>Reaper Miniatures: still a fap-fest, even at 1 inch high

[August 27, 2013, ETA: I was contacted by the photographer of the image for the Brigitte the Naughty Maid figure asking me to take down those images from my post, as they were being used without permission. When I went back to look at the Reaper website, it seemed like they may have taken photographs of painted figures from their community. Since I wasn’t sure of the provenance of the image, I honored the request and have removed those images from this post. However, if you want to see the figure that is discussed, you can visit the above link for photos of the figure that are hosted on Reaper Miniature’s own website as part of their product catalog.]

Okay. So last time I posted this teaser image for a post about Reaper Minis:


Dragon replacing alligator as a fashion accessory?

That’s pretty representative of a lot of minis. As any woman who’s tried to find a mini to represent her character in a D&D game can tell you, it can be really hard to find female minis that are A) wearing clothes AND B) not showing their breasts.Now Reaper Minis have gotten pretty popular for fantasy minis lately. Partly because of the very high quality of their minis, and partly because of the product lines that they produce minis for. What caught my attention is their line of Pathfinder minis, which I hear sell pretty well. I will definitely admit that the minis I’ve seen that have been based on existing illustrations are impressively sculpted. And they do well enough for themselves to run a convention called Reaper Con every year, so apparently their product is pretty popular.However, their catalog is pretty similar to pretty much any collection of minis I’ve ever browsed at a con in that it’s light on females, heavy on males, and chock full of naked or mostly naked women. So I thought that I’d go through their catalog and pull out some particularly egregious examples.So first of all, meet Sophie. Sophie is the Reaper mascot; there are special edition Sophie minis released for Christmas, sometimes Halloween, and each year for Reaper Con. These are concept sketches that were later turned into special edition minis. (Except for the top right – that’s going to be the special mini for this upcoming Reaper Con.)

Riiight. So, instead of releasing special edition minis that are actually interesting they just decided to make a busty demon chick their mascot and make slutty special edition minis. Which are useful in what context other than fap-material? It seems to point out the dearth of women in gaming, and especially in minis-related gaming. I mean, what gamer DOESN’T love cleavagey hot girls?…oh wait.Speaking of cleavage… Some of the sculptors need serious anatomy lessons when it comes to the female torso. I found way too many examples of head-sized sphere-boobs – many of them on the same models that also had impossibly tiny waists and no rib cages:
boobs

I fail to see how any of these are attractive. Some of them, like The Little Please Have Buttsex With Me Mermaid, are downright freakish. And some of them are just stupid. What is it about the chicks with huge tits, no clothes, and a large weapon?

However, even the misshapen tits are better than the sheer preponderance of models I found that need to PUT ON SOME DAMN CLOTHES.

Half of these models are bare-breasted, and the other half might as well be. How edgy! And by edgy, I mean pathetic. Seriously, isn’t this shit what the internet is for? Why do they need to produce fap material for guys who can just as easily find the real stuff online? It’s especially silly when you consider the scale of these things.And of course, some of them go beyond stupid and right into WTF:

“Ghostly summons” (top left) my ass. That’s two lesbians having hot ladysex in a cloud of smoke. Don’t try to claim it’s all artistic – her head is in the other woman’s crotch and you folks can’t exactly claim the artistic high ground. And check out Miss Muffet (top right). WTF? Why is she showing that spider her tits?Even that’s less ridiculous than the witch (bottom left) and the ZOMBIE STRIPPER. I mean, for god’s sake, people. Both of these are supposed to be gross and monstrous, and yet it’s STILL tits or gtfo for these women? What if I don’t WANT to see their tits? Cause that’s kind of gross.The worst, though, are the two middle images. The chained succubus (bottom) is bad enough, but the VICTIM ON A SPIT is naked folks. Because nothing says “awesome” like tying up a naked woman and hanging her on a spit. In what world is anything like this even remotely appropriate? Gah!But wait! The WTF doesn’t stop there!wtf1

… you’ve got to be fucking kidding me.The figure on the left is actually a special edition figure, so another example of fanservice to reward their loyal (male) customers? The figure on the left… Gah. So she’s described as a “naughty maid”, but the expression on her face just makes me think she’s surprised. “Holy shit, when did those get so big??”Can the maid fetish please die now and forever? kthxAnyway. Not all of the Reaper Minis are complete fail; there are some hidden gems if you look long enough, like this mini from the Pathfinder collection:

