Glad to see this topic finally existing, Besser.
I know it's pretty lazy for me to just copy and paste something I wrote elsewhere but I went into the MGS4 Meryl issue a while ago on my blog. It was fresher in my mind when I wrote it than it is now:
[Picture of Johnny being punched by Meryl◊
In Metal Gear Solid 4, Meryl Silverburgh made her return to the series after being gone since the first game. She was different. Older. Tougher. She also had some cute lines like, "Men. Selfish, egotistical pigs". The reason she had this attitude? She found out that the man she thought was her uncle was actually her father, so she was pissed off at him. In spite of the fact that this same father ordered the main character to save his daughter's life, used his connections to get her a job in the military in the Middle East and help her become the leader of her own unit, which is where we're reintroduced to her in Metal Gear Solid 4. Not bad for a "womanizing piece of shit", as Meryl refers to him at one point. She goes so far as to blame him for being with a younger woman even though she was lusting after an older man in the first game.
So while Meryl has clearly grown into a misandrist in the time between Metal Gear Solid 1 and 4, it doesn't stop with verbal insults. There is one member of her team called Johnny Sasaki, who MGS fans will know as the series' comic relief character, the humour coming from him being stricken with diarrhoea at inopportune moments. In MGS4, his role is expanded greatly, so he's one of the members of Meryl's squad. He's so useless in this role that Meryl frequently punches him and the audience is supposed to laugh.
Now, never mind the fact that a man being punched by a woman is deplorable enough on its own. Being punched by a sexist woman without any repercussions is ridiculous. Honestly, remember that "selfish, egotistical pigs" line from above? Snake, a male character, only reacts to it with a grunt. We don't get a "screw you, Meryl. If it wasn't for men, you'd be dead by now," from Snake. Just a grunt! It's almost as if we're meant to sympathise or agree with Meryl; she's one of the good guys and nobody debates her sexist points, so what other conclusion are we supposed to come to? I've even been informed that Meryl's abuse of Johnny would be grounds for a court martial. Don't worry though, folks, it has a happy ending:
[Picture of Meryl and Johnny kissing at their wedding◊
For those of you who've never played Metal Gear Solid 4, trust me, I was as stunned as you. Yes, the abusive woman and her victim get married in the ending sequence.
Amazingly enough, MGS4 isn't even the first time Meryl is abusive to Johnny. Here's an image from MGS1:
[Picture of naked Johnny from the first MGS game, after Meryl beat him up and stole his uniform◊
That's Johnny, immediately after being beaten unconscious by Meryl and having his uniform stolen. Now at the time, they were adversaries, so you could at least justify her treatment of him in this case. However, if MGS4 is to be believed, this is the moment that Johnny realised he was in love with Meryl.
So let's do what we always do in these situations and flip the sexes. This is how things are chronologically:
- Man beats female guard into unconsciousness, steals her clothes and leaves her naked.
- The female guard joins that man's squad later in life, where she's subjected to regular beatings for being inept and the man has an incredibly low opinion of women.
- The female guard unmasks and the man stops beating her because she's pretty.
- The female guard reveals she's loved how he's abused her all these years.
- The two of them get married and live happily ever after.
This is a lot like the Uncharted example◊
above but with all the dials turned up to eleven. Rather than just one punch, it's regular attacks. Rather than taking it out on the male character for being a jerk, the woman does it because the guy keeps making mistakes. And, of course, Elena wasn't a huge sexist, as Meryl was. Yet we're still supposed to see Meryl as a hero, as always in these cases.
edited 29th Nov '12 12:31:28 PM by Guest1001