Why Females Are Oversexualised In Video Games

Female Demon Hunter

Pre-Victoria's Secret concept art from Diablo 3

Update: A lot of this article has been misconstrued either through confusion or in the name of melodrama. To be 100% clear, I’m not condoning sexism or oversexualisation in video games in any way at all. Indeed, if anything, the purpose of the article is to highlight the history of inequality that has existed between the genders and try to answer why it not only happened but still continues today.

For the sake of consistency, I’ve left the article unmodified even though I’ve been sorely tempted to correct areas where I’ve perhaps been unintentionally flippant or insensitive. Still, the post is merely a theory based on some interesting and plausible conjecture and I’d encourage everyone to read it carefully and thoroughly before passing judgement.

I have this theory. I believe that fundamentally all hetrosexual men are enslaved by women. Well, maybe enslaved isn’t the right word here. Besotted? Captivated? Fixated? See, I think females are the “dominant” gender (if such a thing can even exist) and us males are driven, through biology and instinct, to focus a significant portion of our lives around them. Whether this means chasing after them to engage in sex and companionship or simply thinking about both those things on a frequent basis, there is little denying that most men cannot escape the consideration they give to the opposite sex. Simply put, men are obsessed with women.

And why not? Both sexes (and the resulting interactions) are fundamental components of the human condition. Yet this preoccupation with women, I suspect, has led to a lot of resentment on the part of the male, resentment born out of fear that stems from the ‘hold’ the female gender has over the male. Thus, in order to fight against this, two things occurred throughout the ages to place the power firmly in the hands of the men: male inheritance and organised religion.

Making all inheritance pass only through the male side of a family (primogeniture) combined with Christianity and its off-shoots, transformed the relationship between the human genders for thousands of years. Concepts like male primogeniture, Sharia Law, immaculate conception, no sex before marriage and even complete sexual abstinence were all designed to take freedom and power away from women and essentially shackle the single most potent form of control they had over men – sex. By hiding it, by denying it and by controlling it, males were effectively asserting themselves in a societal position above females.

Fortunately, through efforts such as the Suffragettes and the general feminist movement, we’ve slowly started to change our ways and realise that trying to empower one gender over the other is as ridiculous a concept as it sounds. In fact, we’re now so acutely aware of it that we point out and criticise anything that might portray women in an unequal light to men, especially when it comes to video games. Metal bikinis, strangely proportioned female models and high heeled boots in combat are all classic examples of this.

So why do we do it? Well, I actually think I have a few answers to this.

Firstly, my initial point again: men are obsessed with women. We (men) don’t oversexualise females in video games because we necessarily want to exert control over them, we just do it because we’re simple, primitive ape-creatures who are obsessed with sex and the female form, drawn to them like a moth to a flame. We simply do it because it’s a huge and constant consideration in our lives.

Secondly, because we think it’s what women want. Video games are mostly fantasy representations and reflect things as they would be in a ‘perfect’ universe. The male models are all huge and buff, straining their clothing through their rippling muscles beneath, a massive departure from not only real life but also the men themselves who play the games. If we like seeing ‘perfect’ men, why wouldn’t women like seeing ‘perfect’ women? And if males run around wearing what we would wear in our ultimate fantasies, wouldn’t we want our female characters do the same?

And thirdly because the developers are trying to imbue the female characters with feminine characteristics in order to compensate for their, essentially, masculine qualities. Let’s be frank here, most video games are about fighting and it’s very uncommon, both throughout modern society and history as a whole, for women to be involved in combat. So maybe the question shouldn’t be why the female Demon Hunter in Diablo 3 wears high heeled boots but rather why the heck is she even there in the first place?

Of course, I see equality for men and women in a different light from simply making all female characters in video games wear sensible cloths. Equality should be about freedom, respect and societal status as a whole. Now whether metal bikinis and big polygon tits detract from those things or not, I honestly have no idea. I am just a simple sex obsessed primitive ape-man after all.

