Bayonetta 2, one of the newest games in the Wii U library, has been showered with positive reviews, and it’s hard not to see why. The game has excellent combat, the art design is fantastic, the enemies are varied, and the game is paced very well. But one of the big points of discussion about Bayonetta 2 is the portrayal of women in the game. The Bayonetta series is pretty infamous for its sexy characters, most of all the main protagonist, and some people have taken issue with that.

Recently the editor-in-chief of the site Negative World decided to ask women themselves what they thought about
Bayonetta and its portrayal of women, and one of the women who responded was Alicia Andrew, an indie game developer. And she has some very interesting things to say.

Negative World: “How do you feel about the way that the Bayonetta franchise presents its female characters, especially the lead playable character, “Bayonetta”? Do you think there are problematic / sexist elements involved, or “over-sexualization” of the females? On the other hand, do you find Bayonetta, as a “strong female lead” to be an empowering character in any way?”

Alicia Andrew: “As a developer, sexualization of characters is a topic that’s come up in some great discussions. I use Bayonetta as an example of “sexy” done right. A lot of the discussion about female representation seems to get stuck at whether its appropriate for a character to be “sexy”. Some people see the discussion around the dislike for the “chain-mail bikini” as a form of censorship or a push towards characters they see as potentially boring or downright prudish. I see the discussion as more nuanced than just an issue of cleavage. In my opinion, it’s an issue of ownership.

To me, Bayonetta owns her sexuality. It seems, whether intentionally or unintentionally, that the tight pants, the flirty quips, the languid posing, are all that character’s choice. Bayonetta, the character, enjoys her sexuality. She is choosing to display it in this manner, and is inviting you in on the fun. It’s wonderfully refreshing to have a character that seems in control of her sexy bits. She’s not a inanimate object with breasts heaving in the wind, but a woman flirting. To me that’s sexy done right.

To clarify, I’m not saying that we should take away titillating armor mods in Skyrim, or anything of that nature. But if you want to have a female character be more than just decoration, AND you want her sexuality to be part of that character, then creating that sense of ownership is important.

In this I think Bayonetta has done something great, and a lot of female players have responded to it. Initially I had no interest in the game, filing it into the “another game with heaving breasts” category. A friend of mine talked my ear off about how much she loved it, and why. I gave it a shot, and loved all of it. If I had the height, I’d cosplay the hell out of Bayonetta or Jeanne.”

Sexism in video games is obviously still an issue, a very big one and one that should be dealt with as soon as possible, but this is an interesting take on the
Bayonetta debate.

What do you think? Is Bayonetta sexualized? Or do you agree with Alicia Andrew? Share in the comments!

Source: Negative World

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Harold Teekman
I love video games. That's why I write about them. My first console was the Nintendo 64 and we got it when I was 4, along with Super Mario 64. I finished the game on my own when I was 6. One of my all time favorites of that generation is Donkey Kong 64. I love the bosses, I love the level designs, I love how you can play with multiple characters, and I love how many collectibles there are. I was mostly a Nintendo gamer until 2010, when I discovered Assassin's Creed. My PC could barely run it, but it played good enough to provide an amazing experience. Since then I've had a lot of catching up to do, and I'm now a big fan of Mass Effect, Dead Space, Resident Evil and the Batman: Arkham games, among others.

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