Saturday, January 23, 2016

Strategic Butt Coveting

This is something of a rebuttal to Feminist Frequency's latest video.  It's interesting that Anita has such a myopic view of what kinds of games she'll review.  Of all the video games she could have chosen, she strategically missed some of the largest, most mainstream games currently available (and also previously available, at earlier points in time).

Let's look at the most obvious candidates.  GTA 5 comes to mind, as does Fallout 4.  GTA 5 is particularly interesting, because it's had phenomenal success and is one of the most easily recognizable games in circulation.  One of the main characters that can be played frequently finds himself nearly naked, showing no shortage of derriere. For someone as supposedly egalitarian feminist as her, this seems a huge oversight.  Why isn't she decrying the objectification of any butt, if female butts are equal to male butts?

Moving on to Fallout 4, another powerhouse gaming experience.  Quite possibly, it's the most popular game in the world.  It's still in the top ten or so games sold weekly.  The protagonist can be either male or female, and the player has the full choice of how much the character is exposed, and even whether or not to play in third person view.  Anita would have us believe that these games she is reviewing are on par with the games that are actually at the forefront of gaming culture.

Of course, Anita doesn't really understand the demographic she's trying to persuade.  When I play a video game, for example, I don't pay much attention to my character.  That is, unless my character's actions have some bearing on the overall story.  Much like Kenneth, I like to be whatever character I am playing.  If the choices I make are plot-specific, then by all means the character could be significant.  However, Anita's complete ignorance of the companies that are doing equality (by her definition) correctly, is something of a major oversight.  Instead, she's complaining that characters are acting in character.  Simultaneously, Anita pretends that Lara Croft's butt is important because it's representing a human ideal, while ignoring the fact that Lara Croft's character should be afforded the same rights.  Lara's character is the actions she's taking on screen, from the clothes she wears to the actions she does.  Her sense of adventure, strong will, and good protagonist characteristics are thrown out the window by Anita.  This is the main reason Anita's argument fails, because she fails to realize that the character must be taken as a whole.

In this way, Anita is a considerably worse objectifier than any of the myriad people who play the games.  She's acting like a physical attribute is what defines the person.  As she said, we can't know what the character is by looking at its butt, but it's the only part of the character upon which she chooses to make her judgments on the character.  Never mind whether the character would actually choose to act that way, for it is impossible for Anita to see these characters as anything other than their outward appearance, to objectify them as their supposedly ill-proportioned bodies.

Although Anita won't understand this, lots of us don't judge a character by whether or not that character shows some skin.  Anita does, and presumes that the designers have no other motives at play.  Using Lara again, the point of her character is to be loud, showy, strong, and over the top.  It's only logical that, being what her character is, she would be presented in such a way.  In exactly the same way, Batman wears a type of armor that makes his muscles seem ill-proportioned, because he wants to give an intimidating vibe.  It's not for a show of sexuality that Bruce Wayne chooses a rather mesomorphic costume; his ploy is not to be a sex symbol.  By Anita's logic, batman is simply an object the designers are making for straight cis women to be aroused by.  Clearly, one can see the flaw in this line of reasoning.  Batman chooses a bulky appearance for the same reason Spiderman chooses a lanky one, or Rorschach chooses to be an enigma hidden behind a layer of thick clothing.

That's my rebuttal to her poor choice of logic.  Now, if only I could make a million dollars a year debunking her, like she makes spreading her vitriol.  One can dream...

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