The Quickest Way to a Woman's Heart

Less of a campfire tale to delight and amuse, and more of a reckless tap-dance through a minefield this week, as I try to tackle the slightly controversial topic of women's depiction in video games. And let's be honest right from the start; it's quite sad, isn't it? Let's establish that right now. Apart from a few noteworthy examples, female characters are over-sexualized and passive or preternaturally bad-ass and extremely over-sexualized. Neither of which is good characterization in my book.

(Oh really, Draugen? Mr. Never-been-published... Tell me more about characterization.)

A lot of bloggers have tackled this subject before, and probably quite a bit better than me, so instead of storming at it head on, I'll sneak around the outskirts, and focus this post around the thing that bothers me the most. Utility.

Warning: Games spoiled in this blog post: Prince of Persia: The Warrior Within, Various Tomb Raider games, Mass Effect 1+2

The Quickest Way to a Woman's Heart

"The right tools for the right job." That's what my father taught me, when I was young. A mountain hiker wears sturdy, comfortable boots and layers of clothes to keep warm. A firefighter wears a helmet and clothes that don't catch fire even if it gets quite hot. A hockey goalie wears enough padding to not be killed by the small rubber missiles launched at him at 200 mph. These people all dress from utility. They dress so that they are equipped for the task they are faced with. With that in mind, could someone please tell me what task this young lady us dressed for? Take your time.

You back? Hey! Eyes up here, buddy!

That's right, that's Shahdee from Ubisoft's 2004 game Prince of Persia: The Warrior Within, and in my mind, a, if not the prime example of all that is wrong with women's depiction in video games. But instead of going into all the pandering atrocities this character consists of, let's get back to utility. What task is this woman equipped for? It would have to be something indoors, seeing as she's hardly wearing anything at all. And given that the first time you meet her in the game, she's on the deck of a ship in a raging storm; I have an issue with this already. She is obviously a warrior, so wearing some kind of armour is something I'd at least consider, but it doesn't look like she's... Oh no, wait, there is. I just couldn't see it without squinting.

Now, I'm not going to claim to be any kind of armouring expert, but to a layman like me, it seems like the prime function of any kind of body armour would be to protect major organs, most of which are located in the human torso, something her metal bikini somewhat fails to do. Even the inside of her thigh, which houses one of the biggest arteries in the body, is completely exposed. And here we come to the heart of my problem.

I cannot respect a character that is designed with a bigger emphasis on titillation than utility. Stylizing the character is one thing, and it can be done really well, but sadly, stylizing a female character these days just means giving them impossible proportions and breasts big enough to give the most adept yoga master back-pains for life. I'm not even going to go further into the body design, because it's been discussed by smarter people than me before, and this little article isn't about that. But we should all be alarmed when even I, Draugen, a prototypical disgusting, hairy sweaty man who unabashedly enjoys ogling the many iterations of the female form, am embarrassed to talk about my hobby because it seems incapable of portraying women as anything but an object of desire for the male eye.

Shahdee is the banner figure for a trend that if it continues, will prevent video games from ever growing up as an art form. But all is not hopeless. Occasionally, someone gets it right. And I will get to that in a moment, but first I'd like to discuss another character, one which you may disagree with me actually does a few things that should be applauded.

Namely, Lady Lara Croft. I completely understand if anyone with strong feminists sensibilities reading this just got a drop or two of their green tea down the wrong pipe just now, when I claimed that the prototype for the over-sexualized female character in gaming has any merit as an antithesis to what our friend Shahdee represents. Believe me when I say that I completely see that point of view. However, going back to the criteria I'm focusing on today, utility, Lara stands head and shoulders above most of her sisters. Some of the time. Well, at least, there is an effort involved.

She knows how to equip herself for any climate or environment. If she's exploring ancient Himalayan ruins in sub-arctic temperatures, she wears clothes that keep the cold out. If she's diving, she wears a wetsuit. If she's trudging through the tropics, she wears something breezy. Everything about the character does not work quite as well, though. She is clearly designed as eye candy to the player. In her first few outings she had an impossible large chest, which quickly became her key identifying attribute, which is a shame, seeing as she has a lot going for her. She is well educated, she is supremely competent and above all, she is driven. Not driven to find a man to protect her, but driven to seek out adventure. In recent games, ms. Croft has received a bit of a redesign, making her appear slightly closer to human, but she still has a lot of characteristics pandering to the lowest common denominator. But all in all, I'd say she is a step in the right direction. There is nothing wrong with an attractive character, as long as she has other redeeming features that ensure that she is not defined solely by her looks. I cannot respect a character like that. In the end, Lara doesn't quite get a pass. But a B for a manner of effort.

Throughout recent gaming history, there have been a few really good female characters that don't cause the usual eye rolling I tend to experience when booting up a new game. Jade from Beyond Good and Evil, and Alyx Vance from Half life 2 are two examples that usually come up when this discussion arises. Me, I'd like to finish this article by going to one of favorite game universes, Mass Effect. The obvious place to go here would of course be the female version of the player controlled protagonist Shepard, otherwise known FemShep across the internet. Sure, FemShep is in many ways a good example of a strong female character, but there is one problem I have with putting her forth as the poster for the proper way to write a video game woman who you can respect.

She was written as a man.

The Mass Effect games give the player the option of customizing their Shepard character, down to appearance, back-story, personality and gender. But apart from the voice acting, which is stellar, there is nothing to give FemShep her own character traits to separate her from her male counterpart, because the character behaves the same way regardless of sex. This results in the character taking on a lot of masculine virtues and mannerisms, which isn't a bad thing, considering that Shepard is a supremely accomplished soldier with the fate of galaxy resting on her shoulders. But the mere fact that she is simply a female version of another character makes me want to look elsewhere. Like for example Dr. Liara T'Soni. Now I have to preface this part by saying that Liara is not technically a woman; she is an alien, from a species that... You know what, forget it. Liara is in every way a female character.

