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!
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.)
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.
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)