Photos from GenCon 2011: Part 1 of 2

[This is just the beginning of me talking about GenCon. There will be two photo posts, as well as probably three others. I definitely want to talk about the under-representation of women in the Guests of Honor, changes to the “Spouse Activity Program”, as well as the complete lack of an anti-harassment policy. I realize that this will be a lot of time and attention to GenCon, but GenCon is the gaming convention, and tends to be a pretty good reflection of gamer culture as a whole, which is why I feel the attention is warranted.]

Well folks, GenCon was totally awesome. I want to thank all of the people I got to meet and play games with for the first time, as well as those of you I got to connect with once again. As always, GenCon was an exhilarating experience and a real chance to recharge my batteries and recapture my excitement for what makes gaming great.

However, GenCon is also a real reminder of all of the privileged and sexist bullshit that has come to be an accepted part of the hobby, and walking through the Dealer’s Room can be a real reminder that as much as the little corner of gaming that I like to wall myself off in tends to be more free from fail than much of the rest of gaming, gaming as a whole still has a long way to come.

In an attempt to make sure that I spent my time actually enjoying my time at GenCon rather than foaming at the mouth at all the bullshit cheesecake I saw, I promised myself one trip through the Dealer’s Room to take all the photos I wanted. I didn’t quite hold to that decree (I kept spotting stuff I missed), and as such wound up with quite a few photos that I wanted to share. It’s too much for one post, so I’m splitting the photos into two posts. Here, then, for your edification, is part one of two of my tour of the Dealer’s Room and convention hall. Warning, this post is LONG.

The photos!

There are a lot of awful booths with a lot of awful displays, but I found the booths with booth babes to be far and away the creepiest. Thankfully there didn’t seem to be too many of those this year (and believe me – I was looking), but the instances that I did spot were plenty creepy. Take, for instance, CardHaus.com’s booth:

Those women had exhibitor badges and were running demos of card games with convention attendees. In maid outfits. And yet, I didn’t spot any male booth employees in costume. Funny how that works. (I blurred their faces because something about posting their photos while in costume made me feel weird, since I’m not really sure how voluntary that was.)

This is the sort of bullshit that people tend to take for granted at GenCon that really pisses me off. Either people will buy your bullshit anime card game or they won’t – do they really think that having pretty girls in maid outfits demo the game will make a difference? I honestly can’t decide who should be more insulted – women, or the guys who are Card Haus’ target audience.

Yet another anime card game, Collateral Damage actually shows a woman getting sexually harassed on the cover. Because everyone knows that anime just isn’t anime without the sexual harassment, amirite?

What is it about ninjas and shaolin warriors that men get to wear pants and women don’t? I mean, I suppose I should be grateful that her tits aren’t hanging out all over the place or generally defying the laws of physics, but still. Is it too much to ask to have a female martial artist that wears pants? Speaking as a real life female and martial artist, I can affirm that that outfit would be impractical in the extreme for one attempting to perform any kind of martial arts.

Because nothing says Lovecraftian mecha horror like… boobular women?

(I actually had a moment of guilt as I was taking this picture. This guy looked so proud that I was taking a picture of his booth that I hated to put this picture up and mock his display for all the internets to see. Then I remembered that I hate cheesecake and it deserves to be mocked. Crisis solved.)

Hey look. A dungeon card game in which you fight monsters and can also backstab your team mates. It looks like they’ve decided to make themselves stand out by putting cheesecake women on the cover next to fully-covered, heavily armored men.

…wait. No. That’s the opposite of standing out. That’s blending in.

It actually sounds kind of unique in that there’s a balance between team survival and fucking over your buddies. From the bit of reading I’ve done, it seems like something I may have been interested in demoing, had the cover art not made me roll my eyes and walk on past. I had plenty of money to burn at the show, but I don’t think they were too interested in my dollars. After all, my money has cooties.

What… Just… I… Can’t… Even… No. Just. No.

When they say “For Gamers By Gamers”, clearly gamers = men.

Yawn. I don’t even know what your product is and you’ve already lost my interest.

These people weren’t even selling games – they were selling gaming accessories, and yet they still felt compelled to plaster their banners with absurd cleavage and badly drawn breasts. Worst of all, the products are things I probably would be interested in if I played more D&D. As it is, I am going to emphatically refrain from recommending their products to those friends I have who do play a lot of D&D.

The art makes this product look about 40 years old. Then again, maybe that’s the goal.

In a previous post, I mentioned my hatred of the Shadowrun cover that happened to get nominated for the Ennies:

Her hips are wrong, her waist is wrong, her ribcage is wrong… And what the hell is with the gravity-defying spherical Picasso-boobs? This anatomy is just terrible, and yet this cover is considered one of the best in the industry for THE PAST YEAR? Honestly, if this cover winds up taking the title, the Ennies will have lost all credibility with me forever. I realize that there’s not a lot of choice when one is looking for art that doesn’t blatantly objectify women and distort female anatomy past the realm of the physically possible, but there’s GOT TO BE something better than this bullshit. There’s just got to be.

Well, it turns out that the cover was apparently done by Echo Chernik – an artist whom I have hated for years. (Let it not be said that I hate only male artists, folks, for Echo Chernik is – alas – a woman.) Considering how godawful that Shadowrun cover was, I certainly wouldn’t have rushed to associate my name with it, but apparently Echo felt differently.

Blech.

More art fail, here’s Larry Elmore’s booth. I found it amusing how his head was almost censoring the cleavage in the second example that I picked out. I also found it amusing how dated his artwork looks compared with a lot of the other arists at the show. It made me wonder if he’s getting by on name recognition and cleavage.

Fantasy fails a lot at everything. This is just another example.

God, this is just embarrassing. This is a freaking gaming convention. There’s no need to try and make board games “look cool”. There’s 30,000 nerds in one place who already think board games are cool. Many of us drove incredibly long distances to drop insane amounts of money on board games because we think they’re cool.

Still, it deserves a special place in hell for more than just being embarrassing. Notice what’s missing from these banners? Girls. Because everyone knows girls don’t play board games. And they ESPECIALLY don’t play Lego.

Fuck you, Lego. Fuck you.

You can’t really tell from the photo, but this banner was at least 15 or 20 feet high. (The ceilings are really high in the exhibit hall, so it’s kind of hard to tell.) This was a service that debuted at last year’s GenCon using this same mascot, much to my chagrin wrath. At the time, a friend dubbed this inexplicable tail fanservice “tailcock”. As ridiculous as it was, I was not happy to see it return. However…

The few times I wandered past the booth, absolutely no one was interested in the service. Let that be a lesson to you, publishers! Bewbs =/ sales.

Man. Another card game with boobs. These are a pretty solid contender for the most spherical boobs on a game cover that I saw, as well, which puts this game pretty solidly in the “I will never buy this game” category.

Ugh. Those boobs are just plain awful. Why are they all compressed like that? There’s no way that fabric could generate enough force to flatten her chest like that? Then again, why am I surprised when it’s YET ANOTHER case of old, fully-clothed male mage versus young, hot, barely clothed female mage?

Who knows. The game might actually have something original to offer. But I tend to assume that games with covers that uninspired generally tend to be pretty awful games and move on with my life.

For this, I am willing to forgive Fantasy Flight many of its sins. This was one of the larger banners in the Dealer’s Room, and also one of the most epic depictions of a female character to be found at the show. If THIS is what game publishers had to offer in the way of female characters, I would be much happier and this post would be much, much shorter.

Lastly, I’ll end with this little girl. This was a corset booth, and that is a booth employee help this little girl try on a corset. Since it may not be clear, since I blurred out the little girl’s face, SHE’S ABOUT 9.

I can’t even articulate how incredibly angry this makes me. I can’t say that I’m surprised that female geek children would seek to emulate the incredibly unrealistic depictions of women that are part of the hobby. Still, it makes me sad and angry that this is something that is just “to be expected” for girl-children who are getting into gaming.

More than anything else in this post, this photo makes me really sad about the state of female depictions in gaming. I want so very badly to tell this little girl that she can look however she wants and still be valued by the gaming community as a whole, but I’m afraid that as things stand right now the “as a whole” bit would probably be a lie.