Now, what are the chief characteristics of Dr. T'Soni? When you meet her in the first Mass Effect game, she is working as an archeologist, specializing in the Prothean civilization, an extinct species which a strange relevance to Shepard's ongoing mission. Though she has achieved her doctorate at a young age, she comes across as somewhat naive and timid, and more or less remains so for the duration of the first Mass Effect game. She is a romancable option for the player character of Shepard, whether Shepard is male or female. It is in Mass Effect 2 that Liara really comes into her own, and more specifically the DLC called Lair of the Shadow Broker. When Shepard encounters Liara in the game, two years after the events of the first game, she has gone through some tough ordeals, which has led her to a career change. She is now working as an information broker, buying and selling information, one of the hottest commodities in the Mass Effect universe. It is immediately apparent that she has changed in a significant way. She nurtures an obsession.

This may not seem like much, but to me, this is a truly refreshing bit of storytelling, because obsession is usually a character flaw seen 9 times out of 10 in male characters, very rarely in female ones. When Shepard asks Liara to come with him on his mission, she flatly refuses, and not until Shepard offers to help her accomplish her own goal does she agree to team up again. Utility. She doesn't drop everything that's important to her just because the handsome hero comes calling. She has her own agenda, one she even takes too far little while later. When Shepard gets knocked down in a fight with one of the villains, and said villain proceeds to flee, Liara gives chase, without even throwing a glance in Shepard's direction. Not a nice thing to do, but good characterization for a character like Liara and the place she is in emotionally.

**Please note, I'm about to spoil the ending of Lair of the Shadow Broker**

After a rip-roaring chase through a metropolitan skyline, and a brutal fight through the antagonist's hidden space station, Liara and Shepard find themselves face to face with the intimidating final boss. And it is Liara, not Shepard who takes charge. Shepard is along for the ride, and actually goes toe-to-toe with the boss at one point, but in the end, it is Liara who not only figures out how to defeat him, but also executes the plan. It is in every way her show, and she is the one who comes through in the end. And only after her enemies are conquered and his empire is now hers, does she let her shields drop, and you see that underneath, she still has all her insecurities and her doubts intact. She just doesn't succumb to them when the situation calls for her to hold it together.

I'm pretty sure I lost my own direction at one point during the writing of this blog post, (I'll blame the fever I've been hallucinating my way through this past week for that) so let me return to the post's initial point.

When creating a character, be they male or female; equip them for what they will be facing, physically and mentally. And if your character is going into a sword fight, for the love of God, put armour plating on them, no matter how tempting it is to show off her lovingly rendered cleavage.

Because the quickest way to a woman's heart; it goes right through the rib cage, just like with the rest of us.

(This has been previously released on my stupid web-comic blog, but let's face it, no-one reads that.)

51 Comments
54 Comments
  • 54 results
  • 1
  • 2
Posted by Draugen

Less of a campfire tale to delight and amuse, and more of a reckless tap-dance through a minefield this week, as I try to tackle the slightly controversial topic of women's depiction in video games. And let's be honest right from the start; it's quite sad, isn't it? Let's establish that right now. Apart from a few noteworthy examples, female characters are over-sexualized and passive or preternaturally bad-ass and extremely over-sexualized. Neither of which is good characterization in my book.

(Oh really, Draugen? Mr. Never-been-published... Tell me more about characterization.)

A lot of bloggers have tackled this subject before, and probably quite a bit better than me, so instead of storming at it head on, I'll sneak around the outskirts, and focus this post around the thing that bothers me the most. Utility.

Warning: Games spoiled in this blog post: Prince of Persia: The Warrior Within, Various Tomb Raider games, Mass Effect 1+2

The Quickest Way to a Woman's Heart

"The right tools for the right job." That's what my father taught me, when I was young. A mountain hiker wears sturdy, comfortable boots and layers of clothes to keep warm. A firefighter wears a helmet and clothes that don't catch fire even if it gets quite hot. A hockey goalie wears enough padding to not be killed by the small rubber missiles launched at him at 200 mph. These people all dress from utility. They dress so that they are equipped for the task they are faced with. With that in mind, could someone please tell me what task this young lady us dressed for? Take your time.

You back? Hey! Eyes up here, buddy!

That's right, that's Shahdee from Ubisoft's 2004 game Prince of Persia: The Warrior Within, and in my mind, a, if not the prime example of all that is wrong with women's depiction in video games. But instead of going into all the pandering atrocities this character consists of, let's get back to utility. What task is this woman equipped for? It would have to be something indoors, seeing as she's hardly wearing anything at all. And given that the first time you meet her in the game, she's on the deck of a ship in a raging storm; I have an issue with this already. She is obviously a warrior, so wearing some kind of armour is something I'd at least consider, but it doesn't look like she's... Oh no, wait, there is. I just couldn't see it without squinting.

Now, I'm not going to claim to be any kind of armouring expert, but to a layman like me, it seems like the prime function of any kind of body armour would be to protect major organs, most of which are located in the human torso, something her metal bikini somewhat fails to do. Even the inside of her thigh, which houses one of the biggest arteries in the body, is completely exposed. And here we come to the heart of my problem.

I cannot respect a character that is designed with a bigger emphasis on titillation than utility. Stylizing the character is one thing, and it can be done really well, but sadly, stylizing a female character these days just means giving them impossible proportions and breasts big enough to give the most adept yoga master back-pains for life. I'm not even going to go further into the body design, because it's been discussed by smarter people than me before, and this little article isn't about that. But we should all be alarmed when even I, Draugen, a prototypical disgusting, hairy sweaty man who unabashedly enjoys ogling the many iterations of the female form, am embarrassed to talk about my hobby because it seems incapable of portraying women as anything but an object of desire for the male eye.

Shahdee is the banner figure for a trend that if it continues, will prevent video games from ever growing up as an art form. But all is not hopeless. Occasionally, someone gets it right. And I will get to that in a moment, but first I'd like to discuss another character, one which you may disagree with me actually does a few things that should be applauded.

