Is Bayonetta 2 Suitable for Women?


For those of you who haven’t noticed my slurry of Bayonetta based posts this week, last week I bought Bayonetta 2, and it’s awesome. I love the all out action scenes, I love the interesting, detailed and epic plot, and I love the little puzzles and secrets to be uncovered in each level; but most of all I just love Bayonetta herself.

While it would be so easy to scream misogyny at a game where the heroine has clothes made out of her own hair which disappear during battle to leave her naked except a sexy, silver, Borat-style mankini, I actually wish to do the opposite.  While the sequel contains more shots of Bayonetta’s crotch and perfect buttocks than I cared to count, and the original harnessed some salacious angel boob jiggle, Bayonetta’s own proportioned bosom seems to have been kept firmly in place. I believe that Platinum were not given true gender diverse credit when creating Bayonetta, both the character and the game, and that they were invented with women at least somewhere in the back of their minds.

In fact you could see Bayonetta as the ultimate Mary Sue; a sort of hyped up version of what developers think most game-playing women look like, the stereotypical, sexy nerd girl.

For someone who considers herself to be largely heterosexual, a strange feeling came over me the more I got to know Bayonetta. Having now completed both the original and the sequel, there was many parts of Bayonetta’s character that were extremely attractive to me. There is something intriguing in how she pretends to not care for the younger characters such as Loki or Cereza and then the cutscenes reveal a softer side to her hard outer shell, how she never needs or cares to explain herself or her actions, how she does everything with this awesome air of cool independence and yet at the same time loyal friendship. Most of all however, I  was captivated by how she is gorgeously sexy in an at once entirely conventional and completely unexpected way,  how she chooses to dress in these stunningly gorgeous outfits, how she knows how to both look fabulous and kick ass.

In fact you could see Bayonetta as the ultimate Mary Sue; a sort of hyped up version of what developers think most game-playing women look like, the stereotypical, sexy nerd girl. And while racial diversity isn’t clearly played out (though one could argue that Bayonetta could be either White, Asian, or Mixed race) players like me with long blonde hair and blue eyes can identify further by playing as Jeanne, who shares all of Bayonetta’s perfect personality traits. Despite the pair treating almost everyone they know like dirt at some point in the story, they are still best of friends with them at the end of it all. Bayonetta receives affection, and yet rarely gives it, she is the holder of power.

Yet no matter how idolised Bayonetta may seem, or how much the game could appeal to women, with its dressing up capabilities and its extremely simplified easy mode, which lets you play through the game without worrying about using continues and being sent back to the last save point, Bayonetta just doesn’t appeal to women. I pointed out in a previous article about how most women don’t play video games, and yet the number still don’t add up.

While I don’t have huge amounts of statistical data; of the absolute keenos who watched the whole playlist of the first Bayonetta 2 Let’s Plays available online, just 8% of them were women. And while male is the default gender of the internet, the vast majority of discussion going on about the release seems to be between males. It was suggested to me that most women don’t play video games because they have never picked up a game in their life, and much like drug dealers we would just need to get them hooked onto one gateway game to get them addicted for life.

Women of the internet I am throwing down the gauntlet. If you have never played a video game properly then, come October, go into your local game store and  play a demo of Bayonetta 2. Stand there for the whole 30 minutes it takes you to complete the prologue, not caring what anyone else in the store thinks or feels and simply revel in the glory. You just might discover something you kind of like.