Whew, lad. We’ve entered into strange times where women are coming to the defense of scantily clad ladies while men are telling them that they’re wrong for wanting to play as sexy women in a video game. Did we hop back to the 1920s by any chance?
Anyway, after it was confirmed by NetherRealm Studios that they did, in fact, purposefully de-sexualize the female characters in Mortal Kombat 11 to make them more “respectful” and “mature” (but it only applied for the females and not the males), there was some definitive push back from certain members of the gaming community. While the Steam forums were censored from discussing the issue, one of the most prominent voices in gaming did speak out against the double-standards: TheQuartering.
There have been a string of other videos from other YouTubers as well. Many of the anti-SJW channels came out firing on all cylinders early, well before NetherRealm confirmed their sexist agenda to dress down the men in sexy outfits but dress up the women in combat armor to hide their skin practically from head to toe. This included replacing their iconic classic outfits with more covered up alternatives while the men have been able to sport their classic gear from the previous Mortal Kombat games.
Following NetherRealm’s confirmation of bias against women dressing sexy, there have been a string of female YouTubers making videos defending the right to play as sexy women.
MechaRandom42 recently did a video titled “MK11 Needs Hot Hot Chicks!” that was published on April 9th, 2019. She argues in favor of having sexy female alternative attire in Mortal Kombat 11.
Females Fight Back
The video was well received by her audience, and many of them agreed with her points that if the men can look sexy, so can the women. She also plugged the recent petition over on Change.org begging NetherRealm Studios to re-include the classic female costumes from previous Mortal Kombat games in Mortal Kombat 11.
The petition is chugging along at little over 578 signatures, as of the writing of this article.
It’s been difficult getting the word out about the issue considering that there’s been equal amounts of push back from certain members of the gaming content creation community and the FGC.
For instance, on March 29th, 2019, after NetherRealm confirmed that the women were purposefully de-sexualized and toned down for Mortal Kombat 11, YouTuber Nerdette’s Newstand published a video about the topic, disagreeing with NetherRealm’s choice to remove the sexy female outfits from the game.
The general gist of her argument comes at the two minute mark, where she says…
“What are you doing? You are pandering at this point to an audience that’s not even going to buy your video games!”
Nerdette expresses her disappointment with how covered up the women are, and how much smaller they made their chests, and how much of the sex appeal they removed from their designs. And not just that, it’s the fact that there isn’t even an option to play as the sexy versions of the classic female characters.
Nerdette has been criticizing the female designs since around February, 2019, which led to YouTuber Lethal Lightning doing a rebuttal piece against her video, claiming that the female designs are fine and that it makes “sense” that the women would be more clothed.
Males Explain Why Females Can’t Choose To Dress Sexy
Lethal Lightning explained at around the six minute mark that the practicality of the armor justifies why the women needed to be more covered up in Mortal Kombat 11, saying…
“It makes sense that these girls would be a bit more armored up considering that they would have their face punched in by my man Scorpion. It just works.”
Of course, this completely ignores the fact that all of the men have shirtless or pantsless options where they run around without masks or armor on. For instance, Baraka, Kotal Kahn, Kollector, and Shao Kahn all have loincloth options for their alternative outfits. None of the women have a bra and loincloth option in the game.
[Update 4/13/2019:] Lethal Lightning made a follow-up video explain that he’s not an SJW and that he has no beef with Nerdette or MechaRandom42. He also explained that in a separate video he did discuss the double standards in Mortal Kombat 11. You can view the video below.
On April 6th, 2019 Vara Dark from Dark Titan Enterprises also did a video pointing out some of her issues with Mortal Kombat 11, both in regards to the gameplay and art direction.
Vara expresses her discontent with the new female character designs, saying…
“I think that the female character models look very boxy and the male characters look decent, but I don’t really agree with the standards surrounding the game. As [art director] Steve Beran said, they’ve changed their art direction for a more ‘covered up’ and ‘mature direction’ and that they’ve taken a more ‘measured’ approach when it comes to the design of the characters, since they wanted them more realistically dressed. Yet the male characters are topless wearing loincloths. And with people ripping out each other’s spines in the game, I just think that the word ‘realism’ doesn’t particularly stand for much when it comes to Mortal Kombat.”
Even though majority of her audience agreed with her, YouTuber Lord Nurgle took offense to Vara Dark’s criticisms of the double standards being applied to the character designs in Mortal Kombat 11.
On April 9th, 2019 Lord Nurgle posted up a 26 minute rebuttal, breaking down his disagreements with Vara, and asserting that the female designs in Mortal Kombat 11 are fine.
If SJWs Think It’s Sexy Then It’s Sexy!
Nurgle takes issue with Vara not liking the female character designs, retorting…
“What do you mean the female characters look boxy? That doesn’t make any fucking sense to me whatsoever. They look boxy? Have you looked at the characters in the beta? Have you looked at any of the women in this game? They all have curves. They’re all shaped perfectly. These women look pretty goddamn good. Whew. These [are] some good looking ladies. Definitely gonna make me turn my head walking around seeing them in public.