120 thoughts on “Photos from GenCon 2011: Part 1 of 2

  1. …are you sure the Lord of the Rings poster is meant to be depicting a woman? Considering that the character’s an elf, my immediate assumption was that it was a rather androgynous guy (though the image isn’t big enough for me to be sure one way or the other). =/

  2. I agree with you.

    Except for the whole why do female ninjas and monks do not have pants thing: Yes I agree with the whole female martial artist should be depicted with pants (and male martial artists should be depicted here and there with battle robes and/or skirts, think oriental kilts) as much as men are, but are you sure the female monks/ninjas outfit on the picture is impractical? Because in the 10th episode of the young justice TV series Cheshire uses it in a martial arts battle. Is that a physics fail or just something else?

    • My bad Cheshire uses a similar outfit not the same one depicted on the picture but my question still stands.

    • @ Ivan – Are you seriously suggesting that fighting without pants is practical because you saw it done on a television show (and an animated one at that)? Come on, man…

      • Here is something nobody tells people about martial arts: they are best used naked. Every single piece of clothes you wear either limits or slows your movement, which is why martial artists either wear those light clothes they use in their training room or for the real world they wear clothes that they have become so used to that they feel like a second skin.

    • Dude, did you miss the part where I was speaking as a real life female and martial artist? I think my real-life experience trumps television. Yes that outfit is impractical.

      • Dudete I asked if Cheshire(not in the pictures) was given a physics fail or something else, considering she wears a different dress then the one on the picture she might be capable of fighting in it. So to make it clear: The dress looks impractical and hindering in combat to you, have you ever worn such a dress? Because you will be surprised how many people tell me that in their experience I can not wear the stuff that I wear and move the way I move. Guess what? I can, they can not and that is their problem. Also if you have the interest for it check if Cheshire is wearing a dress you can fight in.

        Also when you say you are a martial artist I hope you know how much a watered down expression that is: Every person that has trained any martial art calls themselves a martial artist, just so you know that is not true because even if you have a black belt if all you can do is repeat moves from your training and not adapt in combat you are not a martial artist you are a replay of your lessons.

        • Okay, so I’m not going get into the internet thing where I say “this is my level of experience” and someone else goes “well that doesn’t really qualify you to talk about this stuff” and I say “dude, yes it does” and then I spend the whole time trying to assert my expertise on the subject. So I’m just going to say that I’ve been doing martial arts for nearly half my life and leave it at that.

          That said.

          Her dress is entirely impractical because of the complete lack of pants, the high rise of the side slits, and the length of the dangly crotch flap. (Srsly, wtf do you call those things?) The dangly crotch flap is going to get tangled around your legs and interfere with your kicks, and unless you’re wearing shorts underneath that thing you’re going to be 1) avoiding high kicks or 2) constantly paranoid about flashing people. Also, the dress looks pretty tight in the torso, and have you ever noticed how martial artists wear loose clothes? It’s because tight clothing means sacrificing freedom of movement.

          THAT is why it’s a stupid outfit for fighting in.

          • Thank you for saying how long you have been doing martial arts, but that did not defeat my point and you are right debating levels of experience over the internet is pointless, sorry for bringing that up it was not a constructive piece of communication.

            You beat it by taking apart the reasons for the dresses impracticality and while I could argue with you about the crotch flap thing, I won’t. It is pointless, because as you pointed out the dress is too tight around her waist to be something you wear to a full martial arts battle and yes she could have gotten used to it but it would still limit her movement or she would tear it up in battle, so it is more limiting then what the male monk is wearing in the same picture which makes it a gender fail, uh I think.

            But I still say there are dresses out there that can be used in martial arts and I would not mind seeing some on man and women both as it would make for visually different characters, but I’ll just settle for no art fails( I am not sure if it is a gender fail or a martial art fail or something else fail or all or some of the above so I will go with fail on the artists account as he/she drew it).

          • I dunno… the style of Kung Fu I studied taught us practical street defense. Our shifu taught us balance and stances that would benefit us even if we were in high heals and a mini skirt. Granted that particular style had mostly low and sweep kicks but that’s due to it being a very close quarter combat style. But anyway, if you were good enough at whatever style you studied, you could defend yourself in whatever you happen to be wearing.

  3. Funny thing is, if CardHaus.com had hired guys to wear the maid uniforms as well, it would have still been within the bounds of known anime tropes, and certainly made them stand out on the dealer floor.

    • Well, no, that game is Tanto Cuore. They could be giving out free AIDS cures and still be ignored because we are all sick to death of Dominion clones.

      Still, unisex costumes would probably reduce the levels of stupid, so it’s worth a shot anyway.

      • .. because it’s completely unrealistic that I genuinely enjoy going to a con, dressing up in a maid outfit (or, when I was off shift, japanese high school student/lolita), and playing a deck building card game all weekend? *eyeroll* The getting paid/hotel and badge comp was really just icing on the cake–as a nerd lady, I felt like I was living the dream at Gencon. I had enough to comp the time I was taking off work, cover my expenses, AND buy a new corset.

        Yeah, it’s Dominion-esque, but had enough variation to actually make it enjoyable in it’s own right (chaimbermaiding/the RFG area is a different and fun mechanic) and is actually heavily strategy based once you get into it (as I had the ability to because I got to demo it with people who were familar with Dominion and they told me not to go easy on them–their mistake ^.^).

        I am not insecure about myself, the reality of it is some of us actually DON’T give a shit if we’re being objectified. I stood at the booth all weekend watching the awesome ladies go by in their cosplays or everyday clothes thinking to myself, “I want her number, and her number, and her number..” While I recognize the fact that most of the pictures people asked to take with me will probably just be jerk-off fodder once they get home, it warms my heart that they’ll be doing it to a real geekette and not a brainless booth babe.

        I’ve objectified my fair share of individuals from both genders that I can recognize the fact that, sometimes, you just need to see some pretty people. And since it’s difficult to get into in-depth conversations with everyone you meet at a con to determine their inner-pretty level.. well.. the New England Review pays $100 to the cover artist and $40 to the author of a 1 page poem. Sometimes books expect to be judged by their cover–doesn’t make it “right”, but it doesn’t mean it isn’t to be expected. It’s why birds have pretty plumage.

        This is by no means how I make my living. I’m a college student, a teacher, a tea-house employee, a writer, and an artist. Anything and everything I do is only because I absolutely love it–life it far too short to let yourself be miserable catering to anyone else’s desires and doing anything less than what floats your boat. I am woman, and I am allowed to like whatever I damn well please. So kindly keep your comments to the art (anyone can jive with anatomy criticism) and off of lifestyles that aren’t your cup or tea or you can’t understand. I let you be irrationally angry, and I’ll keep enjoying the boobs.

  4. All this is a little disheartening, to be honest, but we need posts like these to keep us aware that there’s still a long way to go. Thank you for staying vigilant.🙂

    I would be interested to know the name of the artist(s) who designed the Fantasy Flight LotR card game, but I couldn’t find anything on the official website and Google wasn’t very helpful. Would you happen to know? Thank you.

    • I’m afraid I can’t help you there. I was just snapping pictures of stuff I saw at the show and Fantasy Flight doesn’t tend to make it easy to find info about their artists unless you actually buy the game in question.

  5. 🙂 Reading this I couldn’t help but smile because I have heard this conversation so many times before. It is amazing that it is still so rampant in the industry. Maybe it is really deeply ingrained in the industry. ie male teen learns to draw scantily clad women and thinks it is ok because that is what he sees everywhere. Shows his art to editor who got into RPGs as a teen and so is used to that type of art. Likes the piece and shows it to other males who also like it so they use it. Maybe they just don’t have a dissenting opinion or wider experience.

    If you can I think you should go back and try to talk to some of those people without getting angry. Talk to the publishers and ask them about the choice. Why they made it. Find out how much thought they put into it. Ask if they have experimented with other types of art and had it affect sales. Talk to Elmore if you can. I am sure he has extensive experience in this industry and that he has had this conversation lots of times before.

    I was just looking at his website and he painted a lot of scantily clad women! He can do it otherwise though, as in one of my favourites – http://larryelmore.com/gateway/art .

    I am glad you are only looking at the sexism in those booths. If you were looking for racism you might get even angrier!

    All the best,

    John.

