Photos from GenCon: Part 2 of 2

Okay. Now that I’ve diverted long enough to post responses to the absolute FLOOD of comments on the first half of this post… (I really should have seen that coming), let’s get back to business. I’m hoping that the photos in this half should prove less controversial, but considering that there wound up being a serious argument about the practicality of certain types of clothing for fighting in, I’m not holding out much hope. Oh well.

Anyhow. We’ll start off this second post with more photographic evidence that bewbs=/sales:

I almost felt sorry for this guy. He looked quietly desperate for someone, anyone, to talk to him about this game that he was selling. This is a lesson that I wish more publishers would learn. Slapping boobs on a banner does not mean that horny nerds will clamor to check out your game if you have a bad booth setup or a boring game. Srsly. It doesn’t. Don’t assume that bewbs will do your marketing for you.

Those of you who know me have probably heard me bitch about this guy’s booth every year after coming back. This guy ALWAYS has his booth right next to one of the main entrances to the Dealer’s Hall, eschewing the space in Artists Alley that is meant for artists. That isn’t a problem in itself, were it not for the fact that his booth is full of pictures of naked women, many of which have orange stickers covering up nipples.

I will at least give this guy credit. His craft is good and his anatomy is quite excellent. However, I hate the fact that being right next to the entrance means that his stuff in inescapable, and I hate the goddamn nipple stickies, because really that just calls attention to it and makes what might be an artistically rendered nude into a cheap and tawdry effort to make money by selling pictures of women with no clothes on:

And yeah, at least the guy’s pretty open about what he’s doing. He’s there to self soft-core porn. But shit like this just takes the ridiculous to a whole new level:

That is probably about the most pointless thing I’ve ever seen.

Moving on.

God dammit, Wayne Reynolds.

Seriously, Wizards? Every time I walked past this booth, it was full of men, and considering that I had to walk past it to get to the Dealer’s Room I did pass it quite a few times. When you have a banner with breasts bigger than the human head, you shouldn’t think it too surprising when women don’t stop to check out your booth. It’s not because we’re “not interested” in the product. It’s because you’ve created a blatantly gendered space that women aren’t interested in investigating.

So kindly pull your head out of your ass and realize that women, too, play games and have money and that maybe you don’t want to have ridiculous Wayne Reynolds sphere boob cheesecake be the very first thing that people notice about your booth.

/rant

Okay, now I’ll profess to a little ignorance here. I spent today responding to a shitstorm of comments on my last post rather than looking up the context. I think that this is for a new Neverwinter campaign setting for D&D. However, whatever it’s for doesn’t change the context here. You have two fully covered male figures next to a half-naked cleavagey corpse woman whose breasts are a little too perky to be believed considering that she has NO NOSE LEFT.

I really wish I understood the appeal of corpse boobs.

I’ve posted about Reaper Minis before and how disappointing I find their product catalog to be. (Honestly, the first minis company that starts making nothing but decent female minis is going to make money hand over fist. I can’t count the number of women I’ve talked to who wish they could find decent minis for their female characters.) So it’s a little saddening to see this as one of the banners they came to the show with. But not as saddening as this:

Reaper does have some awesomely female friendly minis in its lineup. …not that you’d know it from the minis they brought with them to the show. Not only that, but they put all the boobular minis next to each other too! Hell, most of these are minis I complained about in my Reaper post…

And then of course, just to add insult to injury, they had even more Wayne Reynolds:

God dammit, Wayne. Why do you have to be so omnipresent? I mean, I think this is the least amount of clothing I’ve ever seen Seoni wearing, which is impressive considering that she’s usually, you know, illustrated by Wayne Reynolds. Arg.

See, why couldn’t more of the Shadowrun stuff have been like this? I rather like the woman on this banner. She’s much more well done (and more attractive) than the weirdo Echo Chernik Picasso-boob shadowrunner.

I’m running out of ways to mock this theme, but I would like to point out that it is a little creepy that the space man is wearing what seems to be very tight pants and yet seems to have NO GENITALIA. Look at that, he’s like a ken doll. It makes me wonder which is worse – the exagerated and objectified space woman, or the creepy and DE-sexualized space man. Brr. They both creep me out.

Yup. That looks like such a practical outfit for dungeoneering in. She’d better just hope that no one decides to stab her in the cleavage. Or the armpit. Or the shoulder. Or the hip. Or the thigh. Or the…

I think you get the idea.

All right, I’ll grant that this zombie woman isn’t all rotten like Thay, but… really? Again, I’ll ask – just what is the appeal of corpse tits? I thought we had agreed as a society that necrophilia is gross. Is that not the case when it comes to women? Did I miss the memo?

I will at least give these guys props for having a completely covered, awesomely armored female figure on their banner. Unfortunately, she’s standing right next to Leather Bikini Druid woman, so any points that they get for having an awesome and not sexualized female character get taken away immediately for having completely unnecessary fanservice.

So the guy who created Wench! has come out with a new cardgame that apparently also involves mostly naked women.

SO. MUCH. HATRED.

I’ve bitched enough here about WoW that I think this photo says all that needs to be said. Blizzard’s made it pretty clear that their SoP is pretty much dudes get clothes and chicks don’t, so this isn’t terribly surprising. And yes, compared to a lot of other photos, the cleavage isn’t that bad, but… still. It’d nice to see Blizzard buck the trend at least once in a while. Especially since:

Hey look! Even more corpse boobs! And they’re the boobiest corpse boobs of all! I’m so happy, because now I have a trifecta of completely unnecessary, improbably perky necro-tits! Now my life is complete!

And that’s all I have to say about that

Phew! That was a lot of photos, I know. But fear not! I’ve got more GenCon goodness coming your way. My next post will be about the Guest of Honor lineup, among other things.

About wundergeek
In addition to being a cranky feminist blogger, I am an artist, photographer, and somewhat half-assed writer living in the wilds of Canada with a wonderful spouse and two slightly broken cats.

97 Responses to Photos from GenCon: Part 2 of 2

  1. Mirasiel says:

    Um, aren’t those reaper minis…mini’s of the pathfinder fems you rip into?

    IE of course they would trigger your rage because they are based on characters/art that triggers your rage, if they didn’t they wouldn’t be proper minis for those characters..

    Just sayin’

    Sometimes I wonder what would actually honestly make you happy*? ya say you dont want to remove sexy/cheesecake from gaming but it seems like what you want from a game (awesome armored female, non-sexual) only works as long as something I want isnt there (leather bikini druid woman, not what i want but it’ll do for this)…this is when people start to feel that maybe compromising on content and changing behaviours is actually a slippery slope.

    *Happy in gaming , not whole life true happy because I think that would be a longer and deeper question than this blog could handle.

    • Cole92 says:

      Perhaps a broader representation of women as far as appearance and behavior goes? We get so many different types of men (big, small, skinny, heavy, sexy, ugly, etc.), but not women. There is a specific mold that almost all women have to fit into when it comes to games, and that’s sexy. It doesn’t matter if she’s old, young, white, black, green, or a freaking non-humanoid. She is always sexualized. I can’t speak for Wundergeek, but I sure as hell would be happier if there was a more diverse representation of the female form…

      • wundergeek says:

        ^ This. I want a diversity of female depiction. I want women that aren’t Barbie.
        (Sorry, I’m doing a lot of this, but I’m REALLY having trouble keeping up with comments.)

        • Mirasiel says:

          That isnt the way you came off re: the legendary realms picture, you upped it for having what you wanted but then panned it for having what I* want.

          I know your getting snow’d WG, its cool :)

          *hypothetical me, real me wants something else butis happy with bikini druid chick. Real me also wants awesome armored, ass kickeress. Also a cheeseburger and a beer but such is life.

    • Right, what Cole said-

      We just want the option of being able to choose from a broad spectrum of body types and levels of sexualization, instead of constantly being throws a stereotypically sexy female as the one and only choice time and time again. I love traditional pin-up art and draw a ton of it, sure, but I also love huge burly dwarf women covered in fur and scale mail. I just want to see both represented on a more regular basis. :)

      -C

    • wundergeek says:

      I’ll admit there’s a circle of rage happening. I hate Reaper, and I… okay I don’t hate Pathfinder, but I dislike them. And I DO hate (so much hate) Wayne Reynolds. So, yeah. There was a little rage there. It’s just… Reaper has SUCH A BIG CATALOG. So why did they bring all their most breastacular minis? I know they have better stuff than that. Their choices make me sad.

