Feminism and Choice

How does Bayonetta as a character compare to the ideals/characteristics of the second and third wave of feminism?

For this week’s blog post I wanted to read more into Feminist Theory in order to learn about the history of feminism, the differences in the waves, and just how sexuality and has been talked about through out it all. I read a lot of essays but will be talking about “Third-Wave Feminism and the Defense of “Choice”” by R. Clair Snyder-Hall. In this piece she discusses the question “How should feminist theorists respond when women who claim to be feminist make “choices” that seemingly prop up patriarchy?” I think this is relevant to a lot of forms of art and media because when a female is seen expressing her sexuality, many people do not bother to discuss the character any further and immediately deem her as a victim to or exploiting herself to the patriarchy. Anything a women does is always talked about in the context of men. Second-wave radical feminists believed that heterosexual desire was the “force that keeps women tied to men” and to be truly equal, heterosexuality had to be completely renounced and when it came to topics as sex work and pornographer, the split was even greater (257). The third-wave of feminism took the path and stance of those who were in favor of female sexuality or at least in power of choosing.  As long as there is “knowledge of what one is doing and why one is doing it” then there should be respect for the self-determination and no judgement in a female’s choice of what she does and what she likes. The topic of female sexuality and liberation today still struggles but not nearly as much as before. Therefore I think the portrayal of sex and sexuality for females in media and art forms such as video games needs to be discussed more and be able to exist without immediately receiving backlash as if it cannot ever be an accurate female representation. Feminism has come to the point where we can say yes, a female can be sexual. But how does one get across that someone indeed have choice and agency especially when it comes to fictional characters that need to be designed and created?

Second-Wave Feminism:

  • Fuck the patriarchy
  • Questioned how society viewed women and their roles (e.g. housewife)
  • Delved into the idea of women being secondary
  • Introduction to the contraceptive pill allowing women to delay childbirth
  • “Person is political”

Third-Wave Feminism:

  • Intersectionality
  • Self-determination
  • Choice
  • Tolerance
  • Readoption of “femininity” (lip-stick, high-heels, and clean
  • “Rhetoric of mimicry” – taken back words

Bayonetta:

  • Confident
  • Unapologetic
  • Badass/powerful
  • Does not work alongside man
  • Does not think of herself as a mother figure
  • Sexual

In terms of feminism, if Bayonetta were a real life character, it seems that living during the second wave of feminism would have sparked the debates and conversations that surround her today. She may be independent but her sexuality is still strictly for the patriarchy. Through the lens of the third-wave and current feminism, she would be more acceptable but the fact that she is a fictional character stops people from discussing her in these ways or really analyzing and looking deeper in to the conversation.

What’s  Next:

For next week, I want to research agency  and choice especially in fictional universes. What does it mean, if even possible, for a fictional character to have agency  or the power to choose?

 

 

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