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

My policy regarding comments has changed as of April 4th, 2011. The new policy is pretty simple and can be found in the sidebar. For the reasons behind this change, please see this post explaining the policy in more detail and the reasons behind the change.

I do request that you attempt to keep things civil when discussing things with your fellow commenters so that this doesn’t turn into the rest of the internets.

I have removed the contact form that used to be here because people on the internet couldn’t be trusted to use it.

71 thoughts on “About

  1. Apologies if I am way off the mark with my assumptions in this post. I need to use these assumptions as I am unsure as to the extent of your personal beliefs and views on this issue.

    You seem to harbor views and beliefs regarding the portrayal of women in media that cause you irritation. I just wanted to clarify *why* these images are portrayed as they are and, perhaps more to the point, why you shouldn’t let yourself be irritated at the people behind the portrayals and imagery.

    Of course you may already share my opinion on why they are portrayed this way. In that case I thank you for reading and welcome any feedback you have.

    So here is my opinion of why women are portrayed as bikini clad, sexually charged, unrealistically proportioned ETC.

    1. Men are primarily attracted to the physical characteristics of women. This is a well known fact of human biology. This accounts for 50% of a companies target audience alone.

    2. A woman being sexually aggressive is a turn on for guys. Guys don’t want women that aren’t confident, or are ashamed of their sexuality, or who ‘conform to societies rules’. Ask any guy, would you prefer a shy, quiet girl, or a sexually explosive, confident woman?

    The companies portraying these women are portraying them correctly : that is, THIS IS WHAT MEN WANT. It’s quite simple really. The massive majority of men want beautiful, confident, sexual women.

    Now to what will most likely be your counter-point : Why aren’t men portrayed that way in games, as women are?

    Because in actual fact, men in games ARE PORTRAYED AS WOMEN WOULD WANT:

    1. Women are attracted to leadership/charisma/charm. Who are you playing in 90% of games? A leader. Usually a charismatic, charming, strong leader.

    2. Women AREN’T as attracted to a man by his physical characteristics as men are to women. Hence why there aren’t issues such as men not wearing little enough clothing, or acting overtly sexual. The sex appeal for women comes from the traits in my previous point.

    So that’s my point.

    Women are portrayed as they are in games/movies because men are attracted to them primarily visually. This includes overt sexuality.

    Men are portrayed as attractively as possible to women as well. They are usually confident, strong leaders that take the initiative, but are also understanding, kind and caring.

    So really, I suppose my question to you is : What’s the problem here? Everyone’s a winner, it seems to me.

    • Looking at the date of your post I’m wondering if it’s just an April Fools attempt but if not…..
      I Just wanted to dispute a few of the views you seem to ascribe to all mankind. I am a straight man and as you point out this means I am attracted to women and their bits.
      However this does not mean I want every computer game I play to be full of huge-chested, long limbed, impossibly dimensioned women, who seem to have great problems finding enough clothes to wear.
      For example I have just finished playing Metal Gear Solid 4, which I enjoyed for the most part. However I found it ridiculous, to the point of breaking my immersion in the game that 2 of main female characters wore tops through which their breasts seemed to be constantly on the verge of falling out (I’m talking about Big Mama and Naomi).
      I don’t need women to be “sexy” all the time. I would rather see them portrayed as the story demands. If the lady in question is out on a date and is looking to send some unquestionable signals to her partner then have her tits hanging out. However if she is escaping from a horde of nano-machine enhanced super soldiers on a motorbike it is fu8king dumb for her to be dressed so impractically.
      This is only a mild example of where your definition of “what men want” seems to trump all other considerations when it comes to presenting female characters in games and I would argue that this is to the detriment of storytelling, characterisation and overall believability of modern games.
      The problem is that most games designers seem to believe that gamers are all men in the perpetually horny teenage boy sense you describe and treat us accordingly and this kills reall grown-up storytelling which is what a lot of people want from games.
      As to your description of how women like to see men in games, most men in games see to be portrayed as tough, badass, heroes which convinently is how most men would like to see themselves. I haven’t noticed a great deal of undertstanding, kind and caring men in games I’ve played recently. Unless you by kind and caring you mean, able to save the world single handedly or silently take down hundreds of enemy.

        • Well I have actually thought of a superior argument so I will share that now and I’d like to hear your viewpoints.

          It is agreed that the main demographic of gamers is 30-35 or something around that figure. Now, in terms of gender, the game genres that are predominantly male dominated (FPS/STRATEGY) usually contain the most scantily clad women. There is a simple reason for this.

