Last week, I gave my list of the hottest male character in video games. My list of beefcakes didn’t include any super muscular guys since I don’t really go for the guys that are all muscles and no brains. But I think my list did include a good number of really dreamy video game hunks that a lot of girls would love to objectify… which got me thinking of Anita Sarkeesian because, well, we all know how she hates how video games objectify women.
I recently went to her YouTube channel, Feminist Frequency, just to see if she if she made any new videos in her Tropes vs. Women in Video Games series. Now, I have been watching Anita’s Tropes vs. Women in Video Games videos and I’ve been trying to keep an open mind. I ultimately may concede with some of her points regarding the tropes regarding how women are shown in video games. But I don’t believe it’s because the developers and the gaming community are misogynists as she makes them sound like; I think it’s just lazy writing and that’s what sells… which is good for for publishers because they like making money. And it’s good for consumers since we love buying games with cool looking characters.
So, while I do watch her videos, I don’t really pay much attention to what she generally has to say. It essentially goes in one ear and out the other. However, her latest video, Strategic Butt Coverings, really ruffled my feathers. This entry really shows a lack of understanding regarding good video design. Here, lemme post the video down here and tell me if you can find the holes in Anita’s argument…
Anyway, I have so many issues with Anita’s arguments in Strategic Butt Coverings. First and foremost, I take issue with her saying that, in most video games with female protagonists have camera angles specifically designed for the sole purpose on keeping gamers’ eyes on their derrieres. She specifically mentions the first Tomb Raider game and how the screen seems to always center on her buttockal area. Oh, those camera angles are there to make sure gamers are focused on the right thing… but it isn’t Lara’s admittedly shapely buns. Rather, it’s in that position so that you can play the game well!
Now, the reason why Lara’s back is facing the camera and why she’s in the middle of the screen in practically every Tomb Raider game isn’t so the player can ogle her. No, it’s so they have a clear view of the entire field! They need this wide angle shot of Lara in the middle so they can make the precise jumps and maneuvers necessary to successfully traverse the levels! In fact, this is true for all 3D platforming games and isn’t exclusive for females only! They’ve used the same camera angle with games like Super Mario 3D, Spryo, Ratchet and Clank and many more!
Of course, Anita purposefully leaves out the games with female leads that don’t focus on their naughty bits. These include the female assassins from the Assassin’s Creed series, Johanna Dark from Perfect Dark, Faith from Mirror’ Edge, Samantha from Gone Home and Chell from the Portal games. Like I said, this is because the devs made the smart and logical choice to make sure the camera functions to help make playing the game fun and not to purposefully follow the character’s backside.
She then goes to explain that game devs go out of their way to make sure that male buns are covered by something like a cloth… or a cape. In an utterly ridiculous analogy, Anita goes to detail how Catwoman has her butt visible while we can’t see Batman’s bat-ass because of his iconic cape. The cape is there for a reason, Anita! The reason why her complaint is ridiculous is because they’re well established characters with recognizable designs! This is how they look like in the current comics so it would be insane if the devs of the Arkham games overhaul their signature looks! Honestly, I would be mad if they removed his cape just so we could see Batman’s shapely lower cheeks!
But what about her argument about male characters having pieces of flowing fabric to cover up their rear ends? Well, there is a twinge of truth in that statement as a lot of male characters do have a lot of flowing garments to cover up the crotch area. But I think the reason is less nefarious than she makes it out to be. Generally, having the hero dress up with lots of free flowing fabric makes the character look cool… like the way superheroes look cool with their capes and such! It’s not to de-emphasize or cover up their peaches!
Maybe the only point Anita made was her stating that the marketing materials for the games contort the females in weird ways just so they can show both their butts and breasts in the same picture. Okay, you got me there. It is objectifying women in a sense but, in this day of age, I don’t think people buy games because it has a sexy chick on the cover! No, gamers want a good game and, if it just so happens to have a good looking characters, well, that’s a plus!
I think the biggest issue I have is the underlying tone Anita Sarkeesian puts out with, not only her Strategic Butt Coverings video but with the overall Tropes vs. Women in Video Games series is how all she sees are problems without really checking if they are actual problems! She sees the camera following Lara’s rear end and assumes the devs positioned the camera there so gamers can ogle her in shorts. She sees Catwoman walk seductively in the Arkham games and imagines the devs doing that because they’re misogynists.
It’s easy to look for problems if you actively seek them out. And this is precisely what Anita Sarkeesian just did with her latest video. This won’t make me stop watching her videos, though. At least I can watch it and laugh at her ignorance about video games and what makes them good.
Well, since I talked about Catwoman for a bit, that kind of reminds me of a certain blonde Kryptonian who has her own show on CBS… that kinda sucks. I’ll talk more about that next week!
Do you have any thoughts on Anita Sarkeesian’s rant against butts? Let me know in the comments section below!