bikiniarmorbattledamage:

Brigitte and Overwatch’s continous female design problem

We talked already about Brigitte’s costume, but there’s a whole lot of other issues about her character design that shouldn’t be overlooked. Again, it’s a nice idea to have a new lady in actual armor in the game, though we wouldn’t be BABD if we didn’t point out some obvious and less obvious problems that can be spotted with her. 

She’s, after Moira, another white European lady in a row, while still the closest to black female representation among playable heroes is Orisa, a robot (and before anyone says it – nope, none of the dark-skinned female characters are black).
For a game that prides itself in having diverse international cast, Overwatch can not imagine people of color color coming from places that wouldn’t be POC-dominant already (also lots of their heroes of color somehow happen to be morally dubious compared to white ones). And just because Brigitte is a pre-established character doesn’t yet excuse prioritizing adding her to the game over someone with different background. 

It’s kind of funny how after being unnamed for no reason in her last major media appearance, the Reinhardt animated short, now Brigitte got elevated from a supporting lore character to one of main heroes. This, paired with ridiculous lack of consistency in her cross-media appearances gives us a strong feeling that no-one at Blizzard is overseeing writing and art direction of Overwatch as a franchise. Fans who spot constant retcons in the story would agree.

Speaking of no visual consistency, seems like from comics to the animated short to the actual game Brigitte finished her long journey from a unique-looking person to another standard issue pretty face. 

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And no, different artists working on each of those appearances isn’t an excuse for how only her hair and skintone remain relatively consistent. Her crucial features like jawline, freckles, nose shape and size, how big her eyes are and how strong her chin is shouldn’t alter so widely just because of art style change. Blizzard is perfectly capable of making and using style guides – and when they don’t, it’s either by choice or negligence.

And if you wondered what we meant by “standard issue pretty face”, this pic, for obvious reasons, has gained some major mileage around the Internet: 

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Congrats, Blizzard! You officially care about diverse female appearances as little Disney does! (image sources: [x] & [x]) 

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Or maybe the jokes are true and the (weak) excuse for looking like clones is the same as for the Frozen ladies? Mercy is Brigitte’s real mom!

Not to mention that Blizzard can’t make up their mind on what Brigitte’s body type is supposed to be. Is she thin and curvy as virtually every other Overwatch lady? Is she almost as buff as Zarya? Something inbetween? Who knows.

I saw some fans trying to excuse her twig arms from Christmas comic as being possibly earliest in the timeline, but no official channel would confirm or deny any speculation. Overwatch is pretty satisfied with fans using their headcanons to justify whatever information the story canon won’t commit to. Why make an effort when fans can do your job for you? 

~Ozzie

“Brigitte Lindholm, squire to Reinhardt Wilhelm, is a former mechanical engineer who has decided to take up arms and fight on the front lines to protect those in need.”

If I didn’t know anything about this character and was just reading her background blurb, I would be imagining a character design more akin to this:

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Why build a regular armor and shield when I can pilot a 12-foot-tall exoskeleton? Her father builds turrets during combat, it would have been cool if she had skills related to building and adjusting her own armor in-combat.

Her design doesn’t inform me of her character at all, which is a problem with several of the Overwatch cast (mostly ladies, I wonder why that is). She wears armor, but so does Pharah; is she also a soldier? She has no welding mask or a tool belt that would indicate that she’s a mechanic type. I get that she doesn’t want to just fix things on the sidelines, but she does throw out armor for her allies. It isn’t a stretch to flavor it as her fixing her team’s equipment in the heat of battle, and she does get a welding mask in a different skin but not the primary one?

Her color scheme is almost the same as Mercy’s, with silver (instead of white), yellow and black being the core, which really isn’t helping that same-face problem, Blizzard. Not to mention the shapes are very similar to Pharah’s. There’s just nothing new here design-wise, and I am disappointed.

-Icy

So since the screaming baby rage machine is still going full throttle, it’s probably worth bringing this back to highlight how this issue goes and the general expectations regarding fictional buff ladies.

After decades of pandering, capital-G gamers will accept buff ladies if:

  • They’re clearly in the service of a manly (cishet) man
  • They have some cute costuming to make them non-threatening
  • They are easily Disneyfied

They will lose their shit if the lady:

It’s never really about what they say it is – it’s always about “does this clearly prioritize me above everyone else, to the extent of excluding others”.

– wincenworks

bikiniarmorbattledamage:

krixwell:

dare-to-dm:

feministgamingmatters:

I am really struggling to write academically about this trend of developers making up bad excuses for not including women because what I really want to say is that it sucks and it’s adding insult to injury and could you please just be honest and say you don’t wanna.

