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Nadia Oxford at USGamer writes on why Street Fighter 5's R. Mika might be 'a force for women in games'

Posted by Ryan 'Tryken' Tullis • August 29, 2015 at 10:19 a.m. PDT • Comments: 158

After R. Mika's announcement, it wouldn't have come as a shock to see a negative storm from critics marching under the banner of social justice as defined by Western geek culture.

And while there were certainly negative reactions and snarky remarks from certain blogs which will remain unnamed, the reaction from the female gamer I know best–my wife–contained nothing but enthusiasm (though it certainly helped that her love for R. Mika was already topped only by her obsession with Zangief).

Still, it came as a pleasant surprise when she sent me an article from USGamer by Nadia Oxford titled, "Street Fighter V's Rainbow Mika: A Force for Women in Games?"
I should begin by noting that neither Oxford (or myself) are handing out blanket statements of approval for every design in games. She accurately writes, "The manner in which women tend to be represented in games is a complicated, multi-faceted topic that's always guaranteed to bring people's opinions boiling to the surface. As a lifelong game player who happens to be of the female persuasion, these discussions (even the heated ones!) mean a lot to me. I want to see more representation for my gender in games. I also want better representation."

After making this statement, Oxford can already imagine the counter question. "Then how can you like R. Mika? She's total cheesecake material!"

". . . I have nothing against, er, voluptuous women in games," she answers. "Or even scantily-clad women. My problem has always been women characters whom I'm expected to take seriously while they slay dragons/wander the desert/travel the frozen wastes while baring their midriff through the majority of their journey. . . . Even a little girl who insists on wearing a princess tiara coupled with monster truck boots will put on a jacket before going outside in a snowstorm."

So why approve of R. Mika? Her outfit is ridiculous, suggestive, and seems like the perfect ammunition for bloggers to use in a campaign against Capcom.

Oxford's explanation is simple. "Because her whole schtick is silly, goofy, and way over-the-top–all the stuff you'd expect from someone working in 'sports entertainment.' Mainstream wrestling is a profession that's full of gimmicks, weird promos, and chairs meeting heads. Even male wrestlers outfit themselves in stupid costumes and show up on television framed in pin-up moments."

She continues by commenting on R. Mika's body type in the Street Fighter V style. "Is it gratuitous? Absolutely! But at least it shows off the fact R. Mika has meat on her bones, and when you're throwing around other people–and getting thrown around yourself–you want to have some padding."

Street Fighter, for all of its wild designs, has always had a wide-range of body types for its male and female fighters, ranging anywhere from Remy to Rufus.

Even in personality, R. Mika defies the common tropes of women in media. "The storylines featuring these women tend to involve a lot of back-stabbing, cattiness, put-downs, and other 'character traits' chiseled out of the old/untrue tropes about women hating each other." She continues, "R. Mika's having none of that. . . . She has muscle, and the act of using it makes her as happy as a kitten in a yarn shop."

Is R. Mika a force for women in games who's not receiving the praise she deserves? For Nadia Oxford at USGamer, she might be. For my wife, an avid gamer and illustrator, she's an inspiration. These are individual opinions, of course, and should not be taken as the general opinion of all female gamers.

Regardless, it's good to hear a positive side to R. Mika's inclusion brought to the table of discussion. As always, let us know what you think in the comments below.

Source: USGamer.
Note: Bold added for emphasis.
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