So, what Noelle is referring to is the silver lining to various shitbags crying that an imaginary woman had bigger guns than them – their meltdown a week or so ago leading to a glorious trend for real life buff women to share photos of their beautiful physiques.  Including this viral tweet debunking the claims that a woman couldn’t get swole within a few years

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. 

image

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. 

– wincenworks 

edit: fixed first Polygon link (right after spoiler warning)

thoughtspirals:

Hi LG. So on the female power fantasy thing: I agree that the sexy warrior babe thing is overused, and women should have WAY more options. But, in interractive media-video games & rpgs, shouldn’t women have the OPTION of playing that, as well as not?

bikiniarmorbattledamage:

lawfulgoodness:

Nope!  No more sexy!  Sexy has been hereby banned.  No more sexy for anyone!

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From that post about female power fantasies

Sexy Warrior Babe type of character is vastly overused, so it’s really hard to to make it work without looking like you’re playing it straight.

Please remember that I’m a dude, and my opinion on what media “should” or “shoudl not” look like in regards to a) how women are portrayed and b) what women should enjoy is pretty close to irrelevant.  I try to throw in a cheap joke here or there, or offer some practical application for what women (or any other group regularly discrimnated against) have said about it.  I’m not about to start criticizing women for liking what they like or how they interact with video games.

I will say that any game that markets itself on it’s ability to appeal to the male gaze (especially through super-sexy / absurdly revealing clothing on its female characters) isn’t doing it for their female audience.  I’m all for fully-featured, rich, comprehensive character customization, both in physical traits and clothing.  Let folks do what they want with their character (including skin tone, muscle & fat composition, size, height, weight, etc).  I’m more suspicious of a game in which it is incredibly difficult to find female clothing that is both functional and non-revealing.

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I’m guessing @bikiniarmorbattledamage can offer better insight into this, but for me, I’m casting a side-eye to any video game that markets itself using half-clad women as marketing gimmicks.

This is a nice summary of the quoted post and of what our response to things like “do you want to ban all sexyness in media?” is.

Thank you, @lawfulgoodness

~Ozzie

In a perfect world, all RPGs will give the player the ability to play as any gender, and wear armor in all levels of protection/nudity. But that’s not the world we live in.

We don’t want to remove all sexiness from all mediums in past, present and future. What we want is for the media’s default representation of women to NOT just be “hot chicks” for the presumed cis het male audience to consume as objects. We just want women in media to be treated with as much respect, complexity and care as the men. And maybe then we can also explore more male power fantasies besides just “big muscle.”

-Icy

bikiniarmorbattledamage:

grubwizard:

if your female character doesn’t look like she has lived the life she leads and you can’t get a sense for her actual personality by looking at her because you’re too focused on making her pretty and perfect and palatable it’s bad character design and you should feel bad

It’s worth noting that, generally speaking – this is why concept artists want to be concept artists. They want to convey feelings, story and inspire the imagination. It’s not uncommon for concept artists to do staggering amounts of research in order to find ways to convey a type of character in a type of time period.

So, if you come across a product created by a major studio where they have extensive executive and production staff – it’s safe to say that any aggressively boring female character designs are done at the behest of a particular type of individual pushing a ridiculous myth to try to seem like a genius.

It is important to call out this kind of absurdity, not just to try to reduce the amount of gratuitous objectification in media – but to also spare these poor artists the indignity of having a guy try to convince them he invented anime tiddy.

– wincenworks

Also to note, some creators try to “justify” their boring, pandering designs. Character design should speak for itself. You shouldn’t need someone there to explain it, unless there’s worldly lore the viewer needs to know (like family crests, or magic stuff, etc). 

Does the character look nothing like a sniper, while the creator insists that she is? Probably a bad design. Is the character’s backstory strangely convoluted, while also not impacting the character at all besides making an excuse for her to look hot? Probably a bad design. Is the character wearing clothes anachronistic with the setting, just to look hot? Definitely a bad design, unless she sneaked in some stockings from a parallel future universe. (Looking at you, Witcher 1.)

Don’t let em fool ya.

-Icy 

adobsonartworks:

godloveyell:

thesinlesssinner:

imgoingtogobacktheresomeday:

ain-individual:

simonalkenmayer:

loudaussieunicorn:

adobsonartworks:

The alt-right and conservatives don’t mind strong female characters… so long as those strong female characters are ones they can objectify and ogle. Alita is literally objectified and infantilized by her surrogate father figure in her own movie, whereas Captain Marvel is never seen in a revealing or skimpy outfit. Brie Larson also made fun of trolls who told her she should smile more, and was openly outspoken about harassment she had received over her role. Is it any wonder that the alt-right would not take her side?