Namely, Lady Lara Croft. I completely understand if anyone with strong feminists sensibilities reading this just got a drop or two of their green tea down the wrong pipe just now, when I claimed that the prototype for the over-sexualized female character in gaming has any merit as an antithesis to what our friend Shahdee represents. Believe me when I say that I completely see that point of view. However, going back to the criteria I'm focusing on today, utility, Lara stands head and shoulders above most of her sisters. Some of the time. Well, at least, there is an effort involved.

She knows how to equip herself for any climate or environment. If she's exploring ancient Himalayan ruins in sub-arctic temperatures, she wears clothes that keep the cold out. If she's diving, she wears a wetsuit. If she's trudging through the tropics, she wears something breezy. Everything about the character does not work quite as well, though. She is clearly designed as eye candy to the player. In her first few outings she had an impossible large chest, which quickly became her key identifying attribute, which is a shame, seeing as she has a lot going for her. She is well educated, she is supremely competent and above all, she is driven. Not driven to find a man to protect her, but driven to seek out adventure. In recent games, ms. Croft has received a bit of a redesign, making her appear slightly closer to human, but she still has a lot of characteristics pandering to the lowest common denominator. But all in all, I'd say she is a step in the right direction. There is nothing wrong with an attractive character, as long as she has other redeeming features that ensure that she is not defined solely by her looks. I cannot respect a character like that. In the end, Lara doesn't quite get a pass. But a B for a manner of effort.

Throughout recent gaming history, there have been a few really good female characters that don't cause the usual eye rolling I tend to experience when booting up a new game. Jade from Beyond Good and Evil, and Alyx Vance from Half life 2 are two examples that usually come up when this discussion arises. Me, I'd like to finish this article by going to one of favorite game universes, Mass Effect. The obvious place to go here would of course be the female version of the player controlled protagonist Shepard, otherwise known FemShep across the internet. Sure, FemShep is in many ways a good example of a strong female character, but there is one problem I have with putting her forth as the poster for the proper way to write a video game woman who you can respect.

She was written as a man.

The Mass Effect games give the player the option of customizing their Shepard character, down to appearance, back-story, personality and gender. But apart from the voice acting, which is stellar, there is nothing to give FemShep her own character traits to separate her from her male counterpart, because the character behaves the same way regardless of sex. This results in the character taking on a lot of masculine virtues and mannerisms, which isn't a bad thing, considering that Shepard is a supremely accomplished soldier with the fate of galaxy resting on her shoulders. But the mere fact that she is simply a female version of another character makes me want to look elsewhere. Like for example Dr. Liara T'Soni. Now I have to preface this part by saying that Liara is not technically a woman; she is an alien, from a species that... You know what, forget it. Liara is in every way a female character.

Now, what are the chief characteristics of Dr. T'Soni? When you meet her in the first Mass Effect game, she is working as an archeologist, specializing in the Prothean civilization, an extinct species which a strange relevance to Shepard's ongoing mission. Though she has achieved her doctorate at a young age, she comes across as somewhat naive and timid, and more or less remains so for the duration of the first Mass Effect game. She is a romancable option for the player character of Shepard, whether Shepard is male or female. It is in Mass Effect 2 that Liara really comes into her own, and more specifically the DLC called Lair of the Shadow Broker. When Shepard encounters Liara in the game, two years after the events of the first game, she has gone through some tough ordeals, which has led her to a career change. She is now working as an information broker, buying and selling information, one of the hottest commodities in the Mass Effect universe. It is immediately apparent that she has changed in a significant way. She nurtures an obsession.

This may not seem like much, but to me, this is a truly refreshing bit of storytelling, because obsession is usually a character flaw seen 9 times out of 10 in male characters, very rarely in female ones. When Shepard asks Liara to come with him on his mission, she flatly refuses, and not until Shepard offers to help her accomplish her own goal does she agree to team up again. Utility. She doesn't drop everything that's important to her just because the handsome hero comes calling. She has her own agenda, one she even takes too far little while later. When Shepard gets knocked down in a fight with one of the villains, and said villain proceeds to flee, Liara gives chase, without even throwing a glance in Shepard's direction. Not a nice thing to do, but good characterization for a character like Liara and the place she is in emotionally.

**Please note, I'm about to spoil the ending of Lair of the Shadow Broker**

After a rip-roaring chase through a metropolitan skyline, and a brutal fight through the antagonist's hidden space station, Liara and Shepard find themselves face to face with the intimidating final boss. And it is Liara, not Shepard who takes charge. Shepard is along for the ride, and actually goes toe-to-toe with the boss at one point, but in the end, it is Liara who not only figures out how to defeat him, but also executes the plan. It is in every way her show, and she is the one who comes through in the end. And only after her enemies are conquered and his empire is now hers, does she let her shields drop, and you see that underneath, she still has all her insecurities and her doubts intact. She just doesn't succumb to them when the situation calls for her to hold it together.

I'm pretty sure I lost my own direction at one point during the writing of this blog post, (I'll blame the fever I've been hallucinating my way through this past week for that) so let me return to the post's initial point.

When creating a character, be they male or female; equip them for what they will be facing, physically and mentally. And if your character is going into a sword fight, for the love of God, put armour plating on them, no matter how tempting it is to show off her lovingly rendered cleavage.

Because the quickest way to a woman's heart; it goes right through the rib cage, just like with the rest of us.

(This has been previously released on my stupid web-comic blog, but let's face it, no-one reads that.)

Posted by believer258

Can we get past this already? Please? I have seen this topic multiple times today and you are not going to curb the lust of men who like to see skin.

Besides, the outfits aren't sexist so much as the writing is. There are very few well-written female characters in gaming, period. They almost always consist of evil angry bitches or submissive nice girls.

