I don’t think you understand how earth-shatteringly sexy some people find Resident Evil 4 hero Leon S. Kennedy, especially when he’s injured and groaning. His anguished moans in games like Resident Evil 2 and Dead by Daylight, the asymmetrical survival horror in which he acts as a playable “survivor” character, might inspire sympathy somewhere. Somewhere, but not on TikTok, where thousands upon thousands of masochistic fans admit to hurting Leon on purpose.
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That might sound sick to you. Again, I’m not sure you’re understanding.
Compared to the brawny lumbermen that define other, similar third-person shooters—Dead Space’s stolid everyman Isaac, Uncharted’s square-jawed Nathan, Red Dead Redemption 2’s weather-beaten Arthur, with his permanently bristly beard—Leon sticks out like a K-pop star’s soft, unblemished thumb.
The lines of his face are elegantly angled, like a swan neck. He smolders at parasites and bloody bodies through his glossy, flirty hair. He looks like he uses conditioner. He wears a tight t-shirt and leaves his tense forearms exposed. His fragile ass is “for the girls.”
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So while horny male Resident Evil fans clamor for explicit sexuality, sorority undies from Ashley Graham, more carnal purring from Ada Wong, the girls are focusing not on “content,” but on “implications,” as a 2021 Refinery29 article dissecting what women are attracted to says.
“Men tend to value power, strength, and hypermasculinity, and therefore assume that women find those things attractive just because men value them,” Dr. Claire Hart, a professor of social psychology, explains in that article.
When women see Leon, particularly a wounded Leon, they don’t see video game frustration or the impending “YOU ARE DEAD” screen. They wander closer to the implications—Leon’s tenderness and fallibility, his bruised cheek aching for a hand to lift it.
There is a more simple explanation, too. Across games, Leon’s sounds of distress make him sound like he’s having an orgasm. Yeah.
Leon makes Dead by Daylight sound obscene
Here’s my transliterated impression of Leon’s Dead by Daylight whimpering, which one Audiomack free streaming uploader describes as “very submissive and breedable”: uH huh…ngHHh, hM-uh huhUHugh auGHHa huh-augh…uhhHHhuh uGH huh…ughhhuh…ugh huhUH HUH HUH nhUH!!!
“He’s my little kitty meow meow,” one popular comment on a TikTok with over 120,000 likes describing being unwilling to assist Leon says.
“A friend once told me there are compilations of these certain sounds from Leon on YouTube (there is no friend),” says another.
There are many compilations (“he sounds like he’s getting railed but he also has a severe case of asthma and can’t grab his inhaler because he’s getting railed” a top comment says on one of them), and even, uploaded earlier this week to Audiomack, audio porn aimed at both female and male listeners. In it, a Leon impressionist saves you from Las Plagas and whines about his big cock for an hour and 17 minutes.
Cool. Fans also noticed that, when Leon is harmed in the Resident Evil 2 remake, he starts clenching his teeth.
“There is a reason I don’t heal Leon, and this is why,” a smug TikTok declares, showing us Leon splayed on the ground, clutching his abdomen and huffing.
“I thought I was the only one,” one well-liked comment says.
Yeah. OK. Cool.
This is video games we’re talking about, so there is a bigger bounty of naked, bikini, and giant boobs mods, erotic fan art, fanfiction, and live cosplay porn for Resident Evil 4’s female characters than there is proud Leon torture. Female players’ horny interest in Leon’s pain is a more specific phenomenon. But I’m not surprised that it seems to be so widespread.
Playing a violent video game forms an inherently BDSM-type relationship between the player and the playable protagonist, even more so when players deliberately torment the character, like they are in this case.
Leon fills some fan’s craving for a submissive man, whom we rarely see in video games or, really, any media, as being desirable (soyboy, softboy, sad boy, are all some disparaging terms that come to mind, discouraging men from acting in a way that might be considered more “feminine”).
When he’s on the ground, Leon is vulnerable. He’s willing to demonstrate emotional and physical injuries through his off-putting, unmistakable guttural cries and doubling over. While he blubbers all over himself, he also gets to be the hero of his franchise. I’m sure TikTok and the rest of the internet will continue to reward him for doing both so well.