If there’s one thing I can’t help but notice, it’s that the reaction to Abby from The Last of Us Part 2 – as well as her, ahem, arms – have been a rather mixed bag. I say mixed because, let’s be honest with one another, it’s not at all hard to miss that it’s straight men in particular who have a problem with Abby’s physique.
Abby, voiced by Laura Bailey, is a survivor that we get to play later on in the game. Unlike Ellie, Dina and Jesse, Abby has been brought up in a community that’s authoritarian to the very core – meaning that yes, she’s very good at fighting and doing terrible things in the name of authority.
Regardless of what you may think of that background, Abby has had access to her group’s bases, and more importantly, their gyms. This has left her with some pretty damn nice arms, which is inconvenient for a lot of reasons. For me, I’m unable to stop admiring them in photo mode, but for insecure straight men? Well, it just makes them lose their minds, apparently.
While it isn’t surprising that once again, straight men are having a normal one, Abby’s arms are having the complete opposite effect on a very vocal community: queer women. Because if there’s one group of people that aren’t going to be upset about buff women, it’s us.
With a cast of mostly women this time around, The Last of Us Part 2 isn’t a game that shies away from different body types. Ellie is a lean, only a little mean, killing machine with a lanky frame, whereas Dina is curvier, but lacks the muscle you can see in Ellie and Abby’s arms. Abby, however is just, well, a masterpiece of muscle. A masterpiece, with a quick search of her name in most search engines, will show that despite the loud whining from straight men, most folks are actively enjoying.
The fact that Abby’s body is still considered hot discourse says a lot about how we still are unable to comprehend that women’s bodies, fictional or not, isn’t just a one size fits all. That, for as much as you’ll hear cries of ‘censorship’ for giving Tifa Lockhart some goddamn tights, that the argument isn’t anything to do with wanting to respect the original artist’s image or what have you, it’s just straight men wanting to get their rocks off and feeling threatened that they can’t. And that is just one of the reasons why men are so up in arms about her appearance. The rest is tied up in transphobia rhetoric, which as a cis woman, I’m unequipped to talk about.
Regardless, at least us queer women are once again showing off their godlike taste, just as they did with Kassandra from Assassin’s Creed Odyssey. As for our appreciation of Abby? Well, let’s just say that if Abby decided that throwing us through a brick wall would be something she’d be interested in, we’d thank her for it.