Gaijin Goombah is TIRED of Samus Complaints: A Response
Someone linked me this video after seeing my Fashion Savvy Samus comic, and it quickly became apparent that a LOT of people defending Samus’s god-awful rocket boots were using THIS as their basis for argument. So, since this is the internet, I’m gonna respond to this video interjecting whenever I hear something I agree or disagree with.
1. I agree that we should separate Other M Samus from the rest of cannon based on the fact that it was conceived over a retcon of the character.
2. I agree that a lot of the hatred for Other M Samus came from her BADLY localized English translation and voice acting. I’ve stated many times that if the game had been left in Japanese with English subtitles, I sincerely doubt as many people would’ve had a problem with her “monologuing” than they do with the English version.
3. I do not agree that you should be “offended” that male superheros are designed with barrel chests unless you yourself have been trying to get a job as a male model or something where your physical appearance actually mattered that much. Both the male and female body types ARE male power fantasies designed BY men FOR men. Men are IDEALIZED: They inhibit traits that men are suppose to want to ASPIRE to. Women are OBJECTIFIED: They are things men are suppose to want. Heck, sometimes we even idealize AND objectify women at the same time!
And this leads me into the fact that women DO have a problem with the way they are portrayed in women’s magazines. Maybe you don’t see it because you’re not looking for it, but in all the circles I’ve been in, the way women are photoshopped on magazine covers both for women AND men, is distressing and pisses a LOT of women off. So I’m sorry but I can’t agree with you being dismissive because you personally haven’t seen it.
Addendum: One of the other reasons why GG doesn’t get to be angry that men have unrealistic representations in the media (ie: Superman has a physique I can’t obtain!) is because men haven’t historically been oppressed by their looks. To paraphrase MovieBob: “The chances of a man being rejected for a job because they don’t look like Kratos from God of War is astronomically low UNLESS the job they’re applying for IS BEING KRATOS.” Women, on the other hand, have historically be denied jobs/work/advancement, etc based entirely on their looks, not their actual proficiency/knowledge/experience, etc.
4. I am sorry but no. Your explanation for why the heels are “necessary” is bullshit. Just stop and think for a second. Had this been rocket boots for a MALE character, do you still think they would’ve kept them as high heels? Hell no. That would’ve looked too “feminine” for a MAN to be wearing and felt out of place. They would’ve probably looked more like the Jump Boots from the live action Super Mario Bros movie, and most certainly wouldn’t have been heels.
This is why you not understanding why being sexualized... is a PROBLEM. Giving her rocket boots that looked like rocket boots wouldn’t have been sexualized. Giving her HIGH HEELS and calling them rocket boots is sexualization because there’s no logical reason to make them based off a fashion accessory OTHER than to make her more “sexy.”
5. I agree that the micro heels in Other M were stupid. Can’t deny that. Those were awful as well. But at least with those you didn’t play as Zero Suit Samus until the “bonus” part of the end of the game. And even then she wasn’t meant to do any fighting in her outfit. It was a fetch and retrieve mission which went horribly wrong, and her attire was appropriately out of place (kinda like the whole Zero Suit ending to Metroid Zero Mission). The point is that the Zero Suit is NOT functional as armor or for fighting.
6. I agree with ya here, they ARE big and bulky and ugly. That’s kinda the other problem. They do not match her outfit or make sense visually. The stark yellow and black clashes with her more subtle shades of blue and purple/pink accent. It’s BAD DESIGN. That’s another reason why many of us are pissed off. It doesn’t look thought through enough.
7. Do not think for a second that the fact that Samus’s bikini teasing end-game sprites/pictures/videos etc JUSTIFY the fact that she’s even MORE sexualized now. The fact that they HAD to include those fan-service bits BEFORE is STILL a problem. I love Super Metroid on my SNES, but even I can’t help but feel a little bit pervy when you intentionally play the game in such a way JUST to see her “strip” in the end. The fact that Samus was a woman being a reveal was awesome. The fact that each subsequent game teases seeing her in a less and less clothing is WRONG and DEMEANS the character’s original empowerment.
