It's true that women have often been sexualized in the game, but it's worth noting that there are a handful of powerful females sprinkled throughout the GTA universe.
It looks like the protagonist for Grand Theft Auto VI might very well be female.
In a first ever for the series, a "trusted leaker" claimed that Rockstar will introduce a playable female character in the highly anticipated crime game. The series should aim to treat females with a little more dignity than they have in the past, and perhaps this is a start.
But while it's true that women have often been hyper-sexualized in the game, it's worth noting that there are a handful of powerful females sprinkled throughout the Grand Theft Auto universe. Here are the most badass ladies the series had to offer over the years.
Denise Clinton –Grand Theft Auto V
The maternal aunt of Franklin and Cavell, Denise Clinton is a steely woman who often dismisses Franklin's ambitious zeal. She cherishes family loyalty above all else, and throughout the entirety of GTA V seeks to "reinvigorate her femininity" via a series of cheesy fitness classes.
But Denise Clinton is actually another complex side character. She grew up in the poorest neighborhood in Los Santos, and only takes in Franklin after her sister dies unexpectedly. The pair's relationship begins to show signs of strain almost immediately, as Franklin's self-motivated spirit directly clashes with Denise's emphasis on family loyalty.
But Denise's antagonistic behavior towards Franklin is likely because she herself struggles to self-actualize. She's seen throughout the game embracing feminism in hilarious and cringey ways, such as taking a night-time "spirit walk" with two of her girlfriends, chanting along the way, "We are women and we are free, we are women we're bringing an end to the patriarchy." Hop on a computer in the game, and players will see Denise writing awkward feminist anecdotes online, such as, "I am on my period. I AM ON MY PERIOD. From now on I will be proudly open about my menstruation."
But in the end, both Franklin and Denise both got to reinvent their life as they saw fit. Franklin moved to the luxurious Vinewood Hills, and Denise sent him a long text, dismissing him from the family and describing him as the "one mistake" her sister made. She's disappointed Franklin never said goodbye, then reveals that she herself got a new job as an exercise instructor.
Maude Eccles – Grand Theft Auto V
While merely a small character in the sprawling Los Santos world, Maude Eccles is a complex enigma whose musty appearance shouldn't be taken at face value. Living in a run-down trailer on the outside of Sandy Shore, Maude is an old acquaintance of Trevor Phillips, speaks with a similar cultivated sheen as he does. When Trevor asks how Maude is, she replies gingerly, "Stuck between somewhere joyful and peachy."
"Even in this world full of scum and detritus," she continues. "It's only right that we all bear our share." But like Trevor, Maude's vocabulary only loosely camouflages her malicious intentions. She enlists Trevor to capture four "poor wretches'' who are on the run, in the hopes they can be brought back to Maude to "learn the true meaning of suffering." $10,000 is awarded for each victim if they're brought back to Maude alive, while $5,000 is awarded for a corpse.
There are four bounties total to complete for Maude, which means the silver-tongued trailer trash is packing at least $40,000 in that decrepit trailer. Once all the bounties are completed, she reveals that despite her lifestyle, her dream is to have a husband, a dog named Skip, and to have a garden with a white picket fence.
Elizabeta Torres – Grand Theft Auto IV
A fearsome drug lord in Liberty City, Elizabeta Torres doesn't take sh*t from anybody. Born in the slums of Puerto Rico, she was almost raped by a man when she was fourteen, and in her words, she "fed him his balls" as a result. The attack garnered her a fearsome reputation in Puerto Rico at a young age, and she slowly established a high rank in the drug trade.
When she moved to Liberty City, she used her contacts to kick off her drug empire, which she's reigned over with an iron fist ever since. She has quite the police rap sheet as a result of her crimes, but every man in her orbit respects her grit and no one challenges her authority. In the end, she inevitably pays the price for her crimes. "Being tough in a man's world," she exclaims as she snorts a line off the table. "I guess I wasn't so tough."
Ling Shan – Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars
A very brief side character of the handheld Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars, Ling Shan dies almost immediately after being introduced, which is a shame. As the Master of Arms for the Lee Family, she's seen in the game's promotional artwork sporting a handgun, a slick samurai sword, and a hidden knife strapped to her thigh. She is romantically pursued at one point by Huang Lee, to which she replies "keep it in your pants." It would have been awesome to see the Master of Arms in action.
Maria Latore – Liberty City Stories and Grand Theft Auto III
Another fearsome lady whose lack of empathy knows no bounds, Maria Latore is married to Don Salvatore Leone, head of the Leone crime family. Her character is featured across multiple GTA games, and while Salvatore is no doubt intimidating, Maria remains the one person in Liberty City unafraid of the Don. Often seen high on coke or seeking out a party, Maria has no control over her spiteful tendencies and is often on the rocks with her husband as a result.
But in GTA III, a few years after her first appearance in Liberty City Stories, she is seen to be much kinder. Though she still really hates her husband, she saves protagonist Claude from certain death at one point, and apologizes to him for her toxic behavior over the years.
Amanda De Santa – Grand Theft Auto V
The tragic wife of GTA V's Michael De Santa, Amanda is often seen struggling to escape from her husband's toxic affairs. A borderline alcoholic and kleptomaniac, she met Michael as a service girl and was lured in by promises of riches and comfort, but in GTA V their relationship has soured. She cheats on Michael with her tennis instructor early on in the game, and she often verbally abuses Michael as he drinks and lumbers around the house in a volatile mood.
She is undoubtedly neglected and admits at one point that she wishes she could divorce him but knows she can't because of how financially bound she is to his estate. While she is seen cheating, she also discloses that she was faithful to Michael up until he cheated on her. As a result, she takes up physical hobbies to try to establish a "serenity" within her awful life, but Michael's shenanigans often make it impossible.
But in the end, Michael comes crawling back to her after she leaves him for a yoga instructor, and the duo agrees to give it another shot and Amanda insists that they take the whole family to therapy. Michael reluctantly agrees, and the results are mixed, but as the game continues they start to chip away at their mutual resentment.
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