Posted by BrockNRolla

@believer258 said:

Can we get past this already? Please? I have seen this topic multiple times today and you are not going to curb the lust of men who like to see skin.

Besides, the outfits aren't sexist so much as the writing is. There are very few well-written female characters in gaming, period. They almost always consist of evil angry bitches or submissive nice girls.

I understand your sentiment, and I agree, it is annoying to see this notion popping up here so many times in one day, but this is a legitimate issue in the world of gaming. It's at least as resonable a topic as "Whose your favorite staff member?" or "Guess this anime."

I think you're a little off on the writing aspect of woman characters though. While you're correct in saying that there are few well written female characters, you can at least explain some of this away in that most of the people writing games are men who therefore might have a difficult time placing themselves in a woman's shoes. At least visual representations are something men can be familiar with. There really isn't an excuse for the lack of clothing and huge breasts, beyond marketing and stupidity that is.

Edited by believer258

@BrockNRolla said:

@believer258 said:

Can we get past this already? Please? I have seen this topic multiple times today and you are not going to curb the lust of men who like to see skin.

Besides, the outfits aren't sexist so much as the writing is. There are very few well-written female characters in gaming, period. They almost always consist of evil angry bitches or submissive nice girls.

I understand your sentiment, and I agree, it is annoying to see this notion popping up here so many times in one day, but this is a legitimate issue in the world of gaming. It's at least as resonable a topic as "Whose your favorite staff member?" or "Guess this anime."

I think you're a little off on the writing aspect of woman characters though. While you're correct in saying that there are few well written female characters, you can at least explain some of this away in that most of the people writing games are men who therefore might have a difficult time placing themselves in a woman's shoes. At least visual representations are something men can be familiar with. There really isn't an excuse for the lack of clothing and huge breasts, beyond marketing and stupidity that is.

The only way to really stop it, though, is to vote with your wallets. Not writing incredibly long walls of text about how it's not good.

And, the crazy thing is, I NEVER SEE WOMEN WRITING THESE. EVER.

Posted by BrockNRolla

@believer258 said:

@BrockNRolla said:

@believer258 said:

Can we get past this already? Please? I have seen this topic multiple times today and you are not going to curb the lust of men who like to see skin.

Besides, the outfits aren't sexist so much as the writing is. There are very few well-written female characters in gaming, period. They almost always consist of evil angry bitches or submissive nice girls.

I understand your sentiment, and I agree, it is annoying to see this notion popping up here so many times in one day, but this is a legitimate issue in the world of gaming. It's at least as resonable a topic as "Whose your favorite staff member?" or "Guess this anime."

I think you're a little off on the writing aspect of woman characters though. While you're correct in saying that there are few well written female characters, you can at least explain some of this away in that most of the people writing games are men who therefore might have a difficult time placing themselves in a woman's shoes. At least visual representations are something men can be familiar with. There really isn't an excuse for the lack of clothing and huge breasts, beyond marketing and stupidity that is.

The only way to really stop it, though, is to stop voting with your wallets. Not writing incredibly long walls of text about how it's not good.

And, the crazy thing is, I NEVER SEE WOMEN WRITING THESE. EVER.

It's troubling, and you are right, this is probably not going to help. But if I were a woman, I sure as hell wouldn't want to write one of these things and open myself up to folks on a website. Sounds like suicide to me.

Posted by Aetheldod

@Draugen said: Nice write up .... specially true about Liara , but come on duder a little skin doesnt kill :D (so in little words , sometimes i just want skin and sometimes Im inclined to not be sexist at all)

Posted by believer258

@BrockNRolla said:

@believer258 said:

@BrockNRolla said:

@believer258 said:

Can we get past this already? Please? I have seen this topic multiple times today and you are not going to curb the lust of men who like to see skin.

Besides, the outfits aren't sexist so much as the writing is. There are very few well-written female characters in gaming, period. They almost always consist of evil angry bitches or submissive nice girls.

I understand your sentiment, and I agree, it is annoying to see this notion popping up here so many times in one day, but this is a legitimate issue in the world of gaming. It's at least as resonable a topic as "Whose your favorite staff member?" or "Guess this anime."

I think you're a little off on the writing aspect of woman characters though. While you're correct in saying that there are few well written female characters, you can at least explain some of this away in that most of the people writing games are men who therefore might have a difficult time placing themselves in a woman's shoes. At least visual representations are something men can be familiar with. There really isn't an excuse for the lack of clothing and huge breasts, beyond marketing and stupidity that is.

The only way to really stop it, though, is to stop voting with your wallets. Not writing incredibly long walls of text about how it's not good.

And, the crazy thing is, I NEVER SEE WOMEN WRITING THESE. EVER.

It's troubling, and you are right, this is probably not going to help. But if I were a woman, I sure as hell wouldn't want to write one of these things and open myself up to folks on a website. Sounds like suicide to me.

What do you mean, exactly? Why would it be suicide to write about something that bothers you? Especially on something as anonymous as this forum and these virtual masks we're all hiding behind?

Posted by SlasherMan

@rebgav said:

The quickest way to a woman's heart is directly through the sternum; a pointed tool like a pickaxe or lance with appropriate force applied should make short work of any troublesome female.

I laughed. I am such a terrible person...

Posted by BrockNRolla

@believer258 said:

@BrockNRolla said:

@believer258 said:

@BrockNRolla said:

@believer258 said:

Can we get past this already? Please? I have seen this topic multiple times today and you are not going to curb the lust of men who like to see skin.

Besides, the outfits aren't sexist so much as the writing is. There are very few well-written female characters in gaming, period. They almost always consist of evil angry bitches or submissive nice girls.

I understand your sentiment, and I agree, it is annoying to see this notion popping up here so many times in one day, but this is a legitimate issue in the world of gaming. It's at least as resonable a topic as "Whose your favorite staff member?" or "Guess this anime."