I have mixed feelings about this one. The deep cleavage made me roll my eyes at first, but then I re-considered. This is the rare example of a woman who is NOT Barbie and also not monstrous. I think she’s quite attractively rendered. So I’m not sure if the cheesecake is ridiculous, or if I should be happy that they’re presenting a non-standard body type as attractive. (Thoughts?)And then there are a few that are totally awesome. Why can’t they all be like this??
Okay, so yes, the middle figure has a little cleavage. But she’s awesome! Her tits aren’t huge, she has a waist, and she looks badass! And I love, love, LOVE the knight on the right. And the nun on the left – awesome! Another woman who’s not Barbie, and so completely badass!Why can’t THIS be how Reaper depicts its women? All of these figures are totally awesome! But no, they’d rather continue to cater to their “safe” market of desperately horny young males, which is disappointing. The quality of their product is clearly pretty high. It’s disappointing that for the amount of work that goes into each mini, there’s a base level of contempt for women as potential customers that clearly isn’t being addressed.

30 thoughts on “>Reaper Miniatures: still a fap-fest, even at 1 inch high

  1. >As a small miniature maker I could not agree more with this post.Whilst our own small range is male heavy, our human female is wearing clothes. We have two other female figures, both which show their breast – four each. These are from our Quorakon range, a species of primitive, stone tool using, four-armed apes where clothing is not appropriate.Which brings up the issue of appropriate nudity / cleavage etc in fantasy miniatures. The succubus for example is from folklore and represents sexual temptation. If any miniature can justify being blatantly sexual, it is the succubus. Though it is depressing that the number of succubus miniatures that get made is completely out of proportion to their use in a game.The witch / hag you highlight also seems appropriate. There doesn't seem to be large or unnatural cleavage from the photo and the general clothing of the figure is appropriate for certain types of hag in folklore. Not having any breasts would of been very strange.The large female in the colourful costumes is clearly not a dungeon dwelling adventurer. She looks like an opera singer so again the style of dress / cleavage display seems appropriate.The sad thing is that there are so few female miniatures by any maker that are not cheesecake. What is worse, is that most of these figures are not bought by horny young men but by middle aged men. RPG miniatures is very much an older persons hobby as the young'uns are all painting the Warhammer 40K miniatures.

  2. >"I have mixed feelings about this one. The deep cleavage made me roll my eyes at first, but then I re-considered. This is the rare example of a woman who is NOT Barbie and also not monstrous. I think she's quite attractively rendered. So I'm not sure if the cheesecake is ridiculous, or if I should be happy that they're presenting a non standard body type as attractive."In this case, I really don't think they're trying to portray her as attractive at all. She looks tacky, over-the top and horrendous. They could have made something like this look very nice but instead have opted out for a stereotype. Namely that larger women get no attention and want it so bad that they will go into any excess lengths to get (i.e., dressing in tacky, colourful clothing, wearing too much makeup, etc). This isn’t to say that this attention-attracting behaviour is limited to overweight people; just saying that they’ve opted out for the stereotype of overweight people. I agree with you in any case, many of these figurines are deplorable, sexist and show a great contempt for women. It's not sad for this reason however…Economic behaviour is the study of how individuals spend their free time and hence, their money. What marketers do is look at this kind of information in order to advertise their wares appropriately. Clearly, not a lot of women (compared to men) are interested in anime, video games, etc, etc. So what they do is market according to what males will buy. Unfortunately, by the looks of a majority of these figurines, the male customers seem to spend their money on degrading women (theoretically). The advertisement is simply a reflection of what the consumers buy. Therefore, it’s sad to see that this is what companies make, seeing as it gives us a glimpse into what men (in general) think about women.

  3. >To Eris:"Economic behaviour is the study of how individuals spend their free time and hence, their money."And here I though heaps and heaps of women play Farmville, and a whole lot of other games to."What marketers do is look at this kind of information in order to advertise their wares appropriately. Clearly, not a lot of women (compared to men) are interested in anime, video games, etc, etc."Anime and manga does accommodate for women (shoujo, josie, and maybe even yaoi…), unlike the majority of the games industry -as far as I know, the number of interested women in anime and manga is equal."So what they do is market according to what males will buy. Unfortunately, by the looks of a majority of these figurines, the male customers seem to spend their money on degrading women (theoretically)."Problem is, you're effectively shutting off half of your potential market -which is not very economically logical. So maybe it's not so much that the market tells them to sell to men, they themselves want to sell to men, and thus create the market."The advertisement is simply a reflection of what the consumers buy."It's a reflection of what the advertiser thinks consumers would buy. If they had a range of non-hyper-sexualised, strong stanced women, do you think noone would buy? Or would it attract an even larger consumer base (suddenly also having girls! and rising)? This figures are very sexist, though I don't know if it's contempt for women, or a blatant disregard of the human-ness. But that knight really is seriously cool – though it seems that the last few were done by someone in a minor position, or maybe these guys had a bright spark that there actually might be an audience for such things.To wundergeek:Great (in the negative reality but really good sense) blog. I don't see how you manage to pull through so much stuff gunk.

