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Thursday, August 01, 2013

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NetDwarf

It's not a satire that makes such characters, it's a 'Grotesque' - an art style the developers chose for their project(western example - Warhammer 40k). And yes, I like it.
Actually, if jealaous or frustrated people could force developers to make all characters up to people ideas, it would be a mess of a product, who would like to play some 40 year old office loser guy or white trash trailer lady without frontal teeth. Generally speaking, it's the same story as 'ugly people on tv'. Back in the day we had none of them, but later some superbrains decided that we need to watch same dorks as we are. So this is when jersey shore kicked in/irony mark/.
Consider the discussed game an 'other better world', where we can be the ones we can't be irl no matter how hard we try.

Iggy

My wife and I dine frequently at a Thai place downtown, just down the street from a game shop. In the front window, bigger than life, is a cardboard stand-up of one of these types of female figures, advertising a card-based RPG.

As we glance in the store at the morbidly fat dudes rolling their d20s or pushing around Warhammer figures, my wife always glances at the busty female in the window and says something like "nerds gotta have dreams."

Pussycat Catnap

I eagerly await your review of Scarlet Blade.

This kind of thing is nothing new. Which is not to say it is ok.

Blackface, and Native American Mascots on sports are also nothing new.

It needs to change. NOW.

But SL, with its proud promotion of Gorean culture - is the last place of credibility to attack this from. The SL community attacking gender bias would be like Apartheid South Africa protesting Israel's treatment of Palestinians.

Pot, meet Kettle.

Which is not to accuse you, or I, of that... But to say that we should be looking in our own house before pointing at that of others.


2103

@ Catnip.. "what?"

Pussycat Catnap

This sort of style is also not all that different from what one sees in SL with the 'prim attachments'.

So again - one from the SL community should look back to the SL community before casting a stone at another community.

They may have some serious problems over there in their game with negative gender bias. But again, we have Goreans and prim bosoms... its just as bad if not worse here.

Archangel Mortenwold

I'd say Danielle Riendeau's review is fairly objective, and rightly points out the flaws in artwork and misogynistic portrayal of women. Breast size aside, having thighs and buttocks that are so large in proportion to the rest of the body that they make the female PCs look freakish doesn't exactly impress me. Repetitive action isn't exactly a winner, either.

Kim Anubis

NetDwarf, I'm sorry you feel you are a "dork." If you continue to project that on others this way you might even get someone to confirm it. Maybe instead, like a former "office loser guy" we all know, you should seek out the red pill.

SexistRoidrageGuy

Amazing that people can look at Dragon's Crown artwork and be offended by the portrayal of women. Personally when I look at the art, I'm offended as a human being at the depiction of anatomy.

Maybe I'm just a jerk biased against people with horrible skeletal and muscular deformities.

Kim Anubis

SexistRoidrageGuy (hilarious name!), my initial reaction was similar to yours. After all, at least two guys in the pic at the top of this article have freakish shoulders that wouldn't fit through a doorway. But I think there is a difference. Did you see that video? None of the male characters have a giant "lance" bouncing and twanging wildly in front of them every time they turn around, similar to the female character's breasts. The female character art does not, like the male, exaggerate strong muscles -- for her, it's just T and A. Where's the female character with the exaggerated powerful muscles, and the sexy male with the booty shorts and giant package?

Pussycat, I've been thinking about your comments. The difference is that, for anyone who wants to play this game (and many others in the same genre) if you play a female character you end up with an exaggerated sexualized avatar with physical characteristics that would, in reality, actually hinder her in combat. It's giant boobs and a skimpy outfit that armors nothing but those, or you have to play as a dude, all too often.

Whereas, in SL, having giant ones each bigger than your head is only optional, third party, and if someone wants them they need to be shopped for or built and voluntarily attached. As far as stock avatars go, SL is pretty good about that sort of thing -- there's a chest slider for female avs, but there's a package slider for the males, too! Of course, it still isn't perfect. Last I checked, avatar physics will affect the T and A, but there's no way to adjust the bounce of a male package. That would bring us round to discussing why bouncing boobs are okay but a bouncing package might require more than a G rating, but that's a larger cultural issue.

NetDwarf

Kim, there is an Amazon female character, made of muscles. I think it is supposed to meet your expectations. Please, don't judge whole game by short video.
As to me, I'm starting to think that there is nothing wrong with game, but with certain players it is. Seriously, look, male gamers are playing dude characters. Also they are playing female characters, monster characters, robot charecters, animals, undead, aliens and so on. And nobody was whinning about those characters ain't go well with players personality or anything. But here comes Iris.
If developers really wanted to offend players, they would do it million times harder, literally making people run for butt treat.