    • Maybe I’ve just been doing this too long, but I tend not to be as optimistic about the outcomes of trying to talk to artists about this stuff. Ditto for publishers. I was lucky enough to have Erik Mona comment on a post not too long after I started this blog, and while I’m happy that he took the time to read my (pretty harsh) criticisms of Paizo’s approach to women, I can’t say I felt like much more than that was accomplished. He seemed pretty set that this was what they’re going to do and ‘we’re sorry if you’re offended’ kind of thing.

      In general, I find it’s far more effective to try to change the minds of the consumers. It seems (to me at least) as if the publishers and artists are too entrenched in their position to change without serious backlash from consumers.

      • I wouldn’t say sex sells by itself. Try to put a couple of gay men having sex in the cover, or a provocatively dressed man blinking at you. I think “Women sell, and women mean sex” is more accurate.

        There’s the idea that all women in gaming and comics must be sexy, that is, all women must provide potential fapping material for men. (It doesn’t happen for men: the qualities games and comics exaggerate in men are their strength, their muscles; they don’t draw men with huge penises and balls. They could draw women with huge muscles, too, but instead they draw huge tits on them.) In fact that could be the whole point of “femininity”, a concept defined and maintained mostly by men, let’s not forget that: Those who don’t provide fapping material are judged as unladylike, as “not feminine” or as bulldykes.

  6. Racism…yes. Considering all the photos so far show a main white character. Because the rest of the world is also made up of only one race.
    The LOTR card game looks awesome, though I have to ask if that is a guy or girl. Cos you know, elves. =/

  7. The corset thing I’m familiar with from anime cons. In my experience it’s not usually about lacing it up tight to make yourself look skinny and attractive to men, it’s about “Ooh, pretty costume piece! Sparkly.” As you know, small children usually love to dress up.

    The rest of it, you’re spot on, though.

    • I agree about the corset thing. It’s not about ye olde rib crushingly skinny like it used to be. I love corsets cos of the vintage/goth look they have as do a lot of girls.

  8. When I saw the “Horror Bewbs” picture, I initially thought you were talking about his. Man boobs are pretty horrifying.

    As for the T&A at the displays, I’ve never figured out how much of it is due to a Catch 22 situation (males make up the majority of their customers, so they fall back to getting their attention in ways that ultimately keep it a male majority) and how much is a result of guys making these displays having nothing more than making and looking at this art for sexual gratification.

  9. I absolutely adore this blog, I do, but at the same time your posts always seem to be completely and utterly against any sexualization of any women ever, regardless of context.

    It’s one thing to be frustrated with the fact that the majority of females depicted in media are scantily clad and sexualized- it is, as evidenced by this amazing blog, a serious and pervasive issue- but to condemn all of it, on principle, including individuals who choose to dress that way? That’s unfair and misguided. I had several young family members (7-10 at the time) ask to try on my corsets when I first started making them, and I can’t for the life of me see what is so innately wrong with that when they function as little more than a structural belt at that age. I wear corsets occasionally, for some costumes, but it’s my choice to do it. I don’t feel like I have to, sometimes I’m dressed as Gríma Wormtongue, but my personal motivation is no one’s business.

    To point out individuals, to be “angry” on their behalf when you have no idea what’s going through their heads? That sucks. I would be devastated to see a photo of me crop up on this forum- you can call out artists who only sexualize the women they draw, sure, but don’t post photos of individual people when you haven’t taken the time to actually interview them and figure out what they’re thinking. There was a ton of slut-shaming post-San Diego Comic-Con, saying that cosplayers who showed skin “weren’t real fans,” and it hurts like hell to hear someone say that… Especially when it’s someone whose opinion you respect a whole hell of a lot.

    -C

    • This is a very good point. I know ladies that think that occasionally-scanty cosplay is fun self-expression. I certainly enjoy it when they do so, and yet do not consider them objectified playthings for my libido: they’re my friends.

      I’ve done scanty cosplay myself more than once, and appreciate the attention it brings. It doesn’t demean me. If someone treated me as nothing more than inconsequential eye candy as a result, I’d snub them. My choices of costume do not give anyone the right to make assumptions about me, and the same goes for my lady friends.

      • P.S. I hate that Shadowrun cover as well. I’ve been playing since the beginning: this game has somewhat-realistic firearms that can one-shot your character if the GM’s in a bad mood. ‘Attitude’ and carefully-placed caution tape won’t stop a 9mm round; full-coverage body armor is a much much better idea in that game.

    • You make some good points, but I have some really strong feelings about the destructive influence of bad art on young geek girls. I’m not anti-corset for women old enough to decide that’s something they want to embrace, if that makes sense. Like, I don’t want to slut shame women who like corsets or point to them as a source of the problems in the gaming community.

      Arg. I’ll have to clarify this better a bit later. I’m articulating my thoughts badly because I have sick-brain. (Post-con hangover is the worst.) If I don’t add to this right away, I’m not dismissing you, honest.

      • I’m sure you’ll write more later (and I know how crappy it is to think and write through a sick-induced fog, urgh), I just thinks there’s a huge chasm of context and intention between Toddlers and Tiaras (forced sexualization of young girls), and a girl choosing to wear a costume of her own volition. Yes, we can look at geek culture as a whole and say “this is oppressive to women,” the industry most CERTAINLY has some issues to work out when it comes to leveling the gender playing field, but if that girl walked up to the booth and politely asked to try on a corset? There’s nothing innately wrong with that, especially when she appears to be wearing some sort of Kitty Pryde cosplay underneath it. Which is pretty awesome.

        My day-to-day clothing as a nine-year-old kid was bike shorts, a huge baggy t-shirt, hiking boots and dogtags. Pretty damn tomboy. But when I dressed up for Halloween I wore tons of midriff-bearing costumes (Nefertiti, Ariel, harem girl, etc) along with some male or unisex stuff as well. I have no problem with theorizing about how gaming affects women’s self esteem and self image in the grander scheme of things, but taking it to an idividual level and feel sad for this little girl is an entirely different conversation.

        You say “I want so very badly to tell this little girl that she can look however she wants and still be valued by the gaming community as a whole,” but by making this post you’ve condradictingly implied that she can’t wear a corset and be valued by the gaming community as a whole. Standards need to change, no doubt about it, but we don’t need to shake our heads at the women/girls who choose to wear, in this case, feminine things.

        -C

  10. I want to offer a different perspective here, from my own childhood. When I became a teenager, I very seriously rejected my femininity. I dressed like a boy, rejected anything remotely girly, and didn’t even bother trying to look pretty. Because a lot of “slut-shaming” attitudes had given me the impression, growing up, that if I wanted to be respected and taken seriously for who I was as a person, then I had to avoid doing anything that would make me look attractively feminine. Because women do that “to please men” and it’s “not empowering” or so I’d been told time and time again by peers and feminist figures.

    Honestly it really screwed things up for me for a long while. I reached a point where I was genuinely questioning my gender identity. And none of this made me feel like a confident woman; if anything, it all made me more insecure because I wasn’t happy with how I looked but I felt like it was my problem for not being able to “accept myself as I was.” When really all I was doing was trying to accept a -different- group’s ideal of who I should be.

    I finally got tired of feeling miserable about myself and cautiously started experimenting with more girly attire. I started trying out makeup and hairstyles that I thought looked pretty, but had always avoided in the past because I had somehow gotten it beaten into my head that this was not what respectable geek girls looked like. I had spent years fearing these things because I was worried that everyone would assume I was a slutty airhead for wearing makeup and flattering clothing and ever showing any skin.

    In reality what ended up happening was that I was finally able to express myself in the way I felt comfortable. I felt more confident and attractive, and it only changed people’s opinions of me for the better because of how it improved my confidence and self-esteem. Now I wear makeup daily and occasionally wear outfits that make me feel “sexy,” because I enjoy it. Not because it’s what I feel men, or society in general, demand of me as a woman.

    So while I respect your statement, “I want so very badly to tell this little girl that she can look however she wants and still be valued by the gaming community as a whole,” I also feel you’re contradicting yourself somewhat. Because you’re not really telling her she can look however she wants. You’re telling her she can look however she wants as long as it adheres to your personal standards of what it is to be an empowered woman, which honestly is no better than telling women they have to dress girly. And my younger years are living proof of just how badly that sort of attitude can mess with a little girl’s head too.