I think you're a little off on the writing aspect of woman characters though. While you're correct in saying that there are few well written female characters, you can at least explain some of this away in that most of the people writing games are men who therefore might have a difficult time placing themselves in a woman's shoes. At least visual representations are something men can be familiar with. There really isn't an excuse for the lack of clothing and huge breasts, beyond marketing and stupidity that is.

The only way to really stop it, though, is to stop voting with your wallets. Not writing incredibly long walls of text about how it's not good.

And, the crazy thing is, I NEVER SEE WOMEN WRITING THESE. EVER.

It's troubling, and you are right, this is probably not going to help. But if I were a woman, I sure as hell wouldn't want to write one of these things and open myself up to folks on a website. Sounds like suicide to me.

What do you mean, exactly? Why would it be suicide to write about something that bothers you? Especially on something as anonymous as this forum and these virtual masks we're all hiding behind?

I guess I mean in reference to some of the folks who wrote some things about coming out and various other related manners on the site in the recent past. I have been terribly offended and disgusted as some of the responses. There is just a lot of ignorance and hate floating around, even on this site, and opening yourself up to that has to be a terrible experience. Obviously, if a person believes in something, they might be willing to brave that anyway, but the internet is full of cruel, small-minded individuals who would love nothing more than to lash out at someone.

So I imagine a woman coming out and claiming that video games are sexist would probably garner way more hate than she would support. I think that would be a very painful to experience.

Edited by Bwast

@BrockNRolla said:

It's troubling, and you are right, this is probably not going to help. But if I were a woman, I sure as hell wouldn't want to write one of these things and open myself up to folks on a website. Sounds like suicide to me.

Posted by The_Laughing_Man
@Aetheldod said:

@Draugen said: Nice write up .... specially true about Liara , but come on duder a little skin doesnt kill :D (so in little words , sometimes i just want skin and sometimes Im inclined to not be sexist at all)

NO ONE is hotter then Tali. 
Posted by EpochError

@believer258: I know, it's shocking more women don't post about gender issues and sexism on this and other game forums. It's not like mentioning you're a woman is bound to get you stalkers, called an attention whore, or otherwise harassed. I mean are you shitting me here? Any time topics like this come up there's a swarm of dudes immediately jumping in to deny sexism in games even exists, pretend that men are the REAL victims, or just stifle the discussion like you're doing right now by telling people to shut up about it. The atmosphere isn't exactly hospitable.

Posted by BrockNRolla

@Bwast said:

@BrockNRolla said:

It's troubling, and you are right, this is probably not going to help. But if I were a woman, I sure as hell wouldn't want to write one of these things and open myself up to folks on a website. Sounds like suicide to me.

I do not understand. Enlighten me?

Posted by Bwast

@BrockNRolla: You'll get it when you're older. Or dumber. Either way it's really funny, trust me.

Posted by BrockNRolla

@Bwast said:

@BrockNRolla: You'll get it when you're older. Or dumber. Either way it's really funny, trust me.

Eh... Alright? I thought maybe the guy was a victim of internet bullying for something. I guess I was thinking in too relevant a vein maybe... Or maybe not...

Posted by Bwast

@BrockNRolla: Take a quick peek at your quote in my post. You might find some words are more important than others. They will provide the answers you seek.

Posted by BrockNRolla

@Bwast said:

@BrockNRolla: Take a quick peek at your quote in my post. You might find some words are more important than others. They will provide the answers you seek.

Yeah, I saw those. But it still didn't strike me. Well, I'll let sleeping dogs lie on this one.

Edited by believer258

@EpochError said:

@believer258: I know, it's shocking more women don't post about gender issues and sexism on this and other game forums. It's not like mentioning you're a woman is bound to get you stalkers, called an attention whore, or otherwise harassed. I mean are you shitting me here? Any time topics like this come up there's a swarm of dudes immediately jumping in to deny sexism in games even exists, pretend that men are the REAL victims, or just stifle the discussion like you're doing right now by telling people to shut up about it. The atmosphere isn't exactly hospitable.

All right, smartass. Hate to break it to you but you're stifling conversation just as much, if not more so, than I am.

What I was saying is that I'd like to see a well-thought out post written from the female perspective of this issue, instead of seeing men get on here and claim some sort of sexist high ground by complaining about things that most of them were probably salivating over in 2004 (and only aren't now so they can write these posts unhypocritically). Especially since it's, you know, their problem and not ours in the least. What are we men getting from it? A bunch of eyecandy and our fantasies placed on a fucking screen, that's what, and in all honesty I LIKE SEEING TITS. Which I don't have a problem with nor am I afraid to admit it.

Posted by Hailinel

The quickest way to a woman's heart is letting her kick you in the balls.

NO WAIT

Posted by Draugen

@believer258 said:

There are very few well-written female characters in gaming, period. They almost always consist of evil angry bitches or submissive nice girls.

I touch upon this in the very first paragraph.

@rebgav said:

The quickest way to a woman's heart is directly through the sternum; a pointed tool like a pickaxe or lance with appropriate force applied should make short work of any troublesome female.

Pardon me if I am in error, doctor... :)

@believer258 said:

The only way to really stop it, though, is to vote with your wallets. Not writing incredibly long walls of text about how it's not good.

And, the crazy thing is, I NEVER SEE WOMEN WRITING THESE. EVER.

I'm not out to stop anything, I am simply out to air my thoughts.

Nor am I out to write a grand, sweeping manifesto on behalf of women. These thoughts are mine, and mine alone.

@Aetheldod said:

@Draugen said: Nice write up .... specially true about Liara , but come on duder a little skin doesnt kill :D (so in little words , sometimes i just want skin and sometimes Im inclined to not be sexist at all)

Duder, I love skin! If skin is done skilfully, and with subtlety, that is.

@The_Laughing_Man said:

NO ONE is hotter then Tali.

I hear that. Fistbump, bro!

@BrockNRolla said:

Eh... Alright? I thought maybe the guy was a victim of internet bullying for something. I guess I was thinking in too relevant a vein maybe... Or maybe not...

