In MGSV if you ogle Quiet, she “poses” for you suggestively. In Death
Stranding if you stare at Sam’s crotch, he punches you. The framing of
both of these are bad. One is framed as a reward, the other is framed as
“no homo!” despite the player’s action in both being the same. I don’t
care if you worship Kojima, we REALLY need to talk about the “male gaze”
perspective in his games, and stop giving him a pass because you love
On the one hand, I do appreciate that ogling a character who isn’t comfortable with it comes with consequences. On the other hand, I doubt there are consequences for ogling any of the ladies. I also agree with the “no-homo” and violence criticism. Are guys not allowed to say “hey, could you stop staring at my crotch? It’s making me uncomfortable”? Wincenworks, please confirm.
This really points out the big double standard in the last 2 games from Kojima, as well as most of the media we criticize on this blog: that men have agency and women are just objects meant for consumption, whether that’s for fan-service, being a plot device, or being a lamp. The two lady characters I know from the reveals from Death Stranding are named Mother and Fragile, so that’s…. not promising at all.
Punching people in the face for looking at their crotch is generally frowned upon in society, as it is usually customary for the other party to demand you be removed from premises or charged, even in places which still have “gay panic” defenses on the books. (What I’m saying is this normalizes the absurd justifications cishet men use for real violence against real men-loving-men)
Well, I’ve been looking into all the official information on why Quiet has that ridiculous outfit. It’s been a wild ride. I can confidently say that I am not ashamed and have not changed my stance. The bingo above applies only to official information – with elaboration in the cut below.
For those already typing up a response to tell me I’m a terrible person, here’s a few quick preemptive responses for the people who will tell me I can’t judge the game without providing notarized proof of having played 400 hours of each game in the series but won’t bother to search the tags of this blog:
We are aware there are some cosplayers who love Quiet’s outfit, we are very supportive of cosplayers right to dress how they want – particularly since they are real people withagency and not on battlefields.
The existence of The Boss does not mean Hideo Kojima’s work is excluded from criticism. That’s not how reality works on any level, there are no Get Out of Jail/Criticism Free Cards outside of Monopoly.
Neither does his taste in music, status as an artist, situation with Konami, his talking about who he consulted with about military experts, etc.
Theories about how this might be a sneaky commentary on society also don’t protect from criticism as these are not responsible commentary.
Warnings: Due to this involving information delivered in the game, the following contains spoilers. Due to the nature of the game the following and the sources linked to will contain references and imagery relating to torture, rape, graphic violent, mutilation and (hopefully fictional) political rhetoric.
Men are sexualized too!
Kojima actually managed to take this a step further than usual by justifying his requesting a “sexy” design for Quiet claims that not only can we argue the guys are sexualized too, but so are the military equipment. Yes, tanks are sexualized too… apparently. (source – article)
This is particularly ridiculous since as the recent femfreq video pointed out – MGS games have a history of recognizing just one kind of person as “sexy” to the viewer – often to ridiculous extents:
She CHOSE to dress like that!
If the player chooses to take Quiet captive, it is advised that even though she somehow has no problem with being tortured and kept on display in a cage – she responds violently to anyone who tries to put clothes on her.
During the same section, it is discussed that Quiet eats (via photosynthesis), breathes and drinks through her skin – so she could suffocate if she wore clothes. (No explanation is given for her latex glove, fishnets or why her bikini is so ridiculous).
Later you do see Quiet struggling to breathe while wearing long sleeves and long pants, but she and is able to access all the air she needs to do a wuxia-esque grindhouse revenge killing sequence when her pants are removed and her shirt is ripped open. (The scenario is at least as terrible as you’re imagining, actually probably worse)
Also, anyone with a basic understanding of clothing or science knows that there’s a wide variety of fabrics that “breathe” and hence wouldn’t get in the way of her skin getting access to air. Certainly not any more than say a shower or rain would. Speaking of…
It’s just fantasy/scifi! Magic/science protects her!
You were probably thinking it sounds pretty weird that Quiet uses her skin for everything we have specialist organs for, and you’d be right! Quiet is first introduced as a normal human (and spectacularly incompetent) assassin who is sent to kill Snake but ends up on fire instead. She is then given “parasite therapy” where some sort of insect microbe things transform her body in a way that conveniently preserves her sexiness and forces her to show it off.
This makes so little sense that basically nobody can agree if it’s scifi or supernatural – it just works because they say so. Oh, and in case you’re wondering – yes there are men in the game who’ve been “enhanced” with parasite therapy – this is what they look like:
According to Kojima, part of this design idea was he spent a lot of time thinking about how characters might be effected by early life, fashion, etc. Yes, apparently he thinks this is how Russian women her age in the 80s would have been thinking of dressing.
Another early reasons given by Kojima himself to explain that sexy costume is that he wanted to encourage cosplay of the character. He also admitted that the character might not be cosplayable – so female cosplayers are supposed to automatically gravitate towards the most over sexualized costumes even if they’re not possible.
That’s the best way of marketing to men…
Kojima also stated that the heavily sexualized design was there to promote figurine sales. I’m not sure if he’s aware there’s really no shortage of heavily sexualized figurines or that some people may find this one a little awkward to have around the house… just like he was surprised to learn that Metal Gear Solid has a large female fanbase.
It fits her fighting style!
Kojima stated that his core concept for this one was a “naked sniper” – as opposed to the previously just boob flaunting female snipers…. and the fully dressed male snipers (who also use photosynthesis)
When not sniping though, Quiet simply uses her super powers to dodge bullets, throw people like dolls and leap spectacularly into the air.
She’s indestructible, she doesn’t need any protection!
Right when the character was first released, Kojima himself confirmed he understood that it would be ridiculous for someone to be dressed like that in the desert and that he wanted the player to wonder why. The reason of course, as covered above: Quiet eating breathing and drinking through her skin somehow makes her immune to the hazards of exposure.
(Never mind that baking in the Sun would mean she’d need to be guzzling water constantly for all the carbohydrates she’s producing. That’s a minor detail)
She’s so badass that she needs no armor!
When Quiet is first introduced she is wearing BDUs, has no super powers and fails in her assassination mission. Upon gaining her super powers, she suddenly dresses in… that, and becomes incredibly effective against… everyone in every way.
Great story makes up for those ridiculous designs!
Kojima started with a bold, assertive stance. Later he would state that he understood why people have concerns but they just wait and experience the game it will explain everything. Complete with reassurances!
Quiet apologists have been by far the most tedious defenders of bikini armor, constantly insisting that there is some sort of great artistic genius at work behind Kojima’s design decisions. It’s always either he’s doing some sort of genius bait and switch (that’s not genius) ploy or somehow the characterization will make up for the costume or (my personal favorite) people just need to spend hundred of hours playing every MGS game to understand the twenty-four minute trailer released to the general public.
No amount of anything is ever going to make up for this, the game hasn’t even been released yet and he’s already releasing fondle dolls. Oh, and since I’ve seen lots of guy’s insisting that the Snake doll will be equally fondleable and objectified – No. No it won’t.
At this point, the kindest thing that can be said has already been said on Twitter:
My boyfriend called me while I was at work to tell me about it. He sent me an email with pictures of this new “soldier” and I had to show the women I work with (also Marines, current or former). We couldn’t believe it wasn’t some sort of joke. One of my coworkers even said, “Oh, yeah; she’ll definitely last in combat so long as she isn’t worried about a tit popping out.