On Brigitte

So, shortly after Ozzie posted on why you shouldn’t expect people to go out of their way to do more research and consume more media in order to find a good message in a creator’s work… a bunch of people rushed in to tell us that the “unnamed redhead” in the Reinhardt animated short had a name… she was clearly Brigitte, Torbjorn’s daughter and beloved Overwatch supporting character!

But, what identified her as Brigitte, what kind of character is she?  Was this depiction of her accurate to previous material?

The woman depicted in the short is the second-most muscular woman we’ve seen in Overwatch (second only to Zarya) with a cog tattoo on her left shoulder and a t-shirt which has the sleeves torn off and reads “I like exercise because I love eating” and she has the standard issue Disney-face.

image

This is Brigitte in her only other speaking appearance, note how she started with a strong jawline, narrow lips and freckles:

image

And here she is in her other follow up appearance, arms like twigs and half-way to the final Disney-face, no more freckles or jawline:

image

So really what identified her as Brigitte were these elements:

  • Proximity to Reinhardt during his pre-game period
  • Tendency to tell Reinhardt that he shouldn’t do what the audience is specifically eager for him to do (ie, be a hero)
  • Her hair is kind of the same and she has practical pants (a rarity for women in the world of Overwatch)
  • Nobody refers to her by name while she’s around

There’s also that one in-game spray graphic where she’s shown sporting even more “prettified” face, posing for a photo with her dad (good luck knowing that relation without digging up lore): 

image

The greater irony of this is that the single exchange between Reinhardt and Mercy where Brigitte’s name is mentioned actually undermines her role in the video.  According to the in-game content she goes off with Reinhardt on his adventures… not keeping him company in the castle while he avoids risks. Note how in the short she isn’t shown to change her mind and support Reinhardt’s decision at the end.

(Also worth noting is people have been asking, by name, for her to appear more often and be shown helping Reinhardt in the game for over a year now but this is the closest Blizzard have come, that and they had to confirm her who father was in a tweet because again… zero priority elsewhere.)

At this point, if you look at what Blizzard have provided: Brigitte has no consistent look beyond pants, skin tone and hairstyle. Her only consistent behavior is telling Reinhardt not to go be a hero. In the video she isn’t even shown doing the other support aspects such as enabling travel, fixing his armor, gathering intelligence, being the social one of the pair, etc.

The point is here is Blizzard doesn’t care enough about a female character to give her a consistent appearance, have her name be used so the audience can identify her or give her any sort of motivations of her own – you shouldn’t take the time to act like she’s an important character who everyone should know.

I promise you that defending Blizzard’s failures to do the basics when it comes to their promises of better depictions of women and better diversity will not result anything good for anyone other than Blizzard’s shareholders.

– wincenworks 

@otherwindow has done a beautiful edit of what Brigitte would have looked like in the short if they stayed true to her initial comic appearance.

I said this on the Moira post, but really… what could have been.

-Icy

This is exactly what I meant by “asking us to “do our homework” before we comment will make the commentary far more critical, not more lenient.” 

image

~Ozzie 

h/t: @red-queen-on-the-heathen-throne for bringing our attention to how off-model Brigitte is between her cross-media appearances. 

On Brigitte

So, shortly after Ozzie posted on why you shouldn’t expect people to go out of their way to do more research and consume more media in order to find a good message in a creator’s work… a bunch of people rushed in to tell us that the “unnamed redhead” in the Reinhardt animated short had a name… she was clearly Brigitte, Torbjorn’s daughter and beloved Overwatch supporting character!

But, what identified her as Brigitte, what kind of character is she?  Was this depiction of her accurate to previous material?

