and question why majority of the “Gaming Feminist” population cry and moan about “Bikini Armor” in World of Warcraft
But when it comes to representing a male character in cosplay they decide to strip it all down into a “Bikini Armor”… Contradiction at it’s best.
You want to look sexy… Go for it, But don’t point the finger at “sexist pigs”.
This is why I can’t take none of you social bloggers serious.
Now feel free to read between the lines and tell me about all the irrelevant crap I don’t need to read while you derail from the BASIC point I’m making here.
So… that “basic” point is “feminist who criticize stupid armor bikinis can not EVER want to look sexy or dress scantily out of their own free will”?
That’s why I have no trust for anyone who starts their statement with “I am going to play Devil’s Advocate”.
After I finished laughing… which took a while. I decided I would go out looking for this army of social justice warriors in sexy Rule 63 Warcraft cosplay. Surely there must have been a legion of them to inspire such vitriol.
I found: One woman doing a single sexy WarCraft crossplay… and found no references to Social Justice, social justice issues or “sexist pigs” on any of their profiles (Indeed Google returns no results for their screen name + “sexist pigs”)
So not only did they miss the point – but this argument exists only in their imagination. That reminds me of something…
Post otherwise worth bringing back, because we’re never free of hilariously oversensitive dudebros crying HYPOCRISY at straw feminist SJWs for somehow simultaneously hating bikini armor and… wanting to personally dress up as sexy male characters in said bikinis? Okay.
Which totally happens. With frequency… not.
When Samus was in armor, guys respected her (and even said they wanted her armor). But girls didn’t give a damn. They still don’t give a damn about her in armor, whenever I see fanart of it, the artist is almost always a guy. But now that Nintendo is pushing her as a big-breasted latex model with a nice butt, fangirls are drawing her, saying they idolize her and want to be her (and saying they want her SHOES). Care to weigh in on what’s up with that?
So… since I haven’t heard anything like this… I went and asked one of my gamer friends who happens to be a woman what she thought. Here’s how she started her response:
“Please provide sources, if you’re going to attempt to tar girls with the same brush that is clearly lubricated by entitled male gamer tears, then you must provide the burden of proof.”
From there the rage intensifies and it gets kinda nerdy, so I shall just share the highlights:
“You’re referencing art of ZERO SUIT Samus, which rose to popularity with Super Smash Bros, which has targeted a younger demographic. It’s become commonplace to see Samus OUT of her suit rather than in it, despite it being an iconic image of Metroid. Back in itty bitty pixels, we saw as a bonus at the end of a game that Samus was a girl, thats it.”
“If they’d spent any time actually IN the gaming community of tumblr … then they’d be aware that the community ISN’T vocal in favour of Samus’ new look”
“She’s 6 foot 3 too, mind you, and weighs 90kg. The recent sexualisation/slimming of Samus is a move on NINTENDO’S part, not the gamer fangirl base.”
So to make sure this wasn’t a one off, I asked another friend:
“Firstly, Dudebro McFedora, you have no basis to say that women don’t like Samus. The odds are that you’ve probably never talked to a girl that’s played the games.”
From there the rage intensifies – so I will just share some of the highlights:
“I will say that I particularly want her shoes. They’re spark shooting death heels to beat up people. It’s wonderful; who wouldn’t want that?
They are not appropriate for SSB though BECAUSE THEY’RE FUCKING PUMPS. You can’t run around in that shit!”
“Samus in her armor is fantastic because it creates this unique position where anyone can play her and entitled ‘macho boiz’ never think to say, “Oh shit I don’t want to play as the girl” or “Sweet, the girl character is fucking hot.””
“Samus Aran is my role model.”
Also, I seem to recall seeing amazing fan art by women:
And amazing cosplays:
This is not to say there aren’t female gamers who only discovered Samus when they announced her high heels of doom, female gamers who really want to cosplay Samus in heels because they’ll look cute and sexy or female gamers who like the Zero Suit better than the armors for other reasons.
I say this theoretically because I did look to try to find some of them, and between quick searches for them and searches to find choice examples of art and cosplays… I didn’t find a single woman who suggested that she only became interested in Samus due to the Jet Boot heels.
