Robots, Gender Roles, and You.

cataphoriccatastrophe:

myriadofnocturnes:

Howdy folks, Myriad of Nocturnes here. I’m thinking of starting a series of posts where I bitch about shit that really grinds my proverbial gears. So, being the bonafide robot lover that I am, I thought I’d start us off with something that really just seems lazy to me. 

Robots, Gender Roles, and You. 

Credential wise, I’m a Transformers fan, Gundam fan, and fan of pretty much every robot focused franchise you could care to name. I love pretty much every sort of robot design, but there is one in particular that really annoys me. 

You’ve all seen the content, i’m sure. A big, hulking inhuman (but masculine coded) robot with all sorts of deadly implements of war, death, and what have you….who shares a setting with a robot with ‘feminine’ coding who looks like a shrink wrapped supermodel. 

It’s cowardly, if you ask me. People feel the need to assign some sort of humanity to their robot, rather than allowing it to be a robot. Why does your robot have to conform to hetero-normative gender roles? Why are all of your lady robots running around looking like human women with fancy helmets? Why does a robot have to act in a manner consistent with the way people act? 

Ya’ll often share posts about making monster girls more monstrous. I just passed one today that called for people to give their orc women fangs, tusks, scars, and muscles. 

I say let your robots of any gender coding have multiple arms, inhuman features, and alien thought processes. Be creative! Let your robot be any gender it desires. If you want your robot to be feminine in some manner, let it, but don’t show us that it’s feminine by giving it big anime titties. 

That’s just lazy.

@bikiniarmorbattledamage Seems relevant even though you usually don’t do robots.

We talk a lot about suspicious dimorphism among design of living creatures, but when this trope regards robots, it’s a special case. There’s no “they’re just naturally like that” Thermian argument to juggle. Instead, there might be the “Don’t blame us for how that fictional robot looks, blame its equally fictional creator!” variation of the agency argument.

@femfreq has an old episode regarding the inherent sociological problem with sexualizing female-coded robots: 

The video focuses exclusively on gynoids in advertising, so doesn’t really touch on the even bigger problem in various science fiction and similar media.

Popular media tends to assume a robot, an artificial (not always sentient) being should either be coded male or assumed male in absence of gender signifiers. A female-coded robot is generally requires a “good” justification to look like a lady – usually some combination of being seen as subservient, providing fanservice or the Smurfette Principle. 
Thus making them look feminine is a bigger priority than taking advantage of the fact that robots can look like whatever – that privilege is reserved to machines which are male by default.

That leads me to quite a bold conclusion that Orisa is by far the best female playable character design in Overwatch – bearing very little gender signifiers (particularly compared to all the human women in the game) and having silhouette that is both very bulky and not entirely humanoid.

image

Now only if Blizzard applied the same priorities of defying the Law of Disparate Stylization to humans as they did to Omnics…

~Ozzie

Robots, Gender Roles, and You.

cataphoriccatastrophe:

myriadofnocturnes:

Howdy folks, Myriad of Nocturnes here. I’m thinking of starting a series of posts where I bitch about shit that really grinds my proverbial gears. So, being the bonafide robot lover that I am, I thought I’d start us off with something that really just seems lazy to me. 

Robots, Gender Roles, and You. 

Credential wise, I’m a Transformers fan, Gundam fan, and fan of pretty much every robot focused franchise you could care to name. I love pretty much every sort of robot design, but there is one in particular that really annoys me. 

You’ve all seen the content, i’m sure. A big, hulking inhuman (but masculine coded) robot with all sorts of deadly implements of war, death, and what have you….who shares a setting with a robot with ‘feminine’ coding who looks like a shrink wrapped supermodel. 

It’s cowardly, if you ask me. People feel the need to assign some sort of humanity to their robot, rather than allowing it to be a robot. Why does your robot have to conform to hetero-normative gender roles? Why are all of your lady robots running around looking like human women with fancy helmets? Why does a robot have to act in a manner consistent with the way people act? 

Ya’ll often share posts about making monster girls more monstrous. I just passed one today that called for people to give their orc women fangs, tusks, scars, and muscles. 

I say let your robots of any gender coding have multiple arms, inhuman features, and alien thought processes. Be creative! Let your robot be any gender it desires. If you want your robot to be feminine in some manner, let it, but don’t show us that it’s feminine by giving it big anime titties. 

That’s just lazy.

@bikiniarmorbattledamage Seems relevant even though you usually don’t do robots.

We talk a lot about suspicious dimorphism among design of living creatures, but when this trope regards robots, it’s a special case. There’s no “they’re just naturally like that” Thermian argument to juggle. Instead, there might be the “Don’t blame us for how that fictional robot looks, blame its equally fictional creator!” variation of the agency argument.

@femfreq has an old episode regarding the inherent sociological problem with sexualizing female-coded robots: 

The video focuses exclusively on gynoids in advertising, so doesn’t really touch on the even bigger problem in various science fiction and similar media.

Popular media tends to assume a robot, an artificial (not always sentient) being should either be coded male or assumed male in absence of gender signifiers. A female-coded robot is generally requires a “good” justification to look like a lady – usually some combination of being seen as subservient, providing fanservice or the Smurfette Principle. 
Thus making them look feminine is a bigger priority than taking advantage of the fact that robots can look like whatever – that privilege is reserved to machines which are male by default.

That leads me to quite a bold conclusion that Orisa is by far the best female playable character design in Overwatch – bearing very little gender signifiers (particularly compared to all the human women in the game) and having silhouette that is both very bulky and not entirely humanoid.

image

Now only if Blizzard applied the same priorities of defying the Law of Disparate Stylization to humans as they did to Omnics…

~Ozzie

bikiniarmorbattledamage:

femfreq:

The latest episode of Tropes vs. Women in Video Games is live! 

In “Lingerie Is Not Armor,” we explore the ways in which female characters are frequently placed in wildly impractical, sexualizing outfits specifically designed to objectify them for the titillation of the presumed straight male player. We then discuss the problems inherent in linking the sexualization of female characters to notions of female empowerment, and examine what positive depictions of female sexuality and sexual desire in games might look like.

You can find a list of resources and a full transcript on our website.

Finally, the Tropes vs. Women in Video Games episode we awaited the most arrives! And it doesn’t disappoint.

Not surprisingly, Anita touches many subjects we frequently discuss on BABD, including:

~Ozzie

So, E3 is coming to a close for another year, and brought it’s share of treasures and trash. The hype trains are building up steam and moving into high gear for all kinds of properties, new and established. It’s a good time to bring back this post that touches on so, so many important topics.

Just as importantly, it means it’s time for many of us to remember How To Be A Fan of Problematic Things.

– wincenworks

femfreq:

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:

image

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).

– wincenworks

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.

~Ozzie

more about: character design | double standards | suspicious dimorphism