Why do girls have to look all sexy in bikini armor when they “do all their killin’?”
I suppose I write this because the idea of Bikini Armor has always frustrated me. No, not because it cannot be removed!
It frustrates me because it highlights an inequity. While, yes, I may believe that deep down, women like to be seen as beautiful and sexy, and that a typical magazine cover (men or women’s) tend to daily clobber us all with those ideas, and yes, far too many men and women subscribe to that ‘ideal’..I still have some trouble with it.
In a video game, the idea is taken so far as to have any real woman removed completely, as all that too often remains is the “underwear only” expose’ of her front or back end, with us (the player) making up for any missing behavior.
Her inner self is gone, but her shell/body remains. Is this a game, or a ‘sexy puppet show?’
Men don’t have this problem…the armor we get wear in games amounts to a Bradley, or an Abrams tank. Big, solid, heavy, thick…(wait…that is starting to sound like an innuendo). What many game playing women have been typically, (historically) offered is small, restricted, vulnerable, weak looking, “titanium lingerie” which makes her ‘sexyness’ forced and obvious. If a woman plays a ‘sexy’ female character, (because, many an outfit or costume in a Halloween store or lingerie shop is classified as “sexy” these days) she is never allowed to forget her vulnerability, or that she may not actually look that way in real life.
If a man plays a (sexy) ‘physically vulnerable’ female character, well, we are far too busy drooling to feel any vulnerability, simply because… after all… we are men, and, after all… “that 3D girl sure has a nice ass.” Well, at least that seems to be what goes through our heads, initially. Seriously, whether I am talking about armor or just a female game outfit, I begin to wonder what exactly makes an in-game female capable. For males, it is “skill, power and ability”…for females, well, they quite obviously “kick all that ass” because they are super sexy and turn a lot of heads. We must be smart, powerful, strategic. Them? Sexy but dimwitted is ok. Oh sure, we get smart females too, but they always look good, and all that sexyness manages to help them win the day also….so, brains were not really necessary, now were they?
Granted, while some folks (men or women) are not opposed to that, many are, as we have never seen the option for a man to run around in bikini armor, or for that matter, be forced to wear it as a character for the entire game. (I am not making a request!) And, some research has already shown that frankly, an outfit of tight leather or even latex isn’t at all comfy, especially if we had to go into battle. So, hit the bricks, Bayonetta. In real life, you couldn’t stop complaining about that outfit and the outright discomfort, sweatyness, etc. All that discomfort just to make your ass look good.
I am not saying you should not have a character wear something if you like it. I am saying it is better for a developer to offer many options, which at the end of the day, developers often do not do. They spend years slavishly making a game, and then give us but a few options to merely control sound or contrast. Gee, thanks for showing up with some game parts, guys.
Much has been said of sexism in games, or TV, movies, books, etc. in the past. Games seem to be a hold out in some ways for many reasons, likely because it was a primarily male entertainment form for so long. Still, I see more issues here, and the one that strikes me the strongest is the perception of vulnerability. By keeping a female character wearing a skimpy outfit, “she is always ready for action” in regards to sex. Seriously, some men would take hours to get their in-game (if it were real) armor off. Women’s in game armor looks like some type of “bikini magic” is typically holding it on. And don’t get me started on a “C-string” which seems to be a new, upcoming rage.
Add, the in game character model is a puppet already, and that powers the fantasy, because, what else is a fantasy female but a puppet? Puppets do what we tell them, they never fight back, they are always willing and interested in giving us what we want.
As opposed to a real woman who may not, who actually has wants, feelings, opinions, interests, and might very well tell us where to shove that (sexy looking) uncomfortable wearing armor/outfit. I am not at all positive about this last part, because I see many young women at the mall go to extreme lengths to be perceived as sexy, wearing a short skirt and halter top when most guys are freezing their ass off in a heavy coat. All in the name of looking good, being attractive, getting noticed and maybe feeling sexy (because someone might think you are or look).
Seriously, I am not going to lie here: I like women in lingerie as much as the next guy. But, underwear without an explanation does seem a bit out of place if she is out bloodily killing monsters, zombies, terrorists, aliens, nazis, (etc.) wearing that (basically). I am then thrown into a world that revolves completely around me, like a child, and everything is pure fantasy at it’s lowest denominator. Mainly because the real world just isn’t like that.
Seriously, I have some real trouble imagining a woman dressed as a sexy cheerleader (using a chainsaw no less) killing zombies with extreme relish, and if she is, well, I am going to question my selection in the female company I keep. Something about that just doesn’t seem right, but I can’t quite put my finger on it. What’s next, killing zombies in her panties? Porn and violence are just bad roommates, IMO.
Of course, there are those who think I am crazy for saying any of this because I am likely spoiling their nude-mod fun. Hey, listen – I am not shutting you guys down. I am saying maybe you could get out of the house more, and meet some real women, hmm? Ever notice how women aren’t all nude at the grocery store? Ever wonder why that is?
Those same women (if you get to know them) might prove to be pretty decent company, and are quite sexy on their own, just as they are. Add them swinging a shotgun or chainsaw…well, I doubt you will stay for too long unless you really deserve it. (your choice, stumpy)
For all of it’s flaws, I felt that Mass Effect did a fairly good job with character choices. Oh sure, no Bikini Armor, but I quickly got over that. Actually I played a compassionate, aging African American guy with graying hair. He was kind and forgiving, but get on his bad side and it was…wrong move, corpse. A military background can do that to you. And hey, that character wasn’t even forced to wear a thong or banana hammock for the entire game, imagine that.
A friend of mine played a 30-40 years old female (Mass Effect; his argument for playing women characters is always the same – he ‘likes the view’). Frankly, I find that difficult to argue with, as one of the chief things I like about women is their beauty and sexiness. I am always awed by it, and in some ways it has made my miserable life quite bearable. I have played many female characters myself. I played an elf woman in Amalur. She had a massive sword (like Inuyasha?) which…while it smacked a bit of Freud, it was all she was really adept at besides magic. Her armor was quite bulky and powerful, and it didn’t resemble a Bikini or lingerie at all. Not one monster had a chance to drool, they were all dead before they grasped just how beautiful she really was.
Personally, while I may be male, I see my own body as a shell just to travel around in, and use as an interface to the world. That doesn’t mean I don’t like women and somehow have altered my thinking as to them not being one of the best parts of living. It merely means that my body is just my body, and everyone has something different, and a different experience. I certainly cannot tell them what to feel, think or believe.
Still, if that experience (of seeing in game females reduced to nothing but sex and bikini armor) hurts them, I find myself compelled into needing to stand up for them and object to it. Not because they somehow need me to defend them so much, (like supposedly saving a princess in a game) but merely because it is the right thing to do.