INTRODUCTION

The genesis of this blog came from an article that I wrote for See Page XX examining prevalence of sexist depictions of women in different areas of gaming. Before you read anything else here, you should really go read the article. (Yes it’s important enough to link twice.) If you find yourself wanting to argue with the article, please read this post here elucidating common arguments against my findings and clarifying some points regarding my criteria and methods.

My goal is to make this a place you can point people to regarding specific issues pertaining to sexism in gaming.

If this is your first time visiting my blog, welcome! If you don’t want to read chronologically, consider checking out this guide on how to use this blog. If you’re a feminist or ally looking for a specific post to use as a reference, then visit this guide here.

GenCon First Impressions: HOPE FOR THE FUUUUUTURE

Well, folks. I’m back from GenCon! And there is SO. MUCH. I want to write about! So the goal is to get up a flurry of posts in the next week or so covering a wide range of topics related to GenCon and how my experiences there reflect on the community as a whole.

However, I have come down with the most instantaneous case of con crud I have ever suffered (I imagine I must have contracted it about 5 seconds after entering the convention hall) and am also deeply sick right now. So I might just collapse on a couch at home and play Final Fantasy while moaning about how miserable I am for several days (seriously, I’m so whiny when I get sick). I guess we’ll see what happens.

I have so much I want to write about! But I thought I’d start on a high note and talk about the many things this year that made me feel SO FULL OF HOPE FOR THE FUTURE YOU GUYS. SO SO FULL OF HOPE.


 

1. Things I saw while walking around the convention

Walking around the convention hall, I was pleased to see so many women attendees – in the dealer’s room they seemed to account for around 35-40% of attendees. And I was especially pleased to see lots of families with young children in tow. I didn’t see as many men wearing babies in slings as I have in past years, but I did see instances of face-meltingly adorable family cosplay. Like the mother and daughter both cosplaying as Super Girl, or another mother and her son both cosplaying as Iron Man. And then there was the mom in street clothes with an 11th Doctor fez, accompanied by her two daughters – one cosplaying as Elsa and the other as a princess (?) I admittedly didn’t recognize.

All of which made me so happy. It’s so great watching the hobby literally expand into the next generation. I can only hope that this new generation of nerds in training will do better than the generations that have gone before them.

The Women in Gaming panel (that I was on! Wow was that nerve-wracking!) was also something that gave me a lot of hope. It was packed(!) with women, many of whom were eager to jump into the discussion to tell their story. And all of the women who spoke emphasized the need for women to support each other in bringing other women into the hobby instead of turning into gatekeepers because we want to be “not one of those women”.

Also encouraging was the fact that there were men in attendance at the panel, and that they largely behaved themselves. Some of them did make comments, but they were largely on point and supportive. And they didn’t try to mansplain or dominate the discussion either, which was a relief. (Well except for that one guy who said we should just make games instead of speaking out about sexism. But there’s always going to be at least one, I guess.)

Lastly, I was about to triumphantly post NO CORPSE TITS IN THE DEALERS ROOM. Only someone on my G+ posted a picture of a life-size statue of Thay, so I guess I have to amend that to “no corpse tits that I personally observed”. [sigh] Baby steps?

2. MIKE MEARLS Y’ALL

Saturday afternoon, I was lucky enough to have a great lunch with Tracy Hurley and Mike Mearls where we talked about sexism and misogyny in the industry, and about the issues with trying to increase the diversity of representation in games themselves. The meeting was prompted by ConsultancyGate (if you don’t know what that is, be very thankful), but the conversation mostly focused on other things.

Mike was very open about the difficulties that he’s faced in trying to push inclusivity in the game products he’s worked on. He talked about how he’d been assuming diversity of representation was the default, only to realize later that there were many others who had assumed the opposite, who feared they might face consequences if they pushed their content “too far”. And now he’s working to actively make D&D products more inclusive going forward (something which I will write about in further detail later).

