We’ve talked a ton about how female characters in games are often sexualized and designed with the straight male gaze in mind. The norm is for developers to dress a female character (whether it is a protagonist or an obscure NPC) in scantily clad outfits, pose them in ways that accentuate their sexuality, and give them personalities that are shallow and desires that appeal to straight male players. When any conversation about sexism in games is brought up, the response is similar to this one:
Street fighter sexualizes women? Give me a break. The men are just as handsome and sculpted as the women. When the men are no longer good looking and ripped with muscle, THEN you can complain.
It’s a standard “what about the men” kind of response, one that is dismissive of the concerns of women and a blatant attempt to turn the discussion into an oppression Olympics. Another less inflammatory example of this comes from SOE Creative Director Matt Higby, who in response to this article from Nicole Leffel says:
I’m definitely not condoning any of the sentiments expressed by the antagonists in this post, but, I wonder if any of the scrawny and / or overweight dudes working in the games industry get upset when the hero of their action game needs to be a muscled idyllic “bad ass” human male. If I was involved in a discussion about the size of the arms on the hero of my game I can’t see myself being offended because it doesn’t portray men in reasonable way. I remember the sexism argument used to be that there were too few female protagonists in games, is it shifting to now that they’re too pretty (by societal standards, don’t get mad at me here!)? Finally, I’m not sure that a crude discussion of anatomy can really be considered “sexism”, is it offensive, maybe, but, is it discriminatory? I’m not sure. What do you think?
(Source: Facebook public post
Is it possible to compare the sexist objectification of female characters in games to the macho musclebound male character design? What do you think, readers of The Border House? Sound off below!