      As for what would make me happy? I’ve been saying it all along and I’ll say it again. A diversity of female depictions. I want women who aren’t Barbie. I want short women, heavy women, tall women, black/asian/hispanic/biracial/purple/paisley women, scarred women, non-ablebodied women, and – sure – pretty women too. I want the variety that you see with male characters that just plain doesn’t exist with female characters. I get so tired of the beautiful Caucasian sex object that gets sold to us as gamers over and over and over again. If sexualized women were part of a kaleidoscope of depiction within gaming, then I would be happy. But there is no kaleidoscope – it’s just a telescoped that’s focused directly on Barbie’s tits. (Or ass, depending on the dev’s preference.)

      • Mirasiel says:

        Thank you for the response WG I know your getting hammered and it must be tiring, I’m finding it sapping just holding two other conversations relating this con never mind 55 :)

        Circle of rage, fair enough. I think It could make an awesome anti-disney song.

        Ok, your problem with the realms picture was the lack of diversity….fair enough again, that wasnt the impression I took from what you said but now I know different, see this is learning, it makes a ‘mirasiel’ happy, he does a dance and everything.

        If I might suggest a reason for the pathfinder mini’s being present, the impression I’ve gotten around ze net is that Paizo/Pathfinder is being viewed as somekind of divine engine to those who didnt like 4e’s changes..so I’m guessing that those mini’s sell like hotcakes, because lets be honest if they were going for ‘tit-tastic’ models we both know they have much better/worse ones than the Pathfinders iconics.

  2. depizan says:

    Are you sure the Tauren is a guy? Maybe it’s clearer in person, but the lack of giant horns and something about the face makes me think that’s a female Tauren.

    • Pai says:

      That’s a female Tauren. As someone who played one for 6 years, I recognized her on sight, and made a happy noise! You don’t see much art of them around, for obvious reasons (they’re not cheesecake eyecandy).

      • depizan says:

        I thought so, but wasn’t sure. WoW has (mostly) been improving as far as the clothing goes in game. I still come across the occasional thing that (depending on character) I cover up with a tabard or *facepalm* and then go on a quest for pants, but these days, there’s a good chance it would be just as silly on a guy. (At least they’re just as silly on my friend’s male Blood Elf. I assume it’s not a BE only thing.)

      • wundergeek says:

        Huh. Okay. Looks like I might be wrong there?

        • depizan says:

          Oh, don’t get me wrong, a lot of the official and fan art Blizzard displays is full of fail, and they need people whacking them with a clue bat constantly. However, the fact that they do seem to have made an attempt to be better (even if it’s because they get people pointing the problems out to them over and over) puts them ahead of some game companies.
          That said, it’s sad that “responds to criticism” is almost cookie worthy in the game world.

          • depizan says:

            (Wish I could edit)
            I didn’t want it to sound like WoW had magically gotten all better and realized my comment about the clothe in game could be read that way.

        • Raz says:

          The Tauren’s Ayaka Winterhoof, a Death Knight according to the card. There’s a closeup on her artist’s blog. http://oliverchipping.blogspot.com/2011/02/wow-tcg-card-work.html where it’s pretty clear she’s female. She does appear to be lacking armour around her midriff.

          I always had to wear shirts, tabards, and cloaks in order to hide a hundred different Warcraft Wardrobe malfunctions for my female characters.

    • Yeah, I’m pretty sure that’s a female Tauren, She looks practically identical to female Tauren in-game, and has a bit of an exposed midriff.

    • wundergeek says:

      The female tauren are very slender, willowy even. So, yes. Quite sure.

  3. Wow…just wow. Have you ever considered that you have an unhealthy obsession with boobs and how the female form is portrayed in advertising and the media? You seem reasonably intelligent and articulate, but isn’t there more important topics in life that you could rant about? People play these games to enjoy themselves and they show up to these conventions because they enjoy them. What part do you enjoy? You show up to these conventions with an agenda. That’s creepy. Like a conservative politician you want everyone to conform to YOUR ideals. You advertise in your banner that this is a (mostly) humorous look into how not to sell games to women. I find nothing humorous about your articles which for arguments sake I have read some of your past ones so I could get a better feel for who I’m debating with. You do however come off as repressed, angry, bitter & obsessed. Crack addicts hate what they do but can’t stop themselves. You sound as if you hate the games you play but can’t stop playing them, can’t stop showing up and ambushing people and ripping on them at conventions. Why? The reason you have been blasted by a deluge of criticism is that your blog hit facebook and not in a good way. You have managed to piss off not only gamers, female gamers, but artists, vendors, sponsors and a good percentage of people including women that don’t game. Feel proud; your blog has been linked all over the place.

    As a self-proclaimed artist I would think you would have more empathy for your fellow artisans and craftsmen. Instead you take pictures of them so you can skewer them in your posts. So to repay the favor I checked out your art and photography…it’s average at best. Your illustrations are mechanical and juvenile. Your photography is slightly better. Stick with that you show some talent.

    Do yourself a favor and step away from your games and computer and get out and enjoy life. Take more photographs. There are more important things in life to rant and rave about. you’ve picked a fringe group(gamers) and even smaller concern(boobs in gamer advertising). You’re like a fart in a whirlwind. Futile.

    • I know I’m just feeding the troll, but have you considered that media has an obsession with depicting boobs? I know if every male character in the games I liked to play wore low-slung tight pants to show off their butt cleavage/package bulge it would tick me off a bit. I might still like the games, but I’d sure as hell be ticked about the way they depicted men.

      If you like games but don’t like seeing women depicted in creepy ways, there isn’t much recourse.

    • Nick says:

      If you had actually read more of her blog, you’d know that she loves games, not because they are addicting, but because she enjoys them. You’d also see there are depictions of females that make her very happy. Also, not everybody who goes to a convention likes everything about it. If conventions didn’t accept criticism, they wouldn’t change for the better.

      So, why does she write this? Because all this dehumanization makes gaming worse for everyone. It’s bland, uncreative, overdone, and kinda mean. She is making a difference by educating people about how widespread this problem is. I had no idea it was this big until I read her blog. Do I agree with everything? Nope, but I can at least understand where she comes from.

      So, even if she did “piss some people off”, she also raised awareness, and made people who also hate this problem feel good that they are not alone in noticing it. Who cares if it’s part of a smaller group of society? A problem is still a problem. She blogs about what she knows. Also, how futile is it to go to a blog and try to change a person’s lifestyle? That’s like a burp in a hurricane.

      However, I did enjoy you’re honest (If slightly backhanded) compliments, which I did not expect in your rant, so I will end mine likewise. You’re profile picture is well done, so I assume you are good at photograph. Also, you seem to priorities what’s important to rant about and what is not. I suggest you take more photographs and rant about those important topics, instead of insulting someone who’s trying to do a little good, however small it sems to you.

    • wundergeek says:

      You’ve seen right through me. I’m nothing more than a miserable, boob-obsessed feminazi fascist who hates life so much that I can’t stand seeing other people enjoy gaming. There’s nothing more than I love doing than spewing my misery and bile over everyone else. At least if I have to cry myself to sleep about being a miserable, boob-obsessed crackpot, I can spread the misery around right?

    • Oh, wow.

      On the day the media begins using tight jockstraps to sell everything?  I’ll make sure to be…well, somewhere in line to accuse every guy who complains about it of being “obsessed” with male crotch.

    • Megpie71 says:

      Welcome to WordPress, Thomas. Have you ever thought about ooh, I dunno… getting your own damn blog? You clearly have a lot to say for yourself. So why not start your own blog, and say it. In your space, to your audience.

      Meanwhile, let’s put a few things into perspective:

      1) Women are approximately 50% of the population. This means no matter what the activity, there’s a fair chance there’s at least some women out there doing it.
      2) No matter how much this is pointed out to the various gaming companies, they persist in ignoring the female side of their audience. Trust me on this – I’ve been playing games (board, tabletop, and computer) for over 20 years now, and I’ve never once felt welcomed in gamer culture. I have tits, I have a cunt, therefore I am automatically OTHER, and not welcome. After over 20 years, I’m getting just a wee bit fed up with it, particularly since things seem to be getting worse, rather than better.
      3) If you, as a male gamer, cannot damn well bear to see any game that does not have the boobies, or the T&A, or the unrealistic portrayal of (mainly caucasian) female figures, then that is, I’m afraid, YOUR FUCKING PROBLEM. It is not mine.
      4) Not all women are bisexual by default. Not all men are heterosexual by default. Not everyone in the world is from the US of A. Diversity is a wonderful thing, and it would really be nice to see at least some of the larger gaming companies actually address this.
      5) You don’t get to tell someone else what they should find important on their blog. Wundergeek wants to address the issue of blatant and persistent sexism in gaming culture, as shown through its visual depiction of female forms (or rather, “the” female form), then that’s her choice. Just in case you’ve missed the obvious, this is, after all, her blog.