All in all, it was a really great conversation in which both Tracy and I were encouraged to be honest about our feelings and personal experience, which – let me tell you – is not always the case when talking with male industry professionals. Coming from the head of the flagship product of RPGs, this means SO SO MUCH to me. I left our meeting feeling like the new direction of art in 5E D&D isn’t just competitiveness with Paizo, as some have suggested, but a genuine desire to do better. I look forward to seeing what comes out of D&D under his direction.

(Amusingly, I will note that when we asked Mike if we could blog about the meeting, Mike said “of course”, then said he hadn’t wanted to assume that we would because he didn’t want to sound all HEY FEMINISTZ PLS GIVE ME COOKIES THX. Which, ironically, made me want to give Mike feminism cookies, and I don’t even believe in feminism cookies.)

3. Games on Demand

This was my first year of running games at Games on Demand, although for the last many years I’ve spent most of my convention at Games on Demand. It’s funny, because the notes that I made for this post before writing it included “lots of women GMs”. But then when I asked one of the organizers, he told me that about 15% of the GMs were women or non-binary by his tally.

Which. Huh. Okay. I guess my brain fooled me on that one. But the women I saw who did come out to GM were really bringing it to their games and I saw people really having fun at those games. (Can I just take a moment to say that I am insanely jealous that I didn’t get to play Karen Twelves’ Apocalypse World: Olive Garden scenario? So very, very jealous.)

So yeah, the total number of not-dudes at Games on Demand might have left something to be desired (and let’s be clear, I am not attacking GoD here. This is a problem GoD staff have been working for multiple years to ameliorate, but it is hard because both the causes and possible solutions are difficult to pin down). But overall, the emphasis on diversity and inclusion was really a breath of fresh air.

For one thing, there were equality stickers freely available at GoD (I stuck one on the back of my badge – might as well make it a useful space since that’s what winds up getting seen half the time anyway). The ever-fabulous John Stavropolous also wrote an amazing “instruction manual” on how to run games with some great sections on how to help everyone feel safe at the table as well as tools for dealing with problem behavior and helping make sure everyone feels welcome. (And honestly, this is a great document for anyone who runs games, not just GoD GMs.)

And more generally, it was awesome meeting so many new people who are committed to building a supportive and progressive tabletop community. I was also lucky to run into a fair number of people who made a point of telling me that they appreciate my blog.

There was so much bile on certain parts of the internet prior to the convention that it was really hard to remind myself that things were getting better. But I talked with several people, not just women!, who made a point of thanking me for blogging that it made me feel really good that this is the direction that most gamers are heading in. Speaking out makes a difference, and things will get better.


Stuff for next time(s)

I’ve got so much more to talk about! There’s the inevitable picture post, where I go through my many shots from the dealer’s room. I’ve also got a not-so-happy post about Stuff I Didn’t Enjoy at GenCon. But on a more positive note, I do intend to do some post-GenCon followup writing about some non-WoTC publishers who I felt like were really Doing It Right – Pelgrane and Paizo. And I might also do some followup about a previously blogged about topic.

Phew!

Comments

WordPress.com doesn’t seem to have an option for globally turning off comments on the entire blog, so I’ve turned on manual comment moderation, which means theoretically every comment will need to be approved before showing up and thus hopefully achieve the same result. So if you’re a regular reader, or even a new one, and are trying to comment and not seeing your comment show up? It’s not because I hate you. It’s because I can’t trust the internet to play nice right now.

If for some reason this turns out not to have worked (because who knows, I’ve never done this before and seriously I still have shit to pack), then I ask people not to engage with any trolls who might show up. Normally “don’t feed the trolls” is a policy I disagree with, but in this instance… yeah, that.

See you all next week!

This was going to be a link post but then I got distracted

This was going to be a quick link post before I get into my car and drive the waytoomanyhoursthankyou to GenCon, leaving my family and my cats behind to weep over my absence (they won’t) and wail bitter lamentations until my return (yeah right).

But then some stuff happened. Mostly behind the scenes on various social networks, and mostly to people who aren’t me. (Although some of it was directed at me personally.) So I started accumulating crap in this text box to blog about until I realized that I was putting more thought into this than I’d originally anticipated. So newer patrons, I promise my paid posts aren’t usually this disjointed.

That said! On to the good stuff:


 

Links!

