However, whenever something that comes out to challenge this… its always the same cishet men who make this claim who also cry about a male character not meeting their expectations.
That’s because, unsurprisingly given that they’re usually designed by men, those supposedly exploitative images are generally made by men, for men to fulfil not just their fantasy of power but also of being some weird form of hyper masculinity.
Appealing to women is not a priority they actually care about, only the fantasy that their ideal would definitely get them laid. Many don’t allow themselves to consider if its appealing to men-loving-men… and well, they certainly don’t think about nonbinary people or anyone on the asexual spectrum.
Of course, if you read this blog, you almost certainly already knew these guys only thing about themselves – but I thought you’d enjoy the hilarity of them telling on themselves so spectacularly.
Speaking of the Sengoku period, this ultra-violent game set in that period has a variety of female warriors with different ages, backgrounds, etc and they all look amazing.in their own ways. Their particular natures showing through.
Of course, FromSoft has an amazing history of positive examples in Dark Souls and Bloodborne, but its particularly interesting that they did it with this game given so many other creators treat the period as free license to go completely off the rails with designs and the game taking the historical context seriously.
After a seven year pause in games, Samurai Warriors 5 is out and it features a new kunoichi (female ninja)
character – Mitsuki. You can tell she’s a kunoichi because she’s dressed like she’s from a ninja gaiden game. For those not aware, Ninja Gaiden is set in 1980s USA and Samurai Warriors is set in Sengoku Period (1467 – 1615) Japan.
Now the thing with the Sengoku Period is that it is an area of history where we have some good evidence of female professional warriors (onna-musha) being around (though their role has historically been downplayed and so the specifics are unclear) and we have some artwork depicting what they might have looked like… unsurprisingly the armour they wore was the same as the men’s.
When not in armour, they are understood to have worn clothes typical of feudal Japan… basically the opposite of this outfit.
So… how can this be an improvement? Well from Samurai Warriors 1 – 4 the equivalent character was a kunoichi who’s name is… Kunoichi and is… *checks notes* apparently fifteen years old…
And, again… I want to stress… there are real women from his era with artistic depictions of them available, so for a game where most of the cast are historical figures… this is um… well I don’t need to tell you.
I didn’t say it was a big improvement… or one worth congratulating them on, but it is at least a very minor improvement… very, very minor.
Very, very, very minor.
While it may not seem like the initial bingo material – I invite you consider how the fuck she is supposed to do literally anything in this plate armor.
The helmet literally covers her eyes so she can’t see anything past her toes
Her exposed mouth and lower face, combined with clawed gauntlets, mean any attempt to adjust it would mangle herself
The armor is form fitted to her torso so she can’t bend, turn or even make big movements with her arms. I doubt she can even breathe with that boobplate.
Leg legs are locked into the “maximum thigh gap” pose. so she can’t even walk, let alone engage in combat footwork
This is not armor, this is some next level BDSM shit for people who find vacuum bondage too vanilla. (nsfw)
(Honestly glad there is no mantis race… at least I think there isn’t…)
Unsurprisingly a large part of the Steam community screenshots etc is ogling even more ridiculous sets of armor.
I don’t know which is worse, the weird horny marketing put together by the Creepy Marketing Guy or the more generic, family friendly marketing that tricks people into downloading the game and finding the options for female characters are fighting fucktoy, sexy sorcereress and bad archer..
So I’ve been listening to a new podcast, it’s a pair of women talking about topics dear to their hearts: Dungeons & Dragons and Feminism.
Obviously as its a podcast they have less visual element (though they do an excellent job in describing key points) but I felt this one was particularly relevant since it included them talking about some academic studies done on the gender related trends in the art of Dungeons & Dragons.
I highly recommend checking out the podcast and giving them a follow on their twitter. Among other things, they also post their sources so you can review for yourself.
They upload at the start of the month, and are currently polishing up their latest recording so now is a great time to drop in and give them some encouragement.
I recently featured some of Bryan’s depictions of female characters but more recently he released this excellent artwork of his “a Bard named slickback”
And I know what you’re thinking, he’s a bard… so of course. For that reason, I must stress that we must not let the myth that bards are always the empowered men of the party – or worse, that all bards are.
Now, the Last of Us 2 is (assume spoilers in all the links)
a very contentious piece of art – with a wide spectrum of opinions about the role of violence (1,2), depictions of a trans character (1, 2) and so much more. However, there are some parts are indisputably positive: the graphics are amazingly beautiful, the accessibility is leaps and bounds ahead of so many AAA titles, and the outfits for the female characters are excellent.
Someone is frantically typing a comment about how “they’re just clothes” but they’re really so much more, these are outfits specifically chosen and tweaked to reflect the world the characters live in, and the demands of their lifestyles.
The outfits and the way they change to reflect the changes in the mood and the characters – all without distracting from the rest of the narrative. It’s a great example of how much story telling potential you can get out of clothes when you’re not limiting yourself to the most T&A possible.
edit: fixed first Polygon link (right after spoiler warning)
So it’s always worth restating that you can, definitely get massive sales and piles of awards for not engaging in bikini armor silliness.
It’s true! No matter what Creepy Marketing Guy or the guy who won’t leave the comic book store and hasn’t bathed this week tell you.
No I’m going to go back to staring at Abby’s arms because reasons.
As it approaches Cult Classic status, its worth thinking about how Jennifer’s Body is both a brilliant deconstruction of gender in horror but (sadly to its box office detriment) a great example of the old notion of sex sells doesn’t just fail to generate sales, it actively harms many productions.
The movie was horribly misrepresented in marketing, largely because the studio was convinced the only reason anyone would want to see a Megan Fox movie was to ogle her body. That is: They assume all decisions about whether a movie is worth watching are made by developmentally stunted cishet men (the only demographic who wouldn’t work out there were plenty of places you could already ogle Megan… largely due to movie studios).
Despite what overpaid executives in suits who paid someone to do their exams for them will tell you, nobody actually benefits from the proliferation of this sort of marketing.
People interested in feminist themes don’t get works containing them identified as such to them
People wanting to watch stuff not about conventionally attractive women have to search to find out what things are actually about
Not the mask used as a fascinator, not the inexplicable window on her back, not the skirts that seem to only exist only to blow up and show her legs – nor the odd peakaboo slits on the sides of her shorts, nor the or the skin tight top – but rather the weird piece of cloth that sits on top of of the vacuum sealed top to incorporate underboob and nipple tease without actually showing any torso skin.
She is also possibly the worst archer in the history of bad archers.
Now… obviously expectations are low for this genre of game, but this particular gacha game has had made spread in the market and multiple articles about tis monetization techniques – so this remains an example of how this kind of trash design goes unquestioned in modern media.