-Gordon

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81 Comments

  1. spinks says:

    ” I believe that fundamentally all hetrosexual men are enslaved by women. ”

    That’s fairly bonkers.

  2. Klepsacovic says:

    Let’s run with this assumption, that men aren’t really sexist, they’re just trying to create perfect bodies for everyone in their fantasy worlds. Great! Based on the relative level of complaints, it seems that women are less happy with their perfect bodies than men are. Maybe men aren’t very good at creating perfect bodies for women. I propose hiring women to design the perfect bodies for female characters and see if that works out any better.

    • Gordon says:

      Agreed. Why have we never done it though? It’s not like this is a new concern. That’s what I find interesting.

      My guess would probably have something to do with the amount of attention it generates with the media plus perhaps companies believing in the adage that sex sells better.

  3. Phred says:

    So what about gay men? What about guys that like big women? Or guys that like older women? Don’t women obsess just as much about men? Aren’t women just as carnal as men, only in a different way?

    Your initial thesis is deeply flawed and it all just gets worse from there. Yes, video games are made mostly by and for men. That’s the problem. Women in video games get portrayed in a light that only reflects the male ideal of femininity. Likewise, men in video games are based on ideal masculinity according to men. The viewpoint of women, and what women want is completely ignored at best and more often openly ridiculed the boys club that is video gaming culture.

    Women do serve in combat zones. Women serve as police officers in high crime areas. Women fight fires and women play sports. And our age isn’t isolated in this regard. Women disguised themselves as men and fought in the American Civil War. A woman lead the last of the British Iceni tribe in an uprising against the Romans in 60A.D. The idea that women wouldn’t want to be involved in combat or violence is flat out false.

    Maybe we should… I don’t know… maybe ask for the input of female gamers? get some more female game designers? Stop acting like complete douchbags to women when they compete in video game competitions?

    But hey, whatever amiright? I’m sure that a bunch of overweight, unwashed, unemployed, neckbearded manchildren know EXACTLY what women want in video game representations of women.

    • Gordon says:

      Yeah, I’d agreed it’s flawed – it’s not an actual thesis ;)

      “Women in video games get portrayed in a light that only reflects the male ideal of femininity. Likewise, men in video games are based on ideal masculinity according to men.”

      This is what I’m trying to explore – why do men, assuming they are the ones who developed most of the games, do it? Is it just because we’re simple creatures who can’t escape the biological urges of sex? Or maybe I got it wrong and in actuality we’re in the pursuit of some form of warped perfection?

      I’m not trying to justify sexism in video games, just postulating reasons for it existing.

  4. HGHG says:

    Christ was a Jew. It’s a dumb assumption that all religion flowers from Jesus, and it’s even more dumb to assume that men invented religion to control women. Certainly religion is fucked up, but mainly by idiots who dosen’t recognize that shit’s changed in the last 2k years.

    Check your facts.

  5. UnSub says:

    “we’re simple, primitive ape-creatures who are obsessed with sex and the female form”

    My problem with this kind of bio- / neuro-determinism is that we (males) have a choice to be better. The above is a weak excuse that lets us get away with treating women poorly “because we evolved that way”.

    • Gordon says:

      I think males always have a choice but no matter how enlightened or evolved we become, we’ll always be slaves to our primal and genetic urges to some degree. If we’d overcome that, we wouldn’t constantly read about sex scandals in the tabloids and watch TV shows filled with nudity on HBO.

      • DetectiveClue says:

        If you are a slave to your supposed “urges”, then you are just a weak-minded little boy. Please stay away from alcohol so your urges don’t consume you and cause you to rape a poor woman.

  6. Bernard says:

    I sense that you are going to get burned for this.

    I think you touch on some interesting ideas, in a flippant way. However I don’t think you fully believe your theory.

    As UnSub suggests, you are portraying men as victims of their biology. Video game artists are producing a certain kind of art becomes their genetics unconsciously encourages them to do so.

    Whether or not this is the case (I don’t buy it), someone makes a conscious business decision to publish a game. At that point, it should be considered how these art decisions will be reacted to by the audience.

