Monday, June 18, 2012

In slight defence of Hitman: Absolution

I wanted to reiterate, for those who don't know me, that I have no problem with the Hitman team, or even the cinematic team that created the videos that have caused so much discussion. To that end, I would like you to consider the following:

Here is a still from the much-beleaguered S&M nuns trailer:
Yeah, that's not cool.

Here, however, is a still from the less-beleaguered (though more disturbing in its own way) Diana-in-the-shower trailer:
Shot and garotted? Overkill much?

However, if you take out the BEWBS and compare only the faces, you'll see something that I was quite surprised to notice:

They have the same facial expression.

For those of you who missed the comments on the S&M nuns video saying 'lol you wanted equality you got it, women', I'm actually looking at the man in the above picture. This is the first time I've seen a male character with such a vulnerable, sad look on his face. For a game that's about killing people, it seems like an odd choice. But the animators have decided, quite consciously I would say, to show that, in death, we are no different. Each experience of that final breath is the same - slightly baffling, ridiculously upsetting and unfathomably sad. I applaud them for viewing the death of a person, rather than the death of a gendered person. In this, they have done exceptionally.

So my issue is not with the Hitman team - and I hope you will agree with me after the following - it is with society. And society prefers that this:
This is a woman who is designed to SLAY DRAGONS.

Should be re-rendered as this: 
She's not slaying anything except her own reproductive capabilities.

Or even this:
What's she meant to do? Boob them to death?

So, Hitman, we don't blame you. You exist in a culture where sexism is the norm. We just wish you'd been a little more discreet. Maybe next time you can champion women with realistic body types who wear normal clothes, like Uncharted tends to. Then we won't have to feel as though we ought to hide your game box at the back of the cupboard.

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