  4. Panzeh says:

    Somehow you’ll very rarely see men sexualized in a way the women are sexualized in these pictures outside niche gay art sites. It’s utterly strange how it all works, as though the only valid consumer of art with some sexuality in it is men.

  5. Caster says:

    I love reading your stuff.

  6. Asdf says:

    Your link to your last post regarding Reaper Minis is broken — looks like it’s pointing to a control panel instead?

    Anyways, an entertaining read. Don’t listen to the naysayers; everyone is entitled to broadcast their opinions loud as they wish, and anyone who says otherwise is ashamed of something! On an unrelated note, you should probably ban anonymous email services to prevent spamming :3.

  7. PatientC says:

    I really dig your blog, your commentary and your perspective. I am a female gaming fan, raising two gamer girls, and I believe that garbage like the above photo content needs to be hammered every time it shows up anywhere. Not only is it sexist to the point of misogyny, but also completely played out, unimaginative in the first place, and shows terrible market research.

    I wonder – how may topics on Derailing for Dummies does one have to present as a “valid critique” before they earn the Troll title? And how often do you attract a comment writer that disagrees with posts like this one with a coherent argument?

    I read here often, but do not comment. This time I wanted to give a moment to show my appreciation for your efforts.

  8. Jawnita says:

    Can I also just say that I find some of the design work on those posters just completely depressing. Papyrus and Hobo are not fonts that should ever make it onto anything that is supposed to be professional, folks. It’s like they pay for a professional illustrator, and then just have their 12-year-old cousin do all of the type and layout.

  9. Amy says:

    I am not Wundergeek’s spokeswoman or anything, but I do feel a need to defend her. She is doing an excellent job so far in pointing out just how pervasive misogyny is in gaming culture. In her two posts, I did find myself wishing that she would stop pointing out every single boob that’s on display, not because I am annoyed with her, but because it’s making me feel depressed at how bad it is. I am a gamer and I love games, but I wholly feel embarassed to call myself one, especially seeing as how my gender is portrayed here, and just how underepresented any race besides the white race is.

    @Thomas Kukich

    “You have managed to piss off not only gamers, female gamers, but artists, vendors, sponsors and a good percentage of people including women that don’t game. Feel proud; your blog has been linked all over the place.”

    Good. She’s doing a good job then. To Wundergeek: feel proud about this. You have all those who offend with their misogynistic crap all in a tizzle. Maybe some might realise just what the hell they have been doing and change. All I can say is that you are bringing more exposure to how horribly, stupidly sexist and racist gaming is. And that is always a good thing. Don’t stop calling out people on their crap.

    “You advertise in your banner that this is a (mostly) humorous look into how not to sell games to women. I find nothing humorous about your articles which for arguments sake I have read some of your past ones so I could get a better feel for who I’m debating with”

    There is humour. Of the “OMFG, what the f*** is that shit? Is that how they draw women? Have they not seen real women?” For the most part, they are funny, though some, like this article, is depressing for reasons that I stated above.

    “As a self-proclaimed artist I would think you would have more empathy for your fellow artisans and craftsmen. Instead you take pictures of them so you can skewer them in your posts. So to repay the favor I checked out your art and photography…it’s average at best. Your illustrations are mechanical and juvenile. Your photography is slightly better. Stick with that you show some talent.”

    Ok, Nick had a great comeback for this, but I would like to add my 2-cents worth. Her art style, while still rough, at least has characters with proper proportions. Yes, there are many who can draw better, and yet so many of them seem to fail the most basic art lesson: goddamn proportions. This is an excellent site that shows that just because you can draw better it does not make you a good artist:

    http://boobsdontworkthatway.tumblr.com/

    Hell, just look through her previous posts where she analyses the posture and proportions of various game artwork and shows you just how full of fail they are. And these are coming from professionals! Who should know better how the human body looks like and how it works!

    From Cynthia O’Rourke:

    “People have the right to have their fantasies, and unless they are actually hurting you – not your feelings, but your physical being – then you’re better off letting it go”

    So emotional hurt is nothing then? We are supposed to dismiss anything that hurts us where it matters? Seeing all these images that does nothing but de-value women to nothing but parts (boobs, ass, etc) that sell merchandise is hurtful. We are not considered whole human beings that have a right to be depicted with respect and dignity, which is what Wundergeek is seeking. That we, as females, as well as the LGBT community, deserve the right to be treated as human beings and represented as such. By simply dismissing our right to be portrayed respectfully, even in personal fantasies, you are worse than those anti-gay protesters. Because you are simply allowing for these harmful fantasies to continue, and yes, they do have an impact on real life. Your friends’ preferences for those “glitter-titted ring girl and/or stripper” are proof enough. Also, those girls? They are like that because they get the message that what men want are women like them: all beautiful but empty inside. And that just breaks my heart.

    • Hey…anyone else think it’s time to break out the bingo card again?

      • Zaewen says:

        Pfft, I’ve gotten bingo a half dozen times already ;)

        @Cynthia O’Rourke: Sexual harassment and assault do not happen in a void. They are born out of a culture that views women at least partially as sexual objects available for the taking which is exactly the messages sent out by these “male fantasy” sexualized images. So, no, its not just the emotional hurt of a passing woman seeing her gender being reduced to a mere object to be wanked off at, its also the physical pain and mental anguish that comes from being sexually harassed.

        Also, a) its impossible for the male lust for boobs to predate boobs and b) boobs have not always been as extremely fetishized and sexualized as they are now. It’s amazing to think it, I know, but they seriously used to just be viewed as another part of the body with a decidedly non-sexual function.

        • wundergeek says:

          This. Oh my god this. A million times, this.

        • Cynthia O'Rourke says:

          Zaewen, while anti-porn and anti-fetish advocates like to assert that porn is associated with verbal and physical assaults on women, the research simply doesn’t support those claims. While I’d imagine there’s even less research into the effects of gamer fetish art upon men’s behavior towards women, I’d hazard a guess that it would reveal a similar lack of negative effect. Show me solid research to support your assertions and I’ll take them seriously, but until then you’ve only got a hypothesis to work with.

          A secondary sexual ornament is a trait that is present in (usually) only one sex of a species, present only in sexually mature adults of that sex, and is not directly necessary for reproduction. There are several major hypotheses regarding the evolution of these traits, but in most of them the preference for the trait by the opposite sex and/or the recognition of the trait by the same sex within the context of intrasexual (within a sex) competition precedes the existence of the ornament trait. These ornaments are by definition useless unless they offer a selective advantage by garnering an intraspecific (within species) response, so for their to be a selective “use,” there must first be present a response.

          Traits may evolve through drift (random chance), but the probabilities of a trait evolving through drift decrease as population size increases and/or the effects of that trait upon fitness increases. Ask any large-chested female runner whether or not her secondary sexual ornaments can have a negative effect on some aspects of her fitness, and she’ll let you know at length. For the enlarged breast of the human female to have evolved due to chance alone, this trait would have had to have emerged during a severe bottleneck in our population size, and then be maintained after population growth, even in the face of negative non-sexual selection. This is not a parsimonious scenario and I don’t think it’s likely true. It is thus unlikely that our enlarged breasts, unique among mammals, have evolved through drift.

          That leaves selection, and for there to be selection, there must be an advantage. Since much of human female breast tissue is unnecessary for the breast’s primary function – milk production – I would argue that enlarged breasts serve as a secondary sexual ornament, and are subject to the standard set of hypotheses regarding the evolution of such ornaments. There is no selection for the evolution of such a trait unless there is first social recognition of that trait. It is not only possible for the male preference for boobs to predate boobs, but it is likely.