    Yes, it’s important to make sure young women and girls understand that they can be whomever they want to be and look however they want to look, but that needs to extend beyond just telling them they don’t have to be objectified. That needs to also include telling them that if they want to wear something they think is sexy because they like how it looks and it makes them happy, then that should be okay and they shouldn’t be judged nor condemned for it. Part of female empowerment is accepting that we as a gender are NOT all the same, and we shouldn’t have to adhere to a specific standard of how women should or should not dress, whether it comes from a misogynist OR a feminist. Because otherwise that’s contradicting the very ideals of feminism.

    • “When I became a teenager, I very seriously rejected my femininity. I dressed like a boy, rejected anything remotely girly, and didn’t even bother trying to look pretty.”

      There is no such thing as “femininity” or “masculinity”. They are made-up social perceptions of gender. It is impossible to dress “like a boy” (or girl) because of these social constructs.

      “Now I wear makeup daily and occasionally wear outfits that make me feel “sexy,” because I enjoy it. Not because it’s what I feel men, or society in general, demand of me as a woman.”

      Go on you, hon. But watch the gender essentialism.

      “Part of female empowerment is accepting that we as a gender are NOT all the same…”

      I have to strongly disagree with this. As soon as you accept this kind of thinking you allow yourself to accept the negative stereotyping that comes with it. After all, the idea that men and women are inherently different is the root of sexism. True female empowerment should come from embracing the similarities of men and women, not creating barriers between them, in my opinion.

      “…and we shouldn’t have to adhere to a specific standard of how women should or should not dress, whether it comes from a misogynist OR a feminist. Because otherwise that’s contradicting the very ideals of feminism.”

      Now this I agree with.

      • I think you are completely misunderstanding me. I was not in ANY way saying that girls should dress one way and boys should dress another. I was saying that because I had grown up hearing from multiple sources around me how women who wanted to express themselves in a way that society tends to call “feminine” were somehow damaging their own respectability or giving in to gender stereotypes, I developed a very warped sense of what I needed to do to “be myself.”

        “After all, the idea that men and women are inherently different is the root of sexism.”
        Again, you misunderstood me. That’s not at all what I was saying. Please read my post more carefully. I wasn’t comparing genders there, I was comparing individuals. I was saying that WOMEN are different from eachother. As in, not all women are the same. Because not all people are the same, so to try to insist all women ought to dress or not dress a specific way is pretty counter-intuitive to the notion that women should feel free to express themselves as individuals.

        Perhaps I was unclear but, I think you just need to go back and re-read my post more carefully because everything you are saying you do not agree with in it is…not at all what I said.

        • @ Chelsea – For the most part, I did misunderstand you, and I apologize for the mistake. The one thing that I take issue with, though, is your use of words such as”femininity” and “girly” (which I think I’ve already elaborated on).

          • I think Claire already covered that well. It’s a sad thought that I, as a woman, can’t use those words to explain what I am trying to say when the context makes the rest of my meaning very clear.

            To still take issue with my use of those words in that context, despite knowing what I meant by them just seems like unnecessary nitpicking, to be frank. It’s like claiming someone’s entire point is invalid because they made a typo or grammatical error.

            As Claire said, I could have overclarified every single thing I said, or very carefully crafted my words to ensure no one could possibly ever misunderstand if they decided to ignore the context. But that degree of walking on eggshells seemed absurd and unnecessary. Instead I decided to give the commenters here the benefit of the doubt and assume they were generally intelligent enough to grasp my meaning. Judging by the other replies I’ve gotten, that seems to generally be the case, and I can’t imagine why someone would misunderstand unless they regularly made a habit of intentionally trying to find fault with statements in this sort of discussion to prove a point or use as a springboard for an argument.

            • “To still take issue with my use of those words in that context, despite knowing what I meant by them just seems like unnecessary nitpicking, to be frank. It’s like claiming someone’s entire point is invalid because they made a typo or grammatical error.”

              It isn’t unnecessary nitpicking, it’s pointing out the harm that using that type of language does. I realize that you understand how those terms aren’t actual concepts, only societal constructs, but that’s precisely why you of all people should refrain from using said terms. My frustration is with people admitting the sexist nature of certain words, and then not making a more conscious effort to avoid them.

              “Instead I decided to give the commenters here the benefit of the doubt and assume they were generally intelligent enough to grasp my meaning. Judging by the other replies I’ve gotten, that seems to generally be the case, and I can’t imagine why someone would misunderstand unless they regularly made a habit of intentionally trying to find fault with statements in this sort of discussion to prove a point or use as a springboard for an argument.”

              It may not be the norm with this particular discussion board, but from my own experience as a feminist who frequents the blogosphere, it is never safe to just assume that everyone else holds the same viewpoints on gender. I have realized that there are far too many people who read posts similar to yours, and interpret them in ways that you and I would cringe at.

              • But those words do have meanings. Meanings that are relevant to the discussion. They were the best words to describe what I was trying to say and I still don’t see any issue with that. I was talking about society’s views on gender and how there exist problems on both sides of the argument because they pushed my views the opposite direction in that I rejected anything that society calls feminine. Would it have been better if I had phrased it that way? Like I said, my meaning was pretty clear, whether the people viewing my post agree with my views or not.

                You keep misusing the word concept, I think. These words DO exist as concepts, as multiple people have already explained. Concepts = ideas, and obviously these words exist as ideas in society, whether you agree with their validity or not. I don’t personally agree with, say, Christian fundamentalism, but that doesn’t mean Christian fundamentalism doesn’t exist as an idea. It still exists whether I like it or not, and if I am going to have a discussion about how it has affected me, I am going to use the applicable term. That’s all I was doing in regards to femininity: describing how one viewpoint caused me to fear doing anything that society might call feminine. Whether or not those things should actually be defined as “feminine” or whether that concept is a valid one or not is a separate issue.

                To say that one cannot even USE the word “feminine” in a conversation about society’s views on gender because it is sexist to even speak (or type) it is, I’m sorry, downright ridiculous. It’s a word describing a social viewpoint. You can’t ask someone to refrain from even mentioning it in a discussion about that very topic. I was not using it in a context that implied I think it’s an accurate representation of all women, nor was I saying I felt it was a concept that should be enforced upon women. I was simply using it as a descriptor for a particular social viewpoint.

              • “I rejected anything that society calls feminine. Would it have been better if I had phrased it that way?”

                YES! That’s exactly what I’ve been talking about with my last couple of posts.

                “Like I said, my meaning was pretty clear, whether the people viewing my post agree with my views or not.”

                I’m not disagreeing with any of your views AT ALL. I’ve said this several times now, I misunderstood what you said because your meaning was not clear to me. Simply because a handful of people happened to get what you were saying, that doesn’t mean your message was as clear as day. But I don’t understand why you continue to claim that I’m arguing against your viewpoints, because I’m not. I had a problem with the way you PRESENTED the words “girly” and “femininity”. That’s it. Honestly.

              • “To say that one cannot even USE the word “feminine” in a conversation about society’s views on gender because it is sexist to even speak (or type) it is, I’m sorry, downright ridiculous.”

                Yeah, see I would LOVE to leave this one alone, but I just can’t… Not once did I state that people should not be able to say the word “feminine”. Not once. Please, if you truly believe I said this, find it in my previous posts and show me. First you think I’m trying to put words into your mouth just for the sake of an argument, and now you’re putting words into MY mouth. Can we stop this? It’s absolutely absurd.

              • For some reason I can’t seem to reply to your last reply, so I am replying up here. Sorry for any confusion this causes.

                Ok I think I am finally understanding.

                I already have a habit of overclarifying things, and as someone who spent several years assistant teaching in a critical reasoning class, I can attest that more overexplanation does not encessarily clarify points. It makes them unnecessarily wordy (as my posts already tend to become). To some degree you have to leave things to context. You can’t expect everyone to handhold every reader and explicitly spell things out as if they were talking to someone incapable of interpreting context. Yes, this occasionally leads to misunderstandings, but I’ve found it’s sometimes better just to follow up with clarification if they misundertstand, than write a post so insanely long your point gets lost in a desperate attempt to make sure you could not possibly be misunderstood from any direction.

                The irony here is had you simply said “I think your post would have been more clear had you specified that you were referring to society’s views on femininity as I thought you meant your own,” we could have avoided this long, drawn-out discussion. As you didn’t get what I meant by “rejected my femininity,” I honestly did not get what you meant when you kept saying you had problems with my word usage. My apologies for the confusion.