Don't worry about it. I'm old as sin, and dumb as a post, and I don't get it either. :)

Posted by Ulain

@BrockNRolla said:

@believer258 said:

Can we get past this already? Please? I have seen this topic multiple times today and you are not going to curb the lust of men who like to see skin.

Besides, the outfits aren't sexist so much as the writing is. There are very few well-written female characters in gaming, period. They almost always consist of evil angry bitches or submissive nice girls.

I understand your sentiment, and I agree, it is annoying to see this notion popping up here so many times in one day, but this is a legitimate issue in the world of gaming. It's at least as resonable a topic as "Whose your favorite staff member?" or "Guess this anime."

Nope, those posts are just as stupid. There are pretty much two identical posts about "who is your favorite staff member?" Is that really what constitutes for general discussion, along with these stupid "sexism" posts?

As for the OP, did this piece of crap even have a point? At least the other, EXACT SAME THREAD as this was more uniform and well-constructed with less rambling.

As someone else said, if you're that concerned with it, fight with your wallet. We don't make the games that you're so butthurt by, and you probably won't change anyone's opinion on this subject with that wall-o-text.

Edited by yoshisaur

@believer258 said:

@EpochError said:

@believer258: I know, it's shocking more women don't post about gender issues and sexism on this and other game forums. It's not like mentioning you're a woman is bound to get you stalkers, called an attention whore, or otherwise harassed. I mean are you shitting me here? Any time topics like this come up there's a swarm of dudes immediately jumping in to deny sexism in games even exists, pretend that men are the REAL victims, or just stifle the discussion like you're doing right now by telling people to shut up about it. The atmosphere isn't exactly hospitable.

All right, smartass. Hate to break it to you but you're stifling conversation just as much, if not more so, than I am.

What I was saying is that I'd like to see a well-thought out post written from the female perspective of this issue, instead of seeing men get on here and claim some sort of sexist high ground by complaining about things that most of them were probably salivating over in 2004 (and only aren't now so they can write these posts unhypocritically). Especially since it's, you know, their problem and not ours in the least. What are we men getting from it? A bunch of eyecandy and our fantasies placed on a fucking screen, that's what, and in all honesty I LIKE SEEING TITS. Which I don't have a problem with nor am I afraid to admit it.

It always cracks me up to hear men bitch about sexually attractive women. They are either unknowing of their own feelings to it (it's okay, it's natural [literally] to look at her lady parts), or simply have no attraction to that sex in the first place. I am a prime example of this. I was addicted to ladies when I was 15-16 and than I got married a few years later. I made it a pledge to not look at other women for my wife and I feel I accomplished that. However, after all the porn and negative thoughts toward their sex, all I can view women in that regard (pretty) is negatively. Deep under it all is a form of angst that wants to break out and fuck the shit out of every hot girl I cross (you know, that animal-instinct all males have that produce semen).

Example for my statement above: Jessica Chobot. I know nothing of her, but the fact that she is pretty and sexually attractive makes me hate her. This feeling is actually my attraction to her that is filtered by my inability to want her. Is she a good journalist for gaming? I have no clue, but the fact that she is pretty makes me not want to listen to her. (Just for fyi, so I don't get flamed for sexism, I never openly portray this feeling towards any women, it is simply something I live with.)

Anywho, tl;dr - sex sells. No matter how much you don't want it to.

Posted by Draugen

@Ulain: I'm sorry you feel that way.

Like I said, I'm not out to combat anyhting, so my wallet will remain safely in the barracks in the fight you are describing. I wanted to write down my slanted, slightly humorous take on a controversial subject in gaming. If you feel a gaming forum is not the right venue, I'm afraid I shall have to disagree with you.

Posted by ch3burashka

You know what they say, the quickest way to a woman's heart is through her stomach.

Hold on...

Posted by Draugen

@ccampb89: I'm glad that I could make you laugh, but I'm sad that you apparently missed the point entirely.

Posted by yoshisaur

@Draugen said:

@ccampb89: I'm glad that I could make you laugh, but I'm sad that you apparently missed the point entirely.

I was replying to Epoch. I am still coming up with a post for yours.

Posted by BrockNRolla

@Ulain said:

@BrockNRolla said:

@believer258 said:

Can we get past this already? Please? I have seen this topic multiple times today and you are not going to curb the lust of men who like to see skin.

Besides, the outfits aren't sexist so much as the writing is. There are very few well-written female characters in gaming, period. They almost always consist of evil angry bitches or submissive nice girls.

I understand your sentiment, and I agree, it is annoying to see this notion popping up here so many times in one day, but this is a legitimate issue in the world of gaming. It's at least as resonable a topic as "Whose your favorite staff member?" or "Guess this anime."

Nope, those posts are just as stupid. There are pretty much two identical posts about "who is your favorite staff member?" Is that really what constitutes for general discussion, along with these stupid "sexism" posts?

As for the OP, did this piece of crap even have a point? At least the other, EXACT SAME THREAD as this was more uniform and well-constructed with less rambling.

As someone else said, if you're that concerned with it, fight with your wallet. We don't make the games that you're so butthurt by, and you probably won't change anyone's opinion on this subject with that wall-o-text.

If only you could vette everyone's topics before they posted them. I'm sure GiantUlain would be a much more interesting site.

Posted by Gamer_152

Draugen, I don't think your posts are "stupid" or deserve attacking, I don't even think this is a post about "sexism", and I think there's genuinely something interesting to discuss here, it's just that I believe most of us have already long taken on board the issue a lot of people have with the depiction of women in video games; their outfits are impractical to the point of breaking immersion. The chainmail bikini has been the joke of many a gamer for some years now and it's not just in recent times that video games have taken to depicting women as highly sexualised. In general though, I don't think video game character designs were ever about putting utility ahead of visual appeal, "utility" isn't fun, exciting or interesting.

