I was attempting to kill some time by searching for some hilarious Skyrim videos on YouTube the other day when an interesting trend was brought to my attention. You see, I typed in the words “Skyrim Lydia” into the YouTube search box, and one of the auto-fill options was “Skyrim Lydia hot.” This means that enough people have actually used “Skyrim Lydia hot” as search parameters that YouTube decided there’s a fair chance that this is what people who search for Skyrim are looking for. Enough people that there’s an auto-fill option for that, anyway.
And then, just a few days later, GeekParty’s Josh Engen casually brought up the fact that someone had found their way to this site by searching “Skyrim Lydia hot” into Google. (Yes, we can see things like that, you little perverts.)
Does this seem strange to anyone else? I mean, I can come up with several reasons that one would search for “Skyrim Lydia.” I can understand that. But apparently there are people who are specifically looking for videos of Lydia doing nothing other than looking hot.
Now, I won’t deny that Lydia is a super popular character in the game. I remember back when Skyrim first came out, there was a very vocal group of fans who complained that they wanted her as a marriage partner until Bethesda actually implemented that into the game. In fact, there are even videos of things on YouTube of Lydia and Aela the Huntress fighting to the death. Presumably, this was due to Aela being jealous of all the time her Dragonborn husband (or wife; I’m not judging here) was spending with Lydia, (though in my own game, Aela takes a more passive aggressive approach by sleeping with Belethor of the General Goods store.)
In fact, I’ve since learned that UGO gave her a place on their list of “99 Hottest Fictional Women of 2012” (even though Skyrim came out in 2011).
So what is it about Lydia that makes her so attractive? Well, after thinking about it for a while, the answer might be kind of disturbing, actually.
You see, Lydia is your bodyguard in one sense, but in another sense she’s your personal slave. Ask her to carry something and hear her response: “I am sworn to carry your burdens.” Also, she will risk her life to protect you (though this ends up with her getting in the way of fireballs and arrows more often than not), and you can command her to stand still or walk to a specific point. Or sit out a particular adventure, if you’re tired of her.
And that strikes me as particularly sexist. Apparently tons of men (and possibly women too) are finding her insanely attractive, and I have to wonder how much of that can be attributed to her submissiveness. And that just seems to send kind of a backward message that reinforces out-of-date gender stereotypes.
I think I’d be less weirded out by all this if a character like Aela or Vex were getting this attention. I mean, those are very strong female characters who are both quite attractive. And I feel like either of them would stick a dagger in your face if asked to “carry your burdens.” Lydia just does whatever the hell you tell her to.
Or maybe I’m just looking way too deeply into the psychology behind this. I mean, I guess now that you mention it, she’s a decent looking lady.
So what do you think? Is this Lydia craze purely about they physical attractiveness of her character model, or is this an indication that Skyrim‘s audience has some sexism issues going on? While you’re thinking about that, here’s a fan-made video of Lydia leveling up her “One-Handed” ability. I warn you though, unless you work at GeekParty, it’s probably not the safest thing for work.