    • Gordon says:

      “I sense that you are going to get burned for this.”

      Methinks you’re right ;)

      “However I don’t think you fully believe your theory.”

      Well, it’s not like I go around preaching it on the streets ;)

      “you are portraying men as victims of their biology”

      I can see why you think that but it wasn’t intentional. I’m really just looking for an explanation beyond the ‘men are all just fundamentally sexist’ argument.

      • Bernard says:

        My learnings as a NBI Initiate is to perhaps avoid controversial topics as the basis for thought experiments.
        Most people would rather than unsubscribe than discuss why sexy sells video games, and your personal opinion in all this was lost.

        • Gordon says:

          “perhaps avoid controversial topics as the basis for thought experiments”

          That would certainly make life a lot less stressful ;)

          Still, not that do it very often at all, I enjoy exploring different thoughts and ideas. Usually the response is positive, sometimes not. Unfortunately I’m always surprised at how quick some people are to react very negatively and aggressively. I suppose that’s just one of the wonders of the Internet ;)

          Good luck with the NBI – I’m enjoying your blog!

  7. hitsstuff says:

    “why wouldn’t women like seeing ‘perfect’ women”

    And what is a perfect body for a woman? Hint: answer will vary according to the woman you ask (for me: WoW female orc, but with less boobs and less of an hourglass in the middle)

    … unless, of course, you’re going to define the “perfect women” from the point of view of men.

    “I am just a simple sex obsessed primitive ape-man after all.”

    I kinda feel sorry for you.

    Have you ever considered becoming more than that?

  8. Pewter says:

    As one of those geek feminist bloggers, I must admit I don’t really get what you’re saying with this, other than ‘women use sex to control men, and men are sex obsessed ape-men’. Are you trying to explain/excuse the way women are presented in cultural artifacts? Are you saying it’s okay, because that was the reason for it?

    I just don’t understand the point of this post, which is unusual for you because I normally have a lot of time for your blog. I’m very surprised.

    • Gordon says:

      I’m not trying to condone it or agree with it, I guess I’m just trying to explain it beyond the argument of it’s just that way because men are inherently sexist or whatever. I mean, there must be a reason for it, right? And if not, if video games oversexualise women because they are made by men who are fundamentally and/or subconsciously sexist, then that kinda proves my point about primitive urges as well.

  9. Kadomi says:

    Like Pewter, I am confused and actually very disappointed by this post. I hold this blog in high regard and kind of expected more than a half-assed excuse why gaming companies try to sell their games via over-sexualization of female characters.

    Are you saying men are sex-driven apes, deal with it? Or what’s the real point? Are you saying you are okay with how female characters are depicted?

    It’s no wonder that I have seen this blog post described as ‘mansplaining’.

    • Gordon says:

      Oh I’m not agreeing with it at all, I’m just postulating reasons because I find the topic interesting. It seems we can’t get past the principle concept. Yes, oversexualisation sells, yes men do it, yes video games do it… but why? What’s driving us to do it? Surely there has to be some reason? And if that reason is as simple as ‘men like sexy women’, then doesn’t that reaffirm what I’m saying in my post?

      Anyway, sorry you didn’t like the post, Kadomi :( To be fair though, I find it a little sad that one can’t delve into this subject matter without being derided. I just find these sorts of debates fascinating. World of Warcraft post next week with no sex or religion in it, I promise ;) Well… maybe just a little…

      • Kadomi says:

        I am pretty sure you can delve into this subject without derision. I don’t think game companies put big boobs and skimpy outfits into the games because you guys are drooling apes. They put them in for what they deem a quick buck. Which sort of misses the point, as the gaming and MMO market is so widely spread out today that you can’t just cater to the ‘horny teenage boys’ market of yore.

        I recently posted about the oversexualization of female characters in Guild Wars 2 and overall got very positive feedback for this post and zero trolls, with quite a few guys agreeing with me.