Oh yeah, I’m sick of it too.  And it feels like it just keeps happening and it’s insulting to our intelligence.  Like

Ubisoft: We can’t have a female protagonist because they’re too hard to animate!

Logical Retort: What about all those female characters you already animated?

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What they should have admitted: We didn’t want to make a woman protagonist.  

~~~~~

Konami: Quiet can’t wear clothes because she’s infected by a parasite that makes her breathe through her skin and she’d suffocate!

Logical Retort: Well then how come that other guy with the same parasite was covered head to toe?

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What they should have admitted: We wanted her to be eye candy.

~~~~~

Bungie: Cortana is rendered without any clothes because it gives her a psychological advantage over her opponents!

Logical Retort: Then how come the “male” AIs are rendered with clothing?

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What they should have admitted: We wanted her to be eye candy.

~~~~~

Nintendo: Link can’t be a woman because no one would relate to them!

Logical Retort: 48% of gamers would probably love to see a character like them.  And much of the other 52% may appreciate the novelty.

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What they should have admitted: We really like making the exact same concept over and over.

Stop.  Your BS excuses are honestly almost more insulting than the truth.

@bikiniarmorbattledamage

First let us begin with a summary of many of the reblogs by individuals who have very predictable responses.

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The basic arguments being spewed up are the usual suspects:

Basically all variants on the “I am threatened by examination of my hobby and would prefer we maintain a world where I am unfairly celebrated than move toward one where I am expected to recognize other people as human.”

Really there’s only two reasons we keep getting this trash:

  1. Developers who want to make out their personal fantasies and expect everyone to praise them unconditionally for it
  2. Creepy Marketing Guy convinces the stakeholders to follow an old myth that sounds appealing but, in reality, doesn’t work.

Obviously, neither of these is really a good explanation so instead of the honest truth we get the a worrying state on ongoing denial of both the problem and the consequences.

– wincenworks

More on rhetoric on BABD | BABD’s Rhetoric Bingo

I figured this would be an appropriate throwback, in the light of Ubisoft, one of developers mentioned, being exposed last month for their massive sexual misconduct claims, and then, on top of that, evidence of absolutely shamelessly toxic, cishet white male-centric development philosophy at their studios, despite  bragging about having diverse teams working on games

When not insisting that sex sells”, Creepy Markerting Guy and his Creepy Executive buddies, are literally on record saying that “women (as protagonists) do not sell”. And pushing back against their development teams fighting for even slightest bit of inclusivity in their games. 

We’ve been saying for years, one way or another, that there’s a direct connection between toxic white masculinity and the refusal in entertainment industry, including games, to acknowledge women as more than eye candy and that people other than white straight cis men deserve to have their stories told. 
We’re not surprised by the disturbing revelations – there were similar ones before. Moreover, the product itself reflects the toxic environment it was made in, if you know where to look. 

~Ozzie 

bikiniarmorbattledamage:

baddreamslimbo:

poisonivyys:

@bikiniarmorbattledamage

Speaking of boobs in fighting games

@pointandclickbait as usual has a really great take on the case

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Remember that time when dudebros declared that Fury in Darkseiders III, sporting a (vaguely jiggly) metal boobplate, was “unfeminine and almost no more clearly recognized as woman”

Well, now we have a version of that devoted to sexualization of the undead. How… precious. 

Bonus fun fact based only on what some people in reblogs claim: those OneAngryGamer tweets are supposed to be “satire”. Riiight. ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°) 

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If this is that dude’s idea of “satire”, I prescribe him reading more Point and Clickbait before attempting again to commit his comedic genius to a keyboard. 

~Ozzie 

Throwing this post back not because sexyfying the undead is particularly topical* right now, but because of the point it’s making about satire at the end. 

As I explained in the comments under the original copy of this post, “Political Correctness Gone Mad: I Barely Want To Fuck This Zombie” is clearly satire. 
“For the sake of boner culture, hopefully the sexy outfits are still viable option via the gear customization” is really not. 

Believe me, I would not be able to make a whole rhetoric bingo if I haven’t seen a big deal of people unironically defending stuff along the lines of “boner culture”. 

~Ozzie 

* Sadly, it’s always topical to some degree 

Why A Street Fighter ‘Butt Slap’ Was Removed

Why A Street Fighter ‘Butt Slap’ Was Removed

bikiniarmorbattledamage:

So remember the outcry that somehow a zoom in shot of Rainbow Mika (R. Mika)’s butt slap was so critical to the game that it’s remove was an act of vile censorship?  Well we now have the official word from the Street Fighter team on what led to that memorable day:

“We didn’t make any change because of external influences,” he says. “Those changes came up internally. We decided to remove that because we want the biggest possible number of people to play, and we don’t want to have something in the game that might make someone uncomfortable.

