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ShadeOfLight avatar 2:44 PM on 01.08.2011  (server time)
2010 Sucked: Sexism is to Other M what racism was to RE5

Remember back when the first trailer for Resident Evil 5 was released? All of a sudden the 'unwashed masses' started to cry about the racism in that game, because it was about a white man shooting black men. That was stupid wasn't it? After all, the game took place in Africa, and there are in fact black people over there (or so I've been told). It made sense within the premise of the game, so those cries of racism were obviously completely unfounded.

(this blog will contain spoilers for Metroid: Other M from here, although probably none you haven't read about already anyway)
And then came Metroid: Other M. If you haven't played this game, you probably only know one thing about it: this game set Samus and feminism back a couple of decades, and it completely destroyed all independence and strength Samus ever had. Mostly because Samus (who, spoilers, is a woman) takes orders from Adam, a man.

That reasoning was completely lost on me, as I will explain in detail in this blog. Let me first say that I liked Other M, although not nearly as much as the Primes. This game certainly had its flaws, some of them storywise, and I will quickly discuss those as well. I can understand that some might not like this game, for personal and completely legitimate reasons, and they are very much allowed to dislike it. What I will fight however, are those who blindly cry sexism, because I think that is unfounded and frankly...somewhat sexist. They are the ones who made 2010 suck to me. So grab a lighter and some gasoline, lit all those flames and have at me back in the comments!

See? Even Samus disliked those people

Why is it that Samus taking orders from a man is such a big issue to some? Aren't women allowed to do that?
One thing I can say for sure: I did not find it unreasonable within the premise of the game. My main argument for that is that Samus has no authority to be a part of the particular mission at the Bottleship at all. Based on one part SOS and one part intuition, she decided to go and check out what was wrong. Once there, she found that not only was the Bottleship a Galactic Federation (the interplanetary government) ship, there was already a Galactic Federation mission present. As such, as an independent party she has no basis to be there, despite her skills. Would you let Jackie Chan join a police raid just like that? No, you wouldn't.
Adam (the commander of the GF mission) had every right to send her away, lest she get into major trouble with the government. He goes on to request her help, but requires her to follow his orders, as he is still the commander of the mission.

And there we have it, Samus is now following the orders of a man...and I fail to see the issue. What troubles me is that some people immediately cried sexism at the thought of a man ordering a woman around. It's not degrading her in any way, she's not required to do a sexy dance for the amusement of the men, she just has to follow orders. Isn't this common in the military, or even the workplace on a smaller scale? Some people outrank other people and are therefore allowed to give orders. Sex and gender has no influence on any of that. If the roles were reversed, the situation would still be exactly the same. The fact that Samus has personal respect for this particular superior (as expanded upon in the backstory) only makes it more logical that she would follow his orders for this particular mission.

Yeah, I wouldn't like them saying such things behind my back either

The second major degrading thing of Samus is her fear of Ridley.
Apparently, Samus is not allowed to fear a giant space dragon who killed her parents right in front of her when she was little. To me though, this fear also made perfect sense within the premise of the game.
Yes, it's true that she fought and beat him before several times, but still. The first couple of times, she killed Ridley, and that was it. He was then rebuild with machine parts, and she killed him again. In Super Metroid however, the previous mission in the timeline, not only did she kill him and saw him explode...she literally blew up the planet that his remains were on. If there was ever a time when Ridley simply could not still be alive, it was then. Yet, on the Bottleship, where Ridley has to Samus' knowledge no reason to be even if he was still alive, there he is out of nowhere. Is it really so strange for her to be in shock at that moment? Really?

And finally, what many seem to forget is that after the initial shock...she proceeds to kick his ass so much that the giant space dragon flees in terror.

This is more or less what she had in store for him

There are things against this game and its story. The authorization of suit upgrades made sense for the weapons that could be dangerous to other members of the team, but there was no good reason to hold out on the defensive ones. This is a bit of gameplay and story mixing...not too well, I can fully admit that. The first person pixel hunts made the game come to a screeching halt and the game had some other issues as well.

However, calling the game sexist and degrading of Samus seems unfair to me. Apparently there are some people who like to think that a woman taking orders in any setting whatsoever to be degrading of her and decreases her independence. Samus showing any sort of fear is somehow beneath her. As a strong, independent woman, she is not allowed to fear anything, since that will make her more vulnerable and therefore more 'stereotypically female'. In my opinion however, confronting such fears head-on seems exactly what a strong woman (or man, for that matter) would do. Taking part in an important mission solely to protect others, even while taking orders from a respected superior, is exactly what a strong woman would do. A woman having some emotional baggage and trying to deal with it is not disrespectful, and neither is her looking up to someone.

No, Samus running away at the first sight of danger, crying on the shoulder of the first man in sight, and then taking her gunship as far as it would go, that would've been sexist.

I am not attacking everyone who considers Other M bad, or even everyone who considers the game sexist in some way. You might have perfectly good reasons for that, and that's okay, although I will strongly disagree with you.
But to everyone who cried sexism in Metroid: Other M for such simple reasons as Samus following orders or having fears: you sucked in 2010.

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