        Maybe the angle that you are looking at and that gaming companies seem to be looking at is wrong.

        • Gordon says:

          I totally see your point and whilst I agree that developers/publishers/whomever purposefully add sex into games (or TV shows or films) because it sells, ultimately we are ones who consume them willingly. We – men, women – have a right to say no… but we don’t. In fact, we buy it in droves. Why?

          Not that I’m trying to justify it but I think putting the blame squarely on the shoulders of anonymous games companies and the money men is an easy answer that shifts focus from all those folk out there that buy their wares. And while I think people who enjoy games like Bayonetta or female Demon Hunters in D3 or metal bikinis in WoW are culpable, I don’t think they are all malicious in their intent. Personally, I think they’re just biologically predisposed to find that stuff appealing… not an excuse, I agree, but an explanation of sorts.

  10. shipwreck says:

    In short, women are over-sexualized in games because men want to see them in skimpy outfits and would probably say it makes them look ‘feminine’ (instead of just ‘trashy’, or ‘Boris Valejos prepubescent dream’).

    Glad to see I’m not the only one a little confused and put-off by this post. Sorry your fans are in revolt, Gordo!

    Good on ya for at least bringing up the subject and spurring discussion though :)

  11. Ophelie says:

    If your theory were true, then all cultures in the world would be patriarchal. Which is not the case.

    For the “Secondly, because we think it’s what women want.”, that isn’t true. Developers create games based on their target market. Which is generally “white, young, Western men”. Oversexualized women and grossly muscled men are what white, young, Western men buy into.

    What women like in their media, and what body shapes in either gender are most popular in women are not a secret. Game developers just ignore them because “masses of women” isn’t their target market. And they know gaming women will probably just buy the game regardless because if we stayed away from every game that wasn’t made for us, we wouldn’t be playing very much.

    • Gordon says:

      The second point was made with the idea that if men wanted to see muscle bound thugs punching things in the face then they may well assume that women would want to see their femininity exploited so gratuitously as well. I could see how a developer, producer, publisher or whoever would be lead that (twisted) logic.

      • Robert says:

        Only people who have never interacted with the opposite sex would come up that kind of logic. Why Females Are Oversexualised In Video Games? “Developers create games based on their target market. Which is generally “white, young, Western men”. Oversexualized women and grossly muscled men are what white, young, Western men buy into” – Ophelie. Subtract “white, young, and western” and there ya go. It’s entertainment.

  12. Matt says:

    “So maybe the question shouldn’t be why the female Demon Hunter in Diablo 3 wears high heeled boots but rather why the heck is she even there in the first place?”

    Well that’s the kicker, isn’t it? Imagine if video games were realistic and women had less strength (or whatever videogame equivalent) than men? Oh, the howling we would hear…

  13. [...] ladies, let’s sit down and read what has to be the most facile, lazy and unexamined piece of thinking about a subject that faces us daily. I was literally jaw agape at how poorly this article was worked [...]

  14. Imakulata says:

    I’m struggling with understanding your post too. I understand (or at least I think I do) you’re not trying to excuse it but I’m not sure what are you trying to say.

    The opinion that men are not able to control themselves is actually quite new and many of the concepts you mention (primogeniture etc.) pre-date it. I think some older cultures actually believed women to be the sex-obsessed gender, wasn’t homosexuality so popular in ancient Greece because it was believed to enable men to have a relationship that was not based merely on sex?

    • Gordon says:

      Yeah, I’m by no means trying to excuse or justify it (not sure why people think that – time to add a disclaimer to the top of the blog post ;) ), rather I’m just trying to explain it beyond the ‘anonymous games companies sell sex to horny teenagers’ theory. Surely there has to be some other aspect at work?

      • Imakulata says:

        That I can tell you in one word: Tradition.

        Well, not quite, but I decided not to let it deter me from using a good quote. :) However, there certainly is a lot of inertia in the culture and games are not special and/or standing “out of the culture”. So, in my opinion, it’s not a matter of just “why are women displayed this way in computer games” but in the movies, TV and anywhere else.