          Finally, where do you get the idea that the consideration of boobs as sexual has been a recent development? Perhaps in some extant and extinct cultures they’ve been less focused upon than in our own, but Google “Hindu temple dancer statue” or “prehistoric goddess” and you’ll find that their “sexualization” is hardly a recent invention. I mean really, most of those mother goddesses don’t even have faces, and yet they have big ‘ole boobs.

          You seem to be speaking the “facts” as you wish them to be, not as you have any empirical reason to believe that they are, and this may work well for you so long as you stay safely ensconced in a crowd of similar opinions. While we may be entitled to our own opinions, we are not, however, entitled to our own facts. Please consider doing more extensive research before forming such strong and antagonistic opinions about the sexual fantasies of others.

          • ccolinh says:

            This. Oh my god this. A million times, this.

          • Zaewen says:

            Breasts are a secondary sexual characteristic that was most likely selected for in our evolutionary history as markers of fertility, namely because they only start to appear after puberty and they represent a fat deposit with certain levels of fat being necessary for menstruation and pregnancy. However, that does not a fetish make, nor does it explain the overt sexualization of breasts. There are many secondary sexual characteristics like body hair growth patterns and waist to hip ratio, all of which, while naturally selected for, are also subject to sexualization through socialization. Take for instance body hair: nowadays its considered nigh on mandatory for women to have as little hair as possible on their bodies (not including their head hair). While yes, there is quite probably an evolutionary reason for men to prefer less hairy women (less body hair tends to mean lower levels of androgens and high levels of estrogen), it wasn’t until the 1900’s that women started shaving their legs and it wasn’t until the 1920’s that women started shaving their armpits. Something that is seen as so naturally sexualized in our culture is seriously only a hundred years old. The same goes for breasts. There is again most likely a strong evolutionary reason for men to like seeing breasts on women, but that does not make them sexualized or fetishized by default. For most of human history they would have been out in the open and viewed primarily as a food source for infants. It’s the recent history (and in this case by recent I mean it started several thousand years back with the advent of clothing and strict gender roles, but with more emphasis again on the last couple hundred years as sexual mores started to change) that’s caused breasts to become sexualized and for their primary purpose to change into being a tool with which to sexually please and tantalize men.

            As for the fertility statues and goddesses that possess many or very large breasts in their images and statues, those breasts aren’t really very sexualized (and especially not in the same ways that breasts are fetishized nowadays) but are there to represent fertility and women’s life-bringing abilities. Modern day people read the sexualization onto them because that is what we presume breasts to be for. Ancient peoples would have thought quite differently about them because, again, they were seen quite often (lots of ancient cultures didn’t think much of covering the torso completely like we do) and their main function, breast-feeding, was not hidden away like it is in our culture.

            To your other point about media messages affecting reality and people’s beleifs: it has been shown many times that media can afffect the way people think. It’s been shown time and again through the discussion around photoshopped images of models and celebrities with their overwhelming emphasis on super skinny and super white as the ideal body and how that affects women’s self body image.

            • Cynthia O'Rourke says:

              Again, breasts serving functions beyond sexual attraction in no way means that breasts don’t also serve the function of sexual attraction, or that women won’t go out of their way to enhance that aspect of themselves to, you know… attract. Men do the same with their attractive qualities; we’re a very sexual species, as great apes specifically and vertebrates in general go. We spend a lot of time thinking about and trying to attain sex, for better or for worse.

              Even assuming you do in fact know what prehistoric people were thinking when they looked at the exposed, swollen breasts of a fertility goddess statue, please see my Hindu temple dancer example and try to explain that away. Also: Winged Victory of Samothrace, Venus Medici, Minoan Snake Goddess, etc. Boobs as focal points of art, it’s been around for a while.

              I will agree with you that media coverage affects women’s body images, sure, there’s little doubt of that. It’s a huge extrapolation to then say that media coverage creates an environment of molestation and rape, though, and I’m not buying that extrapolation. Nor do I think that the greater world should bear the responsibility for making you or your daughters feel good about the way they look. That’s a personal fight to fight, not something you can shove off on the rest of us.

          • SJ says:

            Hahahahahahahah!!! Hey look everyone! It’s someone who thinks evolutionary biology is a creditable science and logical justification for all the awful things in society.
            All of those goddesses with “big ‘ole boobs” represent motherhood, as breasts are – you’ll never believe this – where mother’s milk comes from! Large breasts – as well as large hips – indicate fertility, and tend to suggest that this is a woman who can bear children and feed them. It’s also no coincidence that women have more places on their bodies to store fat, as this would be critical for ensuring that babies have enough nutrients in times of need.
            Skinny women are statistically more likely to be infertile. Women who loose too much weight stop menstruating altogether.
            Society has been changing it’s mind about what is attractive every decade or so, not to mention… Oh here’s one. Get this. Many people have their own preferences about body size. Some people have concerning tits at all, and want to see beautiful feet on women and men. And so forth.

        • ccolinh says:

          [deleted]

          • Humans are not mammals and have never nursed their young.  True facts.

            • Cynthia O'Rourke says:

              My reply went to the wrong portion of the page. Anyway, we’re the only mammal that has enlarged mammary glands even when not lactating. True fact.

              • Be that as it may, the claim that breasts have never been viewed as anything other than sexual—or even that they’ve historically been fetishized to the degree that they are now—is still ludicrous. 

                Hell, those mother goddess icons that you brought up earlier?  They’re believed to be fertility/abundance talismans (hence why just about all of them look fat, pregnant, or both), not sexual fetish objects.  Do you really think that fan-service art of rail-thin characters with balloon tits is in the same category?

                Additionally, there’s a pretty big difference between pointing out that women’s bodies are treated like public property, and claiming that porn causes sexual harassment.

              • Cynthia O'Rourke says:

                I never said that the sole function of breasts was sexual, only that they certainly do serve a sexual function. The question was whether the sexualization of breasts is recent invention, and I argue only that it is not. Those Hindu temple goddesses are just as improbably proportioned as are balloon-titted elf drawings. One woman in a million will naturally achieve those proportions, and it will be a fleeting state. I don’t see you attacking temple art, though.. or maybe that’s just because I haven’t come across that blog? Anyway, it’s hardly new for women or men to be treated as sexual objects, and it’s hardly restricted to this culture.

                You’re right, there are big differences between “pointing out that women’s bodies are treated like public property, and claiming that porn causes sexual harassment.” The first assertion is waaaay more ridiculous than the second. Are you really saying that your body has been treated like public property? If that’s happened to you, the cops, not the internet, should be your primary recourse. I have a feeling that it hasn’t happened, though, and that you’ve indulged in some fancy equivocation.

              • You’re right, there are big differences between “pointing out that women’s bodies are treated like public property, and claiming that porn causes sexual harassment.” The first assertion is waaaay more ridiculous than the second.

                It’s “ridiculous,” you say?  So you think it doesn’t happen?  My, but you’ve led a sheltered life.

                Are you really saying that your body has been treated like public property? If that’s happened to you, the cops, not the internet, should be your primary recourse. I have a feeling that it hasn’t happened, though, and that you’ve indulged in some fancy equivocation.

                Wow.  Just…wow.  The presumption here—not to mention the cavalier dismissal—is too much to be believed. 

                And as to my experiences: do do you believe that verbal creepiness from strangers is worth getting the law involved, or does it simply not count?

    • Amy,
      Can i just say if it has missed everyones notice…They’re Freakin Games! It’s just art work! If you don’t like it don’t play the damn game. If you don’t like what’s on tv change the channel! If you don’t like the song on the radio listen to something else.
      Wundergeek is articulate and intelligent I just think she should be waving the banner for something more important.

      • Yes, that really explains why you felt the need to call her a “fart in the wind” and insult her art. 

        And out comes the other bingo card, complete with its analysis of why your argument is flawed.

        • How observant Farseer. I don’t like her artwork. She was insulting the artwork of friends of mine. How do you think I found this literary masterpiece of insightful views? You are correct; re reading my comment I did call Wundergeek a fart in a whirlwind. I did also enjoy Nicks’ comback of I’m a burp in hurricane…it made me laugh. I apologize for that comment to her. I didn’t mean to personally attack her. What I meant to say was that her cause is like a fart in a whirlwind. I will wholly vehemently disagree with anyone who attacks artists and trys to force, manipulate them to change their subject matter or in what way they render it, who buys it or how it is displayed. This is a slippery slope. If you don’t like it don’t look at it or buy it. Instead of doing something productive like designing your own games that have reasonably proportioned men and women who have comfortable clothes on this all just comes off as whining. If feminism has gone down to the point that we have to be worried about how women are portrayed in fantasy art and in games I find that sad. It’s fantasy art. Fantasy. It’s not real.

