This is actually one of the least horny Tifa videos I could find.

In 2011, a mobile game called Upskirt! was rejected from the App Store. In 2012, Lollipop Chainsaw handed out upskirt achievements. In the past ten years, players have figured out ways to upskirt Story of Seasons characters, Smash characters, Overwatch characters. And, in an act of misogynist innovation, they’ve learned how to sexually harass schoolgirls in virtual reality, too.


The future is (slightly) less perverted

You may be wondering, at this point, how I could be hopeful about video game skirts. Capcom’s decision to change Ashley’s outfit and let her wear something just as cute without the sexualized baggage is, I think, the correct choice, but it’s a small one to consider after we’ve trudged through decades of alienating women and girl characters, taking their skirts, and making them more contentious than they have been since the 19th century.

Widowmaker poses with a gun in Overwatch.
Do NOT look up that skirt.
Screenshot: Blizzard / Kotaku

But fashion, like all art, erodes and reestablishes itself like sand dunes. The FIDM Museum in Los Angeles has a “skirt lifter”—a prong embellished with an unfurled metal butterfly—from 1876 in its collection, not used to titillate, but so that women could walk more easily with their heavy skirts.


Fashion can be defined and redefined again. Outside of video games, in 2023, skirts are again becoming appropriate for non-female identifying people to wear. Stylish women themselves are considering what it means to dress for the “female gaze,” or in stereotypically feminine clothing—like colorful glitter eyeliner, laced corsets, pink skirts—prioritizing art and romance over sexuality.

Though the Resident Evil 4 remake’s outfit change bows out of the discussion rather than embraces the skirt as a more fluid, expressive device than the past 20 years of games have allowed for, I can empathize that elbowing out of the boy’s club is difficult.


But I do think that video game fashion will change as long as the real world does, too. It’s been a long time since video games were marketed just to men. Now, we’re all looking. Respectfully.