        But I have to admit I don’t know the reason for it.

  15. Madowx says:

    Does it really matter tho?

    I’m a guy myself and when playing videogames I don’t spend time thinking about how the women looks or what they are wearing, I’m focused on the game and that’s it.
    Does it really matter if it’s sexist or patronizing in favour of women or males?

    I can agree that some female characters are wearing ridiculous outfits, Dead or alive for example, but does it really affect the gameplay?

    And insinuating that the ones who make the games is only thinking about $$ when designing women in games is just flat out ridiculous, who in their right mind buys a game just because there’s skinny girls with big breasts and close to no clothes?

  16. Liore says:

    So.. okay, you’re putting the blame for creating overly sexualized female game characters on women, because we’re just so damn sexy men can’t help themselves. I.. just.. really?

    I don’t ask you to care, but for what it’s worth I’ve been following this blog for a while on RSS and today I unsubscribed. It’s one thing to argue something controversial in good faith, but this post feels like you haven’t actually put much thought into the subject at all and don’t intend to.

  17. Ratshag says:

    Well, Gordon, I thinks I understands what yer tryin ta does here, but I think ya made some wrong turns with yer logics, and they’s done taken ya to a very wrong place. I shall elaboratify.

    “Firstly, my initial point again: men are obsessed with women … drawn to them like a moth to a flame. We simply do it because it’s a huge and constant consideration in our lives.”

    Is true what generallies men finds the female form pleasin’, and is interested in gettin’ laid on a regular basis. But it ain’t like we’s bangin’ our whonkers against the computer monitor until we die. Even in our recreation time, sex done gots ta compete fer brain bandwidth with “am I hit capped?”, “DIE YOU FLUGGERNUBBERS!”, “tackle him alreadies!”, “Who ya wantin’ on yer fantasy team, bro?”, “Wait, was that The Imp’s dagger, or Littlefinger’s?”, “Blue. Definitely blue.”, etc., etc., etc. The sex thinkings is a player, but is hardly the only game in town.

    “Secondly, because we think it’s what women want… If we like seeing ‘perfect’ men, why wouldn’t women like seeing ‘perfect’ women? And if males run around wearing what we would wear in our ultimate fantasies, wouldn’t we want our female characters do the same?”

    No, we ain’t seein’ “perfect” men. If’n we was, they’d have foot-long nobbinfloppers an’ be capables of climaxin’ every two minutes or so. But we only sees that in Second Life. Instead, what we gets in video games usuallies be perfect killin’ machines, which makes a lot more sense in the context. And in me perfect fantasies, I’s wearin’ a damn nice tux, but that ain’t always practicals, even if’n yer James Bond. No more’n a stripper outfit.

    “And thirdly because the developers are trying to imbue the female characters with feminine characteristics in order to compensate for their, essentially, masculine qualities… maybe the question shouldn’t be why the female Demon Hunter in Diablo 3 wears high heeled boots but rather why the heck is she even there in the first place?”

    Well, hell’s bells, why is the demons there, if’n we’s askin’ reality-based questions? Don’t remembers them in me WWII books. The answer ta why wimmenz be there is ’cause game designers recognize what givin’ they’s customers a choicification be good fer business. An’ then the collective they forgots that by the times what things reached the final art renderings.

    • Gordon says:

      “An’ then the collective they forgots that by the times what things reached the final art renderings.”

      Agreed. Probably left in there as an afterthought by the designer who drew the boots in the first place because he was biologically driven to find long legs appealing as a sign of fertility…

  18. Dril says:

    It was an interesting post; I agree with other commenters in that I don’t really see the point (largely because I don’t think there IS a point in this, it seems like you were exploring the idea rather than making a judgement, which it seems most people want when it comes to females and games because then it’s either something they can attack or something they can agree with) but, well, it did provide a nice train of thought to read.