          There is a certain amount of absurdity in arguing for the realistic depiction of characters in “fantasy” games, art or comics.

          I’m sorry you got involved in a hobby that you feel is so rampant with sexism. There are other hobbies out there

          Can I yell BINGO yet?

          • Panzeh says:

            Media criticism is /not/ a call for censorship. It’s making observations on particular media. If I say, “I don’t like the trend of shaky-cam in action movies”, i’m not advocating that movies with shaky-cam get banned. I’m saying it’s a worrying trend, and I hope more action movies without it get made.

            Also, when you make media criticism, you /don’t/ have to present alternatives except as a matter of perspective. You don’t have to make art to criticize it. You can look at something and have an opinion of it.

            Second of all, yes, there’s a lot of exaggeration in the depictions of fantasy characters of either sex. When men are exaggerated, they generally have unreal musculature given the period, which shows that this character is powerful, a useful trait in fantasy, and respected. Also, there are depictions of many types of male bodies, and levels of beauty. Outside outright erotica, you will never see a male character depicted with an exaggerated boner in their loincloth or well-armored pants. You can often find, however, in female depictions, breasts bigger than their head, ultra-thin hips, and strange poses designed to stick out both the ass and the bust.

            Once again, also, no one is saying, you can’t do sex. Sexy is fine, erotica can be very beautiful, but the problem is, almost every depiction of women is heavily erotic, even when the context doesn’t make much sense. I don’t think of “woman casting spell for cover of a role-playing game” as ‘erotica’.

            • Ikkin says:

              When men are exaggerated, they generally have unreal musculature given the period, which shows that this character is powerful, a useful trait in fantasy, and respected.

              Yeah… one way I like to think about it is, if no one was attracted to the character, would their exaggerated appearance have any benefit?

              It’s quite easy to imagine male superheroes (or other characters with that body shape) existing in nearly exactly the way they do now in a society comprised solely of asexuals. It’s virtually impossible to imagine the same being said for superheroines (or other… you get the idea).

              Outside outright erotica, you will never see a male character depicted with an exaggerated boner in their loincloth or well-armored pants.

              I’m not quite sure this is the best analogy, because there seem to be several levels of sexualization that are restricted to greater or less degrees. Using US cultural ideas about offensiveness of bare female body parts, it seems to go something like, genitals > breasts and butt > thighs and back.

              It’s hard to compare male and female depictions because there’s a whole lot less that can be done while sticking to the “breasts and butt” level (even covered by spandex, a character’s manhood is on a rather different level), since male chests have rather different implications attached. =/ And, messing things up even further, male thighs tend to be depicted as unattractive, for whatever reason.

              There’s a lot to take apart in why these things are treated the way they are, but showing guyparts, even with spandex covering them, seems to be generally infeasible — even
              compared to absurd sexy-poses. (…then again, there’s always camel-toe… *sigh*)

          • Yes, you’re entitled not to like her art. She’s equally entitled to not like your alleged friends’ art; and you were a lot nastier about it.

            So she’s not a fart in a whirlwind; criticism is  It’s also “whining.”  Gotcha.

            And no, you don’t get a “bingo” for trotting out still more condescending “silly girls, games are for boys” nonsense.  The rest of us do.

          • Raving She Mullet says:

            “I’m sorry you got involved in a hobby that you feel is so rampant with sexism. There are other hobbies out there”
            I have fun playing pen and paper RPGs, I like video games and comics and a ton of other nerdy things. I am also a woman. I want to have fun with my friends without feeling like my personhood is secondary to the marketing power of my body. I want to play Magic: the Gathering without people going, “Wow, did your boyfriend build that deck for you?” I want to jump in a Left 4 Dead game without being solicited for nude photos. I want to read a comic about a bunch of demigods punching aliens where I don’t find out “X female hero took up a cape because she was raped, also she’s an exotic dancer.” I have as much right to enjoy this hobby as you do and learning how to be respectful to women isn’t that hard. You think I should leave just so an insular and shrinking community of manchildren can beat off to models in bikinis? Well suck it up, because I’m a human being just like you and I have as much right to be here and feel like gaming companies respect me as a person.

            Oh and also, there is no “gone down to the point” of being concerned about fantasy art and games in feminism. It’s ALWAYS been there. Analyzing the portrayal of women in media (both visual and literary) is a basic tenant of feminism. Nerd hobbies have always been watched by feminists. You know that Wonder Woman character? Well for a while in the 70s she lost her powers and just got tied up a lot in a white leather cat suit, then some of those whiny feminists complained about that and then she got all her old powers back.

            You’d be seriously delusional if you think feminists haven’t always had a keen interest in the way women are depicted in hobbies with a small, insular audience of sexually-frustrated men (like, say, gaming, comics, and genre fiction).

          • Nick says:

            Why are you really here, Thomas? Did you think wundergeek was going to apologize to your friend by coming here and telling her what she’s doing is worthless? You say you don’t like censorship for artists. First off, wundergeek is not advocating for the government to ban all art she dislikes. She’s just hoping for a future with more variety. What’s wrong with that? Second,just like advocating for better treatment for woman in gaming can be a good think, fighting censorship can also be a good thing if backed by logic.

            Also, you are really concerned with what she’s doing isn’t “important” enough for you, yet you never state what you want her to do. Do you have a crusade you find more important you want her to join? Or is this just your way of telling her to get off you’re friend’s back. Is no one allowed to criticize your friend’s work, while being neutral about who your friend is as a person?

            Fantasy isn’t real, but it can have an impact in the world. Think about the impact art and mythology have. Also, wundergeek is advocating for more fantasy to be better. What’s wrong with saying things should be better? Isn’t good fantasy better than bad fantasy?

            Finally, why does the hobby of videogames need to be a man’s club? I can’t think of any hobbies where men feel mistreated. Why can’t we make gaming a better world for everyone? What is to be gained keeping the status quo? Before action, education is necessary. Wundergeek (to the best of my knowledge) is not a game designer She probably wouldn’t make the best game. However, if she educates consumers to have higher standers, or budding game developers, then she has accomplished the education part, which can be just as important as action (and better than blind action).

            You seem very reasonable to me. You came back to a blog you knew people would disagree with your comments at, and showed more of your point without name calling. I hope that, even if you don’t agree, you try to understand where these people are coming from.

            PS. You misinterpreted my burp in hurricane metaphor. I meant you’re efforts to change wundergeek’s blog with a comment was a worthless effort.
            PSS. I was a debater. Simply saying “slippery slope” does not prove your point or make an argument. You need to prove why.

          • Veric says:

            But Thomas… she does take part in game production as an artist. There are only so many games she can participate in making, y’know.

            She’s not calling for censorship (as she’s so often repeated), just greater variety by critiquing the state of women in art that as it is now. You might not think that’s important, but as a woman and as an (amateur) artist I do find it important and I’d rather you not belittle it.

            Personally, after having been exposed to this blog and feminism in general I am pushed to create more diverse, interesting and exciting characters who are first their personality and secondly their attractiveness-level (which was previously dictated by the stifling societal (mainly gaming culture for me) rules of gender). I’m not perfect, I stuff up. Often. But it’s not impossible and the process has helped me unpack many of the harmful ways I’ve learnt to perceive my gender in the context of games. I’m still learning; it’s a journey, and I’m happy to be on it :) I’m just as happy if other artists choose not to take that journey, but their art (just like mine) is not above critique and taking critique is an artist’s most valuable skill.

            Personally, I’m glad wundergeek got involved in this hobby, because it’s my hobby too and I would like to see it change for the better :) It would be wonderful if artists were the vehicles of change, rather than the old grumps set in their ways that you seem to think they/we are ;)

      • Pumpkin says:

        Why not make use of your own suggestions with regards to this blog?

        If you’re just trying to “improve” it, then why not acknowledge that Wundergeek is trying to do the same for her chosen areas of interest?

        • Pumpkin says:

          Whoops, my post didn’t link properly… I wrote this:-

          Why not make use of your own suggestions with regards to this blog?

          If you’re just trying to “improve” it, then why not acknowledge that Wundergeek is trying to do the same for her chosen areas of interest?