Kim Anubis

NetDwarf, thanks for telling me about the muscular female character. Still, doesn't sound as if there is much sexy eye candy for the ladies, but oh well. It isn't as if I think that every game must please everyone and offend no one. It's just frustrating, sometimes, as a woman who prefers to play a female character, that often my only option is hypersexualized and not properly armored, whereas the male characters usually appear to be prepared for battle. This is, in fact, one of the reasons I don't really bother with that sort of game anymore.

If this happens to you often enough, atop things like, say, a little sexual discrimination in the workplace, or being groped by some clownshoe on the bus, and then you go home to play a new game and there are, yet again, a bunch of battle-ready male characters and (in many games) just a giant-boobed waif or two, it can feel like the last straw. It can just grind down your patience, you know?

I don't think developers set out to offend, and I don't think there should be rules or restrictions requiring, "For every hypermuscular male avatar there must be a corresponding hypermuscular female avatar," etc. It's just that a lot of people don't seem to be aware of the issue at all, and some men react so defensively when it is brought up that they spout some horrible insults and filth in a purposely hurtful way, which just makes the whole situation worse.

Some of us spent most of our gaming years being the one girl among the guys. Back even before video games were around we were playing with dice and character sheets -- and asked time after time to have our character screw a guard to get the party out of jail. There has been an increase in women gamers though, and maybe women younger than myself haven't had as many negative experiences pile up. But if none of us ever spoke up, it might never have begun to change.

Btw, thank you again for coming back and discussing this further. Makes me think you weren't being intentionally offensive with the "white trash" racial-and-classist slur and the inaccurate characterization of people who live in trailers. The line between humor and offensiveness can be very fine, and just as if is hard to tell if you're going to offend someone, it can be equally hard to tell whether someone intended to offend.

Pussycat Catnap

@Kim: Good points.

I wasn't trying to say SL as a whole is equally guilty. Not by a long shot.

But I was trying to point out that the same subculture that motivates this game also exists within SL. That we should be cautious of telling others to clean their house unless we're willing to go dust the living room in our flat as well or at first.

While not everyone who "puts on the prims" in SL is recreating the style here, and more importantly: the disempowerement politics of that style... there ARE those who do.

Counter Point case: Penny Patton, the champion of avatar size/proportions, also runs/ran a roleplay sim based on part of this kind of visual: extreme chests. BUT her sim features it from an empowerment angle. Its subtle enough that you might miss it at first glance - but there is a strong difference.

But the on point case: Many 'interracial' sims are full of people sporting this look and using it as a way to denigrate 'African women' by doing their "features" to an extreme, and coupling with a got-no-class attitude as a part of XXX-roleplay...

I have however NOT found this visual in the action and fantasy roleplay here much... mainly because in SL there is a curious belief among RPers that any scantily or unclad female is a slave not allowed to [effectively] use weapons...

The meme this review talks about seems to instead be making fun of 'action women' by over-doing the scanty bit and the 'anatomy'... which is a different form of disempowerment than that found in SL...

The offense is found in that the women become not people for themselves, but for visual entertainment.

Put this way: When you play one on the male toons you are "meant" to identify with that hero and take on his persona. He is "you" in the game. When you play on one of the female toons you are there as an observer, watching her bounce around, and taking an indirect perspective on the game.

- That mentality is best illustrated in comments from many MMO players on forums like WoW forums where, when asked why they play a 'female blood elf' the answer comes back as 'what kind of butt they wish to stare at while playing the game.' Such players do not self-identify with their toon, they observe it. But WoW's toons are not exaggerated (in this way), so there this is a player's choice, and other players will instead answer how they identify with that character.

But here... the female toon is intentionally designed to be '3rd party observed', while the male toon is intentionally designed to be '1st party self identified hero.'

(SL, like WoW - doesn't force the choice. But it has the look, and so you can find whether or not the problem is present by looking instead to the context in which that look shows up. IN the game reviewed here, there is only one context present... and it is the prime example context of a '3rd party observer objectification'.)

...

I'm a little buzzwordy there, as my ideas are still forming. They've been in my head for a long time but not expressed much before, so my wording is not as good as it could be...

Kim Anubis

Pussycat, that was a great post! I think I finally really understand where you're coming from. Thank you for taking the time to write that, especially the part about identifying with a character versus selecting it on the basis of the rear view -- that's pure truth!

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