The two stories I was originally going to link to come courtesy of The Mary Sue.

FIRST. It seems that the staff of Jezebel felt it necessary to make a post holding their management at Gawker to account for the fact that they are getting trolled with violent rape imagery by anonymous trolls and Gawker is doing… absolutely nothing about it. So TMS had this great piece looking at the thinking behind their moderation policies and how it’s actually fucking worked to keep trolls out of their comment sections.

Which. Jesus. Anyone who’s been to TMS will have seen that their discussion threads can get pretty lively. While I’m not as regular a reader as I used to be, I certainly can’t say that I’ve seen anything other than civil discussion on TMS posts that I’ve read on their site. So can we please let the “banning anonymous commenters will kill discussion” myth die already? Please?

My personal experience is that the opposite tends to be true. Trolls suck oxygen out of the conversation and make people afraid to speak up with their opinion. Conversations here on GMMaS improved about a million fold once I started banning trolls and deleting troll comments, and I get many more comments from visitors “just passing through” that I’ve found really valuable.

So Jesus, Gawker. Get your act together and try to be marginally less terrible, okay?

SECOND. This is so horrifying – a woman, married and pregnant with her husband’s child, discovered that her husband was a horrible, horrible Reddit troll. When she asked him to stop, he lied and said he would then didn’t. And when she demanded that he get counseling or they would split up, he apparently felt that making people feel horrible about themselves online was more important to him than his real life marriage and his real life about-to-be-baby.

And sure, the obvious caveats apply. This could be a fake. But honestly, this is so horrible, so sad, and so utterly, utterly COMMONPLACE that I have zero difficulty believing that it’s true. Which leads me to echo TMS in saying that we have to, have to start holding our friends and family accountable when we catch them doing this shit.

Don’t say “it’s just online” or “it’s not serious” or “he’s just an asshole” or “it’s just a joke”. That makes you complicit in shitty fucking behavior. Say “wow, dude, that’s not fucking okay” and actually stop talking to people who refuse to stop this kind of behavior. Because this sort of behavior LITERALLY KILLS PEOPLE. (And I mean that literally, not figuratively, even though literally apparently also means figuratively now which is just the wooooorst.)

If you discover that someone is being a shitty human being, it’s not unreasonable to say that if they refuse to stop being a shitty human being, you should refuse to keep being their friend.


 

Here’s a thing that I have been mostly-not-a-target-of-but-still-kinda. Some dudes are attempting to blacklist some people, mostly women, from the gaming industry because of reasons that boil down to a long and really boring story that boils down to the fact that some dudes just really don’t like women having opinions in public on the internet, like, ever.

Anyway, this gave me occasion to post the following on Twitter:

tweets

 

OH NO, random dude I don’t care about! PLEASE NO! Don’t get all those awful dudes that I have blocked anyway to promise not to work with me! HOW WILL MY LIFE HAVE MEANING?? Because my entire life revolved around whether misogynists are willing to throw me a couple scraps to let me write for them!

…yeah.

This got me thinking that really the only way to properly convey this sentiment was with a venn diagram:

venn-diagram

Yes the quality is terrible. I’m sorry.

(My love of sarcastic diagrams and flow charts knows no bounds. I love them more than misandry jokes, which I also really really love.)


 

Lastly, I’ve been meditating recently on the block functions of various social networks and how aggressive curating of my social networks has kept my G+/facebook/etc a very civilized place to be, for the most part. But the fact is I have a couple super persistent trolls who just really want to bypass all that and tell me how awful I am. Like, really really awful.

For the most part I think this is silly, since I mostly only find out by accident or when someone in my circles happens to mention it to me. So I drew the following out one lunch when I’d forgotten the book I’d been intending to read (this is ballpoint pen on copy paper in about half an hour, so the quality isn’t the best):

cartoon

Yes I know my handwriting is terrible.


 

Lastly, a policy note:

Either tonight or tomorrow morning, I’ll attempt to lock down comments on my blog while I’m gone. (Last time it didn’t work, which was irritating). I don’t want to have to watch the comments while I’m away trying to enjoy myself. In the mean time, go hug a kitten?