          And it was aimed at Thomas Kukich, who wrote this:-

          Amy,
          Can i just say if it has missed everyones notice…They’re Freakin Games! It’s just art work! If you don’t like it don’t play the damn game. If you don’t like what’s on tv change the channel! If you don’t like the song on the radio listen to something else.
          Wundergeek is articulate and intelligent I just think she should be waving the banner for something more important.

  10. Ivan says:

    OK first of all wundergeek you are amazing: you managed to answer most of the flood of answers to your previous post, then make a post directing people to the answers to most commonly found negative replies to your post and then you did another post with pictures, I hate to ask this but do you still have a job or did you lose it because of the GenCon madness?

    Now on to this post I have only two things to ask:
    1) Does the guy who does women nudes with the poorly chosen orange stickers also has male nude or is he just keeping his skill focused on a female fore (because if he is just focused on women, well I think that is a gender fail but it could be a freedom of speaking thing).
    2)And why did you direct your readers to an official frat porn game sight?

  11. Ivan says:

    crap type-os: male nudes and female form, not male nude and female fore.

  12. Panzeh says:

    Part of media criticism is being able to criticize without asking that it never be done. I know nuance is difficult, but, i’m sure you can manage it. Nobody’s saying, throw that stuff off the shelves, no sex at all. Nobody’s saying men are wrong for enjoying the art, but that it could use a balance. I’m not so sure the majority of everyone’s, even every man’s fantasy involves immense amounts of cleavage, considering I would hope most of these games don’t involve sex at all. That’s the part that gets me. Sexualization in art, when it’s simply not needed. And if you want to do sexy in your fantasy, that’s fine, too, how about doing some men? And, even though you can say most depictions of say, Conan are sexualized a little bit, it’s never the same as the way the age-old Seoni or whichever cleavage-mage is done, posing in a way to show off her rack. You’ll never see a thin, lithe man bending over in a silly pose and winking to the viewer, and rarely will you even see a bulge for a penis, where one might make sense. I presume it’s because the artist hasn’t the taste for it, or perhaps doesn’t want to scare off their prospective straight male customers, but such consideration is not given to heterosexual women.

    • Additionally?  Just about any time you do see a bulge, a certain contingent of guys feels obligated to freak—and I mean really freak. 

      And see also: subligars in Final Fantasy XI, or the response to the original blood elf model.

  13. Jana says:

    While the de-sexualised man also wears a helmet to survive in space the woman next to him has no helmet? Isn’t she also part of the ~cosmic patrol~? I don’t get this banner at all, not only is she wearing a mini skirt and a bra while on patrol, she will unfortunately die because a helmet (in space!) would be too much clothing too. Awesome.

  14. CaitieCat says:

    wundergeek, just wanted to say I love your work, I’m glad you’re doing it, and that I hope you keep on fighting the good fight, to bring gaming to a place where we are fully welcome. Bravissima!

  15. Hazmat Sam says:

    Those orange stickers! Ugh, you found the one thing in art that offends me more than any other. You’re totally right, you know: That stuff could’ve been beautiful if he didn’t see fit to act like a dumb little tweenager terrified of nudity.

    • Jaclyn says:

      It wasn’t necessarily him, but the convention itself. I know of some cons where men can’t be shirtless in the convention center without nipple tape. Some people don’t like nudity because they were brought up to think the human body is shameful. Conventions censor these things because if they didn’t, they’d get a lot of complaints from parents and potentially lose some business.

      • Hazmat Sam says:

        “Some people don’t like nudity because they were brought up to think the human body is shameful”

        And we are not attacking them for this… why?

  16. Yaogun says:

    Wundergeek, I’m a cis white male, and have been a gamer all my life. I appreciate you calling the culture out on its pervasive misogyny, privilege, and sexism. As a father with a daughter who likes to game, I hope that the culture will become more welcoming and not so threatening (you don’t talk about the threatening aspect much, but it’s there, for example the pro-rape dickwolves flashmobs at PAX). So yeah, thank you, and keep it up!

  17. Cynthia O'Rourke says:

    We’re the only mammal that has enlarged mammary glands even when not lactating. True fact.

  18. Chi says:

    “It is thus unlikely that our enlarged breasts, unique among mammals, have evolved through drift.”
    I’ve also heard the claim that human males have larger than average penises for mammals, for this very reason. Then I did some actual research and found out they’re pretty much average for mammals. This comment also made me think of cows, for some reason…

    “And no, Zaewen, there was never a time in history that men thought of breasts as a part of the body with a non-sexual function.”
    In many “primitive” societies, even today, women don’t cover their breasts and have them on display all day for all to see, yet they cover their genitals. And somehow they don’t seem to consider it flaunting their bits, and the men aren’t walking around with hard-ons.
    (I know “primitive” is a very problematic word, but I’m unsure what the right one is. English isn’t my native language)

  19. Jaclyn says:

    [deleted]

    • Veric says:

      Why hello there! I feel like I’m looking at myself a year ago so I have this insane urge to risk a space-time paradox and speak to you :D I’m afriad I never commented before so I don’t have an account :/

      I also draw (mostly women), I write (mostly male characters), I was a misogynist a year ago and I’m a cis woman.

      First off, despite what I said, i don’t presume to know what you think, I just found your writing remarkably familiar and felt like adding my 2 cents so that maybe you could endulge me and see MY point of view :) Here goes my long anecdote:

      About a year ago I came upon this blog and I was shocked. I was angered, I was insulted. How dare wundergeek tell me what to and not to draw! How dare she make me feel ashamed of drawing pinup girls! Pfft, feminism is old news anyway, women aren’t oppressed anymore. -walks off to draw more bewbs in righteous anger-

      But I came back the next day and I read more of her posts. Over the past year and early this year I read more feminist blogs and slowly and steadily I understood (well, what I think I understood ;)) what they were getting at. And you know what? I agreed. I came to realize that I WAS being mysoginistic (see, the thing about women being oppressed is that we do a remarkable job of oppressing ourselves :P No men needed!). I wrote male characters because they were interesting, they could have adventures. I drew female characters because they were there to be looked at, they weren’t interesting beyond their cup-size. I didn’t really think of myself as a ‘woman’. Not really.

      Earlier this year I decided to turn a page. I’m now trying to do my part (as an amateur artist and writer) to show more varied depictions of women. Most of my drawings are still of attractive women, and most of my characters are still male, but the female characters are no longer only mothers/possible love interests. They can have adventures too :)

      So I’m sorry, but in my humble opinion I do think you are a teeny-tiny bit mysoginistic ;) But it’s ok, I was (probably am a bit still) too :) I also think you shouldn’t dismiss feminism straight away (it took a male feminist (Linkara) for me to give it a second glance) and although you are not happy with wundergeek speaking for you, I largely am happy with her speaking for me, even if I think she’s a little too radical :)

      Take from this what you wish, or ignore it entirely, it doesn’t really matter, I probably won’t comment again. I just hope I’ve maintained a respectful tone and you have not taken any offence. I wish you a good day :)

      • wundergeek says:

        This makes me so happy. Thank you so much for sharing.

        • Veric says:

          You’re very welcome! Jacelyn and the others were a little rash acting on their immediate anger (I think Jacelyn wrote herself into a ditch she can’t climb out of now :/ I’ve often said things I regret so I sympathise). Thank you so much for writing this blog and keeping at it despite the negativity it so often attracts!

          Like you changed my opinion I am absolutely certain there are artists, developers and writers who read your blog, or ones similar, who have also had their opinions changed even if they (like me for so long) don’t say anything. Artists can think too and the future doesn’t look bleak to me at all ;)

      • Jaclyn says:

        I think you’re a bit mistaken here. My comment has been deleted so I don’t know what it said, but whatever it did say, in no way was I implying that my characters were all sexualised tools for men. :3

        It’s actually the exact opposite for me. While some of my female characters may be dressed in a way that would make WG cringe, none of them are damsels in distress or overemotional. None of them are sexualised amongst strong, powerful males. Both genders are on equal footing in terms of power and emotion, and attractiveness in both a physical and personal sense, and I actually have far more female characters than male characters.

        Regardless, I do appreciate your actually cutting me some slack.