          It’s what most guys around this age want to see. They are sexually active, young and horny guys. It is accepted that they are the majority. No matter how hard women say they love FPS/RTS, as a whole, they just aren’t evolutionary programmed to appreciate the hunter/gatherer aspect of these game genres to the degree men are. Just as men aren’t evolutionary wired to appreciate the socializing/nurturing aspect of games like The Sims or Singstar.

          Now I know these types of games are skewed either way because I work in games retail. I see firsthand the proportion of men buying Call of Duty VS women buying The Sims 3, so please don’t bother arguing.

          So in summary, FPS and RTS (and most MMO titles) are marketed toward 35 year old guys in the way that has been, and will always be, the most successful : tapping into their primal attraction to sexual imagery. Sure, some guys are gonna try to get all ‘high and mighty’ (presumably to appear more caring or sensitive to their female peers) and agree with your view, but the majority will always be for the sex.

          Just think about this: if only a tiny minority actually finds this content offensive, is it really a worthwhile issue to protest about? Why not protest something that actually impacts people as a whole, like global warming or poverty…

          • Carrying on from Lukes comments I find it pretty amusing that the description of this blog reads:
            (how not to sell games to women)

            In reality few developers want to target women at the expense of their male audience. They are fully aware that women do not want to see boobies because they’re icky. They would just rather cater to their larger audience, males and increase demand for their games through by maximising the value the games provide. It has been scientifically proven that under 30 males derive value from looking at boobies.

            Any sort of economic, I am a lady so I know you would sell more if you took out boobies argument is just plain wrong. Developers know what they’re doing. This whole blog should be more along the lines of, if more women gamers bought games then there would be less boobs.

            Or else please change the description to something more politically leaning like “I dont like sexualisation in games and it should be banned and the authors stoned until dead”.

            • Unfortunately it is true… Not long after we started Parallel Worlds Magazine, I showed an edition to my wife (who is a strong feminist). I asked her, “How can I make the cover more attractive?”

              The answer I got was “boobs!”

    • “1. Women are attracted to leadership/charisma/charm. Who are you playing in 90% of games? A leader. Usually a charismatic, charming, strong leader.

      2. Women AREN’T as attracted to a man by his physical characteristics as men are to women. Hence why there aren’t issues such as men not wearing little enough clothing, or acting overtly sexual. The sex appeal for women comes from the traits in my previous point.”

      As a woman, I don’t know if I can agree with this. Firstly, I’m I am actually attracted to men in a very visual way and I wouldn’t mind seeing more aestheticly pleasing guys in media in general…I feel the majority of women are shy to admit this because cultural social reasons (ie. Nurture vs. Nature). The common belief is the one that you stated, but I don’t think that’s true at all. I know many perverted girls…And second, I’m not attracted to guys who feel they have to be strong leaders, conversly I’m attracted to guys who are confident enough to rely on me for help…

  2. I know you probably dont need any more examples of the poor representation of women in video games but i though i should direct your attention to a game series that have been filling me with a lot of anger recently.

    the Sonic The Hedgehog series. every female is sexualized and act as a poster child for some of the most common roles women are given in games. Amy Rose is hysterical and in love with sonic. Rouge is sexy and evil.

    unlike the male characters the female ones have been distorted to fit into a human female ‘hour glass’ shape.
    anyway i’m not a very good writer but though it was such an extreme case i wrote a post about it.
    i thought you may find it interesting

  3. I don’t know if there is anywhere to submit stuff for this blog but take a look at some of the art for this cancelled Ultima reboot for the DS:


    If you’re not into old PC RPGs, the Ultima series is basically the video game version of going to church. So not only is this concept art ridiculous, it is wildly off base.

  4. Hi Wundergeek,

    My name is Catherine Meyers, I’m the admin of a web blog directory, while reading your blog and it’s articles and really great discussions (even here), I was wondering if you might be interested in a link exchange (no money involved), I would add your blog in my directory so my visitors will also visit your site, and get to know of your art, photography and this great blog, and in exchange you add my website to your blogroll or links. Please let me know if you are interested and the best of luck with your blog.



  5. Thanks for changing the banner! I much prefer the new one with the sandwich, rather than the wall-o’-boobs. Makes me a lot less embarrassed to be seen reading your site.

  6. Posting here because — like marybeth — failed to find an email address. (Totally don’t blame you for wanting to keep the trolls away.)