PS: I knew the connection to the alt-right was strong, but upon researching this topic again I realized that the guy who created the “alitachallenge” hashtag in the 3rd panel is the same troll who managed to get James Gunn fired from Disney.

So… I made this a week ago, and in that time a NEW story has dropped which only goes to confirm what this comic is talking about.

And yup. Sure enough, the same people who complained about Captain Marvel are now going after Birds of Prey. Why? Because they’re unhappy with how Harley Quinn looks in the film, and because the film is being directed by a woman. Which again goes to prove this point. They don’t mind strong female characters, as long as those strong female characters are dressed in a way that they approve of. Harley’s outfit in the new film is far less objectifying/infantalizing and has a lot more personality.

And here’s some evidence for good measure:

#OP is right and deserves to say it

I think it important to note that the one they considered exemplary of female virtue was literally…a robot designed by a man.

??? They don’t think HQ in Birds of Prey is sexy?

Are they blind and deaf?

Just backwards as all hell and probably don’t wash their butts

Me reading all these idiot men’s comments be like:

Note that the whiny pissbaby fanboys came out in either greater droves for Captain Marvel, amping up their campaign of abuse and vitriol than they did for Wonder Woman. They did embark on a hate campaign for Wonder Woman, but not with the same level as what they brought to Captain Marvel. Why is this?

The reasoning is obvious: with Wonder Woman, they still had the hope that this movie would fail like most of the other female superhero movies of the past and then they could take comfort in knowing that it would be decades before they have to :gasp: suffer the indignity of seeing of seeing a female superheroine in the lead, kicking ass and taking names, her plot :gasp: being about something besides getting a man or being fetish material they could jerk off to.

Because when a male hero fails, Hollywood’s like, “Whelp, shouldn’t have gone with that script/director,” and hero gets a reboot before too long. When a female hero fails, Hollywood’s like, “Whelp, guess people don’t want female superhero-led films,” and women have to wait years, possibly decades before they get another film.

Before Wonder Woman, the last female superhero movies were Elektra and Catwoman. Do the math to figure out how many years separated those movies and Wonder Woman. While you’re at it, count how many male superheroes we got in that time period. Freaking Ant-Man got a film before Wonder Woman, even though Wonder Woman is part of DC’s trinity and is a hella much more prominent character than Ant-Man.

It never seems to occur to Hollywood that maybe people would go to female superhero movies that didn’t suck. Nope, must be the female hero. That’s clearly why the film failed. Women pretty much had to do constant “Please don’t let this suck” prayers/dances to the movie gods because if it failed, it’d be decades before we would ever see another one again.

The whiny pissbabies could also reassure themselves with the knowledge that the DCEU’s quality had been incredibly uneven at best. With all this in mind, they weren’t too scared about Wonder Woman.

But Wonder Woman didn’t fail. Wonder Woman brought audiences in droves, the film critics adored it, and it is still seen as the best DCEU film by many. Basically, it proved their beliefs to be bullshit. People can and will see female superheroes and might, nay, prefer those movies over ones with :gasp: :choke: :pearlclutch: male heroes.

So now they’re running scared and it’s for this reason, they redoubled their efforts to try to sink Captain Marvel. I’m afraid we’re going to have to put up with this for a while.

Here’s hoping Hollywood continues to cram as much diversity into these fuckers’ faceholes as possible. The way I figure, either the pissbabies will scream themselves into apoplexy or they’ll be like, “Hey I like and relate to this character, even though they have [a different gender identity/higher melanin count/orientation] than I do,” and grow the fuck up. Either way, the world would be a much better place for it.

Though frankly I thought that Black Panther was even more radical in its usage of female characters, almost as radical as their usage of Black characters. By virtue of :gasp: :choke: having more than just one character to represent women as a whole, we were able to see, relate to, and understand women with a wide variety of viewpoints.

The multiple female characters was also another reason why Birds of Prey was so great. Having multiple female characters allows them to be actual characters with flaws, ambitions, and actual personalities, rather than token representations of half the world’s population.

It’s insane how rare this phenomenon of multiple female characters is.

In addition to this (which is a spot-on observation BTW), there’s the added fact that Wonder Woman and Alita are presented in a more “conventionally attractive” sort of way. Both Wonder Woman and Alita follow the “born beautiful yesterday” trope, and Alita is infantalized in her own film. While they are strong female characters, they’re also easier to objectify too.

