Background: Recently, the evolutions for the new starter Pokémon in the upcoming Sun and Moon games were revealed. One of them is Popplio’s evolution, Brionne.
This caused a slight hubbub across the ol’ internet, as some people found Brionne’s appearance to be too feminine. Honestly, I’m writing this piece because I made the mistake of logging into Twitter in the midst of a social media absence, only to see a few people talking about this issue.
And I have some thoughts.
People Are Dumb
Let me acknowledge this: Yeah, there is a feminine element to Brionne’s appearance. There is a dress-like feature here, and a general movement away from anything representing obvious machismo.
That is not under debate, though. The question is: Does this harm me?
… the answer is no. Thus, I really shouldn’t care. But maybe the real question is: Does it affect gameplay?
… well, no. It doesn’t. Thus, it is completely irrational to be bothered by this. In fact, let’s be honest, if this is the sort of thing that bothers you, then you could not have actually been a fan of the Pokémon games to begin with. You are, apparently, just a fan of avoiding any sort of visual representation of femininity.
Which, hey, is fine. It’s just stupid to think that Pokémon games, of all things, are going to be your precious safe space away from any feminine appearances. Again, though, your habits do not harm me. If you want to watch endless hours of hairy, sweaty, burly men do things with their penises together, just to avoid seeing anything feminine, then by all means, go ahead.
Seriously, let’s be honest: The Pokémon series has never been about Being Macho. To suddenly take offense to a feminine-lookin’ Pokémon is a mark of a very small mind. I can only say “it’s stupid” so many ways, yet it’s still true.
I have a sick fascination with the mindset of people who have reactions such as this. It’s not good, I know. It is bad. I am bad. Here I am regardless.
Like, do they realize that Ash Ketchum has always been voiced by a female? What will happen when they learn about Bart Simpson?!
Also, to bother to have a problem with this sort of thing, to have any kind of emotion invested in your negative reaction, it would stand to reason that you would have some kind of personal stake in the Pokémon series of games. Yet previous titles have had their own fair share of effeminate species, even as their male versions.
Are you really, genuinely unaware of the ways that the series has always played with the idea of creature gender?
Or do you feel Comfortably Affirmed of your Perception of Masculinity when you see Pokémon that look like an ice cream cone, or a set of keys? I guess I can understand if you felt well within your comfort zone when you spotted a Pokémon that looked like it was literally just a pile of garbage. Nobody complained about the lack of masculinity in that one, of course.
The Word “Too”
Really, here’s the thing. This is it. Let’s slow down and back up a little.
As I said earlier, Brionne definitely has effeminate traits. Okay. But is the mere presence of an effeminate trait, alone, enough to be too feminine? Not just feminine, but so feminine that it is harmful? A degree of femininity that is Earth-shatteringly overwhelming to the sensibilities of someone looking to only view masculinity in their entertainment media? And that’s interesting, isn’t it, that the people who try to detract from feminine traits are always so sensitive… then again, let me get back to my point:
I think people who find Brionne’s image to be too feminine lack imagination!
I mean, let’s dig in and think about it. Let’s truly try to imagine a Pokémon that is too feminine.
She’s called SheHerTüFem. You’ve called her Mama since you were a very young child. Her body is smooth, graceful, and beautiful. She has a generous, caring soul. Her voice has a higher pitch than the average male’s. She does not have enormous biceps. Her appearance is highlighted by accents in pastels and pinks. She is sexually appealing to heterosexual males.
As you play this theoretical Pokémon video game, she enfolds you into a gentle embrace. She holds you closely, tightly, warmly, like you are back in the womb. Her womb. The womb of a womanly woman. She smiles at you, or doesn’t, and tells you how she feels about you, or not.
Then she pulls you in closer, and exposes her bodily self to you. She has breasts. Lots of them, in fact. They have curves, and nipples, and — she’s lactating, and in her embrace she begins to breastfeed you.
And as you suckle of her life-giving milk, she gives birth, in a beautiful-yet-terrifying natural process. There is blood everywhere. She births several SheHerTüFem babies, and she feeds them, along with you, with all those breasts, and soon you are breastfeeding the newborns as well, and you help clean the amniotic fluid off their precious infant frames, and there’s a placenta still lying around somewhere, and…
And maybe that would be too much.
Until then: If a Pokémon, a fictional character depicted to an optional extent within a digital leisure activity, bothers you because it looks feminine, I have a solution for you. This will solve everything. Here it is.
Think critically. Gain perspective. Grow up.