pressfirmlytoclose:

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?

bikiniarmorbattledamage:

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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:

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And amazing cosplays:

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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. 

– wincenworks

Fan Artworks:

Cosplays

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

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[image related to a Soul Calibur, not Mortal Kombat, character, but the “argument” is literally the same

Once again, all the props to @wincenworks​’ friends for how eloquently they described the nonsense of the asker’s (and, by proxy, all the other Dudebros McFedora’s) “logic”. 

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)_/¯ 

~Ozzie 

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. 

Break the Bingo contest WINNERS!

bikiniarmorbattledamage:

After much deliberation (and coming to a conclusion that a 5-day judging deadline that intersects with our holiday season wasn’t a wise idea), BABD is proud to present winners of the Break the Bingo design contest!.

But first, let’s give  shout-out to those of fans who started working on their designs, but didn’t end up officially submitting them, particularly the artists who tagged us in their WIP posts. Those drawings, even when unfinished, were pretty great!

We’re amazed by the ultimate turn-out. A lot of contestants put extra effort into their entries, by doing things things like:

  • putting them into a form of a comic/concept art pitch/fake advertisement
  • using eschergirls poses
  • referencing the rhetoric bingo 
  • kicking up the art quality a notch

It’s a bit scary just how close to the industry standards lots of you guys came! Some of the designs look like lifted straight-up from a video game or comic book studio!

Each and every submission is appreciated and we’re sorry we could reward only a select few of them, ones that we found to be the most creative in their use of the Female Armor Bingo tropes. And those are…

First prize:

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by loloraturasopranerd

The plexi-boobplate is very clever! Nice way to score “Covers only nipples and genitals” while technically giving her a chest piece 😀
Also best luck to Tom in his never-ending quest of finding the sexy male armor suitable for his empowered body. ~Ozzie

Legitimate depiction of how heavy armor works in video games. – wincenworks

Second prize:

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Armor Bingo by noelle-chan / noelle-chan [x]

Her main “covering” is mostly mesh/chain mail thing. It’s sorta lingerie stocking AND boob sock armor. What I think is most innovative about this design is the boob holes in her boobplate. The girls can swing free and unencumbered while in action. Great for badass empowered female warriors.

Accurate representation of shoulder plates and fantasy high heels! – wincenworks 

Chainmail boobsocks encased in what seems like a boobplate frame… possibly the most painful-looking chest piece in the contest. That + super impossible heels + pointy bits that will stab her whenever she moves = another winner! ~Ozzie

Third prize:

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Break the Bingo – Contest Entry by zokwani / naindzardin [x]

Extra points for showing accurate understanding of how bikini armor artists think how physics work. – wincenworks

Personally I think the original version of this chest piece fitted the definition of “boobplate” a bit better, but both versions are very well designed and look as uncomfortable as expected from a bingo winner! ~Ozzie

Bonus prize:

Thanks to lokificent’s generous prize donation, we were able to choose the fourth winner! And that artist is…

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Break the Bingo Contest – Foxtrot by Edasypogon edasypogon

Designing ‘armour’ that would score all 25 squares and the bonus points was equal parts interesting challenge and vicarious thrill. I had to constantly resist the urge to make things less ridiculous. The pinnacle (or nadir, depending on how you look at it) of this exercise was the Echo variant ‘breastplate’; it’s practically a bingo in its own right

Particularly accurate with sci-fi’s tendency to put bits of metal and lights in random places. – wincenworks

I’m getting an impression that more thought was put in designing those modular nipple pieces alone than in many complete outfits we bingo’d before. ~Ozzie

The prizes:

As established above, there are four rewards to choose from:

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To collect their prizes, the winners should contact us at bikiniarmorbattledamage via askbox/fanmail or at BikiniArmorBeDamned via private message and the first three of them should specify what is their preferred reward.
First prize winner gets whatever they choose, then the second and then the third one pick from the remaining poll. Bonus winner gets whatever is left for them.

All the other contest entries + further commentary under the cut:

Keep reading

Bonus throwback this week in reference to a question we get periodically regarding the Female Armor Bingo. Credit to the latest asker of it, @deeppurpleskeleton

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The answer, in short, is: We have, to date, not come across any example that fills all squares of the Female Armor Bingo in the wild. We did, however, run a contest to break the bingo card and were very impressed with the creativity of the entrants. 

Please do click on the Keep reading link and view all the entries. We’re very proud that our blog inspired artists of many skill levels to come up with so many distinct, yet equally absurd costume designs. All of them deserve recognition.

~Ozzie 

So my brother claims that the only games that have oversexualized girls are free to play games or just generally bad games. Overwatch apparently doesn’t count because “it’s overrated” so any examples for good games with skimpy armour? Thanks a lot!

Well, like so many explanations, this creates some obvious issues.