                I think the thing is, as I said, these words do exist and have definitions which are applicable to certain ideas. I understand your issue with them, in regards to blanketly applying them to genders. I take issue with that too. What I was really trying to say is simply that what society views as feminine should be something women can, -if they want- embrace…or discard at their own choosing. I don’t really think it’s a dirty word, as long as it is used appropriately: to describe a particular (albiet misguided) set of attributes that society has historically associated with women. It becomes a problem when someone takes those words and assumes that, by their definition, means that is how women should act/look.etc.

              • Here, and your description of the use of the word as sexist, were what caused me to think you took issue with even the use of it. Which is why I was confused.
                ” I must say I am quite taken aback by the defense of the word, as I would expect other feminists to understand the negative implications of it when used in everyday language.”

                But, I think we have now clarified that we are both in agreement that it is merely a word, and can be used in a discussion about its sexist implications, and that your issue is simply with the advocacy of those connotations, correct?

                “However, they way in which you were defenind the existance of the word “femininity” (which, by the way, I never debated), made it appear like you agreed that the concept of femininity did exist (“femininity as a concept that should be held as a standard for women”, just so we aren’t confused on that one again).”

                I see now, and apologize for the confusion. Just to be sure we’re on the same page, yeah, I was simply saying that I discovered I enjoy some of the things which society considers “feminine” where I had previously rejected those things because other parts of society had branded them as, well, sexist.

                “After you had explained it many eons ago, your own use of the word “femininity” does not offend me. Write it down, make a note, do whatever you need to do in order to remember it because I’m getting tired of typing the same things over and over again (and I’m sure you are too).”

                I think it took some clarifying to get to the point that you took issue specifically with how it was presented, as I did, until just recently (obviously, by my replies) think you meant simply any use of the word itself. Now I understand what you were trying to say. I think there has obviously been a lot of confusion on both sides here. And as this discussion also shows, sometimes it can’t be helped, no matter how clear you try to be. I used to make an art of overexplaining, as I said in another reply, and people would still misunderstand, so I concluded there’s really no point in getting up in arms about the mere possibility of someone misunderstanding something, because that possibility always exists, no matter what. You ultimately can’t control how other people will read or respond to things. The best anyone can do is try not to make too many assumptions of their own and ask for clarifications/give people the benefit of the doubt before assuming they are trying to say anything more than what they have explicitly stated.

              • “The irony here is had you simply said ‘I think your post would have been more clear had you specified that you were referring to society’s views on femininity as I thought you meant your own,’ we could have avoided this long, drawn-out discussion”.
                You’re certainly right. I believe I mentioned that I had an issue with the way you “presented” those terms (I even put “presented” in caps when I wrote. What a shame eh? I thought that would work…).
                “As you didn’t get what I meant by ‘rejected my femininity,’ I honestly did not get what you meant when you kept saying you had problems with my word usage. My apologies for the confusion.”
                I was confused first, so I suppose it’s my fault. =/
                “What I was really trying to say is simply that what society views as feminine should be something women can, -if they want- embrace…or discard at their own choosing. I don’t really think it’s a dirty word, as long as it is used appropriately: to describe a particular (albiet misguided) set of attributes that society has historically associated with women. It becomes a problem when someone takes those words and assumes that, by their definition, means that is how women should act/look.etc.”
                This. I’ve totally got it. Don’t worry there won’t be anymore confusion on my part. My bad.

              • How did I manage to not separate my paragraphs in that last post? Anyway, yes Chelsea, I’m terribly sorry for making such a mess of this thing, and I appreciate you taking the time to work it out with me. My head was spinning for a while there… Who knew lack of sleep was bad for you?

          • And because it feels like my point is being overcomplicated and words are being put in my mouth for the sake of argument, let me try to rephrase my original post very simply in a way I hope cannot be misconstrued:

            If we feel the need to pigeonhole women into one stereotype or ideal to combat another, we are doing something wrong.

            • Are you honestly saying that I am putting words into your mouth just for the sake of arguing? Really? I’ve admitted that I was at fault for misreading your post, and I agree with what you were saying. The only thing I’ve stuck to is my aversion to words charged with sexism.

              • By claiming that my use of those words was sexist, even after knowing the context in which they were used…yes. I elaborated above.

                I really don’t know how I can be any more clear regarding what I was trying to say. I don’t understand what you want from me. Either you still do not understand what I am trying to say, or you just simply believe the word “feminine” should be a forbidden word that should never ever be spoken, even in contexts which argue against its application to all women.

                If it’s the latter, I don’t know what to say to you other than we’ll have to agree to disagree. I don’t think forbidding communication on a topic is the right way to resolve social issues, personally.

      • I think you’re misreading a few of her points there:

        “There is no such thing as “femininity” or “masculinity”. They are made-up social perceptions of gender. It is impossible to dress “like a boy” (or girl) because of these social constructs.”

        This is completely true, but in the context of this post and this discussion there’s no way you misconstrued what she was saying- sure, her paragraph can be made acceptable by adding a bunch of clarifications in front of everything:

        “When I became a teenager, I very seriously rejected my [WHAT SOCIETY WOULD LABEL AS] femininity. I dressed like a [ STEROTYPICAL] boy, rejected anything [TRADITIONALLY CONSIDERED] girly, and didn’t even bother trying to look pretty [BY MODERN STANDARDS].”

        …But the fact that her entire post is about defying/not being confined to gender norms should make it clear that she isn’t saying these traits are *actually* tied to gender identity. In fact, a lot of people have reclaimed the words feminine and masculine when it comes to gender identity, and in that spectrum- detached from sex, gender, and sexuality- they can exist.

        And by saying “we as a gender are NOT all the same” she’s saying we (women), as a gender (singular), are individual people and *not* a homogenous entity- she’s not saying “the two genders are completely different.” You’re actually on the same page.

        -C

        • “And by saying “’we as a gender are NOT all the same”’ she’s saying we (women), as a gender (singular), are individual people and *not* a homogenous entity- she’s not saying ‘the two genders are completely different.’ You’re actually on the same page.”

          Thanks for pointing that out. I definitely misread.

      • “There is no such thing as “femininity” or “masculinity”. They are made-up social perceptions of gender. It is impossible to dress “like a boy” (or girl) because of these social constructs.”

        Not to advocate gender essentialism, but this isn’t really true. Femininity and masculinity exist *because* they are social constructions. You can’t simply say things don’t exist because they’re artificial.

        “I have to strongly disagree with this. As soon as you accept this kind of thinking you allow yourself to accept the negative stereotyping that comes with it. After all, the idea that men and women are inherently different is the root of sexism.”

        She was talking about the differences between individual women, not differences between men and women.

        • “Not to advocate gender essentialism, but this isn’t really true.”

          You are advocating gender essentialism.

          “Femininity and masculinity exist *because* they are social constructions. You can’t simply say things don’t exist because they’re artificial.”

          The concepts of “femininity” and “masculinity” do not exist, even though society has created these “words”. The word “sasquatch” exists, but that doesn’t mean sasquatch is a real thing. No one is arguing that the word itself doesn’t exist.

          “She was talking about the differences between individual women, not differences between men and women.”

          Yes, this has already been pointed out by Chelsea and Claire. Is there anything else you would like to add?

          • Well, technically…

            To use your own analogy: Sasquatch may not exist as a real biological entity, but the concept of Sasquatch does exist, obviously. When discussing femininity and masculinity as concepts (aka ideas, thoughts, symbols, etc.) they most certainly do exist, just as much as the concept of Sasquatch does, even if they are not biological constructs or traits.

            Just because those words don’t actually mean anything in terms of biology doesn’t mean they don’t have social meaning. I was using them as easy-to-understand descriptors of cultural concepts. And I really do not see how that equates to advocating gender essentialism, considering the context of my post was regarding how society’s attitudes had pigeonholed my outlook on the situation and how my entire point was to argue against that, regardless of who it comes from.

          • Gender essentialism posits that men and women are, by definition of their gender, going to act and present a certain way. When we use the words “feminine” and “masculine” in a way that disassociates them from gender and just discusses them as genderless social constructs, then… Gender isn’t even involved. You seem to be saying that the words don’t exist, that they have no meaning and no one can use them, just because you don’t agree with the heavy social connotations they might carry with them.

