Recently, a friend sent me this image. It had been passed on by her boyfriend; it had reminded him of me. One might expect that connection to fill me with satisfaction, that I, a game designer and writer, am instantly associated with forward thinking and feminist ideals. Instead, I felt humiliated.
This is a great article that does a good job of explaining exactly why arguments excusing ”sexy armor” are invalid and altogether ridiculous.
This awesome article not only thoroughly explains why there’s no way to logically justify sexualization of female characters in video games, but also highlights the struggles that women in the industry go through:
The thing is, in this industry, you don’t want to be “that girl.” The world has communicated very thoroughly, with Anita Sarkeesian’s death threats, with so many comments on Kotaku, and with comments in the hallways of the workplace and the podiums of conventions, that being “that girl” is bad. Real bad. Potentially end of career bad.
But it’s not just dangerous for potential ramifications on career trajectory. There’s also a social component of how “that girl” is insufferable, annoying, and should be punishable by shaming.
Many female game designers, anonymously and publicly alike, confess how they have to deal with sexist standards of the industry, just so they can keep their jobs. It’s a legit problem that men, especially the ones chanting “sex sells!” or “it’s intended for male gamers!”, are either blissfully unaware of or willfully ignorant (my bets are on the latter option, though).
Please guys, read the whole thing.
People are often quick to dismiss arguments against the conventional wisdom that “sex sells” as “politically correct” idealism. But one of the most compelling argument against the slogan comes from the other side of the political spectrum.
David Ogilvy was one of, if not The great iconic Ad Men of the 1960’s. Unsurprisingly he was deeply invested in the idea of gender roles and claimed “I am less offended by obscenity than by tasteless typography, banal photographs, clumsy copy, and cheap jingles”. He also (literally) wrote the book on how to create effective advertising and measure the effectiveness of your advertising.
He was, amazingly, admantly against introducing sex to sell any product that wasn’t inherently sexual in itself for one simple reason:
All his research and experience in advertising told him it would not work.
What did Ogilvy very sincerely believed was the first step in creating effective advertising an massive sales? To create a high quality product.
That way all that was required was to sincerely show the customers why it was a great product and the rest would take care of itself.
So when developers distort their products (comics, books, movies, video games, etc) by cramming sexualised imagery into them with the mentality of “sex sells” so “more sex will sell even more” they are actually sabotaging their product’s reception, reputation, sales and it’s marketing campaigns.
At least according to an old white man from the 1960s who always assumed women should be house wives… and also happened to be one of the greatest thinkers in advertising.