Happy Autism Acceptance Month! To celebrate, let’s start with another entry to my series with none other than DC’s iconic antihero, Catwoman!
Now, this might be a tricky entry since Catwoman is a comic book character and thus her personality and history are at the whims of writers, retcons and reboots. For this entry, I’m going to focus on what I consider the biggest piece of evidence: Catwoman #0 (pre New 52) by Doug Moench and Jim Balent:
This goes into Selina Kyle’s backstory as a child. Early on, she’s adept at gymnastics and is very agile (a great way for her to stim), is pretty withdrawn, and loves cats, even if she doesn’t know how to appreciate them. We get some information of her life and school, and how it tends to be a blur, refusing to interact with students (something I can relate to) and mostly doing what she wants, probably because she doesn’t understand why. The principal brings up how it’s possible Selina Kyle might have a learning disability, and it wouldn’t surprise me if she could be autistic.
Her father later dies from alcohol poisoning, and Selina doesn’t know how to properly handle the situation or express a lot of empathy or sadness at the death of her father, instead running away. She later gets caught and gets sent to an abusive juvenile detention center, still refusing to interact with others, and finding refuge being alone on the rooftop, stimming to her heart’s content, imagining a life of riches and wonders. When she escapes, she crawls from rags to riches, surrounding herself with cats, able to live how she wants.
In that one issue, I can see a lot of evidence that Catwoman is probably on the spectrum (fixation and love of cats and jewels, problem with empathy and social skills, doesn’t understand rules and norms, stims with gymnastics, highly skilled), or at the very least neurodivergent one way or another.
Is there any other evidence? Maybe. Catwoman is meant to be someone you don’t fully know, having a lot of secrets. The main thing, though, is that she’s always meant to be different, to stand out, to be her own unique character, to not be ‘normal’. So I more than welcome autistic headcanons for a complex, layered, and iconic character that will be loved for years to come.
If you have any autistic or neurodivergent headcanons for Catwoman, please leave one in the comments below! Help me make more entries by giving me other characters to make posts on!