This is the Sorceress from Vanillaware’s Dragon’s Crown. Lately, this character has been getting a lot of heat, becoming the new icon of sexism in video games. Are you offended by this character? Do you find it sexist? Well guess what, it’s not.
Oh my god, this is so much bullshit I don’t know where to start…
Okay so there is nothing wrong with a character being sexualised or sexy as part of their character; Lust from Fullmetal Alchemist is a fantastic example, or say Tsunade from Naruto, or Powergirl from DC comics. All sexy, busty characters who are well liked by the female audience because being sexy is part of their personality. They are strong women who are good at what they do and enjoy using their good looks to get admiration and even to control others.
The thing is, they all have personalities and dress in at least vaguely appropriate clothing for what they do and stand and move and present themselves in a way that lets you take them seriously as people. I seriously doubt this Sorceress does since as far as I am aware, she is simply called ‘Sorceress’ and I see no discussion of any character or story surrounding her. She is not a person. She doesn’t have a personality for sexy to be simply one part of. Her entire character is presented as ‘sexy lady in a sexy pose’. Look at that outfit. Does that look like anything a person would wear to do a job? No. It looks like lingerie. Her entire outfit is designed not to protect her, not to keep her warm or cool, not to impress people with her rank in the world of sorcery; it is designed to show skin in provocative areas and look like it’s about to fall off. Her entire pose and outfit give the message: “My value is in my appearance and sexual availability more than my ability. When I got dressed this morning, I prioritised making men interested in having sex with me over dressing in a way that would help me cast spells, and now I’m choosing to stand in a way which showcases my sexual availability because that is a more important thing for me to present to people than my ability to cast spells or any other facet of my personality.”
Now the male warrior was brought up. Two words: FALSE EQUIVALENCE. The masculine traits of the male warrior are male power fantasy traits. Straight women are not generally interested in super-buff guys. Being super-buff is a male fantasy, something men aspire to because physical strength is something guys are told they should strive for. If the game was truly trying to present eye candy for a female audience to the same degree as a male one, the warrior would be as skimpily dressed as the ladies (which he is not, he is fully covered in practical looking if fantastical plate armour) and he would look like the sort of guys women actually find attractive, like, oh, I dunno, Orlando Bloom or Johnny Depp or Sephiroth; he would have a lithe body with some muscle but not too bulky, beautiful silky hair, a pretty mouth and big cute or smouldering eyes, you know, like all the guys in shoujo manga, or the guys the poster mentioned earlier that Tumblr ladies swoon over, oh and obviously he’d stand in a way that emphasised his sexiness and availability. His stance is ready for action and showing his strength and prowess, while even the female Barbarian is shown reclining in a sexy way, not ready to fight. He is not sexually objectified at all; his entire appearance presents “I am strong and capable and badass and you want to play as me and dream of being this buff and cool” compared to the Sorceress whose appearance presents: “I am attractive and posturing to show a desire to be fucked by you”. The Sorceress is not made for a female player to want to play because she is not presenting characteristics most women would or should aspire to (we don’t need to aspire to being able to show off our sexual availability since just by being female we have a 20% chance of being raped, and we actually spend a lot of our time working hard to show that we’re valuable for more than just procreation in the face of a patriarchy that pays us less for doing the same jobs as men and judges us based on appearance regardless of our field of work or our ability!) and she’s not relateable; she is made for a straight male player to ogle and jerk off to.
So in conclusion… YES IT IS. It’s sexist and demeaning. It reflects poorly on videogames, emphasising the idea that they are for a straight, single, male, heterosexual audience and marginalising all other groups, which makes it both harder for women to enjoy playing games, and especially to play and discuss them online without harassment, as well as making it harder to be a woman in the games industry or even the games journalism industry! It marginalises female players and also reinforces the idea that a woman’s value is primarily in her attractiveness and sexual availability and that this should be emphasised before her personality or capabilities, which encourages rape culture, the objectification of women in daily life and makes it harder for women to be taken seriously for their intelligence and effort. It is not okay and we are perfectly right to be offended by and to protest against it!
Been seeing this go around a lot with mixed opinions. This is where my opinion on this is. This person explains it much better than I am capable of.