The even better news is that those who were enraged that such an amazing act of censorship could occur have pretty much re-affirmed the point.  After a month and a lot of publicity, the petition only gathered 6,300 signatures (and at least one duplicate I noticed).  Most of these guys still don’t seem to believe that the developers actually decided on this change on their own…

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and they’re probably all going to buy the game anyway:

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I can’t imagine why the developers may choose to try to appeal to people outside of this demographic… oh wait, I can.

– wincenworks

Today’s throwback: reminder that “self-censorship” isn’t really a thing and maybe a developer doing the bare minimum to not alienate potential audience pre-release is neither “pandering to the SJWs” nor literally a vile act of censorship? 🤔

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~Ozzie 

See also: Creative freedom masterpostJimquisition: Editing Versus Censorship | A list of accounts of “censorship” in video games, including Mika’s butt, that this @pointandclickbait​ article applies to:

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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 

bikiniarmorbattledamage:

adobsonartworks:

SYAC – NSFW Context.

A lot of people who view my feminist leanings as an “act” always point to the fact that I used to draw fetish art a decade ago as some sort of hypocrisy. But the fact of the matter is that just because I don’t draw fetish art anymore and identify as a feminist now doesn’t mean I have some sort of vendetta against it. The problem that arises when feminists clash with comic/game/geek content is because the “context” for the “sexy artwork” either doesn’t exist or is so flimsy it might as well not exist. There is nothing wrong with NSFW artwork, providing the context makes sense (and that includes the WHERE and HOW it’s being published).

Sidenote: I CANNOT recommend “Sunstone” enough to y’all. It’s amazing and you should check it out! Here’s the link to it on AMAZON.

PS: I genuinely don’t care that Quiet is a mute and can’t talk (that’s problematic in and of itself). I just wanted to make a point.

Huh, who knew there is a time and place to make female characters sexy and that time is not “always”?

We’re also more than familiar with the accusation that we are just fun-hating killjoys who hate sexy women and want them always non-sexual and covered head to toe (extra fallacy points if something islamophobic is added to the last part). That’s why it’s a square on the rhetoric bingo

TL; DR: CONTEXT IS EVERYTHING! 

~Ozzie 

See also: When is it okay to have a female character in less than practical or protective armor? – a helpful presentation by @wincenworks 

Time for a reminder that this “sexy women just because” is such a norm that many seasoned creators still want to promote the idea that doing other than is somehow at odds with making a quality product.

Cliff Bleszinski recently got roasted for an Instagram post where he framed putting diversity into LawBreakers as a factor in its collapse, specifically because it did not get the praise that Overwatch did:

Ever since the studio closed I’ve been wracking my brain what I could have done differently. Pivot HARD when the juggernaut of Overwatch was announced. Been less nice with my design ideas and more of a dictator with them.

One big epiphany I had was that I pushed my own personal political beliefs in a world that was increasingly divided.

Instead of the story being “this game looks neat” it became “this is the game with the ‘woke bro’ trying to push his hackey politics on us with gender neutral bathrooms.” Instead of “these characters seem fun” it was “this is the studio with the CEO who refuses to make his female characters sexier.” Instead of “who am I going to choose” it became “white dude shoehorns diversity in his game and then smells his own smug farts in interviews” instead of just letting the product … speak for itself.

It’s okay to be political when your company or studio is established for great product FIRST. But we were unproven and I regret doing it. (This will be quite the doozy of a chapter in the upcoming memoir.)

Chris Franklin (aka Errant Signal) has a different theory:

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Now obviously there were the usual suspects chanting “Get Woke Go Broke” when the game closed, but largely (in places that are not boiling cesspits) it didn’t get a lot of discussion either way because of a wide variety of other, more pressing factors like gameplay, bugs, sever issues, graphical similarity to Overwatch, etc.

But the first thing that springs to mind is “I should have made the female characters sexier” because the conventional wisdom is somehow (despite society’s ongoing oppression of sex workers) female characters looking less than porny is a risky political statement.

This of course, ignores the vast deluge of games that leaned hard into sex sells then immediately crashed and burned spectacularly.

It really shouldn’t be controversial to give female characters the same design considerations that male characters get.

(And also like, I can assure you – there is a demand for very, very sexy men)

– wincenworks

I am going to play Devil’s Advocate…

bikiniarmorbattledamage:

blackoutkick:

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”.

~Ozzie

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…

– wincenworks

Time to remember why we put the Devil’s Advocate in our FAQ

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. 

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Which totally happens. With frequency… not. 

And even if that did happen, we have a tags about agency and false equivalence which address such unfair comparisons. Have a good read!

~Ozzie 

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.