Hey guys! Wow, it’s been a long time since my last post. I apologize–classes have started up and I had to do lots of grown up stuff like find a job and take care of an apartment, so I had no time to ramble about video games on the internet. Still, to you, my small but loveable fanbase, I feel as though I’ve let you down. Let me make it up to you.

…a little disturbing, isn’t it? I understand that we have fancy things like jiggle physics and that we may be tempted to give our lovely video game ladies some more bounce, but one doesn’t need to reduce the female breast to a rubber ball surgically grafted to a 90-pound frame.

The female breast is actually something quite familiar to gamers–an enduring image associating with changing times and technologies. With every console generation we have had games that set out with one singular purpose–to render the female body as lovingly as possible. From Lara Croft to Ninja Gaiden’s Rachel, the female anatomy is almost always the very first object to be rendered by a next-gen console, and that’s kind of my problem with it. That it’s an object.

Sex sells. We all know this. In gaming, however, sex doesn’t just sell–it practically drives the market. It’s no big surprise to anyone that women are not particularly well-treated within the context of gaming. When they aren’t being paraded around in tight, skimpy, or otherwise ludicrous outfits then they’re being snatched and held captive atop some distant tower, awaiting our rescue. Neither depicti0n is particularly flattering, and anyone who is confused as to why there are significantly fewer female gamers compared to male ones needs only to play Bayonetta.

I mean, Jesus Christ, what the hell is up with her legs? This is anatomy gone horribly wrong!

And you know what? There isn’t really anything being done about it. There’s no particularly loud outcry demanding that gaming stop representing women as objects and try to at least provide some veneer of dignity to the fairer sex. While gaming journalism calls it out when it sees it, most reviewers seem to take it in stride, or at least see no overarching problem with it. Maybe once we could chalk it up to gaming being an “adolescent” medium, young and still allowed to waste its resources on silly things like boobs.

Except now it doesn’t seem so silly. We live in fairly enlightened times–and I think we’re smart enough as consumers to know when we’re being pandered to. Games like Wet or X-Blades exist solely to cater to sex-starved shut-ins desperate for any sort of virtual love they can find, because real love has abandoned them. Sadly, these developers seem to assume that the mass gaming market falls under this unfortunate description, and you know what? We’re not really all that offended at the suggestion. In gaming, you have trade conventions marked with B-list models strutting the floor in flimsy cosplay efforts just to drive up interest in whatever schlocky, cut-and-dry, bland simulation that company happens to be peddling that day.

Yeah, that’s right. I don’t like E3 Booth Babes. I don’t like the notion that a supposedly journalistic conference–a literal trade show, where writers and experts on a technology (in this case gaming technology) gather to see what major companies have planned for the year ahead–is treated like a Vegas gala, complete with half-naked women traipsing around trying to grab as much attention to their employers as they can. Games with big marketing departments, who can afford the most lavish parties and most gorgeous models get the largest write-ups in the big magazines and websites, regardless of whether the product they are offering is at all newsworthy!

E3 was gutted because of this Caligula-esque hedonistic facade, but that lasted what, a year? Maybe two? I won letter of the month from EGM commenting on how I felt this was a very good thing. And what happened? E3 came “back”, resumed it’s regular circus show, and is scarcely even a credible tradeshow anymore.  The Tokyo Game Show and especially PAX have completely eclipsed the once gargantuan E3, and we’re all the better for it.

This is all game developers think you really care about.

I don’t really consider myself a feminist. I laugh at too many inappropriate jokes for that sort of moniker. That being said, the treatment of women in gaming is absolutely abhorrent. It’s reminiscient of comic books, really. Both comics and games are considered a “male-dominated” medium, and thus they put out a product that not only alienates any potential female customers, but actually drives them away with shameless and insulting imagery while promoting shallow, insubstantial products loaded with nothing more than innuendo and blatant gratification. Comics is, I think, slowly turning away from this sort of disparaging imagery–writers like Gail Simone are certainly doing their best to move their medium away from that, and I’d like to see something similar happen in gaming.

The problem here is that the mainstream gaming audience doesn’t seem to care. Why aren’t we indignant that developers think so little of us? Why aren’t we calling them out on their sexist bullshit? Is it really enough to slap a pair of tits on the cover of a game to get sales? Why do developers need to resort to such petty sales tricks to get the numbers they need? It seems odd to me. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

What do you think of the portrayal of women in the gaming media? More importantly, why do you think they’re portrayed in such a way? I wanna know what you think.

Sorry again for the late update. I’ll be moving to a more regular schedule from now on.

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