As a word, it has become synonymous with determined women in movies. Why? Because that is how critics routinely describe them.
“Black Widow gets extra bad-ass in this Avengers 2 trailer,” said Rob Bricken of i09.
In Atomic Blonde, Charlize Theron plays “a career badass who enjoys both the job and the perks with equal enthusiasm,” according to J. Hurtado of Screen Anarchy.
Kaya Payseno of Bust tells us that “Badass women star in a feminist western,” while reviewing The Keeping Room.
According to Wendy Ide of The Guardian, Wonder Woman is “A gloriously badass breath of fresh air.”
From whence does this strangely limited vocabulary come? How have we reached a point where a critic can use the word ‘badass,’ and we almost all picture exactly the same thing: a mostly solitary woman, in figure hugging/revealing costumes, scowling and being violent?