The roster of DC Comics‘ female characters is truly amazing, more so when you consider the fact that the Batman mythos, which is very male-centered, has given us some of the best female comic book characters in history. Two of these women are Batgirl and Catwoman. Both of them are regular humans with no superpowers, but which one is stronger? Who would win in a fight between Batgirl and Catwoman?
Catwoman is much more experienced and less fair than Batgirl, which is why she would ultimately win in this duel. Both of them are skilled acrobats and brilliant fighters with above average martial arts skills, they have their gadgets, and are both very dangerous, but ultimately, Catwoman has much more experience in what she does, which is what makes the difference in this case.
The rest of this article will further elaborate on the above-given answer, as we are going to compare Batgirl and Catwoman in more detail. Through several categories, you are going to see who the stronger of the two is and why our answer is like it is, i.e., why Catwoman would ultimately be able to defeat Batgirl in a direct fight.
Martial arts and fighting skills
According to the fictional biography of the character, Barbara Gordon trained in Judo, Kung Fu, Eskrima, Karate, and Jūjutsu earning black belts prior to her tenure as Batgirl and is described as a “star athlete”. Following the events of The Killing Joke, Barbara Gordon continued to train in martial arts as the Oracle, despite being paralyzed from the waist down.
She has extensive skills with combat sticks and small firearms and batarangs. Also, she keeps a couple of eskrima sticks stashed in the armrests of her wheelchair as a contingency. In the revised continuity of The New 52, she reflects on the fact that she has been taking self-defense training since she was 6 years old in Batgirl #0 (2012).
Equipped with an elastic and flexible body, Catwoman has excellent agility, balance, speed and motor coordination, equal to those of the best acrobats and trapeze artists. Her accomplishments are so amazing that it could be argued that her acrobatic prowess is somewhat superhuman. She has a strength level that allows her to lift around 200 kg with maximum effort.
Selina, in addition to being an excellent athlete, is able to move so quickly that it is imperceptible to the eye. Her reflexes are quick and lightning fast enough to surpass even Batman’s.
She is also a martial arts expert, trained in boxing and street fighting. Catwoman has learned different martial arts styles such as capoeira, taekwondo, hapkido, jujutsu, kung-fu style of the dragon and karate. The martial art that Selina favors is the Shotokan style, and this makes her a formidable hand-to-hand fighter, also making use of the agility, intelligence and precision she is gifted with. She is also known for her quick escapes.
Now, the sheer number of skills is certainly on Catwoman’s side, and while Batwoman has, indeed, trained with Batman himself, Catwoman has proven that she is able to hold her own against the Dark Knight, which means that Barbara’s training is not an advantage per se. These points go to Catwoman.
Points: Batgirl 0, Catwoman 1
As the Oracle, Barbara Gordon put her considerable skills and knowledge at the disposal of many of the DC Universe’s heroes. She is an expert hacker, capable of retrieving and dispersing information from private satellites, military installations, government files, and Lex Luthor’s estate.
Batman, himself a genius with a vast knowledge base and access to vast resources of information, routinely consults the Oracle for help. Writer-editor Dennis O’Neil, who first established Oracle as Batman’s intellectual equal and source of information, stated that “it made sense for her to be there in Batman’s world…Batman would need someone like that.” .
She is known throughout Gotham City for the burglary of feline-themed items, gems and jewels of the highest quality. To succeed in her thefts of her, Catwoman resorts to disguise: in her first appearance, she presented herself as an old lady to steal a precious jewel while she was on a cruise ship.
Selina has a strong affinity for cats, who accept her almost immediately, somehow recognizing that she is a friend of hers: this allows her to calm injured cats, train them, make friends and form strong bonds with them. These animals sometimes even come to her defense when she is attacked. In addition to her mother tongue, Selina can speak Mandarin fluently.
Charming by nature, Catwoman’s feminine attractiveness and wiles also allowed her to take advantage of male opponents. Selina has trained her eyes so much that she can even see in the dark when she can’t use her infrared visor.
These special skills are quite diverse for both these characters. And they are quite different for each of them, really. Batgirl has one specific set of skills, whereas Catwoman has another. This is why it was difficult to compare them, but since we honestly think that Batgirl’s powers are more useful in this sense, we have decided to give her the points in this category.
Points: Batgirl 1, Catwoman 1
Equipment, intelligence, and other technical skills
Gordon is highly intelligent, on the level of a genius, and naturally possesses a photographic memory. She is described by Gail Simone as the most intelligent member of the Batman family and among all the characters that have operated in Gotham City.
Prior to the character’s career as a vigilante, Barbara Gordon developed many technological skills, including extensive knowledge of computers and electronics, expert skills as a hacker, and postgraduate training in library science. Like Batman, Barbara Gordon originally used a wide variety of gadgets and electronics during her early adventures as Batgirl.
These included an infrared scanner built into the hood of her costume, various bat-inspired weapons, and the Batcycle. According to Gail Simone, the Oracle maintains control over the 12 technologically advanced satellites that were created by Lex Luthor during his tenure as President of the United States.
Catwoman is well versed in several sidearms and has an incredible ability to use the whip. Selina is highly intelligent and is an expert in survival, explosives, seduction, stealth and infiltration, able to sneak easily, as well as being a formidable burglar and the greatest thief in the DC Comics universe.
This final category was also one where it was difficult for us to determine the clear winner. Ultimately, what motivated us to give the points to Catwoman is the fact that she has, throughout the years, made better use of her intelligence and that she is far more experienced in her line of work than Batgirl is in hers.
Points: Batgirl 1, Catwoman 2
Batgirl vs. Catwoman: Who wins?
In essence, Batgirl and Catwoman are very similar characters. They’re both great acrobats, they’re devoted to their respective causes, and they have the hots for Batman. The major difference is that, usually, they are on different sides of the law. This is why it was somewhat difficult to compare the two of them objectively, but we have done our best.
Since Batgirl and Catwoman don’t have any inherent superpowers, the categories were not that numerous. The whole concept was basically a comparison of their experience, since their powers and abilities are on a very similar level. This is why, ultimately, it all came down to how much these two have done in their respective careers.
And that is where Catwoman ultimately won. Not only does she have a richer history in the comic books, Catwoman is also a character whose career as a burglar and occasional heroine far exceeds Batgirl’s crime-fighting career. Catwoman simply has more experience, and seeing how she is not such a righteous character as Barbara, Catwoman would come up with a scheme or a trick to defeat Batgirl in a direct clash. This is why, ultimately, we have the win to Selina, and not Barbara.