  4. >I agree that there are a lot of really terrible models like the ones above, but reaper does have a lot of good models too. It'd be great if everyone just bought the ones that were supposed to be sex objects (and seriously at an inch tall its silly to begin with.) I'm curious if you've ever looked at the Warmachine/Hordes model lines. They have a much better representation of females in the line and females that are dressed appropriately and fully armored (for example there's a country based on Russia and the female characters are wearing fur lined armor and full overcoats just like the men) Might be something worth taking a look at.

  5. >@Eris: Ah, but it's not /just/ a reflection. The product themselves also contribute to perpetuating that image of women as sex objects and also contribute to keeping women away from the products too. Self-fulfilling prophecy. The marketing and the decisions of the company is to blame as well, really.@Jarem: For myself, I don't think I'd really take it at much value for the sheer fact that ones in this post that seem to be all about degrading women. The ones that better represent women seem half-hearted when the apparent mascot is literally just there to be a fap toy. The bad can outweigh the good in the end.

  6. >Is it a testament forever to my utter pedantry that the thing that angers me most is that the mermaid has hips? Seriously, what goddamn purpose do those serve? Is she supposed to look like a woman in a cheap costume? M:tG has the spine lead off to a fish spine and tail, and thy're a card game with thousand s of pictures, so there's no "most people learned to draw that way" excuse.Is it sad that Warhammer 40k is the best respectful minis game I can think of? The obligatory sex demons are freakish, not sexy, (the lore says that they're supernaturally attractive even when the crab claws and tentacles come out. Much more frightening that way.) and the space nuns only have someone half naked when they're specifically going for martyrdom. (And before you roll your eyes at an obvious nudity "excuse," said martyrs self-mutilate. If you find them sexy that is really not Games Workshop's fault.)Now, Warhammer Fantasy, on the other hand… Is there some rule I missed where even the traditional non-matriarchal dark elves have to be depicted as dressed like prostitutes? Shame, it's the better game.

  7. >Jarem: The problem with looking at minis is that the catalogs for any company that makes minis is SO HUGE. I mean, it's easy for one product line to have a couple hundred to a few thousand minis. That's a LOT to look through, and I'll admit to not being as conversant with minis gaming as well. I've got friends who used to be big into Warhammer, but I've never played myself.

  8. >^ In addition, I think most people that care about sexism gave up on Warmachine when "Play like you've got a pair" happened in the rulebook. It got better? Neat.

  9. >I was kind of hoping for more of a statistical analysis of Reapers mini line, looking at pose, percentage of clothing etc. to give a representative picture of the situation, and then we could contrast the stats with the dragon magazine covers etc. Any chance?

  10. >As I've said before (in other forums, about other topics) it's very hard to measure the demand for salt & vinegar flavoured potato crisps when the only variety available is cheese and onion. Or in other words, it's very hard to measure the demand for something which either isn't on offer, or hasn't ever been on offer. So I don't buy the argument of "that's what the market wants" as an excuse for offering a preponderance of cheesecake and fap-fodder as gaming minatures. It's what the market is being *offered* – what the market as a whole might want could be entirely different.What really needs to happen, in my opinion (as a 40 year old non-American female gamer) is that the whole damn entertainment industry needs to stop pandering to the adolescent fantasies of their One Chosen Demographic (the 15 – 25 year old single white American male) and start expanding their horizons. Yeah, they might have to take a few risks, and start treating women, older folks, non-white folks and people who voluntarily live outside the USA as though they matter – but my gods, the potential profits are humongous!

  11. >Zhu: I've got plans for it, but it's going to take me a while. There are a few thousand separate minis on the site to go through and that takes a while!! It might be something I put off for the future.Meg: My favorite quote from recently is when Helen Mirrin accused Hollywood of worshipping "at the altar of the 18 to 25-year-old male and his penis". Good stuff.

  12. >@anon: Japan makes porn figures and they don't even want to hide it….Those you posted are nothing compared to some "sex in actions with liquid/fetish gears" ones /sighs.@wundergeek: great post, I know some ppl who loves playing tabletop games and bought a few miniatures, I hope they didn't buy this kind of things….