    What I don’t really understand is all the flak you’re getting, Gordon. Sure, it’s not ragingly pro-feminist, but to try and weave some sort of pro-male sentiment seems a rather big leap to make.

    • Gordon says:

      “it seems like you were exploring the idea rather than making a judgement”

      Exactly! Thank you :D

      “What I don’t really understand is all the flak you’re getting, Gordon. Sure, it’s not ragingly pro-feminist, but to try and weave some sort of pro-male sentiment seems a rather big leap to make.”

      I agree! I think the Internet was just bored today :P

  19. Pewter says:

    I don’t think you’re getting thar much flak in the grand scheme of things, more confusion at the lack of focus, logic or point to the post.

  20. Orpho says:

    How disappointing. I have read this blog for three years, and my first reaction was to say that I’m done here. My more measured response is to hope that this discussion in the comments changes your mind. I would suggest that perhaps reading a little more would be a good idea, because this is an issue that matters a lot, and impacts a lot, of the people in the (gaming) world.

    I hope you make an effort to read, understand, and really listen to some of the female bloggers who’ve commented here. I think one of the problems in how you’re looking at this issue is that I don’t think you’ve really investigated how different your perspective is on this because it doesn’t directly impact you, that you haven’t had to think about this a lot because it doesn’t affect you in every single interaction you have online and elsewhere. This situation is called having a privilege – a special use of the word, not the normal use of the word. The best explanation of it I can find it here: https://sindeloke.wordpress.com/2010/01/13/37/ , Of Dogs and Lizards: A Parable.

    If you’re really intellectually honest, I hope you engage with some of the ideas you find in your search on this and other topics about women in online gaming – particularly the stuff that’s written about women, by women. I see, because of how you’ve replied to every comment here, that you really are engaged on this topic. I take that as a great sign that maybe you can take that engagement a little farther and learn more about the water in which you swim.

    I look forward to and hope that you post more of your ideas as you work through learning about this heavily discussed topic, and about women in gaming in general.

    • Gordon says:

      Sorry you didn’t like the post, Orpho – it wasn’t my intent to offend anyone and it certainly is a topic I give great consideration to.

      To be honest, I was a bit surprised by some of the feedback. Perhaps the way I conveyed my post and some of the words I used weren’t the best choices or were insensitive and I concede that fact but ultimately it’s a theory I had (whether plausible or completely laughable) on the nature of humans and the biological drives of both men and women. I’m not condoning sexism or misogyny in anyway and I don’t believe I alluded to that at all in the post (at least not intentionally). In fact, I was actually trying to highlight the plight that women have gone through over the years in battles of equality and trying to deduce some sort of reasoning for it. Certainly there has to be some sort of reason for concepts like male primogeniture and sexism in organised religion to exist and I suppose male resentment is a valid conclusion in that case. I was never trying to find an excuse or a way to condone it, just a deeper explanation.

      Personally I’d urge people to read the post thoroughly and not let the melodrama of the Internet cloud their thoughts. I always welcome constructive criticism and feedback.

      • Robert says:

        “ultimately it’s a theory I had (whether plausible or completely laughable) on the nature of humans and the biological drives of both men and women.” The thing is, the blog was supposed to be about women being oversexualized in video games yet your theory was basically on why are men horn-dogs. Overall much respect for trying to touch on a controversial subject

  21. frank says:

    I mentioned something similar here…..

    http://www.1up.com/do/blogEntry?bId=9099468

    I called the blog entry Role Models or Eye Candy:The Portrayal of Female Video Characters….. basically I think we came to the conclusion that some of it is due to the masculinity of the actions…..but, as with men I believe that there is a fair amount of Hypersexualisation of both genders…..

    • Gordon says:

      “but, as with men I believe that there is a fair amount of Hypersexualisation of both genders…”

      Indeed there is, in every type of media as well. You only need to look at something Conan to see how oversexualised the main character is.

