Left, Judy Nails in a previous version of the game. Right, in the latest version.
When I picture guitar heroines, they’re usually sporting jeans and a tank top. Or menswear. Not the case in the Guitar Hero video game, apparently, where all of the ladies wear midriffs or bikini tops. Cara laments the sexing-up of her favorite Guitar Hero character, Judy Nails, in the latest version of the game:
Basically, Iâ€™m not sure why they bothered to put a shirt on her. There are copious amounts of cleavage, her entire stomach, and at least half of her bra hanging out. The shirt is really more of an accessory than an actual article of clothing. Even on stage with all of those bright lights, she still might get a little cold. And every outfit change I could give her doesnâ€™t make it any better.
Even worse, I donâ€™t have any other female options. Thereâ€™s Cassie, who has always worn a bikini top in lieu of a shirt (which I was originally fine with, because there were other options and there is a male character with no shirt). And thereâ€™s a new Asian female character who, though she is covered, is dressed like she works for Gwen Stefani. And since I see it as pretty racist, I canâ€™t go with her, either.
So. Apparently Guitar Hero now thinks that it either A. does not have any female fans or B. their female fans will, for some reason, not mind being objectified and forced to play with a character who is half naked, if they want to play with a woman.
Add to that Axe sponsorship (including the eau de asshole promotional jingle actually placed within the game), a guitar shaped like a woman’s disembodied leg in a fishnet stocking, and a guitar called “Lady Shapes” with an airbrushed blonde in a bikini on it. More from Cara:
And probably, I shouldnâ€™t have expected any better. I mean, itâ€™s a video game. And itâ€™s aimed at rock fans. Those are two markets that are generally saturated in misogyny. But I did expect better. Until now, Guitar Hero had been different toward women (though, I will admit, not towards people of color). I trusted them.
I didnâ€™t know how to explain this to my husband. Of course, he agreed that it is stupid and sexist. But he canâ€™t really understand. Heâ€™s not the one being attacked. As a white male, he doesnâ€™t have to worry so much about this kind of thing.
Iâ€™m sure that many of you out there can relate — have seen shows, or book series, music, etc. that you love and have been faithful to suddenly turn against you without notice, attack you with misogynist or racist imagery/ideas. It seems silly on the surface, but it is violating and painful. I genuinely do feel betrayed right now, like Iâ€™ve been handing my money and loyalty to someone who doesnâ€™t want to admit that I even exist.
No wonder Cara has decided she’s not playing anymore. If you’re a fellow disappointed Guitar Hero fan, you can contact the game’s maker, Red Octane, to complain.
On a related note, check out Susie Madrak’s post on real-life Guitar Heroines.