After playing the video game Fat Princess, in which teams try to protect their princess by feeding her until she's too big to kidnap, MSNBC's Winda Benedetti says there's nothing about the game that women should find offensive.
When news surfaced that the Fat Princess game was being developed by Titan Studios for PlayStation 3, a war broke out on the internet when "women who consider themselves feminists - declared the game hostile to ladykind, offensive to overweight people and, apparently, unsympathetic to the plight of royalty everywhere," according to MSNBC. The women "blogged about how offended they were" and in response, male gamers/trolls harassed the women online. (They still are.)
The game was finally released this month, and, after playing it, Benedetti - who says she "would happily pay the dues to join Club Feminist" - reports that there is nothing offensive about Fat Princess because overfeeding the young lady is funny within the game's zany computer kingdom. The cartoonish medieval game's plot is similar to capture-the-flag, but opposing kingdoms attempt to prevent each other from capturing or rescuing their princess by feeding her pieces of cake until she can't be hauled off.
Chris Millar, the game's producer says:
"The damsel in distress is a very archetypical situation, and the idea of the princess enjoying cake and eventually getting larger and harder to carry back, it just added to the overall nature of the game," he says. "The game is just really silly overall."
Millar argues that the princesses are worshipped by the villagers at any size and points out that the princesses were drawn by a female artist, Weng Chen, who has said she tried to make the princesses "cute and lovely" even when they get large and lamented that only cute female characters are featured in video games.
There's a wide variety of more active and heroic female characters in the game, but even after reading Benedetti's endorsement, the game's concept is unsettling. It's a bit of a stretch to say that the game champions unconventionally attractive women, since the princess' main function is to sit still and gain weight or to be hauled off as a trophy. Benedetti also goes on to describe the game as a "delightfully deserved send-up of the save-the-princess cliche," and says it's funny to watch a "skinny princess pack on pounds." Maybe to her, but if the game is making fun of thin princesses for getting fat, that pretty much undermines the whole conceit that these large female characters are empowering in any way.