Gratuitous Ranting

I try not to spend my time frothing at the mouth about things that are completely beyond my control and utterly predictable. However, the stars aligned this week, and so I bring to you a rant about gratuity.

I saw a screenshot or two of Catwoman, from the new Arkham City Batman game. Now, I try not to let the objectification of women in video games get to me. Really. I promise I don’t. I understand that fundamentally, video games are largely made by little boys for little boys, except I honestly never saw a 6-year-old actually care about OMGBOOBIES when he wasn’t explicitly told to by other media, so let’s find something else to call them. Immature men, how about that? That about covers it.

So, to rephrase: I understand that, fundamentally, video games are largely made by immature men for immature men, and these men live in a fantasy land where women look a certain way, i.e., like they’re from comic books. As stabby as this makes me, I understand. Somewhere along the line, tits-ass-legs became more important than storytelling or characterization or respect or anything. AWESOME. (Some might argue that this didn’t happen “along the line,” that it is just “the line.” To which I repeat: AWESOME.)

So, I saw these screenshots. And really? Really?! Even Catwoman looks shocked by how much skin she’s showing! Or maybe she’s just cold. Come the hell on. She’s a thief. She’s supposed to be sneaky. And that means not having her entire, lily-white chest exposed, glowing like a beacon in the darkness. Part of her appeal, too, is that she can be the sexiest thing on two (sometimes four) legs, and do it with her shirt on.

I know being overtly (sometimes ridiculously) sexualized is part of her character. But this Catwoman could have had her shirt skipped up another six inches and still had cleavage showing. No one would have complained. She would have been completely wank-worthy, I promise you. While we’re on the subject, her catsuit could have been zipped up completely and not damaged her sexiness one iota. After all, wasn’t this hot enough for you?

But, that isn’t how things work in Immature Game Designerland. More is always better there. More boobs, more skin, more legs. Also, as much of it should be naked as possible.

I know I’m not the target audience. After all, I’m a woman, and I have the brain cells left over after seeing that to question how practical and/or necessary all that skin showing is.The people who designed this character clearly didn’t think about that eventuality longer than it took to say, “ZOMG let’s make her shirt unzipped really far and then have her flip around and stretch OMGBOOBIES.”

I love the Batman universe, I had a great time with Arkham Asylum, and I love Catwoman. Being able to play her is going to be a blast in Arkham City. But seriously? To go so far into the realms of good character design and then unzip her catsuit so it looks like she’s leaping around on her way back from a mammogram?

Charming, really.

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