            -C

            • “You seem to be saying that the words don’t exist, that they have no meaning and no one can use them, just because you don’t agree with the heavy social connotations they might carry with them.”

              I explicitly stated that the words “femininity” and “masculinity” do in fact exist. I would really like to know what your “genderless” definition of these two words are, because I go by the textual, dictionary definitions. And no, I’m not saying people cannot use the word “femininity” because I have a disagreement with the “heavy social connotations” that it may carry. I am saying that the concept of “femininity” does not exist by its own definition. I must say I am quite taken aback by the defense of the word, as I would expect other feminists to understand the negative implications of it when used in everyday language.

              • But you are still misunderstanding what we are trying to say. NO ONE here is defending femininity as a concept that should be held as a standard for women. Please point out WHERE in my post (or any of these posts really) I or anyone else has made such a defense.

                Are you saying that by simply using the word in ANY context, one is defending it as a valid concept? By that logic you yourself are defending it by talking about it in this very discussion.

                I am just…at a loss at this point. Can you please carefully explain why my use of the word offended you so much? I had originally assumed it was because you misunderstood the general context of my post, but seeing as (I think) I have made that clear to you know, I am not really sure what the issue is.

              • Okay, riddle me this- what word would you use to describe the socially-constructed amalgamation of traits that is traditionally associated with women in our Western culture? How do you fight a social construct, wrong though it may be, without having a word for it? You haven’t actually offered up any useful advice as how not to use the word, you just keep saying “femininity” doesn’t exist in your world view. But how am I supposed to say “I dressed in a matter that would traditionally be described as male when I was a kid” without using the word masculine? Give me some fantastic alternative word and I’ll use it, but just because you don’t like the concept doesn’t mean it isn’t a great shortcut for explaining something.

                You can’t run around fighting Voldemort if you keep referring to him as He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named.

                -C

              • “But you are still misunderstanding what we are trying to say. NO ONE here is defending femininity as a concept that should be held as a standard for women. Please point out WHERE in my post (or any of these posts really) I or anyone else has made such a defense.”

                OH. MY. GOD. How the hell did this tangent end up here? I know that you aren’t defending the common definition of “femininity”. I was simply saying is that other people will not always understand your use of it without certain indications. However, they way in which you were defenind the existance of the word “femininity” (which, by the way, I never debated), made it appear like you agreed that the concept of femininity did exist (“femininity as a concept that should be held as a standard for women”, just so we aren’t confused on that one again). -_-

                “Are you saying that by simply using the word in ANY context, one is defending it as a valid concept? By that logic you yourself are defending it by talking about it in this very discussion.”

                Now you’re just being insulting. Of course that’s not what I’m saying.

                “I am just…at a loss at this point.”

                As am I. I think we’re just running circles around each other.

                “Can you please carefully explain why my use of the word offended you so much? I had originally assumed it was because you misunderstood the general context of my post, but seeing as (I think) I have made that clear to you know, I am not really sure what the issue is.”

                After you had explained it many eons ago, your own use of the word “femininity” does not offend me. Write it down, make a note, do whatever you need to do in order to remember it because I’m getting tired of typing the same things over and over again (and I’m sure you are too). The ONLY issue I had was with the way you initially PRESENTED those words. To those who do not share our feminist viewpoints, it is very easy to interpret your use of the word as something far from what you really meant. Semantics and clarification are key, and I believe this little fiasco is a prime example.

              • @ Claire – I’m not going to entertain you anymore. I’ve spent the past 30 minutes to to clarify my position to Chelsea, and if you’re just going to provoke further argument, you aren’t deserving of my time. As I’ve stated already, I misunderstood Chelsea, and I believe she has misunderstood me as well. I’m working on getting us back on the same page, not furthering our confusion, thanks.

              • Oh, the concepts certainly exist. The question is whether or not they’re valid concepts (that, is, to what degree they’re nothing but socially-enforced stereotypes).

            • Okay, I really did try to read this whole giant block of text, but it was a little rough. From what I can get, everyone is a little upset that femininity and masculinity being commonly used words/ concepts? If femininity doesn’t really exist or isn’t a valid concept… then what is feminism?

  11. Just so you know, the maids were D20 Girls. Not just ‘booth babes’ they’re all gamers, some plus sized, and in maid outfits that were in no way revealing. Oh, and absolutely willing. We run games all over the place, for free, for cash, and for our ourselves. I’ve gone to cons for D20 nine months pregnant…. So before you label these ladies, I’d get the facts straight.

    Though, I agree that there is a sexist quality to cons, we’re not going to stop having fun and cosplaying. My husband runs games for the male off shoot of the company and we’re all pretty happy.

  12. Joanna is right. The girls were working in the booth voluntarily and are part of the D20 Girls. Your point would usually be very valid, but I suggest doing a little more research before spouting off about things.
    “The D20 Girls Project is a volunteer-run, community-based, community-driven, grassroots project, eager to bring about a more prominent, positive, realistic female presence in gaming communities.
    We arrange with manufacturers, publishers, and conventions to hire our smart, savvy, beautiful, and reliable gamer girls as trade show and spokes models in gaming and fandom related industries across the U.S. We believe girls representing the gaming industry should actually be gamers who love and understand the industry.”

  13. Speaking as an artist, sadly sex sells. And if you want to eat, you draw what sells. It just so happens that the art that sells is also a fond subject of most male artists. Occasionally I will draw something with a fully clothed confident and capable looking woman on it. But not only do they not sell as well but they receive less comments and feedback (even from women). You have to remember that the industry got this way for a reason. It there were large amounts of women who refused to buy art and books with art of half naked women on them then you wouldn’t see this type of art on books. And even novels focusing on women as the consumer have a habit of using sexy men and women on them, Its what sells.

  14. Wow – this entire blog is predicated on the premise that women are objectified in video games, table top games, and other geekery? Women being empowered to look how they want, sexy or conservative, ready for combat hard-core, or unrealistically dressed for flagrant fan service – only becomes “objectification” in the way you’ve described when it comes to the creative works where non-fiction characters don’t have the choice on how they’re designed/written, and you’re concerned people either not old enough or without better judgment hold these characters in esteem enough to want to emulate them as who they should be or how they should look as women.

    The fact this is even an issue is not factored on sexism, racism, or marketing; the source is your sincere lack of faith in your own gender to make informed decisions and wisely choose on their own who to emulate, and making speculation on other people’s art & commercial products. Especially given these works are usually laid out within sci-fi or fantasy universes, it is not unreasonable to expect the unusual or the fantastically unrealistic.

    You want to protect the children? Fine – make sure they understand the difference between fantasy and reality. Teach them to love themselves and reinforce their self-image. Raise them to be healthy, and make smart informed decisions. Tired of the culture of the cons? Stop going – start your own with like-minded people. Not enough games and creative works that don’t, in your opinion, objectify women? Get together with someone and produce something. Vote with your dollars.

    The internet would be a way better place if people would complain less and do better more often. More likely than not the daughter you try to protect and educate on the dangers of objectifying women will still put on that Slave Leia costume for her boyfriend (or girlfriend’s) Halloween party when she’s old enough. There’s nothing wrong with sex, dressing scantily, or being in the public eye while doing so. The problem is either the reason they’re doing so or the reason the audience isn’t taking responsibility for the content they consume.

    People want to be entertained, so people make entertainment. You could dilute that down to “sex sells,” but it’s way deeper than that. What happens when we get bored as a society with sex and violence and drama? The more depraved we get the more they will push it to the next level. We need to educate future generations to seek out more fundamentally engaging forms of entertainment that do not need to push an envelope to delight them.

    My only other minor beef is that your posts seem convinced that the objectification of women is happening to sell games to men – but realistically as many women pay attention to scantily clad booth babes as do men. They also pay attention to people dressed up as horrific characters, or funny, silly characters from children’s books. You only have a hammer, everything starts to look like a nail. Even the title of your blog, “Go Make Me a Sandwich” sets the tone for the reader to be ready to read (or leave to not read) some ranting about how this or that is sexist or objectifying women, somehow lessening the power your gender has both earned and inherently possesses. My advice would be (albeit both sexist and cliche) man up. People do stupid shit. People enjoy sexy people. I wouldn’t really call it an epidemic or a problem at all really. I try not to assume, because you’re probably a really cool person – but it makes you come off like you just really want some attention, or you’d like the entire gaming industry to either go all scantily clad men and women, or you’d like everyone to wear only practical clothing for their occupation or scenario and drown all creativity and fantasy into a bland, grey soup of boring despair.