  13. >I'm a miniatures fanatic who's gaming group is 50/50 male/female and I can attest to the gender imbalance in most miniature lines (it makes looking for female PCs a lot harder).I don't think that nudity in miniatures is always inappropriate, but it is telling when most of the female figures are represented that way (again, especially as we're working with a smaller number already).You might want to look at representations of male nudity in miniatures also. Male genitalia do appear on some (not on any Reaper minis I don't think) but it’s always on some bestial or horrible creature (something you've pointed out in some of your other posts on game art). Its also very interesting to hear the strong reaction these miniatures get on the Otherworld, Troll Forged, and Heresy site forums (since these miniature companies open up the sculpting process to the public). There are many calls to put a loincloth on the figures that I don't think would be there for representations of female nudity.

  14. >That is a very fascinating point, Victor Von Dave. It reminds me of the way that, normally, when I see men sexualized and objectified in one form or another (especially when they're not monstrous and more on the actually attractive side) the reaction from a large number of men is homophobia. There are accusations of those characters being gay or unnatural or strange or just 'not right' in various ways.I've seen this happen in Twilight and Comic Books (Crotchgate, Odditycollector's post on what male superheroes would actually be presented like if they were objectified like women). In the last two cases, I noticed that the men were actually presented as anatomically correct, as in they actually had a penis and it was visible through the spandex. Most male superheroes are presented as featureless in that area or it's drawn in a way to overshadow it too.When so many people use that old cliche of 'sex sells', you can almost bet they're talking about women's sexuality and constantly trying to justify making things like those miniatures. It's almost as if women are expected to be the sexual objects (for men), that it is the default view on them and that the idea is that focus on it is normal because that's what women are for. The rarity of men being put in such situations, the various negative reactions, and homophobia make me think about this even more. Is it the idea that the men become too 'feminine' when they might have their sexual parts focused on too much (at all)?

  15. >As an avid tabletop role-player who prefers minis to reflect the character they are intended to represent, this is a problem that is particularly relevant to me. Reaper was the first company I bought from, and their customer service implied a company that cares deeply about their fanbase. That their mascot was literally a rapist demon always unsettled me a little, but I tried to ignore it. I keep up with every monthly release of their latest minis; I look for updates from my preferred sculptors. Of the ten new releases this month, four are women (which is double the typical proportion), and you showed the greens of three of them. This month’s entire female offering has: 1) A wizard with a boob window [http://bit.ly/hF5xts]2) A “warrior” (seriously?)[http://bit.ly/hlXQ3m]3) A witch who is somehow still flashing me[http://bit.ly/gsVBEt]4) And yes, a very special set of zombie strippers. [http://bit.ly/eRq8JK]The strippers, in case you were wondering, come in sets of three. What a bargain! Reaper has only two women who are bald, and zero women who are heavily muscled (barbarians are more like this: [http://bit.ly/ihy0fW] and this: [http://bit.ly/hKM6Tz]), but they have five prostitutes and three zombie strippers, which there is apparently more demand for. This means that when my group of mostly-women players started seeking out muscled lady minis, giant lady minis, shorthaired lady minis or bald lady minis, they found next to nothing at all. If only they had wanted to play a “strumpet”, as Reaper calls them. Then they would have abundant options to represent themselves.It’s worth noting that Reaper also seems to forget that unlike say, Middle Earth, countries like [http://bit.ly/f7ROpb] Egypt [http://bit.ly/hJ7kUq] and China [http://bit.ly/ik2ZrY] are real. These countries are not ancient and abandoned, lost to history. They exist, and not as havens for sorcerers and villains in bad pulp fiction novels. I also need to mention, at least in passing, the ever popular Achmed the Terrorist [http://bit.ly/fbJKyA] and Oyuki, Geisha [http://bit.ly/hiNIo3] minis, which have been labeled by some of their customers as somewhat insensitive. Unsurprisingly, the answer to those concerns was more along the lines of “I’m sorry you feel that way” rather than “we had not considered that”. I did try, and have tried, for a long time now to dismiss these things as harmless. When I couldn’t, I started looking at other retailers. The “coerced nudity is sexy” theme is unfortunately not limited to Reaper (though here is another example [http://bit.ly/f8dtdc] anyway). Iron Winds Metals has a few sets [http://bit.ly/gmVigQ] of sexualized slaves [http://bit.ly/e6CdDt] (always women) and six different “victim” minis: Female Victims I-V, and Sacrificial Victim, all naked [http://bit.ly/elzHT9]. Creepier still, the “customers who bought this also bought” section informs me that people seem to buy up all the naked, suffering women at once, from all their different sets. Not sure what scenario would make that appropriate, and I’m not inclined to examine it too closely, but it’s worth asking anyhow. And yes, for every five naked, sexualized slave women there is sometimes also a human paladin who is a woman and who wears armor. The presentation of women as people, though, comes across as token as a result.This is also representative of a hobby where this [http://bit.ly/ePpQw1] is considered legitimate and acceptable. “Weary barbarian seeks his reward.” Seriously. His “reward” seems to be a naked human woman who has been…what? Rescued? Won? Either way she is a suitable gift for a hyper-muscular adventurer. Your blog is the first place I’ve ever seen these attitudes addressed. That in and of itself probably says something deep and meaningful about our culture. Thank you for addressing it. It needed to be addressed, and it made a difference.

