I Am Bayonetta (Well, Maybe)

She is the woman all women would love to be and no woman is. Formidable enemy, great and loyal friend. Relaxed witty, admired, sexy, she outwits everyone, except Jeanne and Cereza, who she loves.

Hellena Taylor, Bayonetta’s voice actor, on the essential traits of the character

You got to love the the lipstick, stilettos and hair. What about the high tech glasses the fingernails the outfit? She is put together more perfectly than any Barbie doll! Moving with grace and elegance at lightening speeds, she multitasks all over the screen, fighting monsters a thousand times her size and wins! She’s wonderfully sexy, poured into her black leather skin, which then slices open as it travels down her back in decorative detail.  She is fit beyond fitness level with curves to die for. In fact, she reveals skin in the most unexpected places, daring one to watch her. She is the director and the producer, controlling all the aspects of the audio visual experience that is Bayonetta. You see what she wants you to see.

She’s not victimized  by her femininity, but embraces every ounce of it! She surprises and flirts with us us every moment , dancing joyfully in celebration of her female gender. By the songs “Fly Me to The Moon” and” Moon River”, we can surely declare her a hopeless romantic (My Dad, being  a singer and had his own band and sang,” Fly Me to The Moon to my Mom all the time around the house growing up.”Moon River” was my solo recital ballet routine.) Yet she revels in her independence. At the same time, Bayonetta can kill anyone and anything. Dangerously wielding a multitude of weapons made especially for her combat abilities and sense of fashion, you can count on every weapon coordinating with every outfit in sophisticated style. (heck, she even can change her hair-based outfit to match!). Men just don’t do stilettos! No guns shoot out of their shoes like this girl!  I personally love her. Better, I love the people that made her. They do so have a handle on what women can do while still looking like a women. No gender neutrality here! Of course, they go over the top, but what’s wrong with a little camp?

Bayonetta embodies women (excepting the exhibitionism) as they should be: embracing their unique femininity. We can be all warrior, kick-butt fighting machines of sexy justice too! Who says a woman can’t look her best while fighting evil monsters? Who says she can’t be free to just be as she was made? She just is and  she just does. She doesn’t want us to judge her, rather she compels us to grab that controller and enjoy the ride! Our Creator calls for His children also to grab onto Him and enjoy the ride! We  are all created  unique with special talents and gifts too for God’s desired purposes, just like Bayonetta.  It is our duty to joyfully  delight in our beings and pursue God in the way He created us. Her creator made her a great warrior that loves style, fashion and femininity! She devotes herself to that call, and remains true to herself in every encounter until the end of the game; it helps that she cares for her friends and is a pretty well-rounded protagonist to boot. Look beyond the camp and there’s a hyper-exaggerated woman standing there!

Maybe that’s why I like Bayonetta so much (it goes without saying that one of my favorite World of WarCraft characters holds that name). She reminds me of myself. Not that I think I’m something else! No, more like I also did odd things in my life that most people  might not appreciate! Now in my fifties, I’m  looking back . “Why did I do this?”, I think, and I see how it all beautifully and perfectly worked out. You see, I embarked on the long, arduous journey to achieve my black belt, and I actually hold three in three different martial arts. All are certified by the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology. I competed in many competitions, and have a box full of medals (mostly gold, of course). I also am a national champion in karate, achieving two gold medals, one silver and one bronze. I attained them at the grand old age of 41! Know anyone like me? It was hard work , determination, and many prayers to get there. I suffered a broken arm, broken and bruised ribs, and aching wrists and knees for years . The warrior is a child though, and every step of the way God was cheering me on. I read Success God’s Way by Pastor Charles F. Stanley, and I applied God’s principles of success and believed His promises. I’m here to tell you they really work!

Karate Medals

They call this “proof”.

Of course, there exists another reason why I ended up with karate gold medals and black belts. You see, my dream when I was young was to compete in the Olympics. I ate, slept, and drank gymnastics for years. I  was a high school champion too. Taking dance and ballet for fifteen years, I had the gift of being extraordinary at most physical activities. I did not realize it then though. That is because my parents wanted me to be a “career woman”. I also hold an Associate’s Degree in Fashion and worked seven years in the fashion world. Funny, I remember around age sixteen, my Dad told me that it was time to look like a lady.  He sent me to modeling school in the city. Well, I fell in love with lipstick (red to be exact). I always looked my ultimate womanly best while attaining all my martial arts goals! Thankfully  God allowed me to achieve my life long goal of  being the best at a sport  that I loved! Now it was even more special. I did all the competitions with my kids (Editor’s Note: I was not very good at them, haha)  and we attained our black belts together which made it even more incredibly wonderful. I couldn’t have dreamed of the joy in a million years.

It’s crazy, but in the end, Bayonetta is just a toon on a screen. I appreciate her creators because they portray a women being a woman in an intense fighting game! And she ought to be sexy . Women just are. And she ought to go fast, because it is always our advantage to use speed instead of strength. All of this fits perfectly into her character. Most people who criticize her haven’t really played the game itself. They refuse to enjoy it for how over-the-top it is, or seemingly ignore any and all context. I am here to tell you, having seen my son play the game many times, that they know little about the Bayonetta I know.

You know, l think women who criticize secretly want to be like Bayonetta! Who doesn’t want to enchant everyone upon entering a room like the femme fatale on the movie screen? And sadly if we find that we are not that women, we throw daggers at her back and attempt to destroy her. Trust me, women use every weapon available to do it.  None of this helps women be themselves or develop the self-esteem to transform into a confident women; instead, they  cut down rather than build up. I find it completely counterintiitive. Unfortunately, this turned into the chant of our culture, and everyone mistakenly  believes it as truth. Please let Bayonetta be Bayonetta, let me be me, and be yourself. When we aim to judge and compare ourselves  to others it never helps anyone, especially women: it only hinders them.

About Penny Oliver

Zachery Oliver's mother knows way more about video games than she should, probably as a result of watching or playing them since she had kids. Penny is an avid World of WarCraft player who has been playing for six years straight (given a break or two), and her favorite series is Final Fantasy - mostly for the music!