TERA followup: no, male castanics are not “as bad” (lots of pictures)

Over the weekend, someone must have linked my old TERA post to the official TERA forums as I got a flood of troll comments on that post. Most of the comments really weren’t really more than a waste of space and many of them repeated each other, since trolls often seem to lack in originality. The responses I got can be roughly summarized as follows:

  • hurr hurr you’re ugly (3 comments)
  • it’s just a game/it’s just fantasy (5 comments)
  • I’m a woman and I’m not bothered by it (1 comment)
  • you feminist bitches are so silly (3 comments)
  • you’re making this all about you (2 comments)
  • nonsensical slurs (1 comment)
  • games are for men (1 comment)
  • talking about discrimination is stupid and makes people feel bad (2 comments)
  • omg ur biased for not showing male castanics who are just as bad (2 comments)

Now it’s worth pointing out that I did get one comment from a TERA user who wasn’t comfortable with the others trolling my blog:

While we may disagree with some of the author’s points, can we avoid the personal attacks?

So, thekillerangel, thank you for trying to inject a little sanity into the flood of outraged temper tantrums.

Now ordinarily I wouldn’t bother dignifying this sort of thing with too much of a response besides dropping some pertinent links in the comment thread for people who stumble across the post in the future. However, the whole charge that male castanics are “just as bad” and that not showing them was “revealing my bias” or some such really stuck in my craw.

For one thing, they’re completely ignoring all of my points about the promotional art that centers on nearly naked women next to fully covered men. Not one of the commenters even tried to address that, I’m guessing because it didn’t fit into their comfortable knee-jerk reactions. But even ignoring that point, I can say that I’ve seen screenshots of male castanics, and sure they’ve got rippling abs and low cut pants. But that is NOT THE SAME as two spangles and a cork. It’s just not. So I want to debunk this publicly.

A brief side note before I continue

In my previous TERA post, I used problematic language when talking about the women of TERA. In a subsequent post and discussion, I repented of my use of the word slut, so for those of you following this link who missed out on that discussion, please don’t rake me over hot coals for my use of the word slut. I’m aware it was terrible, and it’s kind of tangential to the point I’m trying to make today. (Thanks.)

Back to business: some pictures

So the first order of business when examining these claims that male castanics are just as sexualized as female castanics is to round up a shit ton of screen shots. So here, for your edification, is a collection of male castanics showing some skin:

CLICK FOR LARGE VIEW

Now sure, they’re all showing a fair amount of skin. And yes several of them are wearing some low-cut pants. But you know what all of them have that none of the TERA women do? F*CKING PANTS:

CLICK FOR LARGE VIEW

Not a single one of these models is wearing anything that could be called pants. Many of them are exposing portions of thigh, which the male models don’t do. Many are also exposing portions of buttock, which the male models don’t do. And while male castanics might have low-cut pants, that’s a far sight from the dental floss that half of the female castanics seem to be wearing.

Furthermore, it is possible to find male armor sets for castanics that fully cover the male model:

Do you know how many armor sets exist that fully cover female castanic models? NOT ONE. Don’t believe me? Check out the armor sets for yourself: female armor sets here, male armor sets here.

The following is the most conservative female castanic armor I could find:

And you know what? That’s really not so bad. That is until you consider that the most conservative armor set I could find still consists of a micro-minidress with a cleavage window and stripper boots.

So really, all of you trolls complaining that male castanics are “just as bad” are helping to make my point for me. When you line male and female castanics up next to each other, it is patently obvious that female castanics are consistently more sexualized than male castanics. The fact that six armor options exist for male castanics to be covered completely and not one exists for females is a compelling fact that needs to be considered as well.

This insistence that the treatment of male and female castanics is equal is yet another illustration of how sexualization of women in games is seen as normal while sexualization of men is seen as “extreme”. The male castanics, while definitely sexay, are still only mildly sexualized. The female castanics are extremely sexualized – after all, I have yet to see any screen shots used as promo that show a male castanic greased up with two nipple pasties and a sock to go fight monsters. And yet there is a subset of gamer who has gotten so desensitized to the oversexualization of women in their games that they read these two groups as being treated equally. It’s kind of a sad statement of the state of gaming when you think about it.

