Skepchick Quickies 7.8


Amanda works in healthcare, is a loudmouthed feminist, and proud supporter of the Oxford comma.

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  1. I haven’t generally had an issue with female armour, and I guess that’s in large part because I haven’t MMORPG’d. When you’re just playing one player games, the weird “other player fetishizing” doesn’t come into it, and I’m not particularly fazed if it’s just me. I’m willing enough to “suspend disbelief”, and resigned enough that scantily clad women aren’t going away any time soon. Others milage may vary though.

    1. The author of the videogame article mentioned Mass Effect, but I think she actually missed some of what I consider most crucial in that…

      Properly attired for their jobs, the women were still hot. Chief Williams is/was, and Cmdr. Shepard can be, hard core, physical butt-kickers. Depending on what how you build your character, it’s not the least bit unreasonable for Shepard to walk around with an assault rifle, chucking grenades and smashing big aliens to the ground with elbows. At one point in ME2, it is quite likely that your female Commander Shepard to headbutt a two-meter tall alien as part of a conversation.

      But their armor covers their entire body. It’s form-fitting, yes, but there’s no gratuitously bared midriffs on their armor, and it’s only one of several options for your civilian clothes in the second game. Other female characters are similar.

      I don’t buy the “womens gotta show skin for male gamers to be interested.”

      1. Yes, kudos to Mass Effect 2, regardless of Samara’s distracting cleavage. Of course, I also appreciate BioWare’s David Galder for that epic takedown of an affronted “Straight Male Gamer” regarding Dragon Age II:

        The romances in the game are not for “the straight male gamer”. They’re for everyone. We have a lot of fans, many of whom are neither straight nor male, and they deserve no less attention. We have good numbers, after all, on the number of people who actually used similar sorts of content in DAO and thus don’t need to resort to anecdotal evidence to support our idea that their numbers are not insignificant… and that’s ignoring the idea that they don’t have just as much right to play the kind of game they wish as anyone else. The “rights” of anyone with regards to a game are murky at best, but anyone who takes that stance must apply it equally to both the minority as well as the majority. The majority has no inherent “right” to get more options than anyone else.

        More than that, I would question anyone deciding they speak for “the straight male gamer” just as much as someone claiming they speak for “all RPG fans”, “all female fans” or even “all gay fans”. You don’t. If you wish to express your personal desires, then do so. I have no doubt that any opinion expressed on these forums is shared by many others, but since none of them have elected a spokesperson you’re better off not trying to be one. If your attempt is to convince BioWare developers, I can tell you that you do in fact make your opinion less convincing by doing so.

        And if there is any doubt why such an opinion might be met with hostility, it has to do with privilege. You can write it off as “political correctness” if you wish, but the truth is that privilege always lies with the majority. They’re so used to being catered to that they see the lack of catering as an imbalance. They don’t see anything wrong with having things set up to suit them, what’s everyone’s fuss all about? That’s the way it should be, any everyone else should be used to not getting what they want.

        The truth is that making a romance available for both genders is far less costly than creating an entirely new one. Does it create some issues of implementation? Sure– but anything you try on this front is going to have its issues, and inevitably you’ll always leave someone out in the cold. In this case, are all straight males left out in the cold? Not at all. There are romances available for them just the same as anyone else. Not all straight males require that their content be exclusive, after all, and you can see that even on this thread.

        Would I do it again? I don’t know. I doubt I would have Anders make the first move again– at the time, I thought that requiring all romances to have Hawke initiate everything was the unrealistic part. Even if someone decides that this makes everyone “unrealistically” bisexual, however, or they can’t handle the idea that the character might be bisexual if they were another PC… I don’t see that as a big concern, to be honest. Romances are never one-size-fits-all, and even for those who don’t mind the sexuality issue there’s no guarantee they’ll find a character they even want to romance. That’s why romances are optional content. It’s such a personal issue that we’ll never be able to please everyone. The very best we can do is give everyone a little bit of choice, and that’s what we tried here.

        And the person who says that the only way to please them is to restrict options for others is, if you ask me, the one who deserves it least. And that’s my opinion, expressed as politely as possible.

        1. Truthfully, as an art issue, I found most of the scantily clad women in ME to be less attractive. In some cases, they looked kinda wrong (Matriarch Benezia never looked quite right), but the skin/fabric interface made them look even more wrong… while everything was skintight, clothes that revealed skin tended to look painted on.

      2. Yes, for me this is the important distinction between sexy and sexualised. FemShep is dressed to kick ass, and that’s what armour is about first and foremost. On a similar vein, one webcomic that gets this very right is Guilded Age. The female characters are all dressed to not get killed, especially Frigg in her suit of very serviceable plate armour.

  2. Regarding blood in menstrual ads, have you read Tina Fey’s “Bossypants?” There’s a great bit about Tina getting her period at the age of 10. Her mother had given her a pamphet, but “…nowhere in the pamphlet did anyone say that your period was NOT a blue liquid.” Have only read the first 45 pages or so and it’s a lot of fun.

  3. Thanks for the quickies! I especially loved the article about female costuming in gaming as a female gamer and cosplayer. I enjoy dressing my characters (or cosplaying myself) in good looking gear for strong female characters. Demeaning, gratuitous, or nonfunctional costumes stick out like a sore thumb as ridiculous. Bioware generally does a good job balancing form and function in female character creation/costuming (the size of boobs in Dragon Age Legends excluded!) Thanks for the link :)

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