8. “Why is it, sexy attractive girls aren’t allowed to kick ass”
Because we’re OVER SATURATED with “sexy attractive girls” in EVERY form of media. From comic books to movies to video games, pretty much THE default setting for women is to be “conventionally attractive.” Handing them a gun and having them jump around killing shit doesn’t inherently make them “empowered.” This is extremely BASIC feminism 101 dude. It’s about VARIETY. Men are allowed to be unattractive. Men are allowed to be fat yet still heroic. Men are allowed to be tough and grizzled and obscenely muscular and bad-ass... but women are NOT. They are RARELY if EVER given that opportunity. And one or two exceptions does not disprove the rule, but rather enforces it (otherwise they wouldn’t be called exceptions).
9. And here’s the problem with trying to compare that with ACTUAL female gamers. Those are ACTUAL people with their own personal motivations and intentions. If a female gamer likes high heels and wants to wear them, then more power to her, that’s her decision. But fictional characters like Samus do not make decision themselves. They are DESIGNED to look and act a certain way, and that’s the problem. You cannot compare the idea of “empowering” sexy female game heroins to real life actual people because they don’t actually EXIST in the real world. They have no agency.
10. “Why isn’t Samus allowed to be attractive?”
Because there’s character building attractiveness, and there’s pandering fan-service cliche attractiveness. This is falling on the later. NOTHING about Samus’s Zero Suit makes any sort of sense for her CHARACTER. As a character Samus is a stone cold bounty hunter. She dresses appropriately in a metal suit that helps her get her job done. Her “bad-ass-ness” comes from the fact that she can defeat these giant monsters and makes a living off her career path. The Zero Suit? That is not bad ass. That is pandering. And sure, MAYBE she wants to wear that in her spare time. But if that’s the case it shouldn’t be used as MAIN ARMOR in a FIGHTING GAME. That is absolutely ridiculous logic. So the Zero Suit isn’t about building or defining her character, it’s pandering fan-service. Mario does not need to wear the overalls and hat to be Mario. He can dress however he wants. Samus doesn’t get that choice. It’s either be a bad-ass in a mech suit, or be a scantly clad sexy object for us to ogle.
11. If you want to see women who are super attractive kick ass? Go play EVERY OTHER FIGHTING GAME IN EXISTENCE. This is not “empowering” by any stretch of the imagination. This is not “new” to the game industry. Seriously look back over all the other fighting games and you will see “conventionally attractive” women kicking ass ALL THE TIME. This suit does not further that by any stretch of the imagination. It just wallows in the shallow pandering that we’ve BEEN wallowing in for the past 20-25 YEARS.
And do not think that this means I want Samus to be “unattractive” or something. That is not the point I am trying to make here. The point is that Samus is dressing and acting incoherently with her assigned personality for no good reason. If there’s a justifiable reason for her to act and dress the way she does, then fine. But the more they tinker with Metroid and Samus in general, the more it seems like they’re draining her of her agency to pander to the presumed male demographic of gamers.
I think I’ve reached the point where I think Samus is a good character... in theory. However from what the games and Nintendo have been doing with her lately, I can’t agree that her Zero Suit or her desire to run around in heels is anything other than a sad pathetic excuse to pander to male audiences by giving them, once again, a conventionally attractive woman running around in skin-tight spandex (with boob socks by the way).
12. When gamers and game companies STOP trying to pander like that, THEN i’ll be on the side saying “this stuff is ridiculous, let’s calm down.” But since it’s been over 20 years and this stuff is STILL going on... I don’t think we should be complacent about it.
13. Finally, I’m sorry but I can’t agree with you on the equality issue. Let’s use math to explain why. Let’s pretend that pennies represent the issues women and men go through. In this scenario women have like 15 pennies, and men have 5. Now if we treat the issues equally within a system that is not equal, what do we get? Let’s take away 2 pennies and see. Now women have 13 pennies and men have 3. Do you see the problem here? You cannot fix an unequal system by treating both sides equally. All it does it maintain the status quo. It’s unavoidable, and probably a little morally dubious, but you kinda HAVE to spend MORE time treating ONE side over the other UNTIL things reach a more equal footing. It’s sad but it’s reality. You take away 5 pennies and men are “cured” while women still have 10 pennies. That’s not equality. That’s inequality.
Alright, I’m done ranting now. Gaijin Goombah, I’m sorry but I respectfully disagree with your assertions. I have nothing against you personally, but I see some GAPING flaws in your logic in your video there. Maybe that’s due to lack of sleep, or maybe you’re just “tired” of hearing people harping about these issues (I know I am). But that’s kinda the problem. It’s NOT being fixed. It’s NOT getting better. We can’t be complacent in this, even if it pisses us off and we get tired of hearing about it.