The following is an opinion post, the views and opinions expressed here do not represent those of Gamer Indepth, its staff, or its affiliates, your cat, or our advertisers. They are solely those of the author.
If you keep up with all things games then you may have noticed a new game hit store shelves recently, the game is a zombie hack & slash spectacle fighter and goes by the name of Lollipop Chainsaw. Ever since this game was announced I have felt uneasy about it, and now that I have seen it in action i am flat out offended by it. Now I am not easily offended, hell i played Saints Row The Third in which i was able to be completely nude and beat people to death with a huge purple dildo, and that was fine with me. But Lollipop Chainsaw sits weirdly with me, despite being wacky like Saints Row, despite having a super cool artistic style (mixing high school cheerleedy pop style with zombie fighting) I cant move past how sexualized the games main character is.
So who is this cheerleader / zombie hunting machine? Her name is Juliet Starling and she is an 18 year old senior who fights zombies on the side. She does so in a super revealing cheerleader outfit, if you watch the game in motion you will notice that there is not a moment when she is in motion that her underwear is not clearly visible. If that still doesn’t convince you, the actress who dressed as Juliet at conventions to hype the game up was kicked out of PAX East 2012 because her outfit did not fall into their cosplay rules, namely she was just to exposed. This character is also subjected to abuse in the game, zombies and others constantly berate her calling her a whore and far worse.
Lollipop Chainsaw and its sexualization reminds me of another game of a spectacle fighter with a near naked main character, Bayonetta. If Lollipop offends me why doesn’t Bayonetta? I cant quite place my finger on why. Maybe it is because Bayonetta is more fantastic, not remotely realistic or grounded where Lollipop is in a more “normal” high school setting. Maybe it is because Bayonetta is near naked only during special attacks where Juliet is constantly. Maybe its because i never payed much attention to Bayonetta but have followed this game since its announcement, like i said i just dont know why one pisses me off while the other doesn’t.
So what exactly am I offended about? Simply the super sexualization. The game does not seem to benefit from it, it could have had a normal high school girl and not sacrificed any style or substance. The sexuality does not seem to add to the game in any meaningful way, it is just there to excite men. Looking again at Saints Row that game featured hyper sexualization but only if you chose to do so, you could make an ugly character or a super naked sexy one, but the game did not lean on the presence of its sexual content where Lollipop uses it as the main selling point.
In a year where we see the very mature (overly violent but that is rant for another day) Tomb Raider trying to make up for years of sexualization it just amazes me that something like this can come out. Games like this paint us as horny teenagers with violence fetishes, not the mature industry we are. Games like this don’t help anyone and just seem to undo progress we fight so hard to make for our female characters in games. That is why Lollipop Chainsaw offends me, and its one of very few games to ever do so.