I've been seeing people try to excuse the new character's oversexualization by pointing at Midna and saying that she was naked, therefore no one can complain about the new character since she has clothes. Something with that line of reasoning doesn't mesh well with me and I was wondering what you thought about this.
Well, first and foremost I’d point out that that argument basically amounts to “Two Hyper Sexualized Characters cancel each other out.”
Which is, you know, nonsensical?
Also, I don’t think Midna was hyper sexualized. It’s been a long time since I played TP, so I don’t remember the details and I may be wrong. I’m sure Midna was at least a little bit sexualized. But her nakedness wasn’t really at issue there. For a start, she spent the majority of the game as some kind of imp - a very attractive imp, but still outside the normal realm of sexualized body types. Even when she went all tall and leggy she still didn’t strike me as sexualized (at least as I remember it). I’m looking at the official art:
and she’s showing skin, yes, and her hip is highlighted a little bit, yes, but there’s no gratuitous ass there, her cleavage is covered up by her hair, her pose is pretty neutral except for the weird leg thing going on, and other things that somebody who knows more official art words would have to comment on. She’s pretty, she’s scantily clad, there’s an element of sex in there, but she’s not HYPER sexualized (at least by the video game industry’s standards).
And then there’s the new villain.
We’re beyond the question of cleavage at this point, those are really just lovingly rendered breasts with a bit of covering, and they’re basically the focal point of the picture. Her face is entirely covered (and before I get people screaming at me in reblogs, Zant wasn’t dressed in significantly less than a Bikini, okay? And Midna’s mask was only worn in her imp form) because we’re clearly not meant to be looking there, so why risk the distraction? Her spine is arced to make sure her ass juts out from the back, and while Midna’s bare hip/leg are built into the picture in a way that doesn’t immediately draw the focus there, this lady’s leg is is a big part of what we’re supposed to look at (again, not her face or anything, that would be silly).
I’m going to run out of art vocabulary here, but Midna’s image is all blocked colourwise, like it interrupts itself, which at least for me keeps my focus on the whole instead of the parts. This lady as a straight line of colour, front and centre, drawing the eye from her cleavage, down her breasts, over her stomach, and then down her leg. You wind up sort of giving her the up and down when you look at it. The only parts that are highlighted for your attention are those specific body parts.
Her body language is even different. Midna’s got some neutral-to-closed body language going on. This lady is basically giving you the come-hither gesture. There’s nothing wrong with that gesture on its own, but you combine it with the pose, AND the outfit, AND the context, and it just adds to her already impressive Sexualization Score.
I’m not an expert in describing visual sexualization, so I may not be describing this right at all. But there is a big difference between those two designs. One is clearly hyper sexualized, and it ain’t the lady in the cute black cardigan.
And again, to bring this all around to my main concern with this argument, how is Midna being mostly naked somehow an argument that this lady is not? They’re both pretty naked (but it’s a different kind of naked).
So, @imagine-jim-bones-and-spock and I were having a chat about this pic featuring Jaylah and Rihanna (as her sledgehammer alien) looking awesome in wicked dresses and we started chatting about it, so here you are, a mini fic with Galih, the half Orion, half Denobulan tailor:
Jaylah was stressing out. She had to find a dress that was appropriate for a highly formal event with a truly exotic collection of guests. She had met the impressive bunch the day before as part of her sensitivity training How to be dead silent in the presence of superiors, or something. She had expected the event to be as tiresome as every other event she had to dress up for, but then the most enchantingly beautiful woman had walked off the arriving ship and barely glanced at her as she walked away. Jaylah had stood there uselessly as her heart followed.
She had then gone straight back to her quarters and torn into an old radio system before realising she had nothing to wear. And so, she found herself walking into a tailor’s shop and begging the lovely (and hectically busy) woman for a rush job.
Galih had made a habit of following starfleet wherever they went. She found herself, now, in a partially built station, making perhaps seventeen last minute outfits for the fools at the academy (and a few highly important delegates) over night. Luckily, this was what she enjoyed about her job. Galih flourished under pressure.
Seventeen, however, was enough. Then in walked this pissed off, blushing, pale white girl with some of the most stunning facial marks she’d ever seen. As soon as Galih looked at her she saw a dress that would look amazing on her. It took some convincing, some haggling, but Galih had always intended to agree. The girl, Jaylah, was clearly keen to impress someone. The gorgeous creature kept stumbling over her words and flushing when she got close to admitting a crush. Galih was happy to help.
Naeddre was so entirely unprepared for this. She was a nobody on her planet except for her natural rock shifting ability. This, apparently, while normal for her people was not common in the rest of the universe. And starfleet was curious about the ability, and, therefore, about her. So here she was, having had a crash course in diplomatic behaviour and instructions to pick up a dress when she got there, to be sure it would be appropriate for the federation.
Unfortunately for Naeddre, as soon as she stepped off the ship she came face to face with possibly the most stunning girl in history. She quickly looked away, every piece of instruction and advice her mentor had given her, and maintained a professional demeanor and fell into bed the second she had the chance, groaning heavily.
Galih was extremely excited when, two days later, Jaylah swung by her shop and showed her a photo of her and Naeddre getting their romance on at the event. Galih had made Naeddre’s dress too!