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Daily Linksplosion: Tuesday, January 12, 2010

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5 responses to “Daily Linksplosion: Tuesday, January 12, 2010” »

  1. corbenfrost says:

    Reading both Tiff Chow’s and Leigh Alexander’s article, I noticed only one glaring difference in their positions, that being that Tiff couldn’t actually support her statement. Tiff essentially wrote that Bayonetta was exploitative because of it’s campy hyper sexualized protagonist while Leigh was saying that this is what hyper sexuality looks like when it’s turned towards women and it should be accepted and celebrated for what it is. Making the argument that Chloe (From Uncharted 2) is what female sexuality in video games should look like neglected one big aspect of Bayonetta’s sexuality, that being her physical appearance. Bayonetta’s sexuality is blatantly obvious at the start, using her long hair as a form fitting body suit. I think Tiff forgot that there isn’t much of anything sexy about utility cargo pants and a red tshirt. Chloe’s sexuality is based solely on her personality, which isn’t all the different from Bayonetta’s when you really look at both games. The main differences between characters, and what makes one campy and the other “respectable” are the little quirks, like Bayonetta break dancing and sucking on a lollipop all the time and at random. Chloe only gets remotely sexy when she’s around Drake and even then, she just goes for the cliche dagger in pants jokes.

    Bayonetta, if anything seems to be sexy on her own terms, while Chloe only shows her sexuality depending on a guy. Neither is a realistic take on a female combatant but their differences seem to be superficial in the sense that we find Chloe comforting because she doesn’t actually do a lot of physically sexual things.

    Even the comments on Tiff’s post come off as a little biased, drawing comparisons between Bayonetta and Devil May Cry and asking if Bayonetta has the same staying power. Dante and Bayonetta are essentially the same character (In different sexes) and no one complained about how sexual Dante was. He was mostly naked and shooting at things with what Freud would have quaintly called his “Dick Guns!” and the only reason DMC had any staying power was because it was fun to play and they made 4 of them.

  2. .tiff says:

    @corbenfrost It’s a shame that I only had my lunch break to write that post and couldn’t afford to spend more time on elaborating my point. I guess it would be the right thing for me to follow up, but in the meantime I’m pretty ecstatic that people are having a discussion about all of this.

    Personal preference is personal preference, but I can say that the majority of people who I talked to considered Chloe a very sexual character, in both her personality and physical attributes. But in the same way that Bayonetta dominates her world and has her own agenda, so does Chloe. Chloe reveals herself as totally in control, typically pushing Nate in the right direction but not doing so under Nate’s instruction. Even in the end, she gracefully accepts that it’s not in her interests to fight for Nate with Elena, and decides to go her own way. I think her character is remarkably strong, beautiful, and seductive in her own way.

    The biggest difference between the two is that Bayonetta is an entirely unrealistic character, while Chloe is an entirely realistic one. Bayonetta’s sexuality is all jazz hands with more or less no back story or relation to her quest to find her identity, which is why it comes off as lacking all substance. Chloe on the other hand is confident in her sexuality, uses it to get what she wants, but develops over the course of the story as a multi-faceted, believable character. Ultimately, it is she who I think is a better choice between the two to applaud in terms of female empowerment.

    Of course, if a woman feels confident and empowered by Bayonetta, power to her. I personally can’t relate to her in that way in the least, so the best I can do is offer an explanation why and offer an alternative.

    • corbenfrost says:

      This is a pretty great follow up.

      As far as characters go, I like Chloe a lot better. Bayonetta is as you put it “All Jazz Hands” and as far as the actual games go, I’ve liked both Uncharted and it’s sequel better. The story is just better in both Uncharted games and these days, that’s what impresses me. Bayonetta is a lot more action oriented and more fast paced but certainly just as impressive as any adventure game in the same vein of Ninja Gaiden or DMC. But I didn’t perceive the debate to be on the differences in games, of which there are tons, but rather on the differences of what is “Sexy” and what is “Empowering” (Both those words are in quotes because they’re terribly subjective and not to mock or anything) I, personally, like Chloe as a character, her personality and goal oriented approach to character interactions appeals to me. Is she cliche in a lot of respects? Without a doubt, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. She is actually very reminiscent of Morrigan in Dragon Age, (Especially if you try the romantic route) But by that same token, I have also have a hard time thinking of her in a particularly sexual context. She isn’t made to be overtly sexual, she just seems to be a very confident person that happens to like sex. A lot. This may just be me personally but it’s hard to think of a person in a sexualized way when you know that there’s a lot more to them then simply being a sexy badass. Which is on the opposite side of the spectrum of Bayonetta, Jazz hands, boot guns, and body wrapping hair works for her. She doesn’t have much of a story and as tough as she may be, just like Dante, she doesn’t strike me as much of a thinker. This isn’t a bad thing though, on a realistic level, there have been plenty of folks that did one thing particularly well and transformed that into a successful enterprise. Governor Schwarzenegger, for example, was a body builder and he ended up being the leader of the largest state in America. I hesitate to point out the fashion industry because while there are plenty of smart people in it, at the end of the day, their paycheck is based on being very physically sexy. I think it’s a good message to women in particular saying “Ok you may not be the sharpest knife in the drawer but you’re good at this one thing so take it and run with it”. Chloe is a thinker, she has her own goals and has a pretty good idea of how to achieve them. I applaud that too, but physically speaking, can you think of anything particularly sexy about Chloe? Her charm and sexual appeal, I think, are solely based on her personality and I think a lot video gamer players think this way based on the fact that I’ve seen plenty of cosplay outfits as Bayonetta but it’s hard to say there’s anything sexy about a tshirt and khakis.

      Sometimes, there just isn’t more to a person then good looks. That doesn’t make them a good or bad person. It just means that they can take a different road to success.

      As for relatability…well I don’t know anyone that’s killed angels in a hair suit but I also don’t know of any women that have blown things up with a bazooka. One game has a story and the other kind of doesn’t. I think that’s an issue that’s plagued a lot of TecmoKoei games or even Capcom but it’s definitely a developer issue as opposed to a sexuality issue.

      You’re absolutely right in them being on opposite sides of the spectrum and they’re both immensely appealing women, that’s a point that often gets lost in these debates.

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