The woman depicted in the short is the second-most muscular woman we’ve seen in Overwatch (second only to Zarya) with a cog tattoo on her left shoulder and a t-shirt which has the sleeves torn off and reads “I like exercise because I love eating” and she has the standard issue Disney-face.

image

This is Brigitte in her only other speaking appearance, note how she started with a strong jawline, narrow lips and freckles:

image

And here she is in her other follow up appearance, arms like twigs and half-way to the final Disney-face, no more freckles or jawline:

image

So really what identified her as Brigitte were these elements:

  • Proximity to Reinhardt during his pre-game period
  • Tendency to tell Reinhardt that he shouldn’t do what the audience is specifically eager for him to do (ie, be a hero)
  • Her hair is kind of the same and she has practical pants (a rarity for women in the world of Overwatch)
  • Nobody refers to her by name while she’s around

There’s also that one in-game spray graphic where she’s shown sporting even more “prettified” face, posing for a photo with her dad (good luck knowing that relation without digging up lore): 

image

The greater irony of this is that the single exchange between Reinhardt and Mercy where Brigitte’s name is mentioned actually undermines her role in the video.  According to the in-game content she goes off with Reinhardt on his adventures… not keeping him company in the castle while he avoids risks. Note how in the short she isn’t shown to change her mind and support Reinhardt’s decision at the end.

(Also worth noting is people have been asking, by name, for her to appear more often and be shown helping Reinhardt in the game for over a year now but this is the closest Blizzard have come, that and they had to confirm her who father was in a tweet because again… zero priority elsewhere.)

At this point, if you look at what Blizzard have provided: Brigitte has no consistent look beyond pants, skin tone and hairstyle. Her only consistent behavior is telling Reinhardt not to go be a hero. In the video she isn’t even shown doing the other support aspects such as enabling travel, fixing his armor, gathering intelligence, being the social one of the pair, etc.

The point is here is Blizzard doesn’t care enough about a female character to give her a consistent appearance, have her name be used so the audience can identify her or give her any sort of motivations of her own – you shouldn’t take the time to act like she’s an important character who everyone should know.

I promise you that defending Blizzard’s failures to do the basics when it comes to their promises of better depictions of women and better diversity will not result anything good for anyone other than Blizzard’s shareholders.

– wincenworks 

@otherwindow has done a beautiful edit of what Brigitte would have looked like in the short if they stayed true to her initial comic appearance.

I said this on the Moira post, but really… what could have been.

-Icy

This is exactly what I meant by “asking us to “do our homework” before we comment will make the commentary far more critical, not more lenient.” 

image

~Ozzie 

h/t: @red-queen-on-the-heathen-throne for bringing our attention to how off-model Brigitte is between her cross-media appearances. 

@wolfscythephotography said

So i just want to say that, aside from a few small gripes (mainly the seeming assumption that only cishet males promote the objectification of women in games. Feel free to tell me if i misunderstood that.), i love this blog. It does address many of the issues in modern media in regards to women. While there still seems to be a small bias it is easily ignored for the most part as the information provided is useful to designers. Thank you, though, for keeping things as straight forward as possible

Glad we can be of service! I did want to clarify our “assumption that only cishet males promote the objectification of women” because we do see people trying to throw the objectification blame around as if that’s productive. We never meant to imply that only cishet males objectify women, just that design decisions that lead to things like this are usually made to appeal to the cishet male demographic, or even just to their cishet male designer. Anyone can objectify a character, but that doesn’t mean that the character was designed to be consumed in that way by certain demographics. With how many “men only” game ads we see, I think we can agree they aren’t pandering to queer women.

-Icy

And on that note!

@ikuni-shock said:

I follow quite a few women / nb people in the anime and games community who are attracted to women (I’m a straight woman), and sometimes I see them enjoying or creating art that is objectifying and makes me uncomfortable. One example is Camilla from FE Fates, and the ‘damaged-clothes’ pictures in FE Heroes. I see women / nb people finding these things sexy. I don’t want to tell LGBTQ people what they should or shouldn’t be attracted to though. Do you have any thoughts on this?

