Where does Rule 63 come from?
Examples of Rule 63
Who uses Rule 63?
One of the most common places where Rule 63 occurs is at comic book conventions, where cosplayers do not let their own gender identity or presentation stop them from dressing up as their favorite characters. For example, men frequently dress up as Wonder Woman or women as the Joker.
The motivations for creating a gender-swapped counterpart vary. Sometimes Rule 63 is invoked humorously or playfully. Other times, it is done to make a social or political point, casting women as traditionally male characters to call out heavily male-dominated nature of many popular franchises. By recreating a male character as a woman, the creators may want to prove that female characters are just as viable as male ones. Rule 63 can also be evoked more generally as a statement about the fluidity of gender identity.
Alternatively, when creators are remaking a familiar character from the ground up, gender-swapping a lead character can produce new storyline possibilities not possible with the original gender. For example, when Battlestar Galactica rebooted in 2004, the character of Starbuck went from a tough, cocky, cigar-smoking alpha male to being a tough, cocky, cigar-smoking alpha female played by Katee Sackhoff. This version of Starbuck would go on to become one of the show’s most popular characters.
Rule 63 is often used as a shorthand to refer to gender-swapped characters. For instance, a Rule 63 Green Lantern or Rule 63 Batman render the originally male characters as women.
This is not meant to be a formal definition of Rule 63 like most terms we define on Dictionary.com, but is rather an informal word summary that hopefully touches upon the key aspects of the meaning and usage of Rule 63 that will help our users expand their word mastery.