  16. >I never use(d) minis when I GM(as I feel they get in the way of imagining the situation, and I can never find a figure that matches up to what it supposed to be in my mind…), nor do I collect them, but I read the reviews BITD in Dragon, White Dwarf, Valkyrie, Challenge, etc… and scanned the blister packs and displays in my local gamestores. It didn't take long for me to notice I noticed there was a glut of non-breastacular, presenting, submissive, and/or nonthreatening female characters. This makes me very glad I didn't insist on them, as I doubt my female players would be able to find cool minis very easily, and in all honesty would be kinda appalled at the ridiculous and juvenile imagery.'Male genitalia do appear on some (not on any Reaper minis I don't think) but it’s always on some bestial or horrible creature (something you've pointed out in some of your other posts on game art). Its also very interesting to hear the strong reaction these miniatures get on the Otherworld, Troll Forged, and Heresy site forums (since these miniature companies open up the sculpting process to the public). There are many calls to put a loincloth on the figures that I don't think would be there for representations of female nudity.':Wow. Monsterdong on minis? When did this happen? Now the 'heroes' need to show wang! I never heard of this controversy as I'm not a minis guy. Ridiculous standard here. Especially for 'monsters'. @LilithXIV:'It's almost as if women are expected to be the sexual objects (for men), that it is the default view on them and that the idea is that focus on it is normal because that's what women are for.':Absolutely. And here lately, the secondary sexual attributes(and/or other body parts) have to be overemphasized for effect, it seems.'The rarity of men being put in such situations, the various negative reactions, and homophobia make me think about this even more. Is it the idea that the men become too 'feminine' when they might have their sexual parts focused on too much (at all)?':And you'd think men would WANT their avatars to have clearly defined and imposing penors, right? Or are they(we, in my case!) competing with the fictional image in this case, sorta like women do?(But why is it ok to show closeups of cock in the het porn, then?:-/ Is it becuz dude(s) is/are not a cartoon?) Hard to analyze because of lack of data, as you pointed out. Very interesting line of thought.

  17. >I never said that women aren't part of the market. All I was talking about is the fact that they are a small portion of the market. Therefore there will only be a small portion of the wares for said small consumer. It is simply a reflection (essentially). Of course it is not only a reflection (maybe 95% reflection). Lets say that a business is starting up and they would like to sell game figurines. Yes, at first, they will create figurines based on what they think their consumers would buy. However, as the business progresses, they will discontinue and create figurines (and figurine types) that sell the most. Cleary, by the looks of what the majority of figurines look like; consumers like skanky, half-naked, tit-popping-out figurines. Thus, the market begins to reflect the consumer more and more (as time passes) and gives on-lookers a greater view into what said consumers think about women in general. @Lilith: Yes, exactly. What had started out as a business creating an image, turns into a business re-creating an image that consumers desire. This image, in itself, perpetuates onto women. @Fellen: “And here I though heaps and heaps of women play Farmville, and a whole lot of other games to.” How is this relevant? “as far as I know, the number of interested women in anime and manga is equal”. In comparison to men? I don’t think so but it could be true. “Problem is, you're effectively shutting off half of your potential market -which is not very economically logical.” The problem is that it’s not half your market, it’s not even a quarter of your market.

  18. >Eris: FarmVille is relevant because it proves that there is a market out there that is being untapped. Look at FarmVille and WoW – both are Pavlovian training devices designed to addict the player (WoW is just better disguised). Around 20% of WoW's 16 million players are women – that's around 3.2 million women. (Ish.) Whereas 48 MILLION WOMEN play FarmVille, and a LOT of them shell out real money for it too. There HAS to be crossover appeal for at least some segment of the FarmVille playing women. Think how much Blizzard could expand their player base if they stopped treating women like subhumans, but they continue to pursue the "safe" marketing strategy. THAT is why FarmVille is relevant.Similarly, I refuse to buy the "sex sells" argument as applied to minis. A lot of women forgo using minis with tabletop games because of the difficulty of finding minis that don't look like porn stars – despite that playing with minis can add a lot of tactical depth to games like D&D. Again, women are generally willing to spend money on things that interest them when the companies don't treat them like subhumans.