Anyone can objectify anyone else, but in western society, women are often seen as objects meant for the consumption of men. As I said above, sometimes there comes a person who claims that “well, Chris Evans is objectified too! Look at all the gifs of his butt that are on Tumblr!” and that’s not how systemic discrimination works.

There is no social structure in place that routinely supports male objectification or places queer people in the same position of power over women as it does for cishet (white) men. 

That said, we don’t tell anyone, even cis straight men, who and what they should be attracted to. We just want people to be aware and critical of those things and consider the bigger picture of what that attraction means. Especially if that thing comes from mainstream media that inevitably builds the collective image of the world we live in, and not from, say, niche kinky corners of the Internet.

Hope that answers your questions!

-Icy and ~Ozzie

@wolfscythephotography said

So i just want to say that, aside from a few small gripes (mainly the seeming assumption that only cishet males promote the objectification of women in games. Feel free to tell me if i misunderstood that.), i love this blog. It does address many of the issues in modern media in regards to women. While there still seems to be a small bias it is easily ignored for the most part as the information provided is useful to designers. Thank you, though, for keeping things as straight forward as possible

Glad we can be of service! I did want to clarify our “assumption that only cishet males promote the objectification of women” because we do see people trying to throw the objectification blame around as if that’s productive. We never meant to imply that only cishet males objectify women, just that design decisions that lead to things like this are usually made to appeal to the cishet male demographic, or even just to their cishet male designer. Anyone can objectify a character, but that doesn’t mean that the character was designed to be consumed in that way by certain demographics. With how many “men only” game ads we see, I think we can agree they aren’t pandering to queer women.

-Icy

And on that note!

@ikuni-shock said:

I follow quite a few women / nb people in the anime and games community who are attracted to women (I’m a straight woman), and sometimes I see them enjoying or creating art that is objectifying and makes me uncomfortable. One example is Camilla from FE Fates, and the ‘damaged-clothes’ pictures in FE Heroes. I see women / nb people finding these things sexy. I don’t want to tell LGBTQ people what they should or shouldn’t be attracted to though. Do you have any thoughts on this?

Anyone can objectify anyone else, but in western society, women are often seen as objects meant for the consumption of men. As I said above, sometimes there comes a person who claims that “well, Chris Evans is objectified too! Look at all the gifs of his butt that are on Tumblr!” and that’s not how systemic discrimination works.

There is no social structure in place that routinely supports male objectification or places queer people in the same position of power over women as it does for cishet (white) men. 

That said, we don’t tell anyone, even cis straight men, who and what they should be attracted to. We just want people to be aware and critical of those things and consider the bigger picture of what that attraction means. Especially if that thing comes from mainstream media that inevitably builds the collective image of the world we live in, and not from, say, niche kinky corners of the Internet.

Hope that answers your questions!

-Icy and ~Ozzie

kaldannan:

thefingerfuckingfemalefury:

wintergrey:

garrettbrobinson:

I got real petty over on the Facebook page and IT WAS GLORIOUS.

This is me, going to check out Legendary Books now…

Publisher: We think that the way the fantasy genre treats women is problematic so we’re going to try and do better

A Fool: If you don’t like it why don’t you make your own!

Publisher: That

That is literally what we just said we are doing

@bikiniarmorbattledamage I think this is right up your alley. Ha!

Yes, it is! Thank you for sending us this 🙂

@garrettbrobinson‘s apt and continuous snark here beats even the famous concise answer Star Wars Facebook gave to the dudebros “concerned” about Captain Phasma’s feminity.

Please everyone read the article and all of those comments, it’s quality content. 

It’s also massive evidence that certain kind of people (who believe in such logic as “instead of having an opinion about a product, go make one yourself!” or “shirtless men = hypersexulized”) just plain do not care to acquaint themselves with an article/blog/video if it looks even vaguely feminist before replying to it.
We find it pretty amazing how they’re typing preemptive, uninformed responses to something they didn’t even read and, at the same time, expect its author to prove their own credentials.

~Ozzie

more commentary about rhetoric on BABD

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

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