Captain Marvel on the other hand goes out of her way to signal that she’s not “available” so-to-speak. In Captain Marvel there’s literally not a single shot of her that could be taken as objectifying. She is never in a skimpy outfit, shown naked, has her skin exposed…etc. And the actress is vocally open about sexism and misogyny in the industry.

The idea that a woman could be strong and powerful and NOT be openly available to them is the root fear and cause of so much of their outrage. Like I said before, they don’t mind if a female character is strong and powerful… provided that they’re conventionally attractive to men.

This is something we discussed before, in regards to Strong Female Character™/”weaponized femininity”/Fighting Fucktoy trope. Women are basically expected to pay a “female representation tax” by seeing female bodies in media framed almost exclusively through male gaze, even in woman-centric stories. 

Movies that include female characters being badass without objectification are scarse, and the few that exist get cyber-dogpiled by the whiny manbaby alt-right trolls even before they’re released. Often in favor of just another Fighting Fucktoy film that undermines its heroines with creeper-friendly framing, regardless of how well they’re written. 

I think this comic and the subsequent commentary thread (especially @godloveyell’s addition) perfectly summarize the systemic problem of dudebros telling us womenfolk that we’re not allowed to see ourselves in movies (and comics/games/etc.) without their “hot enough for a cishet guy to masturbare to” stamp of approval. And how they insist that the rare media in which women aren’t sexualized just so happen to be much worse… because they say so and no other reason, really. 

~Ozzie 

kame-tan:

mysweetvilllain:

glorious-spoon:

mortuarybees:

yes i am a big advocate for realistic clothes and armor in media like

this is perfect and? extremely fucking hot

but also ive never seen anything hotter than when geralt is fighting without his armor and instead in tight pants and several of his shirt’s buttons undone and i want every fight scene from here on like that

Put the women in full plate armor, put the men in open-front shirts and tight leather pants.

Seriously. Both are sexy. Give me full plate armored women. PLEASE.

Give me open shirt, tight pants on men who wield a sword.

I will fucking eat that up like it’s my last meal.

@bikiniarmorbattledamage

This ties in quite nicely to a recent fiasco where a guy named Andrew Klavan, who is apparently an author of some sort, made an even more ignorant than usual rant.  It was about about how he hated the show because he considered it “unrealistic” that the women – particularly GoddessQueen Calanthe, were shown as capable of winning sword fights or doing a sword fight (it’s not clear).

Swords YouTube was united in their rejection of this notion – not just for his hilariously inaccurate claims about equipment but also because they unanimously agreed there are three major factors that decide who’s likely to come out of a battle second-best, and who gets to live:

  • Quality of training
  • Quality of equipment
  • Luck

Obviously a queen of a nation that regularly has battles and skirmishes would certainly have access to the best training, and commission the best quality armor – and we can all agree to that anyone who is born into royalty is lucky.

So really, if this author and those like him were upset at having to suspend disbelief about sword fighting, in a world with literal dragons, they’d be mad at these scenes with Geralt kicking ass in just a shirt.

Weird that he’s bothered by a realistic depiction of a powerful woman, but not a comically unrealistic power fantasy of a man.

Links to various YouTube videos discussing the matter below¹.

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– wincenworks

¹ If you’re wondering why one of the bigger, more self important names may be missing, its because hes already made his stance on women pretty clear – and it’s bad.

More of The Witcher on BABD 

ronaaz:

feministgamingmatters:

feministgamingmatters:

flamingtrashcans:

feministgamingmatters:

Whilst Overwatch does have some diversity in its female cast, I find myself incredulous that people can’t see the sexism in the predominant tropes: skin tight outfits; boob plates; and very skinny women are the most commonly occuring design choices. There are no conventionally unattractive female heroes, whereas there are male heroes like Winston, Junkrat, and Roadhog. There are good elements to Overwatch’s character design too, but plenty to critique.

THANK YOU and THANK YOU for the tag about the racism

The pants aren’t just tight, either, they’re so tight they practically go up into their assholes, like a reverse camel toe (I wouldn’t be surprised if they made versions with camel toe, just like the artists kept naughty drawings of Jessica Rabbit on their cubical walls). I won’t get into the sexism too much except to add that the combination of infantilizing and sexualising women at the same time disturbs the fuck outta me, and Blizzard did it unashamedly. You can make a character sexy without turning them into a sexual object but apparently Blizzard didn’t get that memo.

