Why are almost all the female characters in games slender and young? We dig deeper into gaming’s problem with body diversity in our brand new Tropes!
You can find a complete transcript of the episode on our website.
While body shape is not technically the focus of this blog, it is a heavily related issue simply because it basically all fits into idea that female characters are only worthwhile if they are conventionally attractive, heavily sexualized and avoid challenging too many perceptions.
For all the talk about how much people like a female character for being badass, there’s a tendency to only support it if it doesn’t clash with other ideals like conventional beauty or sexualization.
This has created an odd situation where many people are more comfortable with a woman built like a fashion model wearing an outfit made of dental floss as being a badass than they are with, well a badass like this:
Which is not only ridiculously limiting from a creative perspective, but also re-enforces the idea that all women should look like these ridiculous fantasies (that look like at best, very few real women, and at worst no real women).
We touched upon this issue before, especially when talking about Overwatch (particularly this post), but Anita puts the problem of double standards of beauty in character design most comprehensively in this video.
Lots of illustrative examples really drive the point home: There is a noticeable lack of visual diversity among female game characters (and, by extension, in other popular media), while male ones get a variety of appearances.
This limits not only the designer’s creativity, but the female audience’s sense of inclusion.