Wundergeek out.

Friday Freebie, plus some other stuff

The incomparable Leigh Alexander wrote this piece about Tidus and Final Fantasy X, which I can identify with deeply. I’ve played the game four times and sobbed at the ending every time. This is a game that will forever have a place in my heart.

With the approach of GenCon, a lot of people have been saying smart things about convention-preparedness. Rather than link to them all, I’m going to link to one post by Hans Cummings which starts with a roundup of convention advice posts and then goes on to provide some really great tips for how to make sure that you aren’t impinging on the con’s accessibility for people around you. (This should be required reading for people who attend conventions.)

Science communicator Vanessa Hill made this excellent video about the psychology of online trolling. So of course Lewis’ Law was proven once again when Vanessa Hill subsequently… got trolled. (Which feels strangely recursive.)

You look stressed. Have some animals taking selfies.


 

Now that things are calming down a bit at the day job, I’m starting to turn my attention back to more complex posts, as well as more posts about actual games I’m actually playing. I’ve also started chasing data points for my thing about sex workers in video games, although simply opening the spreadsheet makes me wince:

This is just a small snapshot.

This is just a small snapshot.

I fear this is turning into my white whale. I WILL CONQUER YOU! NO SPREADSHEET CAN DEFEAT ME!

…ahem.

I also intend to write about my thoughts on Lightning Returns, which I’m mostly enjoying. And of course I’m sure I’ll have several posts about this year’s GenCon. So there’s a preview of what’s brewing.


 

I’ve been really busy with prep for GenCon. That said, instead of actually finishing up GM prep materials, I found myself having to write this. And after writing it, I thought it would be good to put up a bit more visibly:

WRT “proof” of harassment, I am not obligated to “prove” my personal experience, not even to have it evaluated so that it might be (in)validated by an “objective” third party. The entire idea is nothing more than victim-blaming, because it places the obligation on the harassed person to “prove” that they have been victimized. If you’re not willing to believe me when I talk about my lived experience, how can I reasonably believe that you’re suddenly going to take me seriously if I jump through this extra hoop? Especially when that lived experience dictates that jumping through the hoop is useless, because the goalposts are just going to get moved anyway. “He wasn’t being serious”, “it wasn’t actual harassment“, “that’s just the way he is”, etc etc etc. So if I say “I’ve been victimized” and your response is “prove it”, you’ve already proven to me that you don’t have the basic human empathy for this interaction to be worth my time.

I get to decide who is worth my time and who isn’t. You are not entitled to my time OR my attention. Nor am I obligated to care if you think that I am lying.

Which, by the way, is an accusation that has gotten thrown around a lot. And you know what, FINE. We’re part of a hobby where the harassment and marginalization of women is so routine that it’s taken for granted. Anita Sarkeesian. Jennifer Hepler. Jade Raymond. All documented, all in the public eye. But if I speak up about my particular experience? And I don’t provide reams of documentation spanning multiple years, or if I say I don’t want to name someone because I’m trying to avoid the inevitable fallout of such an act? Easier to believe that I’m just making it up for the fun of it. You know, for attention. Because it’s not like women face social and professional consequences for speaking out about that stuff. And we certainly never have to try to balance the desire to speak truth to power with the need to protect our own personal well-being.

Lastly, the idea that victims of harassment would pay attention to what the person who instigated that harassment has to say on the subject of their harassment is, frankly, ludicrous. You know what many victims of harassment want? To be left the fuck alone. And that’s what block functions on social media are for! Which many victims of harassment use to keep their social media mostly tolerable. So if a guy that I’ve blocked makes a call to have people report his block-worthy behavior with a supposedly “neutral” third party… Good for him? I’m not necessarily going to be aware of that. Because again, NOBODY IS ENTITLED TO MY ATTENTION.

That said, it’s not anyone’s business but I have been having conversations with people behind the scenes and am trying to make something positive come out of all of this nonsense. Make of that what you will.

So that’s a thing that happened.

Quick update

Hi, folks!