I think if there is an issue it's more that the depiction of women in video games still pushes too far in the direction of visual appeal, more so than that of many male characters. I've written a little about it before, and personally, I don't have a problem with scantily dressed women in video games, my problem is more that there are way too many female characters in games where "scantily dressed" is basically their default or only personality trait, and that this whole thing is an extension of video games as a whole often not being able to reach beyond being shallow empowerment fantasies in terms of aesthetics and narrative.

Moderator
Posted by Draugen

@Gamer_152: You're right, my post isn't about sexism, it's not even about cheap visualisation of women, it's about my issue with game designers' inability to write their female characters with anything else than sledgehammer subtlety. Characterisation is important to me, and I don't subscribe to the notion video games are light fun, that you never should expect any more from. If that is the case, in my opinion, video games will always remain a lesser medium.

Posted by spartanlolz92

@BrockNRolla said:

@believer258 said:

Can we get past this already? Please? I have seen this topic multiple times today and you are not going to curb the lust of men who like to see skin.

Besides, the outfits aren't sexist so much as the writing is. There are very few well-written female characters in gaming, period. They almost always consist of evil angry bitches or submissive nice girls.

I understand your sentiment, and I agree, it is annoying to see this notion popping up here so many times in one day, but this is a legitimate issue in the world of gaming. It's at least as resonable a topic as "Whose your favorite staff member?" or "Guess this anime."

I think you're a little off on the writing aspect of woman characters though. While you're correct in saying that there are few well written female characters, you can at least explain some of this away in that most of the people writing games are men who therefore might have a difficult time placing themselves in a woman's shoes. At least visual representations are something men can be familiar with. There really isn't an excuse for the lack of clothing and huge breasts, beyond marketing and stupidity that is.

im sorry ill consider it a legitimate issue when enough female begin to voice there opinion

the majority of people who comment and post on this stuff on this male. therefore we have no idea what woman acutally think

and you have to remember something women do like too look sexy as much as men want to be ripped if not more. obviously the stripper stuff like ivy is way over the top

i agree it is stupid that girls wear next to nothing in a fps and the like. but stuff like twilight does the exact same thing with its male cast, the commericial high light for one of them was that the guy was shirtless.

i dont consider that sexist its just going for its audience.

Posted by Slag

@Draugen said:

@Gamer_152: You're right, my post isn't about sexism, it's not even about cheap visualisation of women, it's about my issue with game designers' inability to write their female characters with anything else than sledgehammer subtlety. Characterisation is important to me, and I don't subscribe to the notion video games are light fun, that you never should expect any more from. If that is the case, in my opinion, video games will always remain a lesser medium.

I agree with you, I personally think the writing/characterization of female characters in games leaves a lot to be desired. I think it's a bigger issue than the outfit/physical look thing personally (and a lot more addressable too).

I disagree with you that video games are light fun. I think some certainly are and should be, but I think the medium is easily wide enough to have more serious better written stuff as well. Even literature has its' share of shlock.

Sex certainly sells and I don't see that ever going away, but there is no reason why there can't be at least some games that aspire to more interesting multi dimenionsal chacaters male and female.

Edited by Hizang

The quickest way to a woman's heart is a mans second heart.

Posted by Pinworm45

I'll start to feel like video games are sexist when I start playing as overweight male characters, or male characters who don't spend 30 hours at the gym every day, and have ridiculously proportions.

Until then, it's not sexist, it's at worst stupid, but intended to be visually appealing. You know, like fucking any kind of media.

Every single time someone posts a picture of a fighting game female and goes "LOOK HOW SEXIST THIS IS BECAUSE IT SHOWS OFF HER UNATTAINABLY GORGOUS PIXEL BODY", I can only think "look at the males, retard."

Posted by Draugen

@Pinworm45 said:

Until then, it's not sexist, it's at worst stupid, but intended to be visually appealing. You know, like fucking any kind of media.

Again, this is the point of the OP. It's stupid, and it's cheap, and I'm not satisfied with the stagnation we are seeing, "like fucking any kind of media." If the status quo is good enough for you, then I'm happy for you.

@spartanlolz92 said:

@BrockNRolla said:

@believer258 said:

Can we get past this already? Please? I have seen this topic multiple times today and you are not going to curb the lust of men who like to see skin.

Besides, the outfits aren't sexist so much as the writing is. There are very few well-written female characters in gaming, period. They almost always consist of evil angry bitches or submissive nice girls.

I understand your sentiment, and I agree, it is annoying to see this notion popping up here so many times in one day, but this is a legitimate issue in the world of gaming. It's at least as resonable a topic as "Whose your favorite staff member?" or "Guess this anime."

I think you're a little off on the writing aspect of woman characters though. While you're correct in saying that there are few well written female characters, you can at least explain some of this away in that most of the people writing games are men who therefore might have a difficult time placing themselves in a woman's shoes. At least visual representations are something men can be familiar with. There really isn't an excuse for the lack of clothing and huge breasts, beyond marketing and stupidity that is.

im sorry ill consider it a legitimate issue when enough female begin to voice there opinion

the majority of people who comment and post on this stuff on this male. therefore we have no idea what woman acutally think

and you have to remember something women do like too look sexy as much as men want to be ripped if not more. obviously the stripper stuff like ivy is way over the top

i agree it is stupid that girls wear next to nothing in a fps and the like. but stuff like twilight does the exact same thing with its male cast, the commericial high light for one of them was that the guy was shirtless.

i dont consider that sexist its just going for its audience.

As I've mentioned previously, I'm not writing anything on behalf of the downtrodden female population, I'm writing from the point of view of me, as a hairy, disgusting man, how I see the situation, and how I'm not happy with it. I'm not calling anyhting sexist, I'm calling it lazy, and I for one, would like to see the medium move forward.

Posted by TaliciaDragonsong

Good read and I agree.
 
