Girl in the Machine
Monday, July 14, 2008

I've always been a huge comics fan growing up. It's perhaps the geekiest part about me besides my love for video games. Not only did I happily collect Wonder Woman and Spider Girl, I obsessively followed a bunch of superhero cartoons as well, including Batman: The Animated Series, X-Men, and Spider-Man. Ahh, the good old days.

Of course, when I heard about Midway's upcoming Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe fighter, I was thrilled right down to my toes. A chance to beat the crap out of Liu Kang with Wonder Woman? to watch the Flash run circles around Scorpian? to really kick some ass with Catwoman --


Oh God, Selina Kyle, what have they done to you?!

This has become quite the chorus for me: shock and disgust followed by the sinking realization that I'm not at all surprised. This is how it's going to be for every fighting game ever in existence, isn't it? Just check out the newest crop of screens from the game. All of the dudes -- Batman, Flash, Shang Tsung, Scorpion -- are all badass and muscley and tearing shit up. However, Catwoman and Sonya Blade (complete with a very classy thong tan line) are flickering around hitting themselves in the eye with some fresh boob jobs. As usual.

Okay, I get it, video game designers. Boobs are going to keep inflating and costumes are going to keep shrinking with every new fighter that gets made. It seems I can't enjoy some good old-fashioned video game combat without staring down all the shameless nerd masturbatory material. Quite frankly, I don't know how many times I can complain about the objectification of female characters in these games, because it's the same old song and dance. There's nothing out there that's different, there's nothing out there that's fresh or inventive. There's simply new physics engines for boob movement and slavering fanboys waiting in the wings.

Here, as always, is the deal. This hypersexualization in such a gross majority of fighters is nothing less than flippant misogyny. The exaggerated appearances actively distance these caricatures from the possibility of female combat prowess. Rather than competent fighters, these women pout and thrust out their jubblies like porn stars. The character designers are laughing at the thought of an intimidating female fighter and churning out nothing but wank material. At this point, every fighter is starting to mimic Dead or Alive, and I'm sick of it.

It doesn't help that female superheroes / supervillains already have a bad rap in the comics universe. Now we have everything that's wrong with video games making things worse. Poor Selina Kyle. I mean, she's already in a freaking cat suit, and she already wields a freaking whip. What a disaster.

I'll just put it this way: at this point, I don't have high hopes for Wonder Woman's splashy new design.

(If you're a comics fan like me and you're interested in feminist commentary about superheroes, go check out

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 Posted by BomberGirl
 10:10 AM + Link to this post

Girl in the Machine

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