    I just want to thank you for saying what I’ve been saying for weeks about the new Tomb Raider game. Most of my gaming cohorts think I’m being overexcited and hypersensitive about how they’re depicting Lara Croft. But my point is: If they tried to show a 19-year-old Nathan Drake in the same frail, feeble light (against torture-porn scenarios), guy gamers wouldn’t stand for it. So WTF?

    Awesome blog. Keep it up!

    (And to the guy who said somewhere around here that ‘game developers would never market games to women in a way that would threaten their core male audience’ — some of us mid-30s MALE gamers don’t buy these games for exactly the same reason, dingus! Some of us continued maturing after the age of 13.)

  7. Since I also can’t find an email, I guess I can post here. I don’t think I’m derailing anything from here…


    Firstly, for the most part, I really like the blog. Something strikes me as odd though. When you question the anatomy behind some of the characters, can’t we consider that some of it is just artistic style. I dont mean art like HTK. He has style, but his deformed proportions are really for the sake of T&A. But I mean something like Capcom’s Street Fighter. All of the characters are stylized. Or even WoW-
    I agree with you. As you said, her arm is not attached to anything and that is not style, but an obvious mistake of the artist. But, what you drew over it…is maybe too “realistic”. I don’t think the artist was trying to indicate that this is supposed to be a realistic representstration of a female body. Or even a human body in general. This is equally unrealistic http://www.profilethai.com/download/original/wow_ash2_800x.jpg
    Though, I do think the way the human males are stylized is closer to reality than the females. And a lot of the times the human males are hardly stylized, idealized yes, but still much much closer to realistic proportions. (Like, I really had to dig around for that image-it was the most stylized vs. idealized human male I could find)…
    Another example is Taki, and Soul Caliber’s art/3-D Models in general.
    What you drew over it is realistic, while the art itself is stylized subtlety (or maybe it’s not so subtle). Like WoW, the Soul Caliber men do come closer to realistic standards than the females though…Like Kilik’s body is not heavily stylized. Mitsurugi is though. Should we judge the way an artist chooses to stylize the body? I don’t mean the obvious objectified T&A, but rather the proportions of the character. Maybe these subtle stylizations are bad when used this way becuase people consider it realistic proportions and don’t realize that real human bodies aren’t supposed to look like that (like photoshoped magazine pin-ups, ad models, ect…)

    Then you have Final Fantasy. Some people think that the 3D models are realistic and they don’t realize that these are clearly stylized proportions. The girls have the exact proportions of anerexic girls. Maybe you can look for youself to draw your own conclusions.

    ie. of Aneroxic Girls (If not all of them are anorexic, they are still unhealthily thin-for more, look up thinspiration in Google Images)

    we can compare them to Final Fantasy girls…

    Tifa is my personal favorite. She sports the “deathly thin with big ta-ta’s” look…

    Sorry if this is in violation. This seems like the only general area I could post this-and I don’t know how to find your email adress.

    …Just my two cents.

    Keep up the great blog. I look forward to hearing from you.

  8. Hello Hello

    I’m curious as to what theme (assuming you used WordPress) you used for your mobile site (specifically on the iPad) — if you’re willing to share.


  9. I just wanted to say that I love your blog! (although sometimes the images make me want to wash my eyeballs in lysol) As a Lesbian gamer, I’m often offended (read: almost always offended) by these ads, and I would probably play more games if females were more often heroes than sex objects. Thanks for pointing out these problems! All I want is equal-opportunity heroes! is that such a problem, gaming industry?

  10. Hi !

    Just a minor question: Would you consider adding a “Recent Comments” Plugin to your sidebar ?
    It would make following the threads in the comments a lot easier, because you don’t have to scan the whole page for new comments every time.

  11. I’m not writing this response so that I can change your mind but rather to help others with open minds understand that you may think you are winning cleavage devoid dungeon scaping elves over to your side using big words like “roentgenographic”. You seem to imply that the rest of us women gamers who don’t mind “bewb-toting, pantless characters” are an inferior group of people, fit only to be enslaved, beaten, and butchered at the whim of our betters. Given your morally crippled apparent boob-induced ravings, who is reading this stuff? Sometimes, dysfunctional, boob-guzzling good-for-nothings are so insensate, but do they merit special attention from you? I challenge you to move from your broad derogatory generalizations to specific instances to prove otherwise why “bewbs”, as you define them, are a bad thing in the gaming martial arts arena. Pants? Let’s not even go there. I have to say, some of your critques of the figures from Midwest Clerics, Neverwinter, Reaper Minis, Cookie Fu and Cosmic Patrol among others are reaching way, way out there. I am a black belt, female martial artist but I am not sparing a “bewb-ified” fem from Legendary Realms. It’s art. If you don’t like it, don’t look at. Do you see yourself as a postmodern equivalent of Marx’s proletariat, revolutionizing the world by wresting it from its oppressors (viz., those who stop encroachments on our “bewb” loving heritage). Anyway, I digress. Sorry for the rant.