I understand that in an artform like games, movies or even books this stuff happens, but there's so much more to be gained in terms of long run when it comes to strong female characters that aren't walking boobs.
Some games I just don't mind too, like Soul Calibur or Dead or Alive, it's almost part of the game (it is, lets be honest) and adds to the laugh factor.
But other games, like Tomb Raider, its at times just sad how much they try to focus on the curves on Lara instead of the rest of the game.
 
I agree with your Shepard story too, Female Shep acts like she's insanely butch, but its still superb voice acting that makes her for me.
I recognize animations from Kotor 1 (Improved, aye, but they're still there) and other Bioware games so I'm not going on animation alone or I'd not even bother with half of Bio's games, voice acting and story is what draws me into a character.
 
And if they show emotion or a good side that only adds.
I think my favorite character in terms of personality has to be Samus.
I loved the things they added in Other M and I was super amazed at her Ridley freakout, don't care what anyone else says about it but I loved the game and her development as a character.

Posted by Rekt_Hed

I always thought of it like this. The amount of normal to ugly people vs hot people is greatly unbalanced. When these average people (myself included) play a game its a form of escapism and so we want to see ripped dudes and fantasy women we would never have a chance with. We just do. And if you don't want to see sexism burn your house down and live in a shed in the woods cause its everywhere in modern society.

Do you think god of watch would be successful if kratos was just a average dude?? He's got a perfect body abbey is practically naked apart from his Greek pants and boots

Posted by Rekt_Hed

God dammit phone posted by accident .....try to ignore all the typos 'and' instead of 'abbey' and god of war not 'watch' .....my life ffs

Posted by bio595

Sorry but is it her right or my right?

I thought that it was easier to go underneath the rib cage and reach up than to try and go straight through the rib cage.

Posted by Draugen

@bio595: I knew I should have written shortest instead. "This is the internet, no-one will nit-pick," I thought. :P

Posted by The_Moorasaurus

I'm not sure why you're receiving so much stick for writing this Blog, I thought it was intelligent and well written.

Stranger still, a few people seem to think that this issue is bored to death, and that we should give up trying to change the over-sexualisaton of women in video games, like it's a waste of time or something. It's not, and I support your agenda. I really like playing games, but there is always that sleazy factor that is just embarrassing to talk about.

I am engaged, and I do not buy some games out of respect for my Fiancee, I feel strange playing games with nudity (i.e. God of War, (though while unnecessary, at least it is tonally accurate) or ridiculously under-dressed females (like most fighting games) in front of her, and I want her to respect the games that I play because they are artistic and fun, rather than catering to my lizard brain...

Keep doing what you're doing anyway, I can't wait 'til the day i'm comfortable telling people I play games, (all games) and people actually respect the hobby, like they would reading or watching films.

Posted by ShiftyMagician

So I guess I'm part of the problem if I'm considering getting TERA huh? C'mon man that game looks stunning! Impractical outfits be damned!!

Posted by bio595

@Draugen said:

@bio595: I knew I should have written shortest instead. "This is the internet, no-one will nit-pick," I thought. :P

=)

Edited by Brodehouse

Sexualized costumes comes more from the art designer's natural desire to make things attractive-looking than it does some plan to keep women subjugated.  They draw each character a hundred times, and I bet with every incarnation the female characters get more naturally curvaceous and the male characters get more ruggedly handsome.
 
People find Mass Effect's Miranda to be nothing but a strumpet because of her body and face, because they're 'perfect' phyiscally.  But that's ignoring that Shephard and Jacob are both based on male models, have physically 'perfect' male builds, and are dressed in the most attractive way possible (women aren't turned on by naked dudes for a number of reasons).  Everyone is designed to look perfect, and sexy, and cool because people naturally prefer to look at attractive things.  Brad Pitt is extremely easy to look at.  Clint Howard not so much.
 
Finally, if a person looks at a female character and is ready to judge her on nothing more than her body and her clothes, that's more sexist than putting her in any revealing outfit. 

Posted by Pinworm45

@Draugen said:

@Pinworm45 said:

Until then, it's not sexist, it's at worst stupid, but intended to be visually appealing. You know, like fucking any kind of media.

Again, this is the point of the OP. It's stupid, and it's cheap, and I'm not satisfied with the stagnation we are seeing, "like fucking any kind of media." If the status quo is good enough for you, then I'm happy for you.

I don't typically play games like that. I don't care for it, for me, I care about practicality and immersion. Women wearing skimpy armor outfits breaks that. So do dudes with ridiculously high muscle mass that walk around shirtless. Gender isn't an issue.

Some people like how that looks. Some people find those styles appealing. Who am I to tell them they're wrong? If someone was to tell me that Mass Effect - a series I enjoy - has a retarded art style, I'd disagree and think they're a moron. I assume that someone who finds skimpy outfits, or bodies being shown off, or whatever the fuck would feel the exact same way.

the fact that tons of media portrays this isn't what makes it "acceptable" and that wasn't the point I was trying to make. The point I was trying to make is that it sells. What that means is that many people find it appealing or enjoy it. So again, who am I to tell them they're wrong or they can't enjoy a particular style?

Posted by drag

'i haven't seen a topic about this from a woman here on my forum of choice therefore it's not an issue' great, great. 'i'm fine with it so it's also not a big deal' great, double great

Posted by ZeForgotten
@ShiftyMagician said:

So I guess I'm part of the problem if I'm considering getting TERA huh? C'mon man that game looks stunning! Impractical outfits be damned!!

That makes me part of the problem too!  
 
TERA. Guild Wars 2, Star Wars: The Old Republicn and Mass Effect 3! All paid for and everything.  
Oh well, I can at least hope that I'm going to hell for it
Posted by TheDudeOfGaming

Do the naked man. Works 2 out of 3 times.

Edited by Shun_Akiyama

New Lara Croft is waaaay better looking then the old one.

Posted by Cheesebob

The quickest way to a woman's heart is through the vagina

  • 54 results
  • 1
  • 2