Sunday, September 6, 2015

CRES's Thoughts On: Anita Sarkeesian's "Women As Reward" Video or Anything and There Can Be No Fun in Any Game Where a Woman is Involved EVER!

"Samus Aran isn't Wearing Enough Clothes. THAT'S SEXIST!"
Somehow, Anita Sarkeesian is STILL relevant. Yes, it's been a little over 3 months since her last video, AND OVER A YEAR since the last "Tropes VS Women in Video Games" video (Seriously, Women as Background Decoration Part 2 was uploaded Aug 24 of 2014). With her last two videos being technically a part of her "Positive Female Characters in Video Games" series (which where in reality just a gray block and a self insert fanfic) we've finally gotten back to the series that is now going on 3 YEARS over due with her new video "The Lady Sidekick"..... Oh wait... My mistake, "The Lady Sidekick" was SUPPOSE to be next if the ending of her video about her self insert fanfic character (AKA Jade) was going on. INSTEAD we have one of the videos I was actually looking forward to because I had NO IDEA how this was suppose to be different from the Damsel in Distress video. Yes, her new video is "Women as Reward," in which Anita firmly establishes that anything that happens to a lady is automatically sexist no matter what. No seriously, by the end of the video there is almost literally NOTHING that can happen to a woman that isn't sexist. Just you wait. Hop aboard the "NO FUN" train, as we learn that everything in games are designed to objectify women.

What could possibly be sexist about the series that has the first lady of Gaming?
After her usual diatribe about "Enjoying and being Critical," which comes across as being the most disingenuous thing that ever came out of her mouth as I doubt she has ever enjoyed a video game in her life, she begins with the original Metroid and how most gamers at the time assumed Samus was male due to the pattern of protagonists at the time and the fact that the Instruction Booklet described Samus as such. As an aside, the thing with Instruction Booklets at the time where littered with errors because they where usually written in isolation from the game. Frequently, you'd have names spelt one way in the booklet and a different way in the game. Most notably besides the original Metroid was Castlevania III which identified Sypha as a man in much the same way (She is also revealed to be a woman by the end of the game).

But I digress, After establishing Metroid in this way Anita revealed that, in a revelation that shocked many a male gamer at the time, Samus was a woman, and that if you complete the game in under 5 hours she removes her helmet. Okay, no problem yet, but remember this is the "NO FUN" zone and Anita can't help but object to the idea that if you complete the game in less and less time, Samus removes more and more clothing, until at completing the game in under an hour Samus is in just a crudely rendered 8-bit bikini.

*GASP* She's still wearing her boots!
This is in essence the "Women as Reward" trope as Anita puts it. The woman at the end of the game, either showing affection to her hero in the "Damsel in Distress" or showing off their bodies, is meant to be a "Reward" to the player. I don't disagree with. The reward for beating a game is the ending to said game, and if said ending involves a female character, that female character is a part of the reward. And yes, Metroid's tradition of having Samus removing her iconic Power Suit to reveal more of herself to players who completed the game in low times or high completion rates is meant to incentivize players to do just that. HOWEVER, to say that these characters are NOTHING MORE than rewards for players with the skill and knowhow to complete said game is incredibly insulting to these characters and their legacy. Would Samus Aran be such a famous and popular character JUST because completing Metroid in under an hour has her with a bikini and a smile? HELL NO! Samus is popular because she kicks ass. The fact that she can be considered a "Reward" for speed runners is just one VERY MINOR aspect of the design of the Metroid games and the only person who is treating her like she is nothing more than a prize at the end is, ironically, Anita herself. Unfortunately, Anita isn't done, because apparently, in this troupe she once again invents, there are SIX different ways a woman can become a reward. We've only been talking about cinematics. There are also Easter Eggs, Unlockable Costumes, Experience Points, Collectibles, and Achievements. And believe me, it only gets DUMBER from here.

Meryl is without any pants? SEXIST!
Anita spends a lot of time talking about various Easter Eggs, most of which revolve around female character's boobs or lack of clothing. Seriously, that's it. Ratchet & Clank has a woman who's mammary glands expand when you do jumps in front of her, Samus taking her clothes off in the presence of "Justin Bailey." It all comes across as nothing more than "It's happening to a woman, therefore it's sexist!" I mean, she goes after Metal Gear Solid for pete's sake, a series INFAMOUS for its enormous amount of Easter Eggs, like secret codec calls, Psycho Mantis reading your Memory Card, Otacon talking about the wonders of being on the Play Station 3, and an old man dying due to old age because you reset the system clock. Does Anita talk about any of these!? NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO, instead she focuses on the fact that if you speed run a particular section of MGS you can see a cutscene with Meryl without any pants on. Or that you can use six-axis to cause Snake's therapist's breast to jiggle. Anita then has the gall to say this about these Easter Eggs:
They are intentionally put into the game by the designers, and as a result, indicate the value that the designers themselves place on these female characters. They communicate to players that yes, these women exist for players to exploit or experiment with for their own amusement.
Yes, these ARE intentionally put into the game by the designers, and do you know WHY they are put in? It's really simple Anita, though it may be a foreign concept to you, they are there for FUN! Easter Eggs are put into games as a way for the Developers to have fun WITH the players. Fun for the Developers putting in these hidden gems and fun for the players to FIND them. It's because video games are meant to be FUN and these little bits are a way for the medium to have fun with itself. Besides, if having a pantless Meryl says something about Kojima's value on his female characters, then explain to me what a completely naked cartwheeling Raiden says about the role MEN play in these games!?