TERA: competing with Bayonetta for the sluttiest women still wearing clothes?

[2014 update: This post is one that I stand by, the title is regrettable in that it’s really slut-shamey. Since writing this, I’ve changed my stance on using that word – it wasn’t okay for me to use that term and I’m sorry. However, this being the internet, once posted it’s out there forever, and I’d rather be honest about my mistakes than pretend they never happened. So please consider this post in context. Thanks.

[ETA: This whole thing has probably blown over by now, but for those of you just seeing this – I’ve posted a followup that DOES look at male castanic armors. You can find the new post here.]

>Before I get into today’s post, I just want to refer your attention to a very interesting feature by Jonathan Holmes on Destructoid. It’s a very excellent look at female characters in video games and the over-used sexy badgirl/chaste goodgirl dichotomy that dominates all video game writing ever. Also, do yourself a favor and watch the video. It’s kind of long, but worth it – it’s very funny.

I never thought I’d tell people on this blog to go read something on Destructoid, but there you go. I guess anything is possible.

And now for something completely different

A while ago during one of my WTF roundups, I posted a screenshot of a character model wearing nothing but crotch floss:

I’d forgotten to include the name of the game in the file name, so at the time I just posted the screenshot as a bit of trivia. My helpful commenters informed me that this was a screen from the upcoming kMMO TERA Online which is being released soon. I filed that information away and promptly forgot it amidst doing research for other posts. That is until someone mentioned TERA to me again and I decided to take a look. Surely anything with character models that tasteless would be totally easy to mock, right?My expectations were pretty low when I followed a link to the European site for TERA Online. Still, I was pretty shocked when this is what I saw on the main page:

Does that curvy spine remind anyone else of Bayonetta?
Holy crap! I mean. Wow. That’s… um. That’s a lot of crotch. Like. Right there. On the main page. On second thought, it might be a little silly being surprised about these things, but usually they don’t bust out the crotch right on the main page. They save it for screens of the character models on the race and class pages, but it’s usually not so… blatant.I was a bit hesitant as I clicked on the race page to check out the different races and was pretty surprised when the first race page (Amani) featured this image:
Whoa! That’s, um. That’s some crotch! Some male crotch! A lot of male crotch! So, okay, maybe this TERA game is just all about crotch. And that wouldn’t be so bad, really – as long as it was equal opportunity crotch. Really, that’s been my beef all along. If you’re going to have tasteless nudity, at least have EQUAL OPPORTUNITY tasteless nudity. But wait, no. It looks like TERA isn’t equal opportunity after all:

At least she’s not taking a dump.
So it looks like just another case of a monstrous male character being suggestively depicted to make some sort of statement about his “monstrousness”. Certainly we don’t see any of that from our human male, who is also allowed to stand up straight. Unlike the female mage who is sticking out her ass and waving her tits in our faces. Why, oh why, is it that there is not a single female mage in all of MMO-land who is capable of casting spells without gyrations worthy of a pole dancer?And it gets worse:

Ladybits! Attack!
In this image, the clothing dichotomy is even greater! The male character is wearing about fifty pounds of plate mail and the female character is wearing… even less clothing than the last one. Not that this is really anything new. This is the sort of thing you see from pretty much every MMO ever – and not just the free ones. Guild Wars, EverQuest, WoW – they’re all just as bad.And of course, what MMO promo would be complete without…
Lesbians! …okay, they’re not actual lesbians, but they’re two hot, almost completely naked chicks in blatantly sexual poses. It’s very hard for me to think that there’s NOT some kind of lesbian subtext intended. Of course, this might be cynicism on my part. Maybe the artist wants the intended male audience to think of banging these chicks in serial instead of in parallel. (Ha. I’m such a nerd.)

