Wednesday, February 12, 2014

The Ample Butt of Space Heroism

I changed my mind.

Just a few days ago, I posted here about how my search for examples of sexism in old-school video games just got too sad and sucky to bear. I mean, what did I expect? Now, however, I’m thinking there may be value in these offending images after all. Sure, there’s the awful quaintness in reacting with “Oh, how funny that anyone thought this was okay back in the day!” But there’s also the realization that no, the trends aren’t at all new, and the undercurrents of sexism were just as present back when we were big-eyed, unknowing little kids as they are now that we’re small-eyed, glaring adults.

Here is the first of the major offenders: the flyer for the 1991 Namco arcade shooter Burning Force. Based on this image alone, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the burning force in question was situated entirely within the heroine’s loins. Or her back-loins. Full of moxie and gumption, these hindquarters are.

via hardcore gaming 101
The artist's motivation, I suppose, being that most people would rather not play a futuristic shooting game in which the main character has a small but that is not prominently displayed. I mean, that is why I play shooting games. (A similar tactic has been applied for hunky male characters in barbarian-themed platformers.) Interestingly, the home console version of the game reduced the emphasis on the heroine’s tuckus. Buttocks are for seedy arcades and not the living room, after all.

Here, watch space cadet Hiromi Tengenji in considerably less sexualized action, killing indiscriminately, like God intended, instead of bearing her bottom like a jezebel.

Gender and video games, previously:

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