And then there’s the racism. What I find absolutely outstanding is that this game was Blizzard’s attempt at diversity and being less sexist. And people (mostly white people, I’ve noticed) have just lapped it the fuck up. As a non-white, non-American I’d like to tell Blizzard to stay in its fucking lane because it’s so painfully obvious that they looked at other cultures and races through a white ‘murican lens that I want to break something. But of course, the fans are very quick to jump on anyone who claims or even mentions it. Nah, there’s nooo problem with the offensive skins, no problem with the white-washing of characters, no problem with the fact that some skins are from the wrong fucking culture to the character it’s on! We’re just being over sensitive! It’s just a fun game! It’s just a stereotype! Eat my entire ass. People would rather bury their heads in the sand than admit that they like something racist. Fun fact, we have an Indigenous tv show here called Cleverman and the writers and producers are Indigenous and had to ask their elders for permission to show the world parts of their culture/history/knowledge before they could begin the project. They had to earn the right to make a tv show like this. Because funnily enough, just having diversity doesn’t get you a get out of jail free card on racism. If the characters and their culture aren’t treated with respect, it means dick all.

In particular, Symmetra broke my fucking heart. My dad is from India, I get a lot of news from India. I grew up with a lot of stories. I have Indian friends. The rape culture is – bad. Very bad. Worse than you can imagine. And I stand with the women of India, who have to fight tooth and nail to be treated like human beings not their fathers/husband’s possessions. Who have to fight even outside of the country. So when I saw her design and broken-doll pose, I felt my heart sink. And when I saw the pathetic attempt at a Kali skin I felt my face get hot with anger. Kali is supposed to be like this:

Kali is represented with perhaps the fiercest features amongst all the world’s deities. She has four arms, with a sword in one hand and the head of a demon in another. The other two hands bless her worshippers, and say, “fear not”! She has two dead heads for her earrings, a string of skulls as necklace, and a girdle made of human hands as her clothing. Her tongue protrudes from her mouth, her eyes are red, and her face and breasts are sullied with blood. She stands with one foot on the thigh, and another on the chest of her husband, Shiva.
 –

Subhamoy Das

She’s ferocious power, she’s terrifying, she’s empowering – and what did Blizzard do? Ignore all that (like most men do) and turn the skin into an utterly incorrect, utterly ignorant pinup costume. A sexual object yet again, one of the many things Indian women are fighting against. Her skulls aren’t even on her neck! She only has two arms! They moved her skulls to her hip so they didn’t cover her breasts! The fact that people are going around calling it “the devi skin” says volumes about the utter ignorance surrounding this. Ignorance might not be done maliciously, but it doesn’t excuse people or make it less racist. It just proves that the majority of people don’t care about the cultures that Blizzard is using for profit. 

Thank you for this really important addition.

This post has picked up almost 5,000 notes since the addition which I’m super glad about because the added detail deserves all the attention; but I just want to point out that this is the post where the first thousand reblogs (and my inbox) are full of people telling me that no one cares, or that it’s just a game.

Well, clearly, we care. Don’t let anyone tell you you shouldn’t.

Hey, @bikiniarmorbattledamage, what are your thoughts on this?

Anyone who followed us for extended amount of time would know that we agree entirely. We’re sick of Overwatch being given all the credit for doing diversity right/doing women better when at best it’s just the minimal token effort, sprinkled generously with overt sexism and racism on top. 

All the while competing games with comparably more care about representation fall into obscurity, by the virtue of not being made by a huge studio with big marketing budget and overzealous fanbase. 

Speaking of which, Blizzard fandom is easily one of the most belligerent ones, consistently replying to any post we make about their games with defiance, trolling and abuse. And often insisting that their headcanons should be accounted for in judging the quality of OW’s designs, story and characters. 

@feministgamingmatters‘ and @flamingtrashcans’ posts above are almost 4 years old and no less topical than they were back in 2016. If anything, the amount of problems with Overwatch piled on since then and we have an archive of posts to prove it. 

Further BABD reading on the game’s problems with representation and diversity

(Note that vast majority of the links here are dated after the original publication of the above post. And it’s by no means a complete list of all the problems with sexism/racism the game has.) 

