Bayonetta: Empowering or exploitative? is an article by a woman (gasp!) who says she finds Ms. B to be the former:
As a woman, I haven’t often been satisfied by female character options that effectively boil down to “the same thing as a man, just with breasts and a ponytail.” Thanks to its innovative approach to the idea of female power, Bayonetta is the first action game heroine that’s made me directly conscious of how cool it is to be a girl.
Bayonetta – Sexuality as Decoration vs. Celebration is an article by a different woman (gasp again!)says it’s all for show:
Sexuality as a weapon is nothing new in terms of women characters in gaming. We’ve seen this countless times before, and the only way Bayonetta is any different is that there are a lot more combo moves, rose petals, and photoshop flares sprouting out of her kicks and twists. This is artistically in parallel to the game’s High-Def Rococo approach to everything, and that being said, functions in the same way. I guess that it could all be interpreted as a joyous explosion of girl-shaped confetti in a celebration of female sexuality, but I really can’t see this as an empowerment of the female sex when it’s all for show.