"There is difference and there is power. And who holds the power decides the meaning of the difference." --June Jordan

Saturday, April 11, 2009

My Antifeminist Childhood: Streetfighter II Edition

As a young Nintendo freak, I played my fair share of Street Fighter II on SNES, and my favorite character was Chun-Li:

Why write about Chun-Li in a post about antifeminism? Well, aside from being the only female character to choose from in this game (Cammy wasn't introduced until Super Street Fighter, which I never owned), she wore a cute little dress and had little to no upper body strength compared with the other fighters. While her kicking proficiency was unmatched by any other player, the game-creators just had to make her jump up and down and giggle when she won rounds. I always totally hated that. I didn't know the word "infantilizing" as a kid, but I had enough of an awareness of how women aren't taken seriously to be incredibly annoyed every time my favorite character transformed from super bad-ass to giggly schoolgirl at the end of a match. Even more infuriating was how every time I would play against my older brother, one of his friends, or one of my male cousins and totally kick his ass playing as Chun-Li, my win was immediately diminished when they decided to make fun of her "girly" jumping and laughing.


Amanda said...

Agreed. Early Chun-Li annoyed the hell out of me. Especially when she would crumble into a girly, teary mess after a loss. What the hell? There's no crying in Street Fighter!

Thankfully, her character has evolved and improved since its initial conception.

Cammy was always my go-to Street Fighter. She was bad-ass. Her Frankensteiner was so awesome and my bread-and-butter in gameplay. Unfortunately, when ever I won a match against my brother or his friends, I'd have to put up with their prepubescent-perverted remarks about the lower half of her body. I'm just glad we never got to Alpha 3, when her outfit disappeared almost entirely up her butt.

There is no justice for the female Street Fighter.

Tracey said...

It's like the female characters really can't win. On the new Streetfighter IV for X-Box (which I'm sure I could write an additional post about if I had played it more than once), there's a female character who is so incredibly tough and cool -- until she loses and lets out the highest-pitched scream imaginable, opening herself up for every male player to make fun.

I'm glad someone could come and weigh in on Cammy, though, because I never got a chance to play as her, and I don't think I even knew she existed until that movie came out in the nineties, and they mentioned her in the commercial.