The Gamer has claimed that censoring Ashley’s outfit in Resident Evil 4 remake is a good thing, as it could potentially prevent real-life misogyny.
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The video game outlet has already produced four different articles praising that gamers could no longer “up-skirt” Ashley. In the original Resident Evil 4, Ashley would berate Leon for it, including if it was only from Leon’s perspective and not the game’s camera.
The Gamer’s James Troughton called those who got mad over the change “idiots” when reporting on the censorship. Author Stacey Henley defied “Ashley’s Underwear In Resident Evil Is Not Censorship,” and that “angry gamers” had “bastardized” the term censorship.
Similarly, writer Jade King wrote how “Resident Evil 4 No Longer Sexualising Its Women Is A Good Thing,” insisting Ashley “dotes on Leon like a wide-eyed, weirdly horny puppy” in the original game. Comparatively, Ada Wong’s form-fitting jumper and arguably chest-emphasizing harness is championed as “incredible and practicable.”
This is followed by how female characters can look “sexy, dominant, and powerful without falling victim to the male gaze or giving away her confidence in service of sexualisation.”
Tessa Kaur also attempted to convince readers that “Not Being Able To Look Up Characters’ Skirts Is A Win,” on the same day King’s editorial was published. Kaur asks, “When will gamers stop feeling entitled to creepshot female characters?”
“I’m not sure why gamers feel the need to look up the skirts of animated female characters, just to get their rocks off,” Kaur mocks. “The reaction to remasters or remakes covering up characters’ panties is usually that this is ‘woke PC bullshit’ or ‘censorship’, and that they’re taking a crucial part of the game’s appeal away.”
“It’s incredibly weird that people feel entitled to creepshot women and young girls in video games, just because ‘nobody real is getting hurt,'” she added.
“I generally believe that it’s bad to look up skirts, both in games and in real life,” she declared, arguing that it is bad for game developers to include such mechanics. She also objected it being rewarded via achievements, as in Lollipop Chainsaw, Nier: Automata, and Nier Replicant (the latter also undermining Kainé’s story and character arc).
Along with rejecting players needing to get an up-skirt to get all a game’s achievements, Kaur claims it’s “an indicator of a larger pattern of misogyny in gaming, in that even when women are written well, they’re sexualised and dehumanised – you, as a player, are rewarded for making a woman uncomfortable over and over again.”
“This is behaviour that, I’m sure we all agree, should be discouraged, and not incentivised.”
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“What is added by giving players the ability to do this, especially while adding in the expressed discomfort of the characters? Why do players want to do this at all?” Kaur implores. “Yes, they’re just characters, but it adds nothing to the games, and instead reflects and potentially encourages misogynistic behaviour in real life.”
Despite wildly claiming sexual content in video games can cause misogyny, this was disproven in a 2022 study from the journal Computers in Human Behavior. Specifically, the study found that “sexualization in games was neither related to well-being/body dissatisfaction nor sexism/misogyny.”
“These games are created by men, the female characters are heavily sexualised for men, and their discomfort is a gag, for men,” Kaur asserts. “I’m glad that developers are starting to remove this from remasters of old games, but Nier: Automata and the Nier Replicant remaster came out relatively recently.”
“Perhaps it’s time for us all to stop being weird when developers choose to stop unnecessarily sexualising their female characters, and be grateful that this is a pattern that’s being stopped,” Kaur concludes.
Vara Dark denounced The Gamer’s editorials in her YouTube video, opening with how “Game journalists love to support things that hurt the industry, like censorship.” Along with advocating for creative freedom, Vara argues a remake, like Resident Evil 4, should be as close to the original as possible while being remade, and that any removal is going to upset people.
She also disagrees that keeping the up-skirt was purely so gamers could “get their rocks off,” as it is, instead, a form of appreciation and respect for the content the developers put in the original game. She further claimed Kaur didn’t care, as she was was willing to “play a part in the destruction of this industry.”
Vara also defies Kaur’s attempt to deceive readers by using the term “young girls”— almost implying they are underage, when Ashley is 20. This is despite King, Henley, and Troughton mentioning so in their articles.
King claims “the most dominant fan conversation surrounding her personality concerns her being a teenager in over her head,” while Troughton declares she is “teenage-coded.” Juliet from Lollipop Chainsaw is 18, while 2B from Nier: Automata has the appearance of a young woman, but being an android is technically only a few years old.
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Vara challenges Kaur’s lack of scientific citation on the claim that up-skirts in video games will result in real-life misogyny, deeming it just as flawed as journalist’s past attempts to push the claim video game violence caused real-life violence.
“Sexual [content], in fictional games, with fictional characters, does not cause misogyny,” Vara proclaims. “Looking up skirts is a comedic trope that’s been in anime and Japanese video games for a long time, and they even admit that at the beginning of the article! No matter how hard these people try and pretend and convince you it’s harmful, this isn’t real life, and it isn’t harmful to any real person.”
Along with doubting its erasure would prevent such incidents occurring in real life, Vara believes “it’s part of this larger plan to desexualize characters, which is part of the grand ‘modern-day’ message.” She notes a trend where remakes being censored are backed by publishers or developers citing a need to update the game for “modern audiences”— as Resident Evil 4 VR did.
Vara also took a similar swipe at Henley’s article, brushing aside King’s as merely reiterating Kaur’s work. She opposes Henley’s editorial, avowing once again than the change is censorship, and noting that the game being a remake doesn’t justify it. She also mocks The Gamer finding objecting to fan-service over gore and violence, and their demands for female empowerment contradicted by puritan desires to “cover” women.
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