12. How about Feminism and Mortal Kombat?

In this episode, Janine provides a brief feminist analysis of the 2021 Mortal Kombat film. Janine talks mostly about Sonya Blade, and some of her memories playing fighting games as a kid.

The Sci-Fi Feminist - A Feminism and Pop Culture Podcast
The Sci-Fi Feminist - A Feminism and Pop Culture Podcast
12. How about Feminism and Mortal Kombat?

Welcome back

Janine welcomes everyone back and introduces her topic for this episode – Mortal Kombat! She also thanks listeners for their support up to this point and invites listeners to interact on YouTube.

Fighting games

Janine recounts some of her childhood experiences playing fighting games. She is reminded of playing Tekken as a child, and finally playing Mortal Kombat on Xbox One later in life.


Janine starts off by talking about a few damsels-in-distress in the 2021 Mortal Kombat movie. She recounts how the stories between Scorpion’s wife and child and Cole Young’s wife and child are similar. They both perpetuate the damsel-in-distress trope to some degree.

Janine also mentions an old game named Final Fight here and the woman in the red dress. She also briefly considers how Sonya Blade changed from a damsel-in-distress to a female fighter in later Mortal Kombat games.

Female fighters

Janine explains how the evil female fighters in the Mortal Kombat movie are unfortunately sexualised. Here, Janine also talks about the representation of female fighters in the Mortal Kombat and other fighter games too.

Janine reminisces about some of her favourite characters from Tekken as well. A few fun facts about female fighters and Street Fighter are also mentioned. Regarding gender and fighting games, Janine notes that as a woman, she also prefers playing as female characters.

Sonya Blade

Janine moves on to a discussion of Sonya Blade in the Mortal Kombat movie and video games. She talks about Sonya Blade’s body shape and outfit – “she is more fit than sexualised” she says. Janine briefly mentions the trope that evil women are usually sexualised too.

Sonya and Kano

The next topic of discussion is the weird relationship between Sonya and Kano. Janine explains that the way in which Sonya deals with Kano is quite emancipating. She also recounts the fight scene between Sonya and Kano in the desert.

Janine goes on to chat about Sonya’s combat style when fighting Kano. “She fights him with her brain and not her body”, Janine explains. Janine then briefly draws a few parallels between Sonya Blade and Sarah Connor.

Sonya’s sign

Janine explains how Sonya reclaims power from Kano and patriarchy by taking the sign from him. This is significant, Janine explains, because he oppresses her throughout the movie.

Women fighting each other

Janine continues the discussion by explaining that it’s good that the female fighters are not pitted against each other. However, the gruesome deaths of the women could be problematic.

Wrap up

Janine wraps up by giving a preview of next week’s episode on the new version of Seven of Nine.

Episode Credits


  • Janine Engelbrecht


  • Janine Engelbrecht

Small Print

The theme music is "Dashboard Light" by One Two Feet, and is licenced by Holosuite Media through Epidemic Sound.

This podcast is a fan production. All views made are that of the individual(s), and may not represent that of the podcast, or the Holosuite Media network.

The Sci-Fi Feminist - A Feminism and Pop Culture Podcast
The Sci-Fi Feminist - A Feminism and Pop Culture Podcast
12. How about Feminism and Mortal Kombat?