I hear that you like the bad girls, honey – is that true?
In a song called Video Games. What do I see?
Now I don’t give a toss whether Bayonetta is “really” a “bad girl” or not, in-story, so shut up; she’s clearly two things. One is a Bad Girl (she had guns and a catsuit), the other is an idealised capital-F Female. She is everything that has ever hurt my heart about video games; everything that made me, as a conventionally facially attractive thin flat chested angsty white teenaged girl, feel like I wasn’t good enough to be a real contender for a (any of the type/s that I wanted) boy’s heart – or anything that a boy’s heart symbolised – that is, like I wasn’t good enough for anything fulfilling full stop.
Now I don’t mean to say that my entire teenagerhood was dominated by these feelings, that it was my only problem, that it is the biggest problem someone could have, that I had the worst of it or that I could never see out from under my worries and insecurities. I am saying that I remember how it felt to feel hurt and in pain directly because of the idealised sexual objectification that I saw in video games and other media. When I think about the design on Soul Calibur or Dead or Alive or whatever nowadays I do it with a curled lip and an analytical brain; I find it wanting, in the extreme, and I feel that it is a part of the visual sexism that regularly invades my life but I don’t want to CRY ABOUT IT any more, or at least I very nearly never do.
But I remember when I did, and Lana Del Rey sings it for me. She sings it for other people, too. Sometimes I think the whole song is turgid with that “I just stopped crying and I guess I should get something to eat, because what else is there in all the world” atmosphere and sometimes it just tastes like doing your best. That line (the one about bad girls) isn’t sung in a way that makes me think that she’s feeling it right then like I felt it in my further youth, but it is like the grown-up development. When you feel like you’re not quite good enough to be what you want to be to someone, but you know you’ll ever be more than you are and being what you are to them then feels like much better than nothing.
Why on earth should I care if she is “fake”?
When Sherin asked for people’s opinions on LDR I said “Video Games” sounds like memories. This is true. Some of them are the ones I say above, and some (for the rest of the song) are from later. The ones from later are not so unhappy, don’t worry. They’re just transitional and precious and a little afraid.
But those ones are private.
By the way, I also think that Bayonetta’s design is bad.