    Tell me I’m wrong, but I probably won’t even come back to read your response unless you are scantily clad.

  15. Pretty girls are hired to sell things because pretty girls sell things. This is simply reality, I pity your lack of understanding of what reality is. But go on, huddle in a corner and cry about how your gender is treated so poorly by society. Complain about persecution and objectification. Because clearly, women don’t do it too.

    OH WHOOPS.

    Those women you refer to as “booth babes” and being there involuntarily? That’s a stretch. Because those women couldn’t possibly have chosen to work those booths purely out of the fact that they might… oh I don’t know, enjoy their hobbies enough to take the job? Nope. Women are always slaves to men and never have a mind of their own. Always always alway- wait what?

    And… waitaminute… What’s so wrong with those maid outfits? Would you prefer fake-tanned, clown-faced blonde bimbos with implants wearing skirts that are practically belts, who know nothing about the hobby they’re trying to sell? Because if so, you’ll love E3’s booth babes. I think you’re confusing the term “booth babes” with “female employees”.

    “Because everyone knows that anime just isn’t anime without the sexual harassment?” Actually, it isn’t. Gravity defying boobs, giant robots, chibis, big eyes, teens that look like children… these are all qualities that distinguish anime from western cartoons. These are the common anime cliches mocked by things such as that card game. You seem to be unaware of the tongue-in-cheek aspect of this card game, but I guess I wouldn’t expect much from a dimwitted, humourless feminist like yourself.

    “What is it about ninjas and shaolin warriors that men get to wear pants and women don’t? ” What is it about modern fashion that women get to wear tight pants and skirts and men (unless they’re okay with being mocked) don’t? Really, do -you- want to see a man doing high kicks in that little clothing, because I sure as heck don’t enjoy the idea of seeing some shaolin dude’s junk flopping out all over the place.

    “Is it too much to ask to have a female martial artist that wears pants?”

    Here you go.

    “Speaking as a real life female and martial artist, I can affirm that that outfit would be impractical in the extreme for one attempting to perform any kind of martial arts.”
    Since when is fantasy practical? And uh…

    Tell a guy friend of yours to go fight an epic battle with bladed weapons in that. Let me know how it goes. Start preparing the funeral arrangements now.

    “From the bit of reading I’ve done, it seems like something I may have been interested in demoing, had the cover art not made me roll my eyes and walk on past.” “I don’t even know what your product is and you’ve already lost my interest.” “Worst of all, the products are things I probably would be interested in if I played more D&D.” Well then I guess I should say I pity your arrogant, childish attitude of judging a book by it’s cover, or in this case, by it’s breasts. Clearly something must be awful if it portrays scantily clad women in it’s art:

    ~9 million people disagree with you.

    I think you, and other feminsts, neglect to realise that the human body is art, especially the curves of a female body. A lot of these companies aren’t doing this to objectify women, but rather to show a true beauty of a female body.

    “clearly gamers = men.” Yes, actually, since you’re clearly stuck in the Victorian era inside your nice little office, I regret to inform you that most gamers are, in fact, men. Some of them being women, but most of the women are actually intellectual individuals who don’t cry persecution at the slightest sight of boobies, nor do they go to cons with the sole purpose of complaining about them on the internet.

    “I mentioned my hatred of the Shadowrun cover that happened to get nominated for the Ennies:” If that women wasn’t in a sexual pose, or if it was a man instead, would you have nitpicked the proportions as much as you did? Now, I will agree that there are some parts of that cover that do seem a bit amateurish, like how flat the torso looks, I’ll say that beyond that, it is decent artwork.

    “More art fail, here’s Larry Elmore’s booth” You’re calling someone’s work fail just because they, unlike you, understand the artistic beauty of women. How fucking dense are you? Or rather, when are you planning on changing your tampon (and checking for sand while you’re at it)?

    “God, this is just embarrassing. This is a freaking gaming convention. There’s no need to try and make board games “look cool”. ” At this point, you’re really just nitpicking for the hell of it. It’s a goddamn slogan, a lot of times companies just pull these out of their asses.

    “Notice what’s missing from these banners? Girls. Because everyone knows girls don’t play board games. And they ESPECIALLY don’t play Lego.” So, you complain if a poster contains a good looking women, and you complain if it doesn’t. Just like a woman, I guess, impossible to satisfy. Here’s a face we should put on all game posters that you’d probably be happy about. You and her seem to have a lot in common:

    “The few times I wandered past the booth, absolutely no one was interested in the service. Let that be a lesson to you, publishers! Bewbs =/ sales.” Or people just don’t care enough for the service they’re offeri- nope, can’t possibly be that, it has to be something related to their mascot. Yup. Yeah, you’re dense, sorry.

    “YET ANOTHER case of old, fully-clothed male mage versus young, hot, barely clothed female mage?” Mages are commonly associated with Merlin, who was an old, robes man witha long beard in most depictions. If you want to see an old woman in a long robe, refer to the above photograph.

    “If THIS is what game publishers had to offer in the way of female characters, I would be much happier and this post would be much, much shorter.” Well I guess you’d better start writing game development companies about how you’re not pleased by their female characters, and they should immediately be changing them all to satisfy you and maybe 10 other female gamers who believe that their view of female aesthetics takes precedence over everyone else’s.

    “I can’t even articulate how incredibly angry this makes me. I can’t say that I’m surprised that female geek children would seek to emulate the incredibly unrealistic depictions of women that are part of the hobby.” Maybe she’s just a child who saw something pretty and wanted to try it on? Does a child putting on their parents’ shoes mean they’re going to be foot fetishists later in life? I donnnnn’t think so.

    “I want so very badly to tell this little girl that she can look however she wants and still be valued by the gaming community as a whole, but I’m afraid that as things stand right now the “as a whole” bit would probably be a lie.” And it’s a good thing you didn’t, because her parents would probably just tell you to piss off and mind your own business.

    In conclusion, while I believe everyone has a right to his or her opinion, I also believe that said opinions should at least have some semblance of thought behind them, not blind rage. I don’t believe you have proper authority on telling people how to not sell games to women, because I think the mast majority thinks you and other feminsts of your caliber are full of shit.

  16. I agree, lets inject some realism into the gaming community. All the women should be depicted in sweatpants, overweight & unshowered. It’s only fair; that’s the stereotype of male gamers. If this is the worst you have to worry about in the gaming community and your life…feel thankful. Face it sex sells. This has been a staple of advertising for decades. Get over it and yourself. I know the owner of the corset booth. He sells corsets…that is all. If the parent of a nine year old wants to buy her a corset; bring it up with the parents. The D-20 girls were models in some of your pics that you blurred out to protect their identities. They were there willingly and were most likely paid very well to be there. They didn’t seem to have a problem with it; why do you. If a woman wants to dress sexy or scantily why does some feminist crackpot like you have to crawl out from under her rock and scream that everyone needs to wear pants. I know about 50 burlesque performers that would kick you ass for this idea. You rip on an artist because he chooses to paint pictures of women dressed sexy or posed provacitively? we’ll have to make sure to only include artists that depict women dressed in reasonable clothes. Maybe, just maybe YOU should put the word fantasy and imagination back into your little gaming world. From reading some of the replies from your regular readers to your initial post it seems YOU have a problem with this idea. And you are the creepy one going around trying to catch pictures of unsuspecting people so you can rip on them in your blog and feel all important about yourself.

  17. Guys, now that you mentioned D20, she’s probably going to go on a gigantic rampage about it much like this one. Terrible idea mentioning D20 on a feminst’s blog…

  18. sorry, my bad. Ironically she’s not bitching about the millions of dollars Fabio made half dressed on the cover of over 300 romance novels. I feel she sets feminism back decades because she believes that all women should wear comfortable shoes and cargo pants and should only be portrayed as such. Sex, sexuality, sensuality is a part of life. some women are very confident in their sexuality. This could mean they want to wear something sin-tight, for others this means wearing something more. Why does someone have to judge them. Or the artists that portray this for the purpose of selling a product. Stupid repressed people that want to make everyone conform to their ideals is what is wrong with this world.

