The Games We Play: The Chainmail Bikini
It would seem they used all the armor-making material up on the dudes.
I've never slain a dragon with my own hands. I'll leave that up to my lady Warden or Fem!Hawke. I have, however, been in a few fights in my time, though I wasn't exactly telling the forces of nature to shut up and sit down or leading a contingent of undead minions like my Night Elf Death Knight, Auntiepally. I do remember that the one time I had to do so in my underwear went a lot worse for me than the time I was more, erm, properly attired. For instance, I was wearing pants and shoes.
One of my endless grievances with games is the ridiculous notion that just because I am playing a woman character I must have this desire to shake my derriere in three inches of Spandex or, better yet, the notorious chainmail bikini. There are few things that make less sense to me than how that the same armor that fully covers and arms any male avatar has my female Draenei running around in a thong.
Makes me wonder what the leggings are really for...
It honestly makes me feel like game developers and game artists think of me, and other gamers like me, as little more than cannon fodder for their self-satisfactory dreams. Whether or not this is true, it leaves a gal gamer feeling pretty unappreciated for her hard-earned cash.
Wundergeek, from blogs such as Go Make Me a Sandwich and Building Rome in a Day put together a pretty fascinating collection of data of imagery from various forms of gaming to look at sexism that exists there. Her particular slant was to show that the art in books, cards, game covers, and promotional materials tended to be very sexist and in many instances portrayed women in sexually suggestive ways. Even by engineering the data to be conservative, allowing for the most instances of sexist portrayals of men and least of women, the data still came out overwhelmingly to represent that women are by and large shown to be passive and sexual objects, at least in promotions, and often in game play itself.
I ... don't know what the flaps on the side are for.
As a project, she also occasionally does some artwork where she will change the gender of a character from a game to expose the overt hypersexualization of some of those characters. It's a pretty spiffy thing to see, and my favorite is her Crapping Frost Mage. I am not too proud to say that I did try to stand in this pose one day when I was home alone to comical results that remain between my cat and me.
Unlike game characters like Isabela from Dragon Age II— whose pantsless condition is not only something that fits her as a character, but seems to be by choice—running around in game in little more than chainmail dental floss is frustratingly absurd. World of Warcraft, while coming out as one of the best games in Wundergeek's observations, is still woefully bad at hypersexualizing their female characters. If I didn't appreciate the many other instances of gender parity in the game (despite the long list of things that it does frustratingly wrong) I may not have the patience for the things that fall flat.
I am no longer content to just accept excuses like, “Well! Sex sells!” and “Oh, well, most gamers are adolescent boys anyhow!” because we know that people who were not previously thought to be part of the gamer demographic are actually playing these games. If they are not yet demanding more, they should be. I am.
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