paperclipchains (paperclipchains) wrote,
paperclipchains
paperclipchains

Bayonetta & Half-formed Thoughts on Sexual Objectification

I did an article on Bayonetta and exploitative representation and male gaze for class. I fully intend to rewrite it to remove the awkward class material references and to include more and just to, uh, tailor it to an audience who's already familiar with games and gaming culture. I'll link it as soon as I've got a mirror that doesn't have my full name on it. [Initially linked it forgetting this was the case, hurrdurr]

For me, though, the article really is kind of a jumping-off point. I really do like Bayonetta. If it's sexual objectification then it is the kind I approve of and it's really just the rest that we need to clear off, if you ask me. I didn't have a lot of space to go into other stuff I wanted to say - talking about the centrality of her and Jeanne's friendship, pointing out how the ads made Luka look much more central than he was in actuality, going into the "but what does this all mean" element... Well, I don't really know what it all means. I guess on one level I feel like I'm thirsty in the desert and I'm willing to accept any self-comfortable ass-kicking heroine with even the tiniest amount of emotional inflection, and on the other hand my gut instinct is that I just think she's awesome, plain.

We looked at a video in my visual culture class, kind of a propagandic piece about women in music videos. Lots of close up shots of ass jiggles and scary music in the background (I wonder if the maker noticed the irony) and the point was basically the same kind of we are so bombarded with these singular ideas of female sexuality. It showed a couple of seconds of Fiona Apple's Criminal, arguing that all women have to subject themselves to this pornographic imagination in order to "make it" out there and I just cried foul on that one. You look at the video, yes, she's undressing, yes she's squirming around, there's an undeniable sexual element to it, but isn't saying "Aha, see, look at her performing for the male gaze being stripped of her subjectivity" stripping her of her subjectivity in itself? If you look at Fiona Apple's work she is so much more than this one video where she undresses a little bit and aren't we putting women in a double bind when our "critical" eye automatically removes agency from any sexual situation women are depicted in?

Skipping back to the Bayonetta piece... She's over-the-top, stylized, deliberate, self-aware, having fun... and for how frequent and ever-present the sexual element is, she's more than just the sex. Shouldn't that be considered? And even if she was just the sex... I don't know. From my perspective, it is actually a really positive thing to see portrayals of sexuality that are self-aware and that are fun. There is an overabundance of smoky bedroom eyes and half-open mouths and slow-motion ass jiggles where some guy pulls some chick closer and she makes some noise and that is all really vague but I know you know what I'm saying and it just a far cry from unabashed and joyous dancing about that never seems to leave her control and always seems to coincide with her doing something badass, hilarious or both.

She's moving on up there with my favourites and I obviously haven't fleshed out all of my thoughts on her yet, so I imagine there will be more TL;DR in the future and please forgive me if I've said anything abysmally stupid in trying to work through all of this for myself.
Tags: bayonetta, feminism
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