  19. Agreed there is too much degradation of women. We should not be portrayed as tolerating harassment. I would like to see more creativity in the dress-design department, too. What about a nice Punjabi dress?

    I was thinking about the woman-ninja-in-a-dress thing, and I think it depends on the dress and the use. In one old Jackie Chan movie, there is a girl in a peasant dress with a wide skirt, and she used it for covering her feet. Spreading the skirt out covered her stance so her opponent didn’t know when and how she would strike. and a skirt can be used as a soft parry, too.

    There are some Olympic sprinters out there who prefer to wear skorts than running pants, because they say they feel freer and can run easier and faster. I think it’s okay to depict women wearing just about any style of clothing; length and exposure notwithstanding.

    And, it would have been nice if the elf pictured were female, but, indeed I agree that it had to be Legolas.

    I, myself, hope that the young girl who was trying on the corset has parents who are enlightened and don’t force her into the stereotype of the girl-slave-to-her-man thing. But I cannot tell another how to raise their child. The corset was rather becoming to her, actually. Just because a woman wears a corset doesn’t mean she buys into the women-as-chattel thing. Maybe she likes corsets. And maybe she has Steampunk friends or even parents. That in itself is Victorian Re-Creation. I have a friend whose daughter is a Soccer-playing tomboy and likes to dress Victorian for Halloween. No problems there.

  20. I think some of your points are valid. I think some of your points sound overwrought and needlessly dramatic, but I’m not going to quibble over minutia.
    Overall, the hobby needs more women developing games and being put in charge of the art department before you’re going to see many changes. And even then, many women in the industry are probably indoctrinated into thinking that the artwork should showcase sexy or alluring women.

  21. So do you hate women and the female form so much that you just can’t stand to look at it? Not all things have to be equal? It is feminists like you who actually set women back disgustingly far. There is NOTHING wrong with booth babes. In fact, the women in the “maid outfits” enjoy what they do. I know them personally. They are D20 Girls, as am I. We are proud to be WOMEN GAMERS who of all shapes and sizes who like to dress up and work booths, demo games and show that women can be beautiful, SMART and gamers. We, unlike you, are not hateful toward our own sex or against male gamers who like to look at women. What is so wrong with that? Nothing.
    You make me sick.

    • Wow, did you actually bother to sort of take in any of the context of this blog?

      I get that you and your buddies are pissed that WG jumped the gun about your group but you are doing the exact same thing here.

  22. Furthermore, I want to add that I am proud to be a D20 girl. I feel lucky to be a part of such a wonderful organization. But even if I wasn’t a D20 Girl, I would still enjoy wearing costumes, I would still enjoy feeling sexy and what is so wrong with that? There is something empowering to me, especially as I get older and as a woman who is considered plus-sized, when I can design or put together a fun costume, run a game or just attend some convention full of like-minded people where I can feel sexy! More power to women who are comfortable with their bodies and enjoy wearing costumes!!! Corsets are fun and even many of the scantily-clad outfits can be very fun to wear. Now, I will say there are some outfits that are a little too revealing for my taste, but I don’t look down on the women who wear those things just because they are not to my taste. I am not a Christian person, but I am going to use a quote from the Bible that I think fits quite well in this case: “Judge not, lest ye be judged.”
    Don’t underestimate your gender. We have come a long way and we don’t live in the dark ages any more. We aren’t forced to wear a certain type of clothing, be it revealing or conservative. We are educated and given the brains to choose for ourselves what kinds of clothing we wish to wear and what kind of persona we want to put out there of ourselves.
    When we, as women OR men, don a costume…it is about fun. Be it for a job or for recreation, costumes convey a part of our personality we can’t usually convey and there is NOTHING wrong with that. How dare you be so judgmental on women for enjoying that aspect of themselves and their personalities?

  23. It’s alright for men to go topless, but not okay for women to wear ‘revealing’ (whatever the hell that’s supposed to mean) clothing?
    In the case of the grizzled old mage fighting the young, nubile female, you think it’s degrading to the WOMAN as opposed to the case that she seems to be on equal footing with him despite (what one would assume) the many years he put into his craft?
    The martial artists are wearing very similar clothing, just the male has pants under his robes, neither of them are in particularly practical fighting attire, but it’s a god-damned CARTOON!
    In the ‘horror bewbs’ pic, the women’s cleavage/boobs seem fairly well covered up, with the possible exception of the middle, red haired one. There’s a good bit of midriff shown, but that’s it.
    I’m not even sure what it is you want from fantasy art, every women swaddled in clothing to the point that it becomes ambiguous whether they’re a man or woman? I’d like to point out that the place on Earth where feminine rights are most ignored currently is the middle east, where women ARE swaddled in clothing and have every part of their bodies covered, not in the parts of the world where women DECIDE to wear skimpy or ‘revealing’ clothing.
    Asking why fantasy art portrays women in revealing clothing is like asking why fantasy art portrays perfect, muscle bound men, it’s because people, generally, like to fantasise about being attractive or powerful or quick-witted or whatever, not average.

  24. So, another interesting thought. Riddle me this, Aderp Titler, Furor of the feminazi’s…

    How come women of any height, of just about any breast size other than dump truck, and of both a healthy thinness or a nice curvaceousness are considered “beautiful” by popular standards, but men are only beautiful if they’re tall and fit?

    Men who are shorter than women aren’t as attractive. Curves on men usually indicate a beer belly and a-cup moobs. While thin, bony men aren’t as cringe-inducing, you don’t see as many male models of this bodytype.

    So why do men only have essentially one appealing body type while women have a whole spectrum of them?

    Probably because, like I said in an above post, the female body is beautiful. And yes, I know a lot of feminsts immediately label this as “objectification”, but is it really?

    Recently as a friend and I were enjoying some Dove ice cream bars, for some reason the topic came up of the company being called Pigeon instead of Dove. Pigeons, or as people call them “rats with wings”, would certainly not be a fitting product name for anything you eat that’s supposed to be smooth and decadent…

    Some animals simply like pretty things. Many creatures in the animal kingdom put on elaborate displays to attract a mate. It’s the same with humans. Whether it be an object, and animal, or a person, if it’s pretty, people like it. Females just -happen- to be the fairer, better looking sex by most of society’s standards.

    Since either you’re a really elaborate troll with no life or you really are a blazing moron, D20 is a group of female gamers who attempt to replace the bimbos often hired as “booth babes” who know nothing about their subject matter. Which… brings me to another point about your lack of understanding about objectification. Booth babes are paid to look pretty and attract people to their booths. If you ask me, that’s far more towards the objectification of women than simply having pretty girls play games with people at cons because it’s what they enjoy doing.

    • While I had issues with parts of this post as well, I have to disagree with your assumption that there’s an unequal attitude towards which men are attractive vs. which women are attractive.

      In the media, and in modeling, there exist stereotyped “standards” for both men and women. It’s most certainly not just a problem men deal with.

      When it comes to individuals, or more forward-thinking groups, both men and women of many different shapes and sizes are appreciated, and that’s certainly not a positive change only women are enjoying.

      Just look at the variety of male stars out there in film and on television. Some are buff, some are scrawny. Some women like muscular guys, some like lean and lanky guys, some like stockier guys, some like clean-shaven guys, some like scruffy guys, some like suave guys, snarky, guys, funny guys, quiet guys, sensitive guys.

      I just really don’t think it’s accurate to claim there is only one essential idea of male attractiveness but many of female attractiveness. You see examples of narrow or broad ideals pertaining to BOTH genders depending on where you look.

  25. Okay, folks. I’m closing comments on this post because there’s absolutely nothing of worth that deserves to be continued here. I’ve made some responses in a followup post. If you want to continue discussion, you can move comments over there. Be warned, if I catch people from this thread trolling in the new one rather than ACTUALLY TRYING to have a real discussion, I’m just going to delete your comments. I don’t have time for this shit.

  26. […] Of all the things that occur at Gen Con, I don’t think we need a solidly graphically designed card and web site in order to mock nervous rookie game designers without an ENnie, Indie RPG Award nor Diana Jones to their name.  We should be celebrating the nervous men and women with their games on home-made cards and worlds tucked under their arms in 3-ring binders.  We should be supporting and informing them.  We should be interviewing them about their hopes and what games they play and putting those recordings on the internet. […]

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