So if you have come across women who only got into Samus due to the high heels, it’s still quite ridiculous to decide those particular women are somehow representative of women or female gamers as a whole. Particularly since the character first appeared in 1986 – so has had quite a while to grow a diverse fan base.
Trying to dismiss and/or erase huge numbers of female fans just so that you can try to pretend gender stereotypes are facts is pretty much the reason why the rage intensified.
- Samus Aran by Julie Dillon
- Samus Aran by thiago-almedia
- Samus Aran by Variazim
- Samus Aran Metroid by pekepeke0
Bringing this old ask post back, because I couldn’t help but be reminded of it while browsing through other people’s reblogs of the Kitana/Jade redesign post.
The “Girls didn’t give a shit about Samus before she became sexy and therefore cosplayable!” rhetoric makes just as much sense as “Women in Mortal Kombat are floss-bikini titninjas because it’s the female power fantasy and the cosplayers want that!”, which seems to be the go-to contrarian reaction to Brendan George’s slightly less misogynistic art direction in Mortal Kombat 11.
[image related to a Soul Calibur, not Mortal Kombat, character, but the “argument” is literally the same]
TL;DR: People who obviously never spoke with any woman sure do feel the most eager to mansplain what women really want from female video game characters. ¯_(ツ)_/¯
notice: This is a reposting of this throwback, due to Tumblr queue being a total goober and initially publishing the Throwback Thursday post on Wednesday.
yeah but, cartoon women, any drawn women, aren’t wearing those skimpy and sexual clothes out of choice, they’re wearing it because someone drew them that way, normally for a reason. so so don’t go “oh maybe she chooses to fight crime in a bikini and high heels” bc a man sat at a desk and decided she was gunna wear those clothes, for a reason, for the audience or his gaze. so no, its not slut shaming, its creepy man shaming
*applause* A point that sadly needs to be constantly reiterated.
I’ve been saying exactly this for a long time now!
Bolded by yours truly.
Six years of doing this blog and I still can’t stress enough that literally no argument about a fictional woman “choosing” to dress skimpily for combat is valid in any way.
We’d appreciate never again having this nonsense rhetoric thrown at us.
As a well-known cartoon woman once said:
I get it; people get attached to fictional characters. I do it a lot, too. But that doesn’t mean that they’re real and sentient. All I think of when I hear a creator justify a character design with “she chose to dress that way,” is that they probably only sees the character as an object with no actual motivations.
“Women should be respected and accepted as they are, don’t shame them regardless of what they look like and what they wear. Do whatever you want, ladies!”
*virtual ladies in bikinis*
“Um, this is infringing on my rights. How dare you? Keep this misogynistic filth away from me.”
Do you not understand the difference between a fictional character, created by men, to be seen as sexually pleasing for men in fiction and…like…REAL WOMEN who are ALIVE and are able to make CHOICES for themselves?
Like, women have some key differences with fictional depictions of women.
Ah agency, one of so many issues that bikini armor apologists work so hard to avoid understanding. Of course, it doesn’t help that there’s a trend with developers to try to have it both ways and insult their creations for being… how they created them.
“This? I designed it myself. It allows me to communicate quickly with my blade and control it whether sword or whip… I’ve never really thought deeply on why though, to be quite honest.” – Ivy in the latest Soul Calibur
Remember – testing shows that not only can Ivy not control her weapon, she basically can’t even give her opponent a brisk shove without a wardrobe malfunction or two.
Even the new game’s character creator classifies her outfit as underwear – her underwear lets her control her weapon better… so she doesn’t wear anything on top… even though it’s underwear.
Ultimately the most insulting part about the people who rush to support this kind of double standard is that they have so little respect for women that they will accept nonsense like this (or worse) as great writing.
Nine times out of ten, this particular demographic will also have nothing but contempt for real women who actually want to express their own sexuality on their own terms. (As well as contempt for the same fictional women)
Maybe it’s because you’re taking the same strategy you would in designing characters for comics or video games and applying it to real people, except fictional characters are a representation of how you choose to see people or wish them to be portrayed, whereas real people get to do their own choosing, because nothing is more sexist than denying someone the right to choose, regardless of what that choice may be.