Firstly it’s dependent upon arbitrary divisions that mostly serve to try to pretend various parts of media just don’t exist or somehow don’t matter regardless of who  consumes them.

For example: only free to play?

League of Legends is a free to play game that generates millions in revenues, has a professional esports scene and pretty much launched the rise of MOBAs as a gaming genre.  While it does have some characters who are positive examples, and the occasional sexy man, it’s in fact so problematic it has a whole blog trying to keep track of it all (ie @leagueofsexism)

Long time offender World of Warcraft is basically the MMORPG that got away with not being a free to play game for years and years (and the free part available today is super stingy). 
Ultimately, Free To Play is just a business model – there are good games that use it well and terrible games that try desperately to exploit it. 

As for the statement of generally bad games, well it’s certainly true that many games that rely upon the skimpy armor are terrible.  It’s also true their poor reception tells you everything you need to know about the myth that “sex sells”. However, there’s certainly also celebrated AAA titles that feature all kinds of terrible female attire:

Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain has a massively critically successful creation of game development superstar Hideo Kojima.  It was a massive financial success and brought us so, so many wonderful breathing through your skin jokes.

The Witcher 3 collected a slew of awards, critical praise and is still getting massive sales of the game itself and it’s hefty DLC expansion packs after resorting to trying to blame a female character for her questionable battle attire choices and pretend the rest of the problems weren’t there.

As for overrated… well by who?

Every game has people who feel it’s overrated and most games have people who think it’s underrated.  No opinion though changes that Overwatch has sold millions of copies, gotten massive amounts of media attention, generated tons of vocal fans and made millions of dollars for Blizzard.

Really the arguments above aren’t really a useful statements, they’re just an excuse to dismiss literally any game as not being worthy of valid concern.

– wincenworks

Continuing from your brother’s logic, here’s an extended list of arbitrary things a game can’t be if we want to judge its treatment of women:

  • it’s free to play
  • it’s freemium/pay to play/any other technically free

    gameplay model

    that involves microtransactions for the full experience

  • it’s popular
  • it never became popular
  • it’s overrated
  • it’s underrated
  • its core demographic are horny men
  • its core demographic are children
  • it’s made in America and therefore immune to criticism under freedom of speech 
  • it’s made outside of America and therefore comes from a magical land of porn and fairy dust 
  • the title contains letters of some sort in it 
  • it has graphics of some kind

Well that suuure leaves us with a fair and totally unbiased choice of games to talk about.

~Ozzie

ilovetoomanydifferentthings:

So my brother claims that the only games that have oversexualized girls are free to play games or just generally bad games. Overwatch apparently doesn’t count because “it’s overrated” so any examples for good games with skimpy armour? Thanks a lot!

Well, like so many explanations, this creates some obvious issues.

Firstly it’s dependent upon arbitrary divisions that mostly serve to try to pretend various parts of media just don’t exist or somehow don’t matter regardless of who  consumes them.

For example: only free to play?

League of Legends is a free to play game that generates millions in revenues, has a professional esports scene and pretty much launched the rise of MOBAs as a gaming genre.  While it does have some characters who are positive examples, and the occasional sexy man, it’s in fact so problematic it has a whole blog trying to keep track of it all (ie @leagueofsexism)

Long time offender World of Warcraft is basically the MMORPG that got away with not being a free to play game for years and years (and the free part available today is super stingy). 
Ultimately, Free To Play is just a business model – there are good games that use it well and terrible games that try desperately to exploit it. 

As for the statement of generally bad games, well it’s certainly true that many games that rely upon the skimpy armor are terrible.  It’s also true their poor reception tells you everything you need to know about the myth that “sex sells”. However, there’s certainly also celebrated AAA titles that feature all kinds of terrible female attire:

Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain has a massively critically successful creation of game development superstar Hideo Kojima.  It was a massive financial success and brought us so, so many wonderful breathing through your skin jokes.

The Witcher 3 collected a slew of awards, critical praise and is still getting massive sales of the game itself and it’s hefty DLC expansion packs after resorting to trying to blame a female character for her questionable battle attire choices and pretend the rest of the problems weren’t there.

As for overrated… well by who?

Every game has people who feel it’s overrated and most games have people who think it’s underrated.  No opinion though changes that Overwatch has sold millions of copies, gotten massive amounts of media attention, generated tons of vocal fans and made millions of dollars for Blizzard.

Really the arguments above aren’t really a useful statements, they’re just an excuse to dismiss literally any game as not being worthy of valid concern.

– wincenworks

Continuing from your brother’s logic, here’s an extended list of arbitrary things a game can’t be if we want to judge its treatment of women:

  • it’s free to play
  • it’s freemium/pay to play/any other technically free

    gameplay model

    that involves microtransactions for the full experience

  • it’s popular
  • it never became popular
  • it’s overrated
  • it’s underrated
  • its core demographic are horny men
  • its core demographic are children
  • it’s made in America and therefore immune to criticism under freedom of speech 
  • it’s made outside of America and therefore comes from a magical land of porn and fairy dust 
  • the title contains letters of some sort in it 
  • it has graphics of some kind

Well that suuure leaves us with a fair and totally unbiased choice of games to talk about.

