FeminismPop Culture

Smart Character – Personality = Sex Object?

Now, Nintendo don’t have the best track record for female characters in any case, especially since Samus Aran’s character was turned into the complete opposite of the strong hero she once was by the dark hands of Team Ninja, but recently, at least within the Pokémon franchise, they’ve been making more of an effort to include more women in positions of power. Unfortunately, for a certain female scientist-equivalent, the power of photoshop means that her intellect and character depth has been emptied out, leaving ‘Stupid Sexy Bianca’, a sex-crazed, empty-headed lookalike that floats around Cheezburger’s ‘Pokémemes’ with breasts the size of hot air balloons and no trace of the character Game Freak took the time to weave for Pokémon Black & White.

Now there’s no shortage of disturbing Pokémon fan art online, a lot of it unfortunately in line with Rule 34 of the internet (don’t look it up), in fact pretty much all of the female characters that have been featured, as well as a significant proportion of the males have been the subject of some eyebrow-raising forms of erotica. Outside the world of perversions however, can we at least honor the few times where Nintendo gets it right?

If I can inject some nerd history here, Nintendo got quite a lot of flack for repeatedly using male characters as the main authorities in the Pokémon world: professors Oak, Elm, Birch, Rowan, Champions Blue, Lance, Steven etc. (yes, blue is a boy’s name, apparently leaf is a girl’s name too, just accept it and move on) In the first main series titles on the Nintendo DS (Diamond/Pearl/Platinum) the champion of the Pokémon league was a woman named Cynthia, who was as badass as her predecessors, and they continued this trend in the most recent versions (Black/White) by introducing two female professors: Juniper and Fennel.

Bianca is one of the main characters in these games, and, upon realizing that she will never be as strong as the protagonist (read as ‘you’) she decides to dedicate her life to studying Pokémon and becomes Professor Juniper’s research assistant, about the equivalent of a Ph.D student in the real world, and in fact, in the upcoming sequel to these games she actually gives the new protagonists their first Pokémon. For those of you who haven’t played the games, that’s kind of a big deal, it’s a job usually taken by aging male professors named after trees. Seriously.

This meme forgets that completely and exploits somebody’s racy fan art, along with a generic raunchy Pokémon pun she might say to the observer, to take away all of the personality of the character. Seriously, there is no substance here, even to the point where people are constantly trying to tell the moderators that the meme isn’t funny. But it’s not just that; the very point that Game Freak have taken so long to actually make is being met with the same people who make sure that whenever they watch a Youtube video with a woman featured, that the top comment is ‘boobs’ or ‘I’d tap that’ or something equally as degrading; and it’s degrading whether it’s overlooking the talent of the woman involved or whether it’s completely dismissing a well developed female character, and her equal standing in a largely male-dominated world, just because she happens to be a woman.

Seriously, I highly doubt I’ll ever see a ‘stupid sexy Cheren’ post.

[image credits: pokememes.memebase.com, segaforums.com]

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Cat Strickson

Cat Strickson

Cat, or Elly, or Eddy, or whatever name they're going by these days, is a British palaeontologist and fantasy author. It's a pretty awesome skill set, but it doesn't pay much right now. They enjoy science, history, vidyagames and all things SFF.

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