  12. http://www.kotaku.com.au/2011/08/speaking-up-why-female-game-writers-shouldnt-be-ignored/ Might be interesting to you Wundergeek, I will say that I don’t necessarily condone Laura’s fear based decision not to speak out, easier said than done obviously, but as Winston Chruchill once said: “You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.”

    Why you don’t have an email where people can send you info/stories/etc? I can guess it’s to give hateful people one less avenue to abuse you?

  13. Long time reader, and member of the games industry for over fifteen years. A quick post to highlight an actual positive story regarding female portrayal in video games that might have passed you by. I’ve recently been playing a relatively new title, which bears all the hallmarks of the typical ‘action hero single-handedly saves the world’ story. However, it features possibly one of the strongest female characters I’ve ever come across in over twenty five years of gaming. I’m talking about Warhammer 40K: Space Marine. That’s right, a game about macho, nine foot tall, gun toting Space Marines has an amazing key female character.

    I was doing a little search on this as I felt it was something that might have touched something within some other players, and lo and behold several bloggers had picked up on this. Just thought it might be something to go on the ‘good list’ rather than the usual Korean MMO ‘naughty list’.

    To be honest, the 40k universe has a great history of strong female characters, but it’s good to see Relic carry this over to a big AAA mainstream action title.

  14. Dear Wundergeek,

    I wish to tell you that you have ruined games for me.

    When Lara Croft came our I was a male teen in the market that the oversexualisation was being marketed to. Well over a decade later I was still playing games with oversexualised women quite happily.

    Your blog has shown me the sexist portrayal of women in video games. I have begun actively avoiding games that I would have otherwise happily sought out and played, like Bayonetta. It wasn’t that I enjoyed the oversexualisation of women, it was that I didn’t even notice it.

    Now I notice it and it makes me cringe. I blame this on you.



    PS – I love the blog btw, since I can’t enjoy sexualised video games anymore I may as well be rampant in my denouncing of them.

    • Well I’m sorry that I’ve ruined games for you, but I’m quite happy to hear that I’ve managed to raise awareness on this front. Thanks for the comment, and I’m glad you appreciate what I’m doing here.

  15. I found a game with a GOOD portrayal of women: it’s called Demonrift TD (Tower Defense) and the main “character” is a female knight with reasonable armor. (It’s a tower defense game, so you don’t really play characters, but there are “cut scenes” where the characters talk to each other.) There’s also a female warden with reasonable armor — both characters are visible on the title screen. You can probably find it hosted in a variety of places on the web, but Kongregate also has it.

    Just thought you might like something positive once in a while. 🙂

  16. Hello, I have a question for ya. You’ve mentioned before what you dislike in fighting games in terms of female characters (MVC3 Iron Man fan flash animated trailer summed it up, you said) but how ’bout what you would like to see or be changed.

    I’m only asking because before for a project I was going to make a fighting game based on the theme of fighting styles mixed with different cultures and varying body styles of female fighters but I decided for it to be a more personal project since I don’t have the time for it at the moment.

    I had some character ideas already thought up.

  17. Thank you for supplying this compelling guide for male gamers to find games with half naked women. I’ve got a bunch of new ones to try… Can I ask, why so much time was dedicated to this I mean IMO you could have looked past it and enjoyed many great hours of game play instead of all the time writing about it. Do you just need to have some conflict? I’m not bashing just trying to understand I guess. Why all the hate on sexuality? Sex is great, its healthy and any guy who is straight enjoys looking at attractive women in games and RL. What is so devilishly wrong with this? Why not ask for more penis in games. Sex sells on tv and in gaming my question is why be so against it other than to have a pet-peeve. Plus just a thought but I thinbk if you had your way (hear me out) and every in game female was a total buff great sword using dike. Some girlfriends may be missing their boyfriends even more. Just think they might never leave their keyboard to satisfy their male urges. Due to the fact that their games hasn’t been luring them into a euphoric state of boob fantasy that must be addressed in the bedroom. Never know this may be counter productive, Some girls like wieners and may get less due to this. (yeah i said wiener is a funny word what of it). These are my random thoughts. BTW LoL’s champ selection seems pretty diverse maybe they need alt skins that are not sexual In an manner for toughs who are “sensitive” about it.

