>Depictions of Women in Games: Some Follow-up Notes

>I’ve gotten some critical comments regarding my article about depictions of women in gaming (please do go read it if you haven’t already). Mostly these comments seem to not grasp the fact that the criteria were intentionally engineered to be slightly ridiculous. So – a few things:

Re: The subjectivity of the criteria makes this statistically useless

This isn’t meant to provide numbers in the sense that you can use this to prove exact percentages. This is meant to provide numbers in the sense that it clearly documents sexist trends in depictions of women in game art across all areas of gaming. I engineered my criteria to be very conservative when labeling women as suggestive and very liberal when labeling men as suggestive, so the fact that the numbers I generated still show a very clear sexist trend is significant.

OMG why is a cow labeled suggestive?

Sure it’s ridiculous. Again, I intentionally made my criteria very liberal when looking at male figures to offset the deep personal bias that I have regarding this kind of art. I realize that no one is going to look at this cow and go “va va voom!”. But the cow isn’t wearing pants, which makes him suggestive according to the criteria I defined. And in fact, a significant number of the male figures I countered were monstrous humanoids, which seems significant in a way that I can’t pin down.

Looking at other sources

If someone wants to take my methods and apply them to other stuff like Pathfinder or Magic, please do! I’d appreciate a message here just to let me know what you’d find, is all.

Specific interpretations of numbers

I am not a statistician or anything having to do with math – I studied Fine Art. Also, I recognize that the subjectivity of the criteria makes specific conclusions problematic in some cases. However, what is inarguable is that across all areas of gaming, game art displays markedly sexist trends despite having engineered the survey to conservatively evaluate women that would commonly be called suggestive and to liberally evaluate men who would commonly be called not suggestive.

Lack of pants = suggestive?

You’ll note that I specifically said that characters “not having covered legs” would automatically be considered suggestive. Leg coverings include skirts, which are a non-bifurcated leg covering. Leg coverings do not include thigh-high stockings or tights. This is just common sense. If I tried to go to work in just tights or thigh-high stockings, I’m pretty sure I would get in trouble.

I’m not going to count biceps on men as suggestive for the same reason I don’t count them as suggestive on women. You can be attracted to people with large biceps, but calling bare arms suggestive is just absurd for either sex.

One thought on “>Depictions of Women in Games: Some Follow-up Notes

  1. >Re: monstrous humanoids making up the majority of labeled-as-suggestive male figures, I think it's significant because it hints towards one of the two dominant paradigms for male nakedness, namely the idea that the uncovered male figure represents the primal and animalistic aspect of human strength. With that in mind, it's not really surprising that many of the characters you counted were monsters rather than true humans — and I'd think that a significant portion could be morally monstrous, as well, in the line of God of War's Kratos.The other paradigm, of course, is of male nakedness as ridiculous and embarrassing. The majority of uncovered male characters who aren't mountains of muscle fall under this category, whether they're intended to or not, with Final Fantasy IX's Kuja being one of the better examples.The conception of a male figure wearing clothing that just barely covers the taboo areas (and nothing else) as being sexy is something that just doesn't seem to exist in the public consciousness — sexualized male characters can have chest windows, painted-on shirts, no shirts or butt cleavage, but they rely on emphasis and posing more than anything while wearing costumes that another artist could easily draw as G-rated.

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