~Ozzie

Hey, I’m just wondering, is the “male empowerment” a bad thing? Maybe I am just missing some of the subtleties, but, if I may be frank “So what?” I went through a few pages of the tag “Sexy Male Armor”, and I’m not sure what I should feel. From your tone, you often seemed like you were trying to show these costumes in a negative light. On the other hand, I saw JoJo and DIO, so I knew you weren’t saying they were bad.

While we touched upon the subject of male empowerment before, we never discussed it in detail. Also, our tone in sexy male armor posts shifts a lot between sarcasm and talking straight, so can I understand the confusion.

Let’s start with why BABD even posts examples of “empowered men”.

To us, the intent of showing men in skimpy/sexualized armor is satire through contrast. The “Women NEED to be sexy (read: show a lot of skin and do sultry poses)” mentality is so deeply ingrained in our culture that many just assume it to be the natural order of things, that “sexyness” is inherent part of the female gender. But not of the male one.

image

The “This is NOT a man!” reactions to the initial Mobius Final Fantasy protagonist design come from this line of thinking. Dudebros refuse to accept that men can be unironically sexualized.
Funnily, it’s often paired with the insistence that any shirtless man balances out all the scantily clad ladies. As long as he’s not too sexy, that is. Textbook doublethink.

With such widespread double standard, it takes reversing the scenario to highlight its inherent problem. The big picture gets clearer when the shoe is on the other foot.

image
image

GIF source (x)

That’s why blogs/movements like @theliberationofmanfire, @thehawkeyeinitiative or @magicmeatweek were created. And why we post sexy male warriors every Friday. To make men empathize with women’s problem.

image

Comic source (x)

As for the empowerment itself, we discussed before that both women and men can feel empowered in various ways, but media skews it strongly based on gender stereotypes: women in fiction usually draw power from being sexy, while men from being strong (and/or violent). 

And while there’s slow shift towards giving women more varied representation, men (who have

otherwise

very diverse presence) rarely get to be the overtly sexy characters. And those who are usually get to be the villains, which feeds into “evil is sexy” trope as well as to villain gay coding, both ugly concepts that should die.

We have yet to see genuine, non-incidental sexy male empowerment in mainstream media that doesn’t come off as some sort of mockery. 

~Ozzie

Also worth remembering that a lot of our commentary on sexy male armor is tongue-in-cheek parody of the kind of rhetoric we regularly receive in our ask box, in reblogs and in broad-spectrum posts that conflate us with other critics.

Because let be clear, if we tried to keep the “sexy male armor” tag stocked with images I came across naturally through my typical cishet male surfing, it wouldn’t happen every Friday or even every month.

But it seems we will never stop hearing that eighteen years ago a game with a villain in briefs was released, fourteen years ago a unpopular video game protagonist did a nudey run and sometimes they get funny feelings during the glimpses of male butt in spandex – so clearly the market is constantly over-saturated and it’s only fair every game have c-string clad warrior women in it.

– wincenworks

boom-de-yaadaa:

Hey, I’m just wondering, is the “male empowerment” a bad thing? Maybe I am just missing some of the subtleties, but, if I may be frank “So what?” I went through a few pages of the tag “Sexy Male Armor”, and I’m not sure what I should feel. From your tone, you often seemed like you were trying to show these costumes in a negative light. On the other hand, I saw JoJo and DIO, so I knew you weren’t saying they were bad.

While we touched upon the subject of male empowerment before, we never discussed it in detail. Also, our tone in sexy male armor posts shifts a lot between sarcasm and talking straight, so can I understand the confusion.

Let’s start with why BABD even posts examples of “empowered men”.

To us, the intent of showing men in skimpy/sexualized armor is satire through contrast. The “Women NEED to be sexy (read: show a lot of skin and do sultry poses)” mentality is so deeply ingrained in our culture that many just assume it to be the natural order of things, that “sexyness” is inherent part of the female gender. But not of the male one.

image

The “This is NOT a man!” reactions to the initial Mobius Final Fantasy protagonist design come from this line of thinking. Dudebros refuse to accept that men can be unironically sexualized.
Funnily, it’s often paired with the insistence that any shirtless man balances out all the scantily clad ladies. As long as he’s not too sexy, that is. Textbook doublethink.