        • Veric says:

          I apologize in advance for the wordiness, but this is a topic I find very interesting and I haven’t yet had the opportunity to discuss it with another artist :)

          Oh yes I totally get it :) I never drew female characters as ‘damsels in distress’ or ‘sexual objects for men’ explicitly. But it was very much implicit. By implicit I mean that I’d draw a female character doing a high kick, give her an angry face and think she’s being a strong character, but I’d make sure her posture displayed her breasts in the best possible way (to the point of redrawing her torso several times and making her spine curve unrealistically), that the clothes wrapped around her in a formfitting manner (even if they’re supposed to be loose – the wind did it!) that would accentuate her curves. I’ve even been guilty of the camel-toe :/ Also all my women were far less clothed than my men, low cut, skin-tight pants (where pants were present at all) and short shirts (where bikinis tops were completely innapropriate). Hell, even when I wasn’t going for ‘hawt’ I’ve drawn girls sitting in neutral positions, but wearing bikini tops and crotch cloth with the throw-away excuse that ‘she’s a satyr, they live in a warm climate’. One good thing I can claim is I’ve ever inflicted heels on anyone ;)

          See what I’m getting at? I could draw ‘strong female characters’, but they’d be strong while being objectified to male-gaze standards (also, isn’t if funny how ‘strong’ seems to mean ‘sexually available’?). Now whenever I decide to clothe a female character I ask myself first about their purpose/job (are they a noble lady or a warrior? In the former, cleavage reveal is perfectly acceptable but not totally necessary (depending on the time period/fantasy setting, of course), in the latter cleavage reveal is completely innapropriate – deadly even).

          You gave the example of an assassin before in one of your comments in another thread. I’d draw a female assassin completely covered with preferrably a face-mask to maintain secret identity (if we’re looking at the pop-culture ninja style thing). The clothes would be form-fitting, but comfortable (no ass-cleavage or camel-toe :/ Loose-ish in places like armpits, crotch, neck etc. depending on what the material is. I’d also like some metal plating in places – studded leather jacket would be nice), and I’d make sure to show weapon compartments which help so much to demonstrate competency. In body-shape I’d go for small to imply speed and agility, I’d also go for skinny with a flat-to-almost-flat chest to add to that look (and also reduce some stereotypical sexy-vibes), but also give her some muscle-definition to show that she has the strength required for the super jumps and wall-climbing. In one word: competency. That same assassin might also do undercover work to get close to her target, right? Well, she might dress up as a man (e.g. a guard in armor that would conceal any curves, the helmet would also conceal her lack of facial hair and feminine features). Or she might dress up as a woman (in a patriarchal society), in which case she’d have to take care to not show her unwomanly traits (muscles, maybe short hair) and therefore choose more covered, but attractive clothing (depending on whether she needs to seduce or just enter a place – a nun/crone outfit could work for the latter :P).

          Just like that, just thinking about a character in terms of realistic function helped me shape out a more interesting and believable female assassin character than just going for the stereotype (well, I think it’s more believable and interesting :P). That doesn’t mean that the stereotype isn’t welcome in drawings, it’s just better suited for ‘just-for-the-hell-of-it-art’, soft-porn and fanart, not interesting character design (there are always exceptions).

          (Btw, if I really wanted to deviate from the stereotype I could go much further than just taking into account the fact that she has to look at least half-way competent with a dagger. This is just the tip of the iceburg of character design – especially for a story)

          So my point (which might have been lost in the Sea of Text) is that female characters don’t just have to BE equal (through the backstory, side-text explanation) but also LOOK equal to their male counterparts if they are to be equal in the viewer’s eyes. This simply means looking competent. If the female warrior looks like she’d be more at home in a night-club, something’s wrong. If she has gaps in her armor that could prove fatal in combat (like a big ‘stab-me-here’ sign), something’s wrong. There are exceptions, but if the reason for the night-club look and armor holes is to make them more attractive/feminine for the viewer and the males don’t get the same objectification, then that is just not right.

          Not used to putting my still new (with that new-car-smell) feminist-y thoughts into writing, so I’m not sure if I was clear :)

  20. Zaewen says:

    We are a very sexual species, but that sexualness tends to be repressed in the modern, Western societies which produces things like fetishes and oversexualized images of women. If we were not as sexually repressed, breasts would not be the big sex symbol that they are, they’d again be seen primarily as a food source for infants that may have some fun side benefits.

    And you’re assuming just as much about what pre-historic people are thinking, too ;) The difference is, is that you are mapping modern, Westernized sexual morals and attitudes onto vastly different cultures. There is plenty of evidence in non-Westernized, hunter-gatherer type tribes that breasts and even genitals are not sexualized or fetishized the way they are in our culture. As for your examples, in respective order: does not have her breasts on display, those breasts are not sexualized or fetishized in anything remotely approaching the way breasts are today (they’re just there on the nude woman, again breasts are not inherently sexual), and the last is a fertility statue.

    And, no, seeing a sexually objectified image of a woman does not go out and cause someone to rape a woman. But they do feed into the atmosphere of sexism that is ingrained into our culture (both mainstream and gaming) and reinforce the notion that women are objects that are always sexually available to any man who wants to take her. And yes, the society as a whole should bear responsibility for stopping the reinforcement of sexist notions that make women feel inherently less than. To think otherwise is, well, sexist.

  21. Jaclyn says:

    Going to point out something a friend observed, that I think I posted about on the first Gencon post somewhere but didn’t quite elaborate on. Most of the energy towards this blog is devoted towards the lack of clothing in females and an apparent oversexualization. Why is this? Because the woman who wrote this blog and the women and men who support this blog don’t feel it’s an appropriate portrayal of females, and that’s it’s degrading.

    But look at all the males. Strong, tall, heroic, square jawed. Couldn’t it be argued, for the exact same reasons, that this depiction of males is also unrealistic and degrading? Not all men are that handsome, not all men went to be fully covered in clunky armour and not have the freedom to expose their bodies or wear bootyshorts without being called “gay”.

    • Jaclyn says:

      Why are comments not showing up in order? What the shit?

      Also, the same friend pointed out that in this image:

      http://gomakemeasandwich.files.wordpress.com/2011/08/warcast-studios.jpg?w=530&h=632

      While the blonde girl has more skin exposed, much of what she’s wearing is cloth and drapes over her body, while the armour on the other girl is skintight and thus shows more of her figure.

      Adding to what he said, functionality seems to be a common criticism, but is that skintight armour really that functional?

      One thing I keep in mind when designing female characters is that they’re often more agile than the men, and need to be able to flow and move freely. A lack of clothing is perfect for that.

    • Luc says:

      Yes, men are depicted are extremely fierce, tough, muscular, STRONG. But women have muscles too, you know. They could draw tall women with muscles, too, and with square jaws, since women have also bones. They could try to make women look strong and heroic. And they have done it occasionally. Femshep is an example.

      Instead, they usually prefer to draw a pretty, young-looking face and a big pair of tits, because looking sexy is the first priority when it comes to designing women. Strong != sexy. Heroic != sexy. That difference in priorities is the reason why what you say can’t be argued. (Notice that I said “priorities”, not “the only factor that counts”. Please, do not misrepresent my point by claiming that I’ve said sex is the one and only thing they all pay attention to. I say this because it’s happened before.)

      The male equivalent of the portrayal of women would be something like this.

      • Jaclyn says:

        The point was to indicate that both genders are stereotyped in gaming on perfectly equal ground. Yes, you could draw strong women, likewise, you could draw sexy men.

        But why is strong good and sexy bad?

        Because society has taught us that women are to be the ones who sit at home and care for children while men are the ones who go out, have sex, and punch things, but that doesn’t quite mean a man is allowed to express his sexuality either.

        It’s odd. In some ways a double standard, in other ways just general effed up. -Both- genders should be able to be both strong -and- sexy. However, if a man tries to be sexy he’s gay, if he tries to be strong, that’s fine. If a woman is sexy she’s a slut, if she’s strong and boyish she’s too butch, which is about the same as gay.

        Sex makes babies and disease and is a big no-no. Sexuality is repressed in both genders, except in incredibly odd ways between the two.

        In women, to be sexy is to be slutty. If a woman sleeps around, dresses to show off assets, talks about how many guys she likes, or mentions she watches porn, she’s a slut.

        Homosexuality is either shunned or a joke. Both genders do the “showing off the assets” thing, with guys being shirtless. But if a guy wears form fitting clothing, he’s gay.

        Men might try to express their sexuality through women since expressing it through their own gender seems to be a bit of a taboo. At least, that’s one way i could be explained, though not foolproof.