The real nail in the coffin is when you start lining up male models and female models. Here for comparison are male and female human models:
The most exposure we see from any of the human males is a very shallow v-neck. Otherwise they’re completely covered with multiple layers of clothing and armor, while the ladies are left to shiver with all their bits hanging out. Let’s hope they control the thermostat, otherwise they’re going to be pretty cold.The outfit on the far right is the most ridiculous in my book. First of all, the design is actually quite ugly and doesn’t really do flattering things to the figure. Second, the other two female humans at least get proper panties while she gets something that barely qualifies as crotch floss. It’s practically a crotch decoration. I hope she used some body glue, because I don’t see how those are staying on…And of course, it’s not just the humans. The high elves are just as bad:

Okay, maybe not QUITE as bad. The woman on the far right is wearing the most clothing I’ve seen on a female TERA model so far, which puts her ahead of her counterparts I suppose. Still, I’m getting awful tired of the stripper boots. Is there some kind of stripper boot outlet in the TERA world that causes them to be the most economic form of footwear?Oh, and let’s not forget another important bit of promotion. WHAT DO THEY LOOK LIKE WITHOUT THEIR CLOTHES?? Come on, people. Let’s remember the important questions.
Why is it that in their underwear, their breasts are still more covered than in some of the “armor” sets that I’ve seen? Ditto for their crotches. What gives? Why is THEIR UNDERWEAR more modest than their actual clothing? Do people not understand how absurd that is? How is anyone supposed to fight anything in clothing that you’re about to pop out of at any moment? Seriously, check out these action shots:

So the woman on top… What the hell is she thinking? Did she seriously think that it was a good idea to go fight monsters dressed like that? “Well, I’ve taped sea shells to my tits, so I think I’ve got everything important covered here”. Really? This is about as likely as giving a stripper a sword and telling her to go kill some monsters. I’m not terribly likely to believe that someone dressed like that is capable of wielding a sword that large. Plus – WHY IS SHE ALL MOIST? What purpose does that serve besides making her even more fap-worthy? “Well, I don’t have any armor, so I’d better grease up before I tackle that monster over there!” Come on, people. Now you’re not even trying.

And then from our mage on the bottom, we have more spell casting pole dancing gyrations. Does the magical energy she’s summoning come from her ladybits? Because if it doesn’t, why is she standing like this?

The sad thing is that all of these screens took me maybe twenty minutes to round up, which means I didn’t even have to look all that hard. I’m a little scared of what’s out there that I DIDN’T find. Now I’ll admit that the graphics are pretty impressive, but you can put lipstick on a pig and it’s… still a pig. Graphics do not a good game make. Neither do tits, but tell that to the people eagerly awaiting the North America release of TERA. I guess they disagree.

>WTF: The tired Friday edition

>Okay, folks. My schedule is kicking my ass this week, and my ass will be kicked even harder next week. So instead of giving you three real posts this week, you get two and a half. This might happen next week, depending on how much brainpower I have left after tech weekend for the show I’m in… But after that, I promise that I’ll be returning to normal levels of snark.

Anyhow, I couldn’t leave you empty-handed, so here’s some miscellaneous pictures that I haven’t found a home rant for yet.

I’ve forgotten what game this comes from, since I forgot to include the game’s name in the file name when I saved it. I think that says a lot, don’t you? I think I’m becoming a bit too blase about crotch floss as armor.

 

Okay, does anyone think it’s a coincidence that “GROWING” is right over this poor woman’s boobs? Neither did I. Though I’ll admit the mental image of growing boobs made me think of DragonBall, which was an amusing mental non-sequiter. “AAAAAAAAAA!” “SHE’S REACHED BOOB LEVEL 9000!” “IMPOSSIBLE!”…no? Just me then. Moving on… How about this?

WHAT. THE. FUCK. Seize power? Fine. Seize glory? Sure, if you think people really give a shit about your performance in a shitty knock-off browser-based game. Seize WOMEN? BECAUSE THEY’RE YOURS? AAARG. I know that the Chinese export a lot of translated games, Caesary being one of many, but I’d prefer that they didn’t export their misogyny as well.

 

This is from an ad campaign in Europe – thank God not in North America. This fails on multiple levels.

 

Once again proving that the default of anything is male, and that female is always “special” or “distinct”. Even, apparently, with puzzle games. I hope those of you with iPhones refrain from purchasing either version of what looks to be an uninspired Tetris clone.

I can’t decide what I hate more. The cleavagey outfits, the interchangeable faces, the nauseating levels of pink, or the actual words. MISS BIMBO? There’s a game out there called MISS BIMBO? Do they honestly think that making their ad pink will make the title any less revolting? Also, advertisers who perpetuate “bored of” should go die, like, right now. This makes my inner grammarian want to stab my eyes out.