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Pro-woman, or anti sex?

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    This tumblr post brings a lot of uncomfortable things to bear about our attitude about both the portrayal of women in videogames, and our criticisms of them. What do you guys think? It uncovered a bit more than I’d expected, not just in gaming.


    That was an interesting read. I dont really follow the whole “sexism in games” issue much, but it was very different from the what I have read people argue on either side. She linked to the other post she made on the issue, I think it’s worth reading too.


    I hadn’t read that. She makes a lot of really good points. I felt this somewhat kneejerk reaction to hypocrisy when people were criticising Overwatch, like she mentions. People said they wanted “more female body types,” even though each female has a very different body type. We all really knew that what they really were saying is “how come no fat women?”

    Well, in war, fat people don’t make it, they aren’t as physically capable, they require more resources, and they take much longer to recover from injury. Nobody would believe an obese female warrior. You wouldn’t feel like a badass playing as one. We all know this, but when you use general language like “body types,” there’s enough room to pretend that isn’t what you’re saying when you’re called out on how ridiculous it is.

    So they gave us a massive, Russian female lifter with a body type that NOBODY has. Hard to criticize, though. They heard the criticism of “more body types” and responded exactly. You can definitely feel cool while playing as her.

    And isn’t that what’s really important?

    EDIT: I don’t mean to imply that there are no fun fat characters in war games. Dynasty Warriors has a couple, but they fall into some very uncomfortable stereotypes that would be made more blatant by making them women.


    Those were very interesting articles and made some really good points. We do tend to focus on characters who are portrayed as sexy. I would offer this article to go with the first one though.

    She is completely right. There are several different body types presented for the female characters and they all fit within traditional definitions of attractive. She also makes an excellent point about “Sexy” female characters being targeted. There is absolutely nothing wrong with sexy female empowering characters. You might also notice that why there is variance the degree of that variance among the female characters is much less than among the male characters. The male characters are allowed to be fat, or ugly, or short, or tattooed in a way they female characters weren’t.

    I pretty much agree with the second article in its entirety with the small caveat that the issue with damsel in distress tropes isn’t the trope its self but the ubiquity of it. No character or story trope is truly problematic by itself. They only become an issue when they become excessively common. Male damsel and distress doesn’t get the attention female damsel in distress does because female damsel in distress is much much more common. If they were about equal then there would be no problem.

    Female characters and tropes involving them get so much attention because there are so few of them. Female characters are rare compared to male ones and when they show up they are often tied to specific tropes. What we need are more women in video games. That is a large part of it. One study found that there is 1 female for every 5.3 males.

    I think we spend so much focus on female characters because when there are so few in games they tend to get stuck with the same tropes. Would the damsel in distress trope get as much attention if the damsel wasn’t the only female in the game? What if one of the Heroes was female? The problem with only having a few female characters is that they tend to take on the roll of representing all females. Its harder to have bad things happen to them or weak characters without making implications. But what if there were strong characters alongside the weak ones? If you were to simply gender swap all characters in a given game, what would that game tell you about the male characters? How would you feel if the only characters of your gender were represented the way they are?

    Steam: Garayur


    You make a lot of good points. Part of what we’re seeing has to be associated with the growing pains of a new medium, and one whose puberty coincides with a social revolution.

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