  19. >"The problem is that it’s not half your market, it’s not even a quarter of your market."It could be half.. or more if they'd start /respecting/ the other half of the population and not devaluing them because they don't have manbits (because right now it's kinda like telling women 'you don't matter' over and over again so..)? I'm pretty sure that's the point that was attempting to be made.And my larger point about the self-fulfilling prophecy was that it's dishonest to frame the company and it's marketing as neutral. It can't be neutral, because it's also perpetuating that poor image of women and the poor treatment of them as sex-meat. It can't all be the audience's fault, sometimes the people running the show need to take responsibility in breaking the cycle and changing their own ways. Even if the sexual exploitation of women sells (and that is basically what 'sex sells' usually amounts to. And really, I still have not seen real proof this has that much staying power and isn't just an excuse or assumption.), it doesn't mean it should be done or that it's not sexist/anti-women.

  20. >@ Wundergeek: thanks for clarifying that for me. Though I never really considered Farmville as legitimate game, in the same sense that World of Warcraft is. That’s just my opinion however. I can definitely see what you mean nonetheless. Farmville is somewhat gender neutral and it doesn’t degrade women. Thus more women play the game because It’s, not safer, but for lack of a better word, easier to play than playing something where you are faced with the objectification of your own body constantly. I play World of warcraft and though I have not paid as much attention to the sexism inherent within it, I have definitely heard others mention things about it. I think my point still stands, so I will try to make it a little clearer. Women will definitely purchase things that interest them especially when the company and maker of the wares don’t buy into sexism. The problem is that, with some companies (older companies, which a lot of major gaming companies are; DnD, Blizzard, etc), they don’t realize or see that there is an equally large female market out there (that could be out there, I should say). Mostly because the female consumers are put off by their wares and don’t show much interest in it, thus create a market of mostly men. This ends up in the company producing more wares for the male market and ignoring the possible female market. I think it would take initiative from the company. They would have to make the jump and the risk to produce something that would get the female consumer interested. This will obviously grow the female percentage of consumers. Thus create a more gender-balanced market and less sexist/objectifying wares. @ Lilith: I think what I said above applies to your comment. Also, I agree that it’s definitely sexist and I wasn’t attempting to say that it wasn’t. “the people running the show need to take responsibility in breaking the cycle and changing their own ways.” This is similar to what I said above. In general I think people need to change the way they think about business and see their businesses. However, I’m not 100% with you on the ‘sex sells’ thing (“I still have not seen real proof this has that much staying power and isn't just an excuse or assumption”), so you may need to elaborate on that.

  21. >Basically, I do not believe 'sex(y women)' is as big of a factor as it is made out to be in selling things. The way 'sex sells' is usually framed is that it's some kind of inevitable conclusion that's reached and that the products that indulge in objectifying women somehow wouldn't stand up without it and so 'oh well, gotta sexualize them'. But I have yet to see that actually proven.If men were there /just/ for that then why not just go look for porn. It's everywhere, it's free, and it's certainly much more accessible. Would they suddenly vanish if it wasn't present in mainstream media? That can't be true, plenty of things have been successful in the past without massive and blatant TnA behind it. If they're not there just for that, then it's hardly a necessity is it? Basically I see it as an excuse and a cliche. It's a lazy justification to not change and just keep perpetuating the same stuff.

  22. I’m sittin’ at Reapercon as I write this, and I never fail to be astonished at the number of women who attend this con. Most gaming conventions are hopeless sausagefests, and yet Reapercon continually draws more women than any other con I’ve ever seen.
    I have known a fair number of grrl gamers. They tend to prefer Reaper, when it comes to American miniatures. True, Reaper has its share of chainmail bikinis and basketball boobs, but where else are you going to find miniatures for female dwarves? Female halflings? That don’t make the character look hideous, deformed, or retarded, that is. In particular, I find myself looking at miniatures sculpted by Sandra Garrity and Julie Guthrie… and largely what I find is women of ordinary proportions, dressed… well, dressed in reasonably modest fantasy-inspired wardrobes.
    Reaper has its share of fanservice, true. In the miniatures biz, you will find that fanservice pays a fair share of bills. But on the other hand, from where I sit, I can see a woman sitting and painting a fairy… who is wearing a long gown. The fairy, not the painter. Hell, Reaper caters more to the female gaming market than any company I can think of off hand!
    Is it fair to condemn an outfit for offering something for everyone?

    • Saying that “hey, Reaper’s miniatures aren’t as sexist as those other guys” isn’t exactly a ringing endorsement. Neither does saying “Reaper has female fans” make it magically not sexist, just has having a black friend doesn’t make you not racist.

