Girl in the Machine
Friday, July 18, 2008
Women Worshipers

There are a lot of different flavors of sexism out there, and very much like garbage, they each have their own unique stench. Some are so obvious you can smell them from a mile away, while others you don't notice until you get right up close to them. There is a type of sexism that I liken to the smell of mold--perfumey sweet, with a curl of nausea about it. That would be the Women Worshipers.

To the untrained eye, Women Worshipers may not seem sexist at all. They proclaim their love for women, going so far as to say they're better than men, even if said Women Worshiper is a man himself (which many of them are). And while loving women isn't the problem, it's the reasons they have for loving women: because women are naturally so pure, so chaste and nurturing--so much better than violent, aggressive men. Women have a natural instinct for being caring, peaceful, and selfless, according to them.

Okay, some may ask, so what's wrong with that? Isn't it nice that people think of women as being so great? Women Worshipers think of women in such a way that it puts women on a pedestal from which we can't budge. It reduces women's humanity and turns us into an unrealistic symbol of All That is Right in the World. I see this attitude often when it comes to female characters in video games.

For example, when I was doing research for my article on the character Krystal from the Star Fox series, I came across a similar attitude toward her: many of Krystal's fans love her not only because she's a pretty blue fox, but also because she is "kind," and "caring." Which is all true: Krystal goes out of her way in both Star Fox Adventures and Assault to save planet Sauria. However, those same fans were dismayed about her character development in SF Command. In my article "There's Something About Krystal," I talked about how I love that Command revealed Krystal's stubborness and desire to get even after Fox unfairly breaks her heart; I love that it gives her flaws and makes her more than just a 2-D love interest and sex appeal for the Star Fox series. Those fans who were dismayed about Krystal's newly-revealed traits because she was no longer a perfect ambassador for peace and love. They were putting Krystal on a pedestal, unhappy that she was showing her selfish side. There are many more female video game characters treated this way by some fans, such as Shadow Hearts's Alice and Xenosaga's MOMO.

Women Worshipers can be trouble in many ways. For instance, because they expect women to be perfectly good and peaceful, if a woman displays aggression or selfishness, for example, she is being un-womanlike, and the Women Worshiper may be hostile toward her. However, one of the most troubling aspects about Women Worshipers revolves around the subject of sex. Women Worshipers tend to think of sex as a sinful thing--something a woman would never actively want and should protect herself from it, acting as a gatekeeper to men. If a woman does want to have sex, she is labeled a slut. Extreme Women Worshipers may take the Goddess Image of women to such an extreme that they justify rape and/or are turned on by it; after all, women are naturally chaste, so a "proper" woman who has sex before marriage is one that is raped, not one that consents. This keeps the woman pure while still making her sexually available.

I consider Women Worshipers to be one of the most dangerous kinds of sexism: they effectively dehumanize women and reduce them to symbols of virtue and objects to acquire. To make mistakes, to get angry, to have flaws is human, and those who want a woman who is flawless do not want a woman who is human.

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 Posted by PlasmaRit
 9:22 PM + Link to this post

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