With such widespread double standard, it takes reversing the scenario to highlight its inherent problem. The big picture gets clearer when the shoe is on the other foot.

image
image

GIF source (x)

That’s why blogs/movements like @theliberationofmanfire, @thehawkeyeinitiative or @magicmeatweek were created. And why we post sexy male warriors every Friday. To make men empathize with women’s problem.

image

Comic source (x)

As for the empowerment itself, we discussed before that both women and men can feel empowered in various ways, but media skews it strongly based on gender stereotypes: women in fiction usually draw power from being sexy, while men from being strong (and/or violent). 

And while there’s slow shift towards giving women more varied representation, men (who have

otherwise

very diverse presence) rarely get to be the overtly sexy characters. And those who are usually get to be the villains, which feeds into “evil is sexy” trope as well as to villain gay coding, both ugly concepts that should die.

We have yet to see genuine, non-incidental sexy male empowerment in mainstream media that doesn’t come off as some sort of mockery. 

~Ozzie

Also worth remembering that a lot of our commentary on sexy male armor is tongue-in-cheek parody of the kind of rhetoric we regularly receive in our ask box, in reblogs and in broad-spectrum posts that conflate us with other critics.

Because let be clear, if we tried to keep the “sexy male armor” tag stocked with images I came across naturally through my typical cishet male surfing, it wouldn’t happen every Friday or even every month.

But it seems we will never stop hearing that eighteen years ago a game with a villain in briefs was released, fourteen years ago a unpopular video game protagonist did a nudey run and sometimes they get funny feelings during the glimpses of male butt in spandex – so clearly the market is constantly over-saturated and it’s only fair every game have c-string clad warrior women in it.

– wincenworks

Concerning my previous ask: I think it’s time we stop beating around the bush and ask the real question that has been looming. What makes a guy sexy to women? What is the “t ‘n’ a” of men? What makes Conan different from Jacob from Twilight?

Well we do have a tag… but okay. (This was the previous ask)

Well, the most obvious differences between Conan and Jacob is that Conan was what his creator, Robert E Howard (who struggled his entire life with the pressures of society and toxic masculinity) not-secretly-at-all yearned to be and Jacob is the Stephanie Meyer’s idea of semi-exotic potential boyfriend.  Check out this classic depiction of Conan by Frank Frazetta and try to remember the last time you saw a guy like this on the cover of a romance novel.

image

What makes guys sexy to women (physically)?

image

Well, it turns out since women are not a monolith and women don’t get to dictate beauty standards for men there’s no real standard.

Research has shown that men in general overestimate how much muscle women find attractive.  They also tend to overestimate the importance and the preferred size of penises.  (Seriously guys, don’t send unsolicited dick pics and don’t expect bragging about ridiculous endowment to help you)

Honestly though, the notion that you have to adhere to beauty standards in order to make a character attractive is kind of ridiculous.  I mean, butts are sexualized across genders. Feeling comfortable pressed up against someone and kissing them is usually a plus.  Looking like they may find you interesting as a person or want to impress you are definite help.

When designing a sexy male character: Leave the books about primary and secondary characteristics alone and forget about what manly men say a man should be like and ask, “What’s she going to like in this guy?”

Nothing is genuinely universally attractive, but at least this way you have a chance that the audience will see the appeal even it’s not for them.

– wincenworks

Gendered power fantasies and costume design | Male characters are not sexualized the same

marchoftheaprils:

Concerning my previous ask: I think it’s time we stop beating around the bush and ask the real question that has been looming. What makes a guy sexy to women? What is the “t ‘n’ a” of men? What makes Conan different from Jacob from Twilight?

Well we do have a tag… but okay. (This was the previous ask)

Well, the most obvious differences between Conan and Jacob is that Conan was what his creator, Robert E Howard (who struggled his entire life with the pressures of society and toxic masculinity) not-secretly-at-all yearned to be and Jacob is the Stephanie Meyer’s idea of semi-exotic potential boyfriend.  Check out this classic depiction of Conan by Frank Frazetta and try to remember the last time you saw a guy like this on the cover of a romance novel.

image

What makes guys sexy to women (physically)?

image

Well, it turns out since women are not a monolith and women don’t get to dictate beauty standards for men there’s no real standard.

Research has shown that men in general overestimate how much muscle women find attractive.  They also tend to overestimate the importance and the preferred size of penises.  (Seriously guys, don’t send unsolicited dick pics and don’t expect bragging about ridiculous endowment to help you)

Honestly though, the notion that you have to adhere to beauty standards in order to make a character attractive is kind of ridiculous.  I mean, butts are sexualized across genders. Feeling comfortable pressed up against someone and kissing them is usually a plus.  Looking like they may find you interesting as a person or want to impress you are definite help.

When designing a sexy male character: Leave the books about primary and secondary characteristics alone and forget about what manly men say a man should be like and ask, “What’s she going to like in this guy?”

Nothing is genuinely universally attractive, but at least this way you have a chance that the audience will see the appeal even it’s not for them.

– wincenworks

Gendered power fantasies and costume design | Male characters are not sexualized the same