is “adorned in stylish but practical attire for an intergalactic bounty hunter who regularly spars with violent outlaws, and leaps from planet to planet on the regular”. 

Cheung clarifies, “Just like her male peers, she’s reasonably dressed for her role, and men of the interwebs are losing their minds over this.” Cheung even came up with a brutal retort for all those who cited the failure of Captain Marvel and Birds of Prey in terms of impact by talking about how Brie Larson as Carol Danvers dons a fully-covered suit and does not exude the stereotypical feminine glee that failed to appeal to the “white males”. 

Cheung spoke of how all these films were starting to showcase the much-needed “change” in terms of women’s fashion and were no longer just about the “female character’s outfits” but more “about humanising women, and treating them as more than sexual amusement for male audiences.”

Cheung is, however, not opposed to embracing a woman’s sexuality but “rather, object[s] to male writing of women that suggests female characters’ sole purpose is to serve as masturbatory fodder for entitled pervs.” She praised and welcomed the “feminist, on-screen changes” in the portrayal of Faye Valentine.

Cowboy Bebop releases on Netflix on November 19, 2021. Check out the first look photos here.

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