Great article, go read it whole
Worth bringing back – this quote from a pretty great analysis of complex problems with perpetuating sexism. The quoted part and image are the ones most relevant to BABD’s subject matter, but the article is still worth reading whole.
As we said again and again, in our agency and cosplay tags, real people possess the free will to dress however they like, while fictional characters look a certain way because someone decided so.
Judging real women harshly for making a choice of dressing skimpy, especially paired with celebration gratuitously half-nude nonexistent women is the sort of cognitive dissonance we refuse to stand behind.
on a textual level, a female character can dress however she wants and shouldn’t be slut-shamed and hated for what she prefers to wear.
on a metatextual level, she might still have been designed with an intention to provide fanservice.
this means that criticising a design, as opposed to a character, is neither misogyny nor slut-shaming. being displeased about the way a character has been designed is not synonymous with hating her.
have i made myself clear?
PS: I love you, durendals. Why didn’t I see this post on my dash ever before? It’s perfection.
Throwback this week: the character’s agency argument in a nutshell.
A silly, sexualized outfit might as well fit* the character’s personality and preferences within her story. That doesn’t make her design any less silly and sexualized to us, real people consuming that story for entertainment and criticizing it.
*Keep in mind, though, that just as often it can’t be justified with even that much. Some characters walk around in bikinis or boob and butt windows despite being canonically modest or shy or body conscious etc. because Creepy Marketing Guy put his foot down and demanded for every lady in the story to be poster child of “sex sells”.
Because fictional characters do not have the capacity to make choices. Because they are not REAL people.
Power Girl and Starfire did not CHOOSE to fight evil in skimpy, revealing outfits. It is not their PERSONAL CHOICE to wear those clothes. They are fictional characters and their wardrobes are under the control of the author and artist.
Dumbledore did not CHOOSE to stay in the closet as a personal and professional choice because that was his right as a person. He is a fictional character. The fact that his sexuality was left at only vague subtext and only revealed through word of god was a deliberate decision made by the author.
Fictional characters are fictional characters. They do not make their own choices.
Addendum to the rule: for the same reasons, you can not argue that criticism “shames” a character for their appearance or behavior.
And just for the record, seeing what kind of responses this post received before we got to reblog it: NO, the fact that fictional characters tend to grow and take a life of their own still does not mean they have agency.
No matter how developed a fictional person is, they’re still written by a real person (or people) who have their own biases and rationalizations. Just because some “choices” feel natural to the author doesn’t mean they’re objectively plausible “choices” for a character to make within the given narrative.
Sometimes the choice, like (in case of what our blog critiques) decision to wear a sexualized costume to battle, can be explained by specific circumstances. But in most circumstances or with other explanations, the same choice can be plain silly and inconsistent with the rest of established story/worldbuilding.
This week’s throwback: a timely reminder that yes, we still live in a world where fiction doesn’t merge with the reality, so no, fictional characters do not possess free will that lets them personally decide what to wear and how to behave.
Each and every “choice” a character makes is 100% responsibility of their real, living creator(s). Thus criticizing how fictional people are designed or written isn’t the same as personally attacking them.
To cite @foldablehuman‘s Thermian Argument video:
Criticism of a creative work is, ultimately, criticism of the decisions that people made when they were putting it together.
Essentially, there’s no point in getting offended on behalf of a person who doesn’t exist, especially in response to valid critique.
there is nothing inherently liberating in showing skin
there is nothing inherently liberating in covering up
the liberation lies in the choice
Today’s throwback: still relevant, in face of ever-present arguments about fictional ladies’ supposed right to choose what to wear.
Which is also exactly why we refuse to put real life women under the same scrutiny as fictional ones or to falsely equate a person’s deliberate choice of skimpy attire with a character design approved by a committee of creepers.
It’s funny how when you have a female character who has magical or supernatural protection, and thus can “wear whatever she wants”, that “whatever” always turns out to be lingerie.
Glock H. Palin, Esq.