    • Insulting someone is no way to engage in debate; muscular women can be just as attractive as the overly curvacious ones portrayed in most video-games.

      There is the greater issue that by providing huge “fun-bags” and very little clothing the games industry is not only making it’s product unappealing to most women but unappealing to many male gamers as well {the supposed “bread&butter” of the industry}.

      The average person purchasing games now is between the ages of 18 and 35, far past the “ZOMG BOOBS” stage in their life and are finding it tiresome to see games pander to something the market is not. Granted I think the author of this blog does go about some of her complaints the wrong way, however she is pointing out problems that could sink the gaming ship.

      Lastly no one wants male genital in there games because it’s just not a pretty sight, it looks like a bit of elbow scrag or something hanging from a shark’s mouth. Though it might do well in horror games since a penis tends to make folks feel uncomfortable.

    • They also made Ashley a trans-sexual.

      I’m not sure what that says about Miranda’s initial design, but it does raise the question as to Ashley not telling her friends and potential love-interests for years and years.

      Though I dodged that awkward conversation bullet by going with Liara.

  18. You probably receive many of these kinds of posts but…thank you. Your blog is a breath of fresh air. Please keep it up, you’re doing the job I wish I could do if I didn’t get sick of being ostracized. Thank you.

  19. Re: gratuitous objectification of woman in RPG art.

    I stumbled across your blog a while back, the entry on Wayne Reynolds, and it stuck with me. Since then I find myself wondering if you would approve of this or that image as I come across them. Upon purchasing the new Pathfinder NPC Codex if find lots of examples of women with bodies that break the mold you were railing against. Check it out, if just to see that not every artist is using an erection as a paintbrush.

    As a side note, I do enjoy some of the gratuity I find in fantasy art, but can definitely sympathize with your position. Hope you like what you see.


  20. I see commenting is turned off on older posts. Please delete my comments on https://gomakemeasandwich.wordpress.com/2014/07/21/new-wow-models-men-get-character-women-get-vapid-beauty/#comments as without follow-up they no longer represent my opinion. Or add another comment on my behalf that says: “Well looking more deeply I see explicit statements that he wants no-one to harass you or anyone else. He even requested that people come forward with any proof of harassment and give it to third parties. As this has not happened I doubt that any harassment, actual or imagined, is connected to the guy in question or his supposed lackeys.” But really I’d just like out of this discussion and want my two comments on that page deleted. Thanks!

    • I’ve set posts to have comments disabled after 3 weeks because it’s been my experience that that is long enough to let a discussion run its course, and anyone who revives a dead thread after that point is 95% likely to be a troll.

      WRT deleting your comment, I’ve been wrestling with that and I’ve decided that I’m going to leave it as-is. It’s important for people to own their words online. Although, we had what seemed to be a perfectly civil interaction, so I’m not even sure what it is that you are wanting to erase. Civility? Openness to a different perspective? You’re already “out of [the] discussion” because comments are closed and that particular discussion is over.

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

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

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

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

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

      • >> I’m not even sure what it is that you are wanting to erase.<<
        I got the impression you told the guy he caused you to be harassed, and he did not try to rectify the situation. I then said 'fair enough.' But having seen more context I no longer think you were being fair. Based on the other stuff that is out there, I don't know that I can believe everything I read here. I don't think you're being malicious, but I can't tell if your assessment of what happened is accurate. When serious charges are being made about people, I think it is reasonable to ask for some evidence.
        As for the rest, you're putting a heck of a lot into my mouth and/or assuming the worst about me.
        Own my words? Sure. Own the words of whoever you are really addressing above, nope.

  21. Hi, Good morning. Im doing an investigation about Female Concept artists in the industry, I got here to your blog and read some amazing articles, I like people having valuable opinions being told and expressing their ideas, and this, this is something that needed to be talked out.
    I wanted to ask you if you probably had a list of names you know of girls designing videogames/movies/figures or so mostly concept art and character design. thank you for your answer, bye.

  22. This comment has been edited to remove abusive content from my blog, but the original content has been screenshotted and archived, along with the information of the person who left the comment. The comment has been reported to WordPress as a violation of their TOS.

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