Bayonetta and Embracing Femininity

photo of woman in red off shoulder top
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Bayonetta is one of my favorite characters of all time! She is my favorite character because I like how she is an extremely powerful witch who is also very feminine. I like that she takes on enemies wearing high heels and pokes fun at her enemies. She reminds me that being feminine is a strength.

Bayonetta as a Character

Bayonetta is an Umbran witch. In the first game she is trying to uncover her past. In the second game, she is trying to save her friend, Jeanne, from the Gates of Hell. Bayonetta wears a skin-tight body suit with high heels that have guns attached to them. She is known not only for her signature outfit, but also for being a feminine and sexy character. She does dances when she summons monsters to help her. She makes jokes about “pillow talk” when fighting one of the bosses.

Her character has gotten some critique for how she dresses and acts sexually, such as from Feminist Frequency’s video “Lingerie is Not Armor”. In this video Anita Sarkeesian describes how Bayonetta’s sexuality is supposed to be seen as empowering, but the target audience is a straight male so it is not actually empowering and she is being sexualized.

I do not see Bayonetta’s empowering sexuality to be a bad thing. While I understand that her character is sexy, I do not really see her as being sexualized. It’s how she owns her femininity and her looks. Bayonetta as a character wants to be seen as sexy. She wants the camera to look at her when she moves around. She enjoys being the center of attention and showing off how confident she is in her moves and strength. Her sexuality is part of her character and cannot be separated from her. Her sexuality also gives her power because she uses it to take down her enemies. She is both feminine and strong.

An example of a character that is sexualized that Anita Sarkessian brings up is Quiet. I see her as being sexualized because she isn’t dressing sexy because she wants to. She does it because she breathes through her skin. This allows the developer to sexualize her character and pass it off through this odd logic. I also noticed in this scene that the player is free to use the camera to stare at her body because Quiet is locked in a cage.   Bayonetta’s character is sexy and confident, Quiet has been forced to dress a certain way due to story elements and she is being sexualized by the player.

My Journey with Femininity

I always liked dressing in feminine clothes, but there were some things I did not want to do at first. When I was younger, I did not like wearing makeup or wearing revealing clothes. I felt that those were aspects of femininity that girls were being forced to do. So, I decided to not do it.

But, as I have gotten older, I have grown to love more feminine things. Makeup is super fun to play with! I just love taking the time to match my eyeshadow with my outfit. Or maybe add a nice red lipstick to make me feel bold and confident! Makeup has become like art to me. I am wearing it for myself and to make myself feel great, not for anyone else. If I want to have orange and red eyes so I look like a Pheonix, then I will do so.

I also do not mind wearing more revealing clothes. It feels better when I am wearing it to make myself feel good and I feel comfortable. So what if the top is backless? It provides me comfort when it’s cold out, but I do not want to overheat with a full sweater.

So that’s what I have found when it comes to my femininity or femininity in general. It’s all about you! Whatever makes you happy and comfortable, do it! If you want to wear makeup one day and not the next, do it! It’s your body so wear whatever makes you happy and don’t take pressure from others on what you should or should not be doing!

What Bayonetta Can Teach Us About Femininity

She teaches us that it’s not a bad thing at all to be super feminine if you want to be. She also teaches us that femininity can be a strength since she can still kick ass in heels! There’s nothing wrong with being too little or super feminine. What matters is that you’re happy and you’re dressing and acting in ways that make you happy! I do not mind that Bayonetta is portrayed as sexy because that’s how she shows her confidence. I like that she knows who she is and she is confident in her abilities!

What do you think of Bayonetta as a character?

18 thoughts on “Bayonetta and Embracing Femininity

  1. I think you draw a good line here between a character being “sexy” vs. “sexualized.” There is a huge difference between character design and capitalizing on sexuality for monetary gain.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you! I have no problem with a “sexy” character, but I do mind when I think a character is being sexualized like with Quiet or Lollipop Chainsaw which has an achievement for looking up Juliet’s skirt.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. I agree. “Sexy” is not the same as “sexualized.” One, in the case of Bayonetta, is something she applies to herself to augment who she is, and the other is imposed by another and serves to reduce a person (of any sex) to nothing more than their physical attributes.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Exactly! I don’t mind Bayonetta being “sexy” since it’s part of her character. But, I do mind that scene where Quiet is being put in a cage so the player can stare at her body.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Exactly! Sexy characters make perfect sense…so long as it’s genuinely a part of the character and not some attempt to entice a particular crowd for money (Dead or Alive Xtreme, anyone? lol).

        Liked by 2 people

  2. I completely agree with you on all aspects of this!
    Even if the whole ‘the audience is straight men’ thing is true, if female characters are never allowed to be strong and feminine then it would suggest that women shouldn’t be like that, and as you say, as long as it is our own choice we can dress and present ourselves however we like!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That’s also what I think! Even if Bayonetta’s target audience might be for a straight white Male, she is still a strong character. Her character has a set personality where she is confident in her powers and enjoys being sexy. It’s her character’s choice to act and dress the way she wants to, similar to how it’s our choice to act and dress they way we want to!

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Applause! I couldnt have said it better. If women cant feel comfortable in that light/skin then we wont be treated in that light/skin. Im an advocate for being/dressing how you want. If you feel great and strong and not forced it’s no one elses business.

      Liked by 3 people

  3. I saw Bayonetta and had to read. I LOVE this character and always had. To me it showed a female, a woman I could be in the lead role being a BA and that’s why I connected to Tomb Raider as well. Bay.. as i call her lol doesnt let men walk over her if they are sexualizing her and that’s why she is so strong. Great read.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad you enjoyed it and I also love Bayonetta! The first female character I connected to was Nancy Drew from the mystery video games. I played several of the games as a kid and I loved that she was also strong and sassy. She was her own person and she was determined to solve any case!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I feel like the right relationship won’t make you feel like you’re “locked in a cage”. While Quiet’s depiction of women isn’t great, I would say a possibly good example of both a strong woman and a good relationship is Yenn from the Witcher 3. Yenn is a strong woman and Geralt, the Witcher, loves her for who she is. She is one of two major relationships you can pick in this game. They have a long history together that I am now reading more about in the novels. Yenn is a powerful sorceress who helps Geralt train his adopted daughter, Ciri. Yenn has her independence while still having a strong relationship with Geralt so she doesn’t feel “locked in” with him. She has her own path in the game and your paths intersect because she also wants to find Ciri.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I heard some good things about Witcher 3. Should give this game a shot one of these days. It would be nice to find a partner who don’t slut shame a woman for wanting to dress sexy. Overall, I agree with your argument in this post.

        Liked by 1 person

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