Gotta get this poison out right now. So I was looking for something completely different on Wikia when I made the mistake of clicking a link for an article Beyond the Bikini: “Why ‘Metal Gear Solid V’s Quiet Deserve to Be Heard” by Eric Fuchs.
On principle, I am not a fan of Metal Gear Solid, which is essentially men’s fantasizing and glorification of violence and warfare. But I have watched a couple of the games be played by my brother and sister–from beginning to end to see their stories unfold.
Fuchs tell me in his article that Metal Gear Solid V features a female character named Quiet, who is a “mute, superpowered sniper dressed in very little clothing”. Look at the article for visuals. Essentially, Fuchs goes on to say that Quiet’s portrayal is “erotic”, that the game’s director Hideo Kojima did it all on purpose because it’s “just fiction”, and that Quiet redeems the game.
Here’s my point: The producers of Metal Gear Solid V intentionally created a woman character who does not speak (until she is required to die for a man) that they designed and controlled from the tips of her toes to the top of her head for the purposes of male game players. It’s about control, not respect. The great Boy’s Club of patriarchal society. By making these games, with a wink and a paternal pat on the back, they validate men’s desires to only see women the way they want instead of as they are, extending to every guy on the planet a huge helping hand to the objectification, dehumanization, and violation of all women and their bodies from the day they are born.
As an author, I do not differentiate between fiction and “reality” in the sense that fiction (our ideas) informs reality and our reality informs our ideas (our fictions). Quiet and her universe of Metal Gear Solid V is a fiction, yes, but unfortunately, some boys do not draw lines between “real life” and fiction, in a much darker and horrifying way because they know other men will help them achieve their violent fantasies and protect their means to do so at the expense of women’s rights and humanity. From the anime community to the gaming community and beyond, the only kind of girls and women these assholes tolerate are the kind they can control, whether she is drawn on a piece of paper or designed on a computer. They honestly think that creating fictional girls and sharing them with other boys to jerk off to is A-ok and has no repercussions. They think that just because this girl or woman is a fictional character that it doesn’t matter what her body is used for or intended for, as long as she serves their purpose which is usually sexual and degrading. Which does nothing but cause casual sexism, misogyny and other violent impulses to fester in men from a young age. There is nothing that stops men and boys from doing this to girls off the page and off the screen as well, when the mangas, comics, magazines, and pencils are put away and the the game consoles and controllers are down.
Quiet is wearing a bikini? Quiet is “nearly murdered and raped by Russian soldiers”? Quiet is killed off for the sake of a man? It’s a game for boys made by boys, OF COURSE IT’S VIOLENTLY SEXIST. It’s typically a given that it is. This is men’s fantasies. And its fucking disgusting.
Acting like he’s being reasonable and outlining the problems of sexism embodied by Quiet in Metal Gear Solid V, Eric Fuchs completely gives Hideo Kojima a pat on the back for being an outright sexist, while understating and subverting (in ways that only the sexist “heterosexual male gaze” can) everything that’s wrong with even the simplest details of Quiet’s presentation to make it look positive.
If you can’t create a game where women are great with their clothes on, then don’t do it at all.
“It’s difficult. [My female protagonists] immediately become the subjects of rorikon gokko (play toy for Lolita Complex males). In a sense, if we want to depict someone who is affirmative to us, we have no choice but to make them as lovely as possible. But now, there are too many people who shamelessly depict [such protagonists] as if they just want [such girls] as pets, and things are escalating more and more.”— Hayao Miyazaki, 1988 interview with Animage, expressing concern for the human rights of women (From Wikipedia, on Lolicon)