Just a quick update. GenCon is only one week away and I still have so much prep to do! I’ve got a thing that I’ll try to get up before I leave, but this month’s posts will likely be a flurry of post-GenCon stuff. I’ve got some really exciting things planned for GenCon, and hopefully I’ll be able to blog about it upon my return.

I’ll try to at least put up a freebie even if I don’t manage anything else, but no promises!

Tips on successfully trolling a feminist

But first, some administrativa[1]

I’m pleased to say that I’ve reached a milestone. 50 patrons are now supporting this blog through my Patreon!

patrons

WOOHOO!

Since re-starting the blog after its somewhat lengthy hiatus, I’ve written 25 paid posts (including this one) covering a huge range of topics, from silly to serious and everything in between. So thanks to all of you for your continued support.

On to business.

I got one of my best troll comments yet here on the blog the other day. I won’t gratify the troll by posting the entirety of the comment, but it did call me an “autistic entitled skank” and said that I’d given him cancer. I was so delighted that the first thing I did (after deleting it from the post, naturally) was email it to a friend, who shared a good laugh with me.

misandry rays

I HAVE THEM.

Which got me thinking about how the majority of trolls are usually working against themselves in their feeble attempts to provoke anything stronger than mild annoyance. Because a lot of their “big guns”? Aren’t actually insults. Or rather, the fact that they are perceived as insults only proves the point of what I am talking about[2].

So because I care, I decided to write a post concerning mistakes to avoid when attempting to troll a feminist.

I know, I know. You’re welcome.

Lesson One: Grammar and spelling are important

When you’re crafting a comment designed to pierce the hate-filled heart of a feminist, it’s important to stick the dismount, as it were. You could be the Hieronymus Bosch of internet comments, but if your masterfully crafted barbs are delivered without any care for spelling, grammar, or capitalization, you’re just going to get laughed at. Case in point, this guy:

c minus

It is a sad truth that feminist agents of misandry are elitists and will only deign to read comments that adhere to proper rules of grammar. Now that’s not to say that you must be perfectly fluent in English – we do attempt to be reasonable, after all. There is usually an obvious difference between the sorts of small mistakes made by someone whose first language  isn’t English and the mistakes of someone who clearly doesn’t care about sentence structure at all.

So remember. Feminists are shallow and will totally judge a book by its cover, especially when that cover is ASKFLFLTTTFFTKKK.

Lesson Two: Things which aren’t actually insults (to feminists)

One of the difficulties in trolling a feminist is that there tends to be a lot of miscommunication because of different priorities. Many of the things that you deem most insult-worthy are also things that feminists are indifferent to or even perversely proud of.  So here are some (non-)insults to avoid the next time you feel the need to tell a feminist what you think about her so that she’ll feel bad about herself.

Amazing gif made by b1nd | Deviantart here

Amazing gif made by b1nd | Deviantart here

Fat/Ugly/Unfuckable

The problem with calling a feminist any of the above is twofold. First, feminists get called these things so often that these insults are just like water off a duck’s back. It’s a waste of everyone’s time, not that we care about the feminist’s time because feminists, amirite? Second, telling a feminist that she is a fat/ugly/unfuckable isn’t actually a statement of objective fact, but rather opinion. You are putting forth your opinion that this awful feminist lacks qualities that would make fucking her enjoyable.

The problem with that? Feminists don’t actually care what you think about their fuckability, or lack thereof.

It is, of course, a blight upon our civilized society that there are women out there who don’t care if a man offers his unsolicited opinion about her attractiveness as an (in)validation of her worth. But this is a sad reality we brave few have to face.

Cunt

There are several problems with using this line of attack. First, if you happen to be using this insult against a woman (which is likely), you are forgetting that feminists don’t actually think that being called female anatomy is an insult because there is nothing inherently dirty about women’s bodies. (They are, of course, wrong because yuck and also cooties.)

Second, consider that most feminists have generally positive feelings towards cunts, which is another reason this taunt should be avoided. Many (though not all) female feminists actually have cunts, and a large subset of those female feminists actually enjoy having them. (I’ll admit that in moments of feminine weakness, I have been guilty of this.) So if you call a feminist a cunt, especially a female feminist, there is a good chance that your jab will be counter-productive and engender positive feelings instead, which is counter to the whole point of the exercise.