      It’s great that women get involved in Reaper Con – there are too many geek cons where women just plain aren’t welcome. But Reaper’s product line disproportionately sexualizes women and plays into sexist stereotypes. So yeah, I’d say it’s fair.

  23. I know this is an old thread, but with my mini habit, I got to say that Reaper could have easily tripled the nontrivial amounts I have spent on their minis simply by making more of their female minis more reasonably attired.

    Yes, they actually represent some halflings, dwarves, and gnomes, and that’s nice… but if I had a mini for every mini I’ve looked at and then put back on the shelf because I can’t figure out how to even PAINT OVER the laughable outfits, I’d have eight times as many minis. (Sadly, mostly unpainted; I’m lazy.) Many of these minis could not be fixed even if I became more adept with green stuff, and I’m not terrible with it, just those figures also tend to have bad poses and expressions for attempting to paint up a protagonist. Who are these minis actually for? If most character minis are supposed to represent PCs… who is running around dungeons in bikinis in a non-parodic context? Or are there dungeons out there full of strippers? Really? Most of the GMs I’ve painted minis for have requested packs of giant rats… kobolds… orcs… goblins… skeletons…. I haven’t had any requests for packs of strippers. Maybe I just game with the wrong (I mean right) sort. Or we should hang out more in drow areas. Or something. (Though if I’m hanging with the drow I insist on an equal share of beefcake, given their culture. Also some convenient hot springs since caves are usually chilly.)

    The players? Have requested minis that look like their characters. Who oddly are not usually strippers or bar wenches. Or perhaps not ever. Even the sorceress who did like to play off her charm dressed much more sensibly than the mini-norm.

    I also have a habit of buying up reasonable looking female minis on the off chance that I might want to play a character that looks like that someday, since I mostly play females in tabletop (and the reasons for that are a rant for another time) and it is so hard to find anything halfway decent to represent my characters. So in effect I have been a very good customer for the sadly limited choice of reasonable-looking molds from all sorts of companies and own a hefty chunk of Sandra Garrity’s output in particular from Reaper. Except that the mini kind of has to pass the “does the idea of some poor adventurer running around in this outfit make me roll my eyes so hard they fall out of my head” test. So very many fail. Yet, mysteriously, a far greater percentage of male minis pass that test. Huh.

    I didn’t even LOOK for minis for my tiger shifter Avenger. I knew better. Apparently it is a world law that female feline-inflected characters can’t wear any clothes to speak of. Luckily she’s for online play, but yes I have been known to look for minis for online-only characters, just because. I just happen to know that the attempt would annoy me. (I was also unable to find any reasonable art for the character so settled for morphing something up.)

    A side note on hair: more sensible hairdos/braids please. You try swinging two swords with long flowing locks to your waist and then you’ll know what I mean. Maybe the mages use magic to keep their hair perfect, but for the warriors I can suggest all sorts of stylish and non-interfering alternatives.

    I’ve put myself on a buying moratorium until I paint some more, and yet I want to break it for that knight on the right on the last pictures, because she’s completely amazing.

    As another side note on “ohhhh but we have to market to our tarrrrrget demograaaphic” I have yet to see a 14-25 white male stop gaming with women who were presented in a non-sexist way, yet I have seen plenty of girls and women stop gaming when faced with the typical depiction of women by gaming companies; I probably would have myself except that I started playing with a group that was actively welcoming to girls, in the hopes of creating more female gamers in the long run, which buffered me against the biggest annoyances. (Hint: welcoming girls didn’t mean pandering to our supposed sensibilities and making everything pink and full of ponies. It just meant treating us like sensible people who could learn this interesting new game thing.)

    There are plenty of 14-25 white males who play/ed AC and LOTRO, two MMOs with reasonable armor for the female toons. Not dominant in the market, certainly, but the reasons for that aren’t the costuming… and I’ve heard lots of people including my husband cite the reasonable armor being a reason they favor those MMOs over the more (ahem) sexually dimorphic MMOs like WoW. In fact when I wanted him to come play WoW with me I had to tell him to ignore the fact that apparently females don’t get to wear a full suit of plate unless they look high and low. (Since I raided with a rogue… well at least tabards cover many ills. Except the strappy pants. Tell me again why anyone would wear armor with slots on the outside for pointy things to stick in, like anti-chaps?)

