Kirk Hamilton’s article on Batman: Arkham City and his perception that the word “bitch” is overused by the game’s various thugs and villains has (among other essays concerned with Arkham City‘s approach to women) been making the rounds for a couple of weeks now to both positive and negative response.
Hamilton’s essay is thoughtful and not especially knee-jerk in its consideration of the game’s events and dialogue. For instance, he writes:
As you make your way around Arkham, you’ll overhear goons from the various factions talking about current events, and every time they talk about Harley Quinn, the B-word gets dropped at least once. Often more than once. “That bitch,” “That crazy bitch,” etc.
To those playing the game: it’s weird, right? ”Batman: Arkham Asylum‘s Weird ‘Bitch’ Fixation”, Kotaku, 19 October 2011).
While Hamilton seems to want to pose a rhetorical question, I think that it is at least a legitimate question and one that is more open for consideration, perhaps, than a rhetorical question should be. In answering that question for myself: no, I’m not sure that I immediately feel that it is as weird as he does. While I think that I essentially agree with his point that “there’s a fine line between edgy dialogue and forced, angry overkill” in fiction, I don’t think that those who argue that convicts and super criminals overusing a slur against women has some ring of authenticity to it are entirely crazy either.