“So what are you talking about boxy? These ladies don’t look boxy. They have very rounded features and curvy looks to them. And before you go on about how they covered up the women a lot, Jade looks pretty goddamn sexy, and there’s Cetrion here […]”
He also goes on to defend NetherRealm’s excuse of using “realism” to tone down the female sex appeal, stating that it fits in with the tone of the art-style to get away from the uncanny valley. However, he doesn’t address why the men aren’t covered up but the women are.
He also dismisses that anyone has been widely criticizing NetherRealm and that he doesn’t think the fans will abandon NetherRealm as they attempt to appeal more to sex-negative feminists with their female character designs.
[Update 4/16/2019:] Lord Nurgle reached out to request an update to the article, clarifying that he was wrong about some of the criticisms he aimed at Vara Dark. He posted up a video titled “Mistakes Were Made: Toxic Thoughts”.
The Hollowverse also had similar arguments as Lord Nurgle, dismissing Vara’s criticisms of the females being de-sexualized in Mortal Kombat 11. He made a 23 minute video that was published on April 6th, 2019 ripping into Vara for not liking the new art direction for the females in Mortal Kombat 11.
Violence Is Okay… Sexy Is Not
“We’re talking about a fighting game where the objective of the game is to tear your opponent’s heart out, and after everything you saw of Mortal Kombat 11, the only thing you got from it was ‘why are the women not dressed in less?’. Why do you care? Honestly, why do you give a shit? That’s the only thing I can think to ask: why do you give a shit?
“I love breast as much as the next guy. If it was in the game, cool. But it’s not, so who gives a shit? This game is centered around killing your opponents in the most horrific ways possible. But the only thing [Vara] has drawn from the trailers and all the media put out is that the women are not wearing less. You actually can’t please people these days.”
Actually, the issue is that for a quarter of a century the Mortal Kombat franchise has always pushed the over-the-top grindhouse feel within the fighting game genre, which included both gore and sex appeal (for the men and women).
It’s not that you “can’t please people these days”, it’s that there’s censorship moving in one direction, and it’s only against sexy female characters. This includes: smaller breasts, no boob jiggle, no bikini armor, no swimsuits, no “scantily clad items”, and less shapely designs. Yet the men get to wear whatever the creators want them to wear.
Fans who enjoyed the female outfits between Mortal Kombat 2 up through Mortal Kombat X don’t even get to select from those options anymore. They’re just gone.
People should be angry that NetherRealm has removed features from the game, but only for the female fighters.
YouTuber Liana Kerzner also deconstructed the arguments made by men that the female fighter outfits are more “practical” in a 24 minute video.
Deconstructing The Practicality Argument
Liana Spends minutes at a time, breaking down each and every segment of the “practicality” and “realism” argument.
It’s a little too lengthy to quote all parts of it, but at around the 12 minute mark she breaks down why leotards are more practical for fighting than decorative armor; why too many moving parts creates rubbing; why tight leather pants is one of the worst clothing items you could take into a fight (since they split all the time); and how none of it makes sense anyway given that if a shirtless Liu Kang really attempted to engage Sub-Zero, he would end up with frostbite early into the fight.
Kerzner eventually breaks down NetherRealm’s claim of going for “realism”, stating…
“This is what bothers me when game developers go for that realistic argument. It’s usually worse than if you just say ‘look, it’s just fun. It’s fantasy. None of this makes sense. It’s just silly fun.’ Because at least then you can say ‘Okay, at least you’re not insulting my intelligence’. You’re not leather-pantsplaining me. But the minute they go ‘Oh they’re running into battle!’ [using the realism argument] show me one service person, or first responder, MMA fighter, or even wrestler, who fights in tight leather pants! None. None!”
Once you bring gods from an outer realm into a cross-dimensional blood sport to determine the fate of humanity, you may as well leave the “realism” argument at the doorstep, because – as Kerzner points out – it’s just insulting to the intelligence of everyone.
But not all of the male YouTubers are “woke”. Some of them actually understand what gamers want and why there’s an outcry to begin with. YouTuber Suneil Angel actually sums up the argument perfectly within the first 30 seconds of his video.
Get Woke; Go Broke
“I honestly don’t know what game developers are up to these days with all of this woke stuff. I mean, really? You’re developing games for gamers. If it’s a new IP, make it interesting. If it’s an old established IP, stay true to its core and make a game that pleases the fans.
“But more and more we see developers trying to pander to the Social Justice crowd by giving in to their demands. When will developers begin to realize that these woke gamers are not buying your games? And even if they are, they’re not staying for the long run.”
Most people expect that Mortal Kombat 11 will sell well based on name recognition alone, and due to the diehard support from long-time fans. However, if NetherRealm Studios continues down the path of purposefully trying to excommunicate old-school fans who like fan-service and cheesecake for the female fighters, it won’t end well. They will eventually begin to dwindle down their own potential market reach, and sales for subsequent releases of Mortal Kombat would be duly affected.
(Thanks for the news tip Jeek)