    I’ve played AC, WoW, and LOTRO and the incidence of misogyny and homophobia was definitely highest in WoW even though AC had more males playing it percentage-wise… WoW had a LOT more women playing, percentage-wise, than AC. I don’t know about the ratio in LOTRO, but it’s probably at least on par with WoW if not slanted a little more towards women playing. I haven’t noticed any overt misogyny or homophobia in LOTRO at all. I really do think that the costuming sends a message that shapes how women get treated, because it’s not just me; everyone I know comments on how much better an environment LOTRO is, and AC was very much a boy’s playground and was far better too. I know MMOs aren’t identical to tabletop, but I’ve seen the same attitude parallels in tabletop groups and gaming cons. Objectifying female characters doesn’t just stay in the game space, but bleeds over into how female players get treated at the table.

    • This is one of those loooong shot things but if by some miracle you do check back on this AND you manged to actually find a mini for a feline shifter avenger, please let me know where you found it (presumably next to the ark of the fucking covenant). Been looking for ages for one for my woman (razorclaw shifter- avenger) but shifters in general are hard to find and a female one is like ..unobtanium.

      It was worth all the interneting just to find out that the catgirl pic she found for her 14 year old execution axe wielding psycho was from a JRPG love sim but apart from a series of bruises nothing productives appeared.

      jeez its 4 am and Im rambling ….to the sleepery

      • I just rewrote my 4e shifter avenger as a Pathfinder (3.75) half-orc inquisitor, speaking of unobtanium for good minis… though at least most half-orc female minis wear more clothes. Not that that’s hard. I think I’d have to resort to the Green Stuff if I were doing a razorclaw shifter on tabletop, even though I kind of suck at it… it wouldn’t be THAT hard to add tiger ears and change the facial shape with green stuff, then just paint on stripes. It does annoy me that I have to resort to Green Stuff in order to be able to have my character wear some clothes.

        Here’s one I think would be amenable to either my razorclaw avenger (who took the big honking sword option) or half-orc inquisitor, with just a bit of sculpting/filing: http://www.reapermini.com/FigureFinder#detail/60003 — fill in the belly details with green stuff and paint some clothes on. Why would my armor not cover my vital organs, huh? For an avenger I might file down the studs on the armor, or endeavor to make them look decorative more than functional, because of the armor requirement. This one isn’t bad for a female half-orc inquisitor, and could possibly be kitbashed into a shifter, though mine isn’t into bows: http://www.reapermini.com/FigureFinder#detail/60046

        Amenable to kitbashing for a razorclaw shifter with an axe:
        http://www.reapermini.com/FigureFinder#detail/14018 — suffers from the ‘I don’t mind if my upper chest or thighs get poked’ armor issue, but has a good face, and at least has armor covering the belly. File/fill in ears to round them and make them more tigerish; paint stripes on face. File or fill in armor to make it more light-armor-like. Axe is not big enough but has interesting details.

        For the character portrait I found a picture of a woman with an expression I liked tagged in a creative commons search on flickr, then a public domain tiger face, and morphed them together. It’s definitely rough but I like the expression a lot better than most of the shifteresque pics I can find on the web.
        http://www.epicwords.com/characters/1144

  24. @Eris
    The large female mini is a very specific character from Paizo’s Adventure Path Council of Thieves. The She’s an older Opera singer and, from a plot perspective represents a Damsel in Distress. However Paizo does not, as a rule, do the basic pretty young Damsel in Distress who rewards her savours with sexual favours thing, more because its the mother of all cliches then due to anything else I suspect so the Opera Singer rewards her savours with influence and access to the halls of power (which is the plot coupon here – they need that access).

    While I doubt Paizo really realized it when they wrote her into the Adventure Path they actually created a very interesting character, some one with a somewhat complex personality who’s influence would likely make her a recurring character – more so then the the adventure path likely presumed (it all takes place in one city so the players are likely to consider going to her for advice etc. repeatedly). The result is that her character became something much more important then maybe was originally expected and opened up an opportunity to sell that sculpt (it does not hurt that she most prominently appears in an adventure that got phenomenal acclaim from the fan base). Her attire is that of an opera singer decked out to the nines which is the scene where we are most likely to need a miniature of her,

  25. I’m chiming in on this one rather late, but I’ve only just stumbled across the site.

    Ironically, what initially drew me to Reaper Minis was the work of Sandra Garrity, who is one of the very few – if not only – miniatures artists who made female characters that were reasonably clothed, with female adventurers who wore practical attire. She also has characters who are in dresses that aren’t of the “plunging decollatage” variety. I’ve always really liked her work, and felt her figures should receive more attention.

    It’s really unfortunate that she is such a rarity in the minis industry. While the lamentable dearth of female minis that people would actually want to use to represent their characters wasn’t the sole reason I stopped buying minis, in addition to the price and the requirements for storage, it was a factor in why I ultimately decided to start purchasing and creating paper miniatures instead.

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