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Is Abby from The Last of Us 2 oppressing women with her muscular arms and small tits? One Reddit gamer says yes

By David Futrelle

Last week I wrote about the wave of transphobia that followed the leaks that revealed one of the new characters in the upcoming postapocalyptic survival game The Last of Us 2 would be the woman above, a buff, butch badass named Abby who is apparently very effective at beating other characters up.

With her small breasts and muscular arms, some gamers have decided that she couldn’t possibly be a cis woman; she has to be trans. Cue a million “that’s a man, baby” jokes and, the internet being the internet, much worse. Meanwhile, more “serious” critics accused the game developer, Naughty Dog, of kowtowing to evil SJWs and trans activists pushing a cis-hating agenda.

I took a look at the Last of Us 2 subreddit today to see if the angry gamers were still at it. They were, posting bad transphobic jokes, ineptly-drawn cartoons and a photoshopped picture of Abby sporting a beard.

But I also ran across an argument I hadn’t seen before, accusing the game developers of “erasing women’s bodies” by featuring a butch woman in their game. This “misogyny” would not stand, a Redditor called Ralmoren declared.

“Funny,” she wrote, doing her best to sound like a feminist,

I bet SJWs like Neil [Druckmann, the director of the game] and Anita [Sarkeesian] think that making women ugly is only punishing male gamers. By doing this they openly admit their bigotry: that they think the female body only exist through the male gaze.

Abby isn’t ugly; she’s butch. And making a character butch is hardly a proclamation that one believes “the female body only exist[s] through the male gaze.” I mean, what? This is cargo cult feminism, adopting the language of feminism without understanding the theory behind it.

“No female gamer would feel empowered by playing with a pretty female avatar, right ? Female gamers need to identify with our characters, so let’s make them ugly (gee, thanks)! Women are only pretty for men, if it weren’t for men they would certainly look like baboons !”

Spoken like a true straw SJW.

I’m a woman, I play videogames and when the game gives me the opportunity I like to play with a female avatar. So now I should be penalised with an ugly avatar because some male gamers are attracted to overtly sexualised female characters (like it’s a bad thing? )? I mean, translate that to the real world, it’s like telling me “When you get out of your house you should keep your hair covered because some men may look at you a certain way.”

It’s really not like that at all.

F*ck this misogynistic bigotry.

Can we get creative game developers who have sane relashionships and views of women or is that to much to ask for ? Like not I-do-stealth-missions-in-panties-because-I-breathe-through-my-skin sexy, nor Mass Effect Andromeda ugly, but something in the middle ? Please ?

Here’s an idea: how about a range of female characters that in some small way reflect the diversity of women in the real world?

In a later comment, Ralmoren cites Bayonetta as an example of the sort of woman she’d like to see more of in video games. Here’s the totally-not-sexualized Bayonetta, who I’m sure would have fit in perfectly in the gritty postapocalyptic world of The Last of Us.

As Ralmoren explained,

Feminine, elegant, and kicks ass. Bayonetta is a much happier and empowering female representation than the austere, masculine woman trope we’re getting recently.

Ralmoren insists that, as far as she’s concerned, “there’s nothing wrong with being a masculine woman (I’m not especially feminine myself).” Never mind that she spent much of her previous comment attacking Abby as “ugly”

She continues:

but I dislike that this trope shows that female characters can only be strong if they emulate men, meaning that by opposition anything feminine is weak and needs to be shunned.

If all female video game characters looked like Abby, this argument might have some merit. But having one butch character in a game is hardly the same as declaring that “female characters can only be strong if they emulate men” (my emphasis). Again, if games actually depicted women more as they are in the real world, with a variety of body shapes and sizes, this wouldn’t even be an issue. In the real world, moreover, there are a lot more women walking around looking like Abby than there are women looking like Bayonetta (except at game conventions).

Elsewhere on the Last of Us 2 subreddit, others offered up even dopier objections to Abby’s looks. Like the dude who insists that she’s simply too buff to live in postapocalyptic times.

Abby is literally the only human, male or female, with that sort of muscle mass. In a post-apocalyptic dystopia. With no commercial protein supplies. Or working steroid/supplement factories.

The calorie and protein requirements alone are prohibitive in a context within which there is food and resource scarcity. But even granting that they gather enough food through hunting and they have this amazing gym that auto-produces steroids, why is she the only person in her group with that sort of build?

She’s either taking a disproportionate share of the group’s food, or she eats any members of the group that exceed her in size to both maintain her gains and insure that she is the only person with that degree of musculature.

So Abby’s not just trans, she’s an actual cannibal?

This game sounds better and better all the time.

Send tips to dfutrelle at gmail dot com.

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Masse_Mysteria
Masse_Mysteria
2 years ago

@LuckyStampede
Thank you for the clarification, and sorry if I came off as too snarky or something. I know next to nothing about Bayonetta and have no opinions on the matter, I was just reacting to the “feminists missing a memo” thing.

I’ve mostly seen people say that as a put-down, like feminists are so irrational and fickle that even they can’t remember what the correct opinions are anymore, even though opinions don’t really work like that.

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