We first got to know Bayonetta through her vagina.
“You want to touch me?” was the key question asked during the 2008 TGS trailer for Platinum Games and Hideki Kamiya’s rapid-fire action game. We had only seen glimpses of this tall, lithe, tight black suit-wearing amazon in the debut teaser for her self-titled adventure before then. She had only a few seconds of feline-esque combat acrobatics before bending backward and allowing the camera to sweep luxuriously through her legs for an extreme crotch close up.
The perpetually offended reactionary element of the game community launched into a predictable campaign of outrage that lasted about as long as the game’s media campaign. The game, its developers, and the character were decried as the latest example of a sexist caricature created to pander the juvenile fantasies of the lowest common denominator. When the game launched, however, and people got their hands on it, many of the voices quieted. There was something about this ass-kicking goddess with the librarian glasses that made her somehow immune to the same criticisms of your Mai Shiranuis and your Ivy Valentines.
The years since have only been kinder to Bayonetta’s special status among salacious video game heroines. The gay community in particular has adopted the character as a sort of icon. So what is it about this near hedonistic woman in gunboots that has made her largely exempt from vocal sexist critique, in spite of her exhibitionist love affair with any nearby cameras?