Bitch

Bitch is a pretty broad insult, which would seem to make it useful in its versatility. But all it really means, in the end, is that a woman is not adhering to expected social norms of behavior. And since feminists are devoted to overthrowing the social order and instituting a matriarchy that privileges women over men, calling a feminist a bitch is actually a compliment.

Don’t believe me? Look at the preponderance of products available online emblazoned with some variation of “you say bitch like it’s a bad thing”. The free market is a testament to the prevalence of the widespread female disregard of the bounds of proper female behavior.

Lesbian/dyke

This one is just a waste of time, okay? As we all know, all feminists hate men and naturally, as a result, will only want to sleep with women. Calling a feminist a lesbian is like calling a US Senator corrupt. You’re just stating the obvious. Also, given that feminists are in perpetual competition with each other to see who can hate men the most, calling a feminist a lesbian is just going to serve as validation for her man-hating ways and will only earn her brownie points with other feminists.

Lastly, many feminists are actually friends with lesbians and other queer-of-center people. Would you be insulted if someone compared you to some of your friends? ….well okay, but that’s not the point.

Autistic/Bipolar/Crazy

This, too, is a largely ineffective attack to make against a feminist. Most feminists get pretty vocal about “normalizing mental illness” and “reducing” the “stigma” against “people” with “mental illness”. Since calling a feminist crazy actually reinforces the point that they’re trying to make, best to avoid this one too.

Slut/Skank/Whore

Slut is probably one of the most meaningless words in the English language. It’s application has been so widespread that essentially all it means is “woman who did something you don’t like or approve of”. And since we’re talking about feminists, it’s pretty much their life’s goal to do things that upstanding, civic-minded individuals like yourself wouldn’t approve of.

Feminazi

Look. Feminazi is a term created by Rush Limbaugh and… really? Can’t we do better? Besides, any use of the term feminazi is automatically invoking Godwin’s Law, which means you lose. Sorry. That’s just the way it is.

Humorless

The problem isn’t that feminists have no sense of humor. Far from it! The real problem is that feminists aren’t funny. Or rather, that you don’t find them funny. Feminists, on the other hand, think that they are hilarious.

These stock photo women are laughing because misandry is HILARIOUS.

These stock photo women are laughing because misandry is HILARIOUS.

Unfortunately, this is an argument that you’ll never win.

Lesson Three: Don’t bother, because they don’t give a shit what you think

Or at least this feminist doesn’t.

 

[1] I will never use a short word when there is a much cooler, longer word.

[2] See: Lewis’ Law

Blizzard doesn’t care if I think Hearthstone is fun

I’ve been playing Hearthstone lately and rather enjoying it. It gives me a quick casual gaming fix, I don’t really feel compelled to play even when I don’t have time, and given that I’ve been getting into playing more Magic lately, I just really like the gameplay. So like many, many other people, when the new single-player Naxxramas expansion was released yesterday, I downloaded it and took it for a spin.

I only had an hour to play, so I didn’t manage to get through all the new content, but I enjoyed what I did unlock, for the most part. It was challenging and fun getting a look at some new and very different deck types. But I had a moment early on in my playthrough of the new stuff that made me stop, sigh, shake my head, and say “yup, this game wasn’t meant for me all right”. It happened right after I defeated Normal Boss #1 and started a match with Normal Boss #2, Grand Widow Faerlina:

Oh, Blizzard. Why you gotta be like that?

Now, sphere boobs aside, her anatomy isn’t actually that bad. The only (hah) problem is her… armor? …dress?

Honestly, I don’t know what the hell to call it. Given the level of detail we can see on her boobs, collarbone, abs, and belly button, she’s wearing vacuum-sealed spandex at best and at worst is wearing body paint and nipple pasties. (Since I don’t, thankfully, see any visibly erect nipples. Thank god for small mercies, I guess.)

