Of Castration Anxiety and Hypersexualized Female Bodies: A Critical Assessment of the Objectifying Gaze in Batman: Arkham Video Game Series
Keywords:transmedia storytelling, gender inequality, critical game studies, Batman franchise, castration anxiety, Gaze Theory
This article builds upon Laura Mulvey’s idea of the Male Gaze to conduct a feminist reading of the video game series Batman: Arkham (2009-2015). It does so by using Bechdel Test to analyze the depiction of the major female characters appearing in the series. The article investigates why portrayal of the women characters in video games is always problematic and how Batman: Arkham franchise becomes yet another transmedia text that fails in showing its female characters accurately. The textual analysis of the games confirms that the video game industry protects and perpetuates male privilege through the hypersexualization and objectification of female characters. As a result, the study further identifies a noticeable lack of compelling female characters in the video game series. Thus, the investigation calls for the necessity of a neutral and unbiased counter gaze for the legitimate portrayal of the women characters in the video game narratives as well as proper gender representation in the fast-growing game industry.
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