Raiden is completely naked? Not sexist.
After that she goes on to talk about alternate costumes for these female characters. You know what this is about even before she brought up the topic. Female Characters in revealing costumes. Apparently, "Sexiness" and "Revealing" makes every single costume a female character has automatically sexist. It gets worse if said costume is considered impractical for the occasion. Now I know this was said in the previous section regarding Easter Eggs, but since it is pretty much the first instance of an alternate costume, Anita said this about Samus exploring Zebes without her Power Suit:
Players can then play the entire game as Samus without her space armor. So she ends up exploring a hostile alien world and fighting off deadly monsters in her underwear.
And she said this after going through all of the Resident Evil female cast:
As a reward for completing the main game under specific conditions, players gain the ability to shove these female police and special agents into the digital equivalent of those patronizing “sexy” Halloween costumes we see mass produced every year.
Oddly enough, no mention of Bayonetta.
Listen to the language Anita is using here. Players gain the ability to "SHOVE" these female characters into these costumes? She is making it sound like these characters are being forced to dress up against their will, and are they? Well, being VIDEO GAME CHARACTERS they would have to have a WILL to be forced against anything. And also, this is assuming that the Player is an entity that is entirely removed from the female character for this to even be the case. See, this is one of the messy parts of the Player/Character dynamic: Are the options something the player is forcing the character to wear, or is the character choosing to wear via the player's decision? Perhaps, Rebbecca really likes wearing the equivalent of the "Sexy nurse" Halloween costume to work. Maybe Claire really enjoys race cars and was at an event when danger struck. And Bayonetta.... Well Bayonetta wears anything she thinks is sexy enough. One of the WEIRDEST things is that she uses a clip from Tales of Vesperia where the scantily clad Judith actually EXPLAINS her reason for wearing a bikini rather than some heavy armor:
“It’s sturdy, but it’s heavy. Walking around with that on tires me out.” -Judith, Tales of Vesperia
Here you go Anita. A legitimate REASON for wearing very little. But she presents it as if it just proves what she is talking about... That women are forced in to revealing clothing... by showing a woman who choose to wear revealing clothing... Huh?

Shulk is wearing a Swimsuit. Your argument is Invalid.
Anita then goes on to say that it's only sexist when it happens to women. No, really read this:
Alternative costumes for men are rarely objectifying. They’re instead presented as “tough guy” power fantasies for other straight men to identify with. And when men are stripped down to their beachwear it’s most often meant as a lighthearted joke.
That's right. If a woman has a bikini alternate costume, it's completely for pandering sexist eye candy and nothing else, BUT if a man has a swim-trunk alternate costume it's just a lighthearted joke. Face meet palm. Seriously Anita, MOST alternate costumes are meant to be either badass or a lighthearted joke, yes even the sexy girl costumes. That you would consider one category offensive while another category completely okay with the only difference between them is the sex of the subject: THAT is sexist. You are creating a double standard that has to apply to female characters but not male characters, and THAT is why no one seriously thinks you are a legitimate critic.

Anyway, there are STILL THREE more instances of woman as "Reward" but it gets even STUPIDER, and this has gone on long enough. When I return we will continue down this rabbit hole of insanity and find out why God of War offense Anita in several different yet same ways.

SOURCE of this travesty:

Until Next Time.

-CRES, Seriously, all this talk about cliche sexy outfits and absolutely NO mention of Senran Kagura?


  1. She's wrong though about gender being a social construct. It is not. It is how the world presents itself to us; and how we perceive all things in it: in binaries, in oppositions. Here's what the TAO has to say about yin and yang -the female and the male- and their interactions in the world.

    1. I removed your repeat comment. While I agree that humans are sexual creatures I have no interest in what Tao has to say on the matter as it is irrelevant to the conversation.

      I'd appreciate it if you didn't use this conversation as a platform to spread your own unrelated message. It's distracting and lends nothing to the discussion. Much like Feminism.

  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  3. I just want to say to you that while the heaviness of Judith's armor is a good reason for her to wear skimpy clothing, it's not the only one. Judith enjoys boasting about her beautiful body and she is even incredibly seductive, sometimes using her beautiful body to seduce and even manipulate men to get her to do what she wants them to do. Her voluptuous body enables her to get a man to do her bidding.

    1. The Tales wiki even said that she's "decisive, persistent, witty, somewhat impulsive, and quite bold, preferring to wear revealing outfits. Judith is also very flirtatious and enjoys teasing the male members of the group, often making suggestive comments about 'showing a little more' of her already impressive figure. Estelle has humorously shown to be jealous of Judith's physique and power over men she possesses."