325: Sketch Week: Fighting Games

Also this.  I'm kind of ashamed that I forgot Mortal Kombat on the first graph, but it really would've paired in the same spot as Soul Calibur.  I ranked them based on costumes first and tier rankings second, so the top few games will have a mix of sexualized and unsexualized outfits, while the bottom few are all sexualized.  And then Dead Or Alive just doesn't even try, and they really aren't ashamed of it.  But to all these games' credit, they do at least come up with interesting background stories and personalities for all their characters.

Sexism in fighting games is very similar to sexism in superhero comics.  Everything is designed as a fantasy geared towards straight men.  The male characters are power fantasies - people men wish they could be like - while female characters are usually sexual fantasies.  As you go down this list of fighting games, you'll find fewer and fewer female characters that women can look up to as power fantasies.  It's still possible to look up to Chun-Li as a strong woman who kicks ass, even though she's been sexualized, but it's really hard to look up to anyone from Dead Or Alive.  It's also important to note that my opinions and views are highly centered around Western ideologies, as opposed to Japanese ideologies, which is where all of these games are developed.  Most of the characters in these games are based around Japanese archetypes, both male and female, and sexualization is a common part of all of the female archetypes.  I'm not saying that it's more right or more wrong, but it's definitely more expected in Japan.  Being a regular part of the culture might make it easier for girls to look up to some of these characters.  Think about Sakura from Street Fighter.  Over here she seems like a clear underage schoolgirl fetish, but in Japan, where sailor uniforms are commonplace, a young girl might look up the character as a sexier, stronger version of themselves.  But even then it's a tenuous example, and it's not like it would ever hurt people's respect for a character by making them less sexy.

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