Video games feature more scantily-clad women than a ladies’ gym changing room, and worse excuses than a cameraman hiding there in the corner.
There is one important criticism I want to address with this article, specifically the handling of spot #1. Bayonetta. That is, even if you find an example where you think it’s better or avoids the hazards of the others – do not take it upon yourself to give it an official “not sexist” stamp. Seriously.
While it’s true that Bayonetta is a rarity in that she gets a role and attitude normally reserved for male characters, there’s still plenty of problems with her character concept and the principles behind the design. That and it’s not a coincidence that it was the female character who was to be defined by being “sexy” instead of “cool”.
Their confession that they wanted her to be sexy doesn’t make their explanation that somehow she doesn’t wear clothes because she can make clothes out of hair except when she’s launching her most powerful attacks (ie the time when you really don’t want to be exposed).
There’s always a temptation to believe that things we enjoy and that seem to be flawless and that because we know a thing means that we can declare it to be “not problematic” because we know something others don’t – but that’s really just another line of bullshit.
It’s also worth keeping in mind that Dante’s “cool” factor comes from him being the son of the greatest hero in history, and so badass he can take down monsters of unimaginable power. Hence the confidence boost and the willingness to focus on style over efficiency.
With Bayonetta the only reason for her being defined by sexiness… is they wanted to cram more “sex appeal” (targeting cishet men as always) into it while also wanted to be taken seriously as a Devil May Cry type action game because as long as we say it’s sexy, it can’t be sexist right? Glossing over her exposure is not one of the things that makes moves like this awesome:
Whether you like the game or not, that’s all kinds of bullshit and the games don’t deserve a free pass because because the creator admits the blatantly obvious (while still adding layers of bullshit so as to claim “creativity”).