New Feminist Frequency Video Dissects the Trope of “Strategic Butt Coverings”
Anita Sarkeesian has just released the newest episode of Feminist Frequency, titled “Strategic Butt Coverings”. This episode focuses on the techniques that developers and designers often use to highlight women’s butts in order to objectify and sexualize them.
Sarkeesian brings up some really intriguing points, and touches on some interesting insights that go all the way down to the design level. For instance, as players, we never really think about what goes into the decision of where to place the player camera–where it should be centered, what we should be able to see, things like that. But when you take a critical look at camera placement for female protagonists versus male protagonists, it becomes clear that when it comes to the former, there’s something the developers and the designers want you to focus on: their butts.
This focus on female anatomy and the weird ways in which artists try to bend them to appeal to the male gaze exists across much of media, not just video games. For example, when it comes to comics, there’s the notorious Spider-Woman cover. Additionally, to highlight how ridiculous female poses versus male poses are, there’s the Hawkeye Initiative, where male heroes are drawn in poses similar to their female counterparts.
What Sarkeesian emphasizes is something that’s especially worth noting here: the goal with juxtaposing the presentation of female butts with male butts isn’t to suggest that male butts should also be sexualized. Rather, what’s being suggested is that female butts be de-emphasized and handled in a fashion similar to male butts.
Taking a female character and placing the player focus on things besides her body can only help your video game. Players empathize and identify with a character more when they’re not constantly being bombarded with “hey, look at this sexy butt.”
This video is packed with a bunch similarly fascinating dissections and points, and is definitely worth a watch.
What do you think? What games do you think really abuse strategic butt coverings?
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