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:

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(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.

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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:

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(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.

bikiniarmorbattledamage:

As a follow up to HBomber’s excellent video discussing how popular media (especially games) doesn’t objectify men I thought it was worth pointing out that the double standard is especially obvious if one looks at novelty superhero costumes (using the above examples or any of those featured at @fucknosexistcostumes)

Male costumes commonly come with the padding to simulate the muscular physiques, because they’re to make the “every man” feel like a superhero without having to work out or diet.

Female costumes commonly are sized with the assumption the wearer will fit within conventional beauty standards commonly assigned to superheroes.  The “every woman” is expected to diet and exercise to look like a drawing in a comic book.

On top of that: women who don’t fit within the very narrow, artificial beauty standards will find that the family pets get better costume options than they do.

It’s really amazing how much of reality you have to willfully disregard to try to support the “men are sexually objectified too!” argument.

– wincenworks

Halloween throwback time! Reminder that to wear a mass-produced superhero novelty costume, ladies need to come in conventionally sexy size and shape (and usually ready to show more skin), while guys get the outfit to compensate their everyman figure with foam abs. 

~Ozzie 

I suppose I should be grateful that the girl costumes don’t compensate with foam boobs and butts, cause we all know that’s the Woman Power Fantasy: being slim thicc. 😬

-Icy

See also: Our other post about Halloween superhero costumes, especially how womens’ and girls’ versions are always sexified or feminized beyond recognition of what the original looked like! 

Tidy Up #98

There is one primary topic for this tidy up, but one that we thought was very important on many levels.

If you haven’t already – please consider not sending any money to Blizzard.

(Yes, I say this as someone who has purchased multiple copies of Overwatch due to competitions and playing it with friends)

In addition to their general awful representation (and claiming cookies for improvement while getting worse), in the past few weeks Blizzard has:

At this point, it’s pretty safe to say that Blizzard is not only comfortable with supporting authoritarian regimes, but actively courting them in the hopes of increasing revenues… basically they’re the bad guys in all their properties.

But, to ensure that this isn’t completely a downer we do also want to draw attention to:

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Please consider letting this inspire you to be more politically aware and active in your life. Starting by declining to spend in a manner that leads to that money going to Blizzard.

(And of course, since there’s capital G gamers involved: please do double check any commentary you see on this that seems suspicious. Particularly if it is targeting the workers at Blizzard rather than the company’s controllers)

– wincenworks, ~Ozzie & -Icy

h/t: https://mad-maddie.tumblr.com/post/188284451402/article-october-11-2019-article-october-11-2019 

Jennifer Scheurle on Twitter

Jennifer Scheurle on Twitter

bikiniarmorbattledamage:

This whole thread is definitely worth reading for a better understanding of The Creepy Marketing Guy and why so many games, particularly in early campaigns, seem to rely on generic strategies like sex sells.

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So the next time you see a promotion for a game that seems to focus entirely on boobs, butts and explosions then you can be sure that it’s because the marketing guys are getting paid for the campaign, not the sales of the game, and they probably got to interfere in the process of game development, messing with the original vision of the developers, to make that happen.

– wincenworks

Jennifer Scheurle’s Twitter | Website

I completely forgot it’s been over two years since we posted this. And, of course, still every word about the “sex sells”-driven marketing rings true. 

And since some iteration of “you just hate for women to be sexy!” continues to be an “argument” constantly brought up in defense of such advertising (and of in-game framing – just look at the predictable replies under our Tuesday reblog), let’s quote the closing tweet from the thread

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As we’ve been saying since the beginning of the sex sells tag, you won’t go far with “selling sex” unless sex is the actual product. And the Creepy Marketing Guy will laugh at you all the way to the bank. 

~Ozzie