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Posted by on Jan 15, 2010

Community Q: Bayonetta – Empowering or Exploitative?

Community Q: Bayonetta – Empowering or Exploitative?

Welcome to our Community Q!

Once a week we flip the tables and listen to what you guys have to say . . . rather than sitting back and make you listen to us . . .

The world’s awash with news and review about SEGA’s hit title, Bayonetta. Most reference her arse and chest. The suggestive use of lollipops and overt sexuality have made her, almost overnight, one of the most instantly recognisable gaming characters ever. But is this down to an immersive, exciting gaming experience, or the peddling of cheap sexual thrills?

Following this interesting article over at GamePro, I was interested to hear your views about hypersexual, physically disproportionate Bayonetta. So our Community Q question today is . . .

Community Q: is Bayonetta empowering for women, or simply misogynistic and exploitative?

Vikki Blake

Vikki has a penchant for Yorkshire Tea, raspberry cider and swear words. In addition to founding and running GGS Gamer and, she writes news for GamesRadar+ and IGN, and has written reviews and interviews for other places, including Destructoid, Eurogamer, and She's Big Boss at Silent Hill Heaven and a rabid Halo, Destiny, Resident Evil and Mass Effect obsessive.

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  1. I’m going to agree with the Gamepro article (maybe I’m bias :B) But it’s true! Yeah, a girl can go down to a man’s level, much like Paine from FFX-2 or even Samus Aran of Metroid — where most gamers weren’t aware it was a chick until you see her bikini! But does that really accomplish girl power? To mimic a boys style or to be mysterious behind a full suit of armor? I think flaunting it is the new thing.

    The thing with Bayonetta is it’s so IN YOUR FACE, like literally, and she’s not Peach. She won’t be waiting in any tower for a guy to save her.
    Yeah, her style is hugely exaggerated, but Bayonetta’s meant to be fun and cheeky (pun intended). In all honesty, the only type of people I’ve seen upset about this game have been boys, who are probably insecure of the idea of playing a sassy and curvy woman.

  2. It is frustrating for women to be featured in video games for their physical aspects more than for character depth or abilities. We wouldn’t want female characters that are hideous either, and really make characters are usually well modeled as well. The refreshing thing about Bayonetta, as mentioned by the article and Sarah, is her aggressive attitude. It’s not new to gaming, but it’s nice to not see another damsel-in-distress.

  3. I absolutely agree with you both. Whilst I think that her body shape is a tad unnecessary (not to mention unrealistic) I love what she stands for – assertive, confident, aggressive women on a par (or even above-par) with the men around them.

    And you’re right – Princess Peach or Zelda she is not!

  4. From what I can tell from what I’ve seen and played from the demo, I’d say Bayonetta is an intentional parody of oversexed female video game characters in general. She’s utterly ridiculous and the designers know it. Bayonetta seems a lot like God Hand and No More Heroes, so unbelievable in its audacity and absurdity that you can’t possibly take it seriously, which is the whole intention.

    And hey Zelda, ain’t bad, Wind Waker Zelda kicked ass. XD

    Though all this talk of strong female protagonists reminds me that Beyond Good and Evil still doesn’t have a sequel yet…

    • Beyond Good and Evil was amazing! I don’t know if you’re aware or not, but there WAS a sneak peek of a cinema and “game play” to a sequel.–evil-2-footage

      The character totally looks like Jade buuuut I’m leaning towards it just being a tech demo by Ubisoft to test out other games, and they just copied the Jade character. As of right now, the official response to a sequel is “still in development” :(

  5. I usually just find it funny when they over-sexualise women, because all I can think is how stupid they look. I don’t see women in computer games as a representation of real women anyway, and for that matter, I don’t see guys in video games as representations of real guys. Everything tends to get exaggerated in these games, you only get ‘real’ portrayals of people in the more realistic games, which makes sense really, some games just wouldn’t be the same if they didn’t go crazy with the character visuals.

    In regards to Beyonetta, I haven’t played the full game because as I mentioned in another article, I don’t much fancy playing Devil May Cry again…….. I can however see myself buying the game when it gets really cheap :P

    On a side note, I’d much rather look at an over-sexualised women in a game than a tiny little size 0 bulimic super model.

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