Even more ridiculous is the fact that she is wearing gigantic shoulder plates and bulky gauntlets and… no other substantive armor – I’m not counting the decorative armor plates on her skirt. But while we’re on the subject of her skirt, what the hell is up with the visible panty lines?? Or her knees, which somehow got the skirt vacuum-sealed around them sufficient to define the anatomy of her kneecaps, while the rest of the skirt is simultaneously flowing free?

Honestly, this is the most extreme case of “draw naked, add clothes with extreme reluctance” that I’ve seen in a piece of WoW art in quite a while. And since we’re talking about Blizzard, that’s saying… a lot. And it really, really bugged me.

I play Hearthstone because it’s fun and it’s free, and I like free. When I play, I just want to kill some time and have fun with a game that gives me strategic gameplay in bite-sized increments. What I don’t want is to continually have my fun disrupted with visual reminders of how very few fucks Blizzard gives about female gamers like me. (Hint: the answer is none.) Some days, getting past the bullshit and having fun is harder than other days.

Of course, it took me a while to get into playing Hearthstone, despite the positive reviews of friends and the free. (Did I mention that I love free?) Mainly because all of their promotional material that I saw used this artwork:

The interesting/pretty binary strikes again. Notice how it’s two dudes playing and the only women (three in a scene of 13) are just watching admiringly. And sure, there are men who are just spectators as well, but an awful lot of the banner ads I saw were cropped down to just Muscles McDudeOrc and Cheerleader McLadyOrc, which distills the awful in this picture down to its purest form. (Also, is Cheerleader McLadyOrc even wearing clothes? I’m not convinced that she is.)

Sadly, even with a meager 3 out of 13 figures being women, the above promo image is actually more inclusive of women than the actual hero selection (albeit by a mere 1%), where only 2 out of 9 hero characters are women:

Now because it’s not immediately apparent how awful the art is from these partially cropped icons, here are the images that these icons are taken from:

Great. So we have Valeera in her ridiculous cleavage swimsuit with spikey armored shoulders and boots, and Jaina, who… who… I don’t even know what is going on. It looks like she’s casting a boob-enlargement spell, only it’s backfired and they’re about to explode out of her top. Literally.

The really weird part is how Jaina has a (admittedly incredibly useful) spell called Mirror Image that summons supposed duplicate images of her. Only her duplicate images look like this:

So her mirror images are actually not nearly as crappy as her hero avatar, which is… strange. We’ve still got broken spin, chest TARDIS, and vacuum-sealed sphere boobs. But, you know, at least her boobs aren’t about to explode? Yay?

The funny thing is that in the initial mental outline I had for this post, I was going to make a point about “ugh why couldn’t they just use not-shitty art of Jaina”? Until I realized… there isn’t any better art. Mirror Image Jaina is about as good as it gets, for awful values of good. Seriously, these two were the “best” images of Jaina I could find (not counting WoW screen caps):

So that sucks. Especially given that my best deck right now is a mage deck, which means I spend an awful lot of time staring at Jaina’s stupid exploding boob cleavage.

Unfortunately, things don’t get much better when you look at the actual cards themselves. (I really should do a numbers breakdown of all of the current Hearthstone cards by gender and other factors, but that’s a bit more involved than I have time for at the moment.) There aren’t very many women featured in the card art, but most of the women who do appear are pretty fucking terrible. Here are some of my least favorite examples, most of which are taken from common or basic cards. (The Scarlet Inquisitor and Ice Block are rare)

/sigh.

I don’t think I need to go into why these fail, do I? Although I will note that I was surprised at how much worse the art for Whirlwind is at full size, as compared to the tiny cropped version on the cards you see on the screen. Also, wrt the art for the Argent Squire, can fantasy artists please stop using porn as a facial reference? I’m getting really fucking tired of random o-face on my female fantasy warriors. kthx.

I was going to end this post with art of female characters that I actually liked

But then I couldn’t find more than one piece. I mean, I guess the Novice Engineer and Reckless Rocketeer are okay. But they both still have stupid cleavage. Really the only piece of art of any woman that I’ve seen and said “cool” and didn’t feel compelled to eyeroll about was the Violet Teacher:

So at least one artist at Blizzard doesn’t have their head entirely up their ass when it comes to drawing women. I guess.

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