How Bayonetta's Gender is Relevant to the Game

Something Amyss

Aswyng and Amyss
Dec 3, 2008
MarsAtlas said:
With a few exceptions, people didn't complain about it in Fallout 3 and New Vegas because it looked like actual armour. There was no way to tell the difference because there weren't any differences except for scale.

You probably can't even tell the gender of the person underneath. Thats good, because thats the point.
I really wish there were more options like this in games. Just in general.

Of course, right now, I just wish GTA Online had full T-shirts as options for female characters. But even that's minor compared to a lot of female designs and outfits in these games (Which is probably why you seem to hear less about it).


Dec 24, 2011
MarsAtlas said:
Vault101 said:
see also woman's jeans with fake pockets or certain characters fighting with their hair out

Olas said:
Lots of characters in games are treated merely as objects or plot devices without being given fully fleshed out characters or personalities: faceless enemy goons, stock villagers who only exist to give exposition. Yet we don't consider them to be a major problem in gaming.
Actually a lot of people do, and its a major point of contention in a lot of critical games, sometimes done better than others (for instance Spec Ops: The Line and Far Cry 3 both made of point of highlighting your killing sprees as hurting real people, but one did it better), but its not something that "nobody cares about".
I didn't say nobody cares about it, just that it isn't treated the same way. Generic, single purpose characters are seen more as lazy or uninspired, but not as insulting or offensive, much less socially irresponsible. We also don't use the word "objectify" in these contexts, regardless of how unempowered the characters actually are. And frankly I think it would be a lot to expect every character to be fully fleshed out, especially in a non-character-driven game.

The same goes for issues of female warrior armor being "unrealistic", as if realism was always an important focus of the games to begin with. I think the real issue is just that some people find it tasteless and pandering, trying to win us over by appealing to baser desires of titillation, which often feels forced or out-of-place contextually, over trying to engage us on a higher level intellectually.
"Realism" is always contextual. For example the disparity between underwear for women and actual armour for men - the fact that men are wearing actual armour implies that there's danger, and that armour is necessary, but women are wearing armour because... yeah, there's no in-context explanation for it. Its obviously just because so that they can put the avatars of women in skimpy underwear. In Skyrim, for example, while its not a game mechanic, in-universe, people living living in Skyrim can easily freeze to death and starve, being a relatively desolate winter tundra. Why would you have somebody running around in their underwear with that while pretending that its not completely jarring, with or without the game's context?
I don't know, maybe there's a magic spell on them keeping them warm, a magic spell that only works on females for some reason. My point is you can come up with whatever in-universe explanation you want to justify it once you've established that you aren't sticking to real world physics and practicality. The 'rule of cool' has nearly always taken precedent over realism; one could almost say this is the entire point of fantasy and escapism. God knows the weapons in Skyrim sure aren't designed realistically, and to your credit some people DO like to critique this as well.

But if realism is allowed to be suspended for rule of cool, I just don't see how it should be expected to supersede rule of sexy.

My point isn't to say that these games SHOULD be filled with predominantly bikini clad females, I don't want that any more than you I'm sure. I just don't think these traditional arguments against it hold up very well, and using weak arguments to criticize something just makes your point seem weaker. Bikini clad females aren't a problem because they objectify women, or defy realism, but because they undermine the seriousness of a game and of the female characters in it.

Made in China

New member
Apr 2, 2013
I think that if you're talking about the context the game was released in and metaphors, you're neglecting to mention at least one franchise that included feminism in its core well before, and, to my personal taste, did it better.

No One Lives Forever.

Cate Archer.

I mean, she's a Bond knock off. But Bond was always about machismo. It was about fast cars, gun fights, cool gadgets, foxy ladies and heavy drinking. You could even argue that the plot is inconsequential to most Bond movies and to the Bond persona, because none of them have a lasting affect on the world and on the Bond character - they just reinforce him as the ultimate suave bad ass, a more realistic Rambo.
Now, Cate Archer did all of this with almost none of the stereotypes. She had gadgets, gun fights and finesse without relying on a trophy male character to reinforce the fact that she's desirable. She was the most capable character in the series - far more than any male character, and she did this not because or despite she was female, but simply because she was the best.
The most interesting aspect of her games is the gadgets. They can be useful, they can be brutal - but they are all masked as female accessories, contrary to Bond's gadgets hidden as fancy watches or high class shoes. Does that mean something about her character as a woman? Am I reading way too much into this?

Actually, I just realized that I miss No One Lives Forever 2. That game was awesome, and I really don't think I've seen anything like that since. Maybe Dishonored came close in term of game design, but the transitional games of the early 2000s were the best for me. Deus Ex's multiple approaches, Jedi Academy's secret zones, having actual hilarious game breaking cheat codes rather than achievements. These are just things that I don't see any more and I don't know why. I remember all of them fondly.


New member
Nov 15, 2014
Sorry for showing up late to the party.

First of all I really like Yahtzee reviews and how he calls out racism and misogyny without being lecturing and overly P.C. But I think your article is missing the point of this discussion.

Of course Bayonettas sex/gender is relevant to the game but that?s not the point (a sex fantasies sex is also very relevant for said fantasy). The point is, does she represent her gender in a way that women will look up to her or not. Is she a male sex object or a universal power fantasy? (Pleasing the male target audience is not necessary a bad thing, but would disqualify Bayonetta as a ?strong? female character.)

But let?s begin with his point that every comic hero is a fantasy and represent the idea of an übermenschen. He is in both cases right but again this is not relevant for this discussion. The point is, are comic heroines the same power fantasies like their male counterpart, or are both male fantasies of the ideal human being? Because I personally think that there is a big difference between Superman and Power Girl. I can go on but someone already made this point before me and did it much better than I could ever do.

?And going by what we see in the games, Bayonetta never employs sexuality in the context of a relationship or seducing a special friend - it's only ever used as part of combat, [?]?

This leaves out the important question, is Bayonetta using her sexiness to seduce the player? Or better did the programmers have specially created her body to appeal the male audience and given her a character and a setting to justify this only in retrospect. Appealing to the male audience is not a problem per se but to only be created to be sexual attractive is (at least not empowering). Short, is she a power fantasy girls would also have or a sex object for the male audience? Is her sexiness one of her many weapons or the thing which defines her character (nearly) completely? Perhaps some female gamers could solve this debate.

That is the whole (relevant) criticism about this game and this column is completely missing it. Is Bayonetta a strong character women will look up to, or is she just another oversexulized woman who was created only with the male target audience in mind? His only point to this discussion was that he personally don?t find her attractive. He calls her bad ass (I think that was your point) but didn?t explain why she is strong besides that she uses sexual gestures to fight monsters (which sounds pretty much like a sex fantasy to please the target audience). I would have loved to hear his opinion about why do you think she is a strong character, a power fantasy (which also female gamers would relate to) and not just a sex object, and how the game specifically mocks sexism and the representation of women in games and TV.

That?s all. Didn?t played the game and I bet it?s a lot of fun, but that was not the point of this column.