Thursday, November 13, 2014

Bayonetta Meets Beyoncé

What she saves on fabric she spends on bullets.
This week I put the pop in "PopMatters" and talk about Bayonetta and Beyoncé.

I have mixed feelings about writing yet another post about Bayonetta's sexuality.  There are so many of them out there and the game is deeper than its image.  For those looking for a little variety, I highly recommend Todd Harper's weeklong series of Bayonetta posts that "leave discussions of her body and sexuality behind, in the hope of finding more about this fascinating game series to discuss than one issue alone."  It's good stuff!

Still, sexuality remains an integral part of Bayonetta's character.  She acknowledges her looks in a self-aware way most sexualized video game characters don't.  Bayonetta isn't one of those "Oops am I being sexy?" or "Wearing this metal bikini into battle is totally normal" type of characters.  She makes jokes about her admirers and taunts her enemies who try to lay hands on her.  The basic combat flow is about calculated restrictions: dodging enemies at the last second as they attack her provides the best attack opportunities and the highest bonuses.  Bayonetta punishes those who try to take more than she is willing to give.

This mixture of blatant sexuality and power resembles Beyoncé and plenty of other popular chart topping ladies.  I included a few mildly-NSFW videos in the post (just be ready to alt-tab at a moment's notice).  There's not a lot of subtlety in lyrics like: "Boy you know I look good as fuck / You wish I was your baby momma / Want me to come around and give you good karma, but no," but I argue that is precisely the point.  Acknowledging and embracing overt sexuality, even a type of sexuality that some people disagree with, doesn't negate your agency.

Then again, maybe all this is just me trying to convince myself that I don't need to nuke my browser's cache after watching a bunch of Beyoncé videos or hide my Bayonetta 2 disc under my mattress.

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