Since appearing in print in 1940, comic book villainess Catwoman (then known simply as The Cat) has attained the status of pop culture's premiere fetish-y femme fatale. She made the transition from page to screen in 1966's BatmanTV series and has appeared regularly in black-and-white and color, on television and in theatres, ever since. As recently as last year, she showed up on the silver screen to serve as Batman's foe, foil, and fuck buddy. The various incarnations of the woman-sometimes-known-as Selina Kyle have been numerous and very diverse, but through my highly scientific analysis, I've determined the domme-liest of them all: Michelle Pfeiffer's 1992 film portrayal.
I didn't consider the actresses' adeptness at the role nor their iterations' relative iconic statuses when conducting my research. I simply considered three variables: attire, weapons, and domme-ly swagger. Then I plugged them into a highly complex algorithm based on the basic scientific fact that mean and shiny are the hottest domme qualities, and after WEEKS of agonizing computations, arrived at the conclusion that math sucks and the latex catsuit from Batman Returns was the bitchin'-est.
Between the latex, the bullwhip, and the seductively whispered insults, Pfeiffer’s Catwoman obviously has the necessary pro-domme qualities. So what can this consummate kinky kitty teach the rest of us?
1. The ultimate domme attire is slick but scrappy. In keeping with director Tim Burton’s trademark nightmare-chic aesthetic, costume designer Mary Vogt took Pfeiffer’s slick black catsuit and made it look hastily stitched together. The lesson is obvious: suave simplicity might be hot, but a touch of the desperately crazy makes it even hotter. Don’t show up to a session looking totally pulled together. Leave some part of your get-up undone to make clients wonder whether you might be coming a little loose at the seams, so to speak.
2. Some guys don’t even deserve a beating. “Please. I wouldn’t touch you to scratch you,” Pfeiffer tells Danny DeVito’s Penguin. It’s a distilled version of one of the key pro-domme principles: when a client acts like an asshole, don’t give him what he wants by hitting him harder. Just turn your tail and walk away.
3. A bait-and-switch is often better than straight forward attack. While fighting in hand-to-claw combat, Batman manages to knock Catwoman on the ground. Instead of continuing to attack, she retreats. “How could you?” she protests. “I’m a woman!” Batman leans over to to help her up, and she seizes the opportunity to kick him in the shin. Later, we find the two canoodling on a rooftop. Catwoman coos in Batman’s ear and strokes his little bat. As soon as he starts to enjoy it, she punches him in the stomach. It’s obvious Catwoman has learned the arts of tease + denial and punishment + reward, and recognizes when they can have a heavier impact than an out-and-out lashing.
4. When a man offers you a choice between money, jewels, and a very big ball of string, choose his blood. Wait, this one may not be totally applicable to pro-dommes after all. Better to choose the money AND his blood.