913 – Weapon Of Last Resort.


Okay, so Pottermore is a thing that is very popular with people I know. Silverpotion24405 is me. I accidentally ignored a friend request frome someon who had the words Wolfsbane in their username. If that’s you let me know so I can add you up.

I had a dream last night about selling bycycles, or something. There was a Brittish guy who was dressed up as an ice cream cone, but the ice cream part was a top. He was my assistant, or something. I got startled out of it so I don’t remember it very well. The fact that I remembered any of it is strange enough. I vaguely remember going on a road trip with the ice cream guy. He never took off the suit.

Okay, so Skullgirls http://skullgirls.com/characters/cerebella/, if you haven’t heard of it, is a 2D fighting game available for download on PS3 & Xbox360. As a fighting game it’s pretty tight. The animation is top notch and everything is fairly polished. The cast is all female, and it seems to be set in a 1920sish crapsack world. I have done very little research about the actual story and setting of the game, so that might be totally wrong. I get this info mostly from playing the demo. Anyway, the people on my periphery are very concerned about how women are portrayed in media, so I’m oddly aware of it while not always being able to parse what is good and what is bad. So I asked people on my DeviantArt if they thought that Skullgirls was sexist, empowering, or a third, more complex, thing. People overwhelmingly chose the third thing, but a few people brought up some points about the character design that speaks pretty clearly to it being overtly sexist. On average the people who took a negative view were the only ones who made salient points about their arguments, whereas proponents offered up vague statements about this sort of thing being okay, and not harmful for the most part. I would like to present some of these point to encourage further conversation. (Try not to make any commentary more adversarial than you have to please. I don’t want to read fighting, I want to gain a clearer understanding about how people view these issues.)

Slave2Karma posited:
Filia- thigh high stockings with a mini skirt, frequent panty shots and seems to enjoy getting down on her hands and knees a lot.

Cerebella- Mini dress and balloon boobs bouncing every which way.

Parasoul- bare legs and booty skirt, panty shots, pauses to pose with her hips out, in the last shot faints into a mans arms.

Ms. Fortune- Cat zombie monster, okay…with ridiculous under-cleavage and is wearing a utility belt around panties.

Painwheel- unholy monster lady, yet still has been dressed in a loin cloth dress to allow for ass and crotch shots.

Valentine- balloon tits, panty shots, and a nurse outfit. Triple whammy.

Double- Another monster lady…who can turn into all the other ladies.

The only one who isn’t sexualized is Peacock, but that’s 1 out of 8. After putting it all down in writing, I’m sort of wondering how this game could be perceived as empowering in the slightest. A lot of the attacks and concepts seem cool:Filia’s demon hair, Ms. Fortune’s extendo muscle fibers, I even like Valentine’s ‘show me where it hurts’ catchphrase. And yeah, some games try to aim for this kind of ridiculous/ironic level of fan service (Bayonetta anyone?) but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s objectifying and alienating for potential female gamers.

Toadking07 had similar thoughts:
I voted it’s sexist. Most of the girls are dressed like strippers, or at least have some rather revealing article of clothing on. I really think stuff like this has become to standard in video games, that people confuse it with “empowering” women, instead of what it is, idealizing them as sex objects. It’s one thing for a girl to dress sexy because she feels like it, it’s another thing for her to be dressed sexy because it will sell.

If you reversed the roles, had male characters looking like that, it’d be one thing, but I don’t think there are really any examples out there of that. I’m talking about male characters, designed by females, to be sexy and attractive. (which is definitely different than a male character designed by males to be a fantasy strong man) And I mean not just one, but the whole cast of a game looking like this. Guys without their shirts on, athletic builds, tight jeans, abs in your face, low riding underwear, whatever girls are into! It’s definitely going to come across differently.

Infinite-Ion added:
I had to watch someone play as each character and yes, I do give the animation a standing ovation. However, what I want to know is why must their outfits be so short? Plus, if we were to think about it, Filla and Painwheel are 15 or 16; yet, Filla looks like she’s ready for some adult entertainment despite losing her entire memory! I wished the bodies were made to be more.. believable? I have a hard time imagining a lot of 15 to 16 year old girls looking like a Filla.

Adding onto that, it said that she was a C cup in biography. I don’t believe that for a minute because that looked more like a D and on up; much like Cerabella, Valentine and Parasoul. >> I do, however, like Peacock (even though she can be annoying, at times) and Ms. Fortune since she’s about the only “woman” who isn’t blown up like a doll.

Oh, what I’m trying to say is, “I don’t think this game is empowering because I wouldn’t want any girl to mirror the lives of these women and girls especially Peacock, Painwheel and Marie (though she was the boss, she wanted to do what she could to protect Peacock as she had did for her in the past). I’m not surprised by the choice of outfits and yet, I am due to both Marie and Peacock. I thought they were going to make everyone slutty because age really doesn’t matter, at all! All and all, I think it’s more complex than just being “empowering” or “sexist”.

When I first started looking Skullgirls over I looked to see if there was very much talk of it being sexist, and there is some. Not nearly as much as I expected, but a few people leveled some serious ire at the game. For the most part, however, the game seems to get a pass because it’s so well done in other areas. Particulalrly the animation and game mechanics. Which makes me wonder if overall quality trumps social irresponsability. I actually sort of know one of the clean up animators and I asked him what he thought of the “controversy”. Basically he thought it was blown out of porportion for the sake of getting pageviews, and from what I’ve seen in my search he’s right. For the most part people don’t give a shit one way or the other. On Tumblr Skullgirls has oceans of fanart and general support. Pretty much every site that presents art is the same way. It’s generally well liked and no one is all that concerned about the character design.