~Ozzie 

Some stats, counting out of 30 heroes, since Bastion doesn’t have gendered pronouns:

Total female-coded characters: 14

Women of color (robots don’t count): 6

Lady characters who are not human: 1 (counting the robot) (vs 3 men)

Lady characters whose entire face is hidden: big fat 0 (not counting the robot) (vs 5 men, also no robots) 

-Icy 

Best and Worst of 2019

So a new year is upon us, it’s a good time to reflect on our best and worst of the past year.  There’s always plenty of good stuff in our positive examples, and sexy male armor, tags of course.

The Best of 2019

Pretty good year for video games and other media in that more studios seem to be trending towards creating more equitable attire for characters to varying degrees.  Even Games Workshop has released some new Sisters of Battle that look like formidable warriors (as opposed to well…), and have promised more. There are a few stand outs:

Captain Marvel by Marvel Entertainment

This movie was a great start to the year and addition to the dialogue regarding the Marvel movies.  Representation of women and same-gender relationships were great discussions sparked by it, and it smashed a box office record in the process.

Control by Remedy Entertainment

Weird, compelling and a whole lot of destructive fun – the adventures for Jesse Faden warrant almost infinite exploration and interpretation – all without needing to engage in exploitation of women.

Wolfenstein: Youngblood by Arkane Studios & Machine Games

The iconic game of killing Nazis provided as with the new and exciting opportunity let the players co-operate as a pair sisters killing Nazis for themselves.

Apex Legends by Respawn Entertainment

Battle Royales are a big market right now, and it’s nice to see one that embraces diverse characters and provides the female characters with interesting roles and equipment (that is also practical looking)

And because I’m not too proud to admit to schadenfreude: 

Sex Sells – Confirmed invalid, again

Amongst others we took great delight in that the attempts to use sex to sell by EM83R completely fall over, along with the release of the Kill la Kill video game going pretty much unnoticed.

The Worst of 2019

For simplicity I’ve limited this to major media and not the various groups of the worst people supporting the worst celebrities – because those people don’t need  our platform and never change.

Mortal Kombat fanbase highlights general toxicity in gamer culture

So, Mortal Kombat 11 came out and it’s… well it’s a Mortal Kombat game, but a few changes to default designs and made a few female characters have less conventionally sexy outfits… and well, capital G gamers did not take it well:

image

(And of course, Final Fantasy had a small riot due to a portion of the cis male fan base having no idea of how boobs or bra sizes work)

League of Legends studio, Riot Games, confirmed as misogynistic cesspit

Throughout the year various details came out about the studio being a horrendous to female staff – to the point where a judge ruled they have to pay ten million dollars compensation to female employees.  It’s good that they received some compensation, but it shows how the video game industry still has a long way and how if a studio’s products look like it doesn’t care about women… it probably doesn’t.

Media and platform capitulation to Nazis

If you’re wondering why you hadn’t seen more on Wolfenstein: Youngblood or Control, it’s because pretty much the vast majority of platforms such as Steam and rating services such as MetaCritic still want to take a hands-off approach to their communities because they just don’t care.  Of course, there’s also the issue of how Kelly Marie Tran was all but written out of Rise of the Skywalker.

Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night

Well the game is out now and while it was celebrated for its nostalgic qualities, it sadly also carried along all the nostalgic ideas on how female character’s costumes should just be generically sexy without anything thought on… anything else at all… not even whether the clothes can even exist.

Of course, the comic industry remains a trash fire… for many years running now.

– wincenworks

Today (well on 22 November I suppose) in fragile masculinity * – concerns that they won’t be able to immerse themselves as a female character in a game where your exposure to the character:

  • a voice
  • a pair of hands

(The poster would later update to advise that he thinks any VR protagonist having a gender was “bad” while spouting ignorant opinions on gender – without ever really addressing his assumption everyone reading his post would be male)

The main marketing material showing Alyx Vance doesn’t show much about her.. except for she’s got junk in that trunk.

image
image

This is kind of ridiculous given that Merle Dandridge, Alyx’s original (not returning) voice actor talked in the director commentary about how important Alyx was for representation.  Valve seem to be toning back on it but the worst people are leaning hard into it:

image

(Unsurprisingly this member was also banned from the Wolfenstein: Youngblood community hub… in case you wondered if they are really dedicated to being terrible in every way they can be)

Thankfully there is at least one quality wallpaper available if you go the official site… and scroll down… past the butt shot and way down to the bottom.

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– wincenworks

* For those of you who skipped reading this to write a comment about how outraged you were at this being anti-man, anti-masculine, etc. I assure you I am a very masculine cishet man who happens to be secure enough that he doesn’t have to get upset at a game having a female protagonist.  It’s pretty great.