10.2.13 // Strong Female Character: Gail of Sin City
Written by GeekGirlCon Copy Writer AJ Dent
With a job title like dominatrix, you just know Gail from the Sin City graphic novel series has got to be strong. In multiple ways! While many of author and artist Frank Miller’s female characters wouldn’t exactly be hailed by feminists, Gail is a breath of fresh air within his mostly black-and-white pages.
Anyone who has read the series or even just seen the movie knows Gail is quite the antiheroine. Adjacent to Basin City (aka “Sin City”) is a district called Old Town run exclusively by women, almost all of whom are prostitutes. Rather than submitting to this living out of fear or desperation, the women here are efficacious, well-off, and proud of their community. They are their own government and rule the area with iron fists (and literal weapons as well!). Gail’s ability to enjoy her profession and use it as a source of power and financial stability makes her quite sex-positive, another of her qualities I admire.
Two of Gail’s comrades, Goldie and Wendy, are twin sisters at the top of the neighborhood’s chain of command. When Goldie is mysteriously murdered outside of Old Town, Gail shows her fierce loyalty to these authority figures and friends by risking life and limb to get to the bottom of things. She also uses the situation as her chance to step up and help start leading Old Town alongside Wendy. Using her signature handcuffs, chains, and trick rope knots, she wrangles and mangles anyone who may be able to cough up information. And this is all just within the first graphic novel out of seven collections.
In another storyline down the road, the women of Old Town’s sovereignty is threatened when a police officer is unknowingly killed on their streets. This officer’s death violates the terms of conditions between the women and all other authority sources within Sin City. As several girls begin to panic, Gail stands strong and vows, “We’ll fight the cops, the mob, and anybody else who tries to move in on us. We’ll go to war.” She is a voice of reason and madness at the same time—both of which are surely necessary to run a world like Old Town. She is someone who the rest of the young women can look up to, and rather than let it go to her head, she keeps calm and devises a plan instantly.
For someone so physically and mentally strong, a trait of Gail’s that could be considered a weakness is her unwavering devotion to Dwight, a man who does not romantically love her back. While Dwight is protective and caring towards Gail, and they were lovers at one point in the past, he does not share her passionate, faithful feelings. This Sin City ex-con is fond of frequently telling her, “I’ll always love ya, babe,” to which she always somberly replies, “Always. And never.”
While her emotional dedication to a former lover is a classic character flaw, this response actually shows that she accepts their situation, and while it hurts, it doesn’t slow her down. Her loyalty to her sisterhood is not hindered, and she actually teams up with Dwight a couple times to defend Old Town together. She is equally fierce in love and cognizant of its danger, and this enables her to keep herself in check.
Self-aware, fiery, and fast-thinking, Gail is one den mother and dominatrix we can all learn something from. To see and meet more strong female characters in action, join us at GeekGirlCon ‘13! Pick up your passes today!