        This steps a bit into the realm of homophobia rather than feminism, but it still proves the point that this isn’t about how women are treated, or how men treat women. This is a problem with humanity in general. Which is what irritates me about feminism. All that disappointment seems to be pointed in the wrong direction. This is why some men feel the urge to stand up against feminists, because some feminists make them feel belittled and stereotyped probably -just as much- as how the feminists feel their gender is belittled and stereotyped.

        Also, WG, as for your link, I disagree with you on saying men are the only ones who come in all shapes and sizes, I just don’t think you’ve been looking hard enough. If you take a look into the anime world, while you may of course have your women with a severe case of dumptruck-chest, you can also find flat-chested girls, short girls, tall girls, bony girls, curvy girls, and muscular girls.

        It may seem like Japan is the one country that objectifies women the most, but truth is, sexuality is a lot less repressed over there. Men and women both are free to be as sexy or androgynous as they please without being called skanks or gays as much as they are in the west. And, before it’s brought up for argument, no, Japan isn’t as sexist as often stereotyped. Maybe in some areas it is, but from female friends who have visited or lived there? Not at all.

        Here’s some examples of some female characters that aren’t typical model proportions.

        Not very curvy, flat chested: http://img217.imageshack.us/img217/2630/100lg1.png

        Muscular, almost boyish: http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/190/caska08jpg.jpg/sr=1

        Very overweight, tho she does take on a more sexy form:

        This one can become thinner, but she’s not as boobalicious as the above:

        High school girl who doesn’t have a skinnyform:

        • Jaclyn says:

          Comment got a bit jumbled in the wording. But basically, aside from pointing out that not ass females in nerd culture look like Barbies, it’s mostly a westerner thing…

          What I was implying beyond the “But why is strong good and sexy bad?” is that the cause for the negative reactions to certain depictions of either gender seems to all stem from repressed sexuality.

        • Luc says:

          Yes, I already read it. They aren’t “stereotyped on perfectly equal ground”, due to the difference in priorities I already pointed out in my comment. You didn’t need to give examples that occasionally women in games aren’t awfully sexualized either, since I already gave an example in my comment. I hope things change and your and my examples become more frequent, maybe even to the point of coming close to the amount of variety we see in male characters now. I think speaking out is a good way to make things change.

          Sexy per se isn’t bad. Sexy being the first and most important part of a character regardless of what she’s supposed to do in the story is bad. If you’re designing a judo fighter and your first priority is to show guys a sexually appealing body instead of making players think she’s a judo fighter, that’s bad. Again, priorities.

          You can have a good character expressing openly her sexuality, like DA2’s Isabela. She’s very casual about it, but what makes her character good is that she isn’t defined by that. The first time you meet her, a cutscene happens in which you can see that she’s as competent as any other member of your group. She’s a rogue, she’s selfish, sometimes arrogant, she can lie to people and change her mind about things as times goes by; she can also do the right thing from time to time because she isn’t really evil after all, just practical; you can talk with her about a variety of topics. She isn’t an empty hot chick who has been given an excuse and a costume, like Lara Croft. True, she has no pants, which is rather absurd. I never said they did a perfect job.

          I don’t think a man trying to be sexy is automatically viewed as gay. There is a famous advertisement showing David Beckham in underwear. He doesn’t look gay. Then you have George Clooney in those coffee comercials being all flirty. No, I’m not seeing a correlation there. I chose that picture for my comment to make an analogy about over-sexualized female characters simply because the over-sexualized guy in the picture looks ridiculous. Gay has nothing to do with it, I’m not sure why you bring that up.

          If some men conclude that when somebody points out absurd and degrading female character design in video games the right thing to do is to attack feminism, well, it’s their decision. I wouldn’t say it’s the smartest or the most productive thing to do, but hey who am I to judge.

        • Ikkin says:

          But why is strong good and sexy bad?

          I’m just going to reply to this part for now, since that seems to be the most important bit.

          “Strong” is good because it implies agency. Strength is used to do stuff — to save the world, or destroy it, or change it in some visible and significant manner. And doing stuff is what makes characters interesting to watch or read about or play as if you’re not being pulled around by your hormones.

          “Sexy” is bad because it’s indirect and dependent. It can do nothing if others don’t allow themselves to be seduced by it, and even then, it’s still the other person’s actions that make stuff happen. It makes the self more vulnerable in order to better appeal to the base lusts of random strangers and (particularly in women) tends to reduce the appearance of competence. And, if you’re not attracted to it, it offers absolutely nothing except the knowledge that it’s Not For You.

          I’m not going to say that “strong” is always good and “sexy” is always bad — both have their places. The latter’s place, however, is most definitely not as the main defining trait of someone who has other, much more important things to deal with than looking good for other people.

    • wundergeek says:

      Not that you’re going to take anything I have to say on the matter seriously, but here you go: why gaming isn’t sexist against men

  22. Pai says:

    It’s obvious a whole lot of people here need to check out Feminism 101 before attempting to comment on any of wundergeek’s posts. The sheer amount of blind privilege and total ignorance of basic feminist concepts floating around is pretty sad to see. Y’all can’t really ‘refute’ or even hold an intelligent debate if you don’t even know what feminism is, or what wundergeek is actually criticizing about these images.

    For the few of you who actually DO want to learn and discuss and not just derail the conversation here, the Feminism 101 Blog will help a lot: http://finallyfeminism101.wordpress.com/

  23. Cynthia O'Rourke says:

    If they say, “I’m going to rape you,” yes. If they say, “You sure do have a pretty mouth,” no.

    • Cynthia O'Rourke says:

      Oh, freakin’… sigh, not sure why the occasional post is ending up in very much the wrong spot. but that’s getting annoying. Pai, you may be surprised to know that I was raised feminist, all the way from the hairy armpits to the womyn’s festivals. I consider myself a feminist, too, in that I believe that no one should be treated as greater than or less than based upon their sex (or gender, or color, or ethnicity, or orientation, etc.) and I act upon those beliefs. I don’t know if that surprises you or if you think I need to revisit 17 years of feminist education because I missed the point / haven’ t learned to see things your way, but ignorance is not my “problem.”

      I am, however, able to see when an online discussion has entered the tail-chasing stage, and this one is sunk. Cheers, people. Erleichda!

      • Translation: either “I can’t derail this enough, so it’s no fun any more,” or “I’ve derailed this enough; my work here is done.”

        And nice stereotypes you’ve got there.

    • Do you not understand that there’s a hell of a lot of middle ground between those two extremes?

  24. SJ says:

    http://www.derailingfordummies.com/

    Someone needs to make a derailment bingo card for some of these trolls.

  25. Pingback: Hit a Dude: a joke, a game « The Githyanki Diaspora

  26. Tanya says:

    I kinda like the corpse bewbs. But then again, I am kind of weird.

  27. Opal says:

    Ever since you pointed out the artwork of the DE-sexualised spaceman I’m finding the lack of ‘parts’ on male game protagonists distracting to the point of annoyance!

    Great blog, keep it up!

  28. Darth Ember says:

    …What the hell is Jarlaxle doing wearing so much? Somebody take it off him. His poster has Bregan D’aerthe on it, so he should be wearing what he wore when he spent more time leading them than gallivanting around on the surface.
    I’m (mostly) kidding, but that would have made that trio of posters way more balanced in terms of depiction.
    Go back to your belly-baring waistcoat, Jarlaxle. :(
    He used to dress like this, back in the days when his author would describe his fancy clothes and muscled belly almost every time he showed up. No lie, I think it was referenced at least as much if not more than any of the ladies, just how pretty and fancy he was, and I was stunned because it was just so novel for the attention to be spread out in that way.

  29. gemiwing says:

    I put the corpse boob fascination in the same category as the obsession with highly flexible women. In both cases the woman as a person, as a human who has an existence, is shuffled out of the way for the pleasure of the man. She is not allowed to act as a barrier to her genitals as they exist for the pleasure of the male. She will not fight, she will have no say or agency- she will either have no barriers or remove them all so as not to impede the man’s enjoyment of her in any way.

    It freaks me the F out. Seriously- creeps me out.

  30. Ugly American says:

    [deleted]

  31. Pingback: Martin’s Mentions: Worldbuilding, Mapping Software, wikidPad, Scrivener, and More - Gnome Stew, the Game Mastering Blog

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