As a space adventurer, and saviour of the galaxy with a new game spinning in the drive, I was happy. More Mass Effect! Getting back to being Ophelia Shepard! I HAVE WAITED SO LONG!!
A few hours into the game, I had familiarized myself with my new companions. Although I didn’t really dig them right off the bat, the joy of returning to this world had me riding high.
Then something happened. Like a solar eclipse, the camera pointed right at it, and I couldn’t look away.
This was the first moment in the game, where I sat back, realized I was playing a game that wasn’t really meant for me and said “wtf?”
Of course, I still love the game, but that moment stuck with me.
And FINALLY, someone asked the question that I had wondered since that incident. WHY?
That someone, is the always awesome Tracey John. In an interview with Casey Hudson, ME2 project lead:
Me: Maybe it’s because I’m a woman, or I’m a female Shepard, but my other friends — both male and female — also noticed that shot and found it be to be gratuitous. I did notice that Jacob’s uniform is pretty tight too, but you can only tell when you stand behind him, and these shots of Miranda just could not be missed. So why…
Hudson: That’s part of her character design, she’s the femme fatale. It’s part of her character and the fact that she’s beautiful and this beauty is part of what helps her. As you get to know her, you realize there’s more to her.
First of all, the idea that she is a femme fatale. Let’s look at what a femme fatale is, to wikipedia! (Batman theme music plays) (brackets are comments by me):
A femme fatale is an alluring and seductive woman whose (check) charms ensnare her lovers in bonds of irresistible desire (hmm…), often leading them into compromising, dangerous, and deadly situations (no….).
The phrase is French for “deadly woman”. A femme fatale tries to achieve her hidden purpose (no?) by using feminine wiles such as beauty, charm, and sexual allure (huh…). Typically, she is exceptionally well-endowed with these qualities. In some situations, she uses lying or coercion rather than charm (um…) . She may also be (or imply to be) a victim, caught in a situation from which she cannot escape; … (sort of).
Really, none of this is true of Miranda. She doesn’t ensnare any lovers, or manipulate male Shepard. From what we know, she doesn’t have a hidden purpose. Seems like a weak response. I get that she is supposed to be “the (traditionally) hot one” on the crew, but really? I would almost prefer the admission that yes, this is eye candy, rather than the implication that this is part of her character. In the game she laments her modifications, and from what I remember, never uses her beauty as an angle. The camera shot always seemed odd to me, especially when playing female Shepard—who can’t get with Miranda anyway.
Go read Tracey’s article!