  22. OmegaTenshi says:

    Haven’t read anything so entertaining lately.
    I like your theory (in parts), don’t agree with all of it but it certainly was interesting.
    And as been said:

    “but, as with men I believe that there is a fair amount of Hypersexualisation of both genders…”

    Looking at for instance comics, no man has hulky, unmanageable muscle structure like that and is still able to wipe their own behind.
    I think that the moment someone can “create” something, whether it’s 3D or simple drawing people create what they think looks nice, not necessarily what’s politically correct. And judging from the sales on items that have oversexualisation in/on them, a lot of people have the same opinion of preference about the opposite and/or same sex.

  23. [...] HIGH HEELS, but found myself unable to muster more than a shrug and an eye roll. Poor Demon Hunter is always the example in arguments from all angles (The opinions expressed in these articles do not [...]

  24. Thatonedude says:

    Well i find it puzzling that no one seems to understand one of the biggest question in the entire post: “Why?”
    “the blog was supposed to be about women being oversexualized in video games yet your theory was basically on why are men horn-dogs.” perfect example it IS about feminine ovesexualization, men being horn-dogs is a grasp at a possible why. see i find this very compelling. insensitive or not its not meant to be emotionally analysed but rationally analysed. your first point really drove home to me, see no matter what the case is any healthy hetrosexual male likes to see the female figure “we’re simple, primitive ape-creatures who are obsessed with sex and the female form, drawn to them like a moth to a flame. We simply do it because it’s a huge and constant consideration in our lives.” some guys don’t want to hear it but deep down.. yeah. imagine humans lost our awsome intelligence we’d be primal ape men, no? what is every other animals goal in life? to continue the species. why any different for us?

  25. Tony says:

    Geez…the women who replied to this article with their panties in a twist obviously didn’t really consider some of your thoughts. Instead, it seems like they just reacted to some of the statements that could be offensive in some manor, but that overall made little contribution to the overarching topic of the post. I’m not saying I agree or disagree, but asking why things are they way they are and attempting to provide an answer, or at least a few statements that will initiate a conversation, are hardly worth the snide remarks in many of these comments. If someone chose to stop following your blog because of this, then I’d say don’t let the door hit them on the way out. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with probing a sensitive topic. You said your piece and obviously meant no disrespect. Ignore those who took it upon themselves to feel disrespected.

  26. Mr. Smith says:

    I would like to start by saying that I have grown to very much enjoy your blog Gordon.

    As to this topic, I feel that the negative responses that you have received are unwarranted and a result of oversensitivity to the subject. “…we’re now so acutely aware of it that we point out and criticize anything that might portray women in an unequal light to men…” sums up a lot of the negativity that you have received. The only way to have been offended by your post was to have been offended before reading it, then forcefully inject a preconceived meaning into it. Your post was repeatedly “raped”.

    As to my opinion on the topic, I believe that portraying male and female characters the way they do in games and many other forms of media is because sex sells…for the most part. Sex has been demonized by religion for a very long time, at least by the religions that spawned modern day religions. It is also a biological response that ensures continuation of a species, hence a need built into the genetic structure of every living thing on Earth. It is also extremely fun and satisfying and feels good (ideally) both physically and emotionally. Demonizing something so natural causes a lot of the problems that surround this issue. Moving on, gaming geeks back in the day were shunned by society, most importantly women, which ensured that most of us that loved games and women had either a shortage of one or the other (same with comic books, I was doubly shunned). Most gamers of yesteryear were undersexed guys going through puberty whose thoughts consisted of only two things, games and sex. This no longer defines the gaming world as well as it used to. Many of us have grown up and although we still think a lot about gaming and sex, we have at least been able to enjoy both. Also, with the acceptance and popularity of gaming in society as well as with our female counterparts we are no longer the social lepers of our youth. So it is a matter of the gaming industry either not changing with the times or continuing to buy into the “sex sells” paradigm because it is still relevant.

    Now, flame on!

    • Gordon says:

      Thanks for the positive feedback! It’s actually been very comforting to get some good comments as I got a bit down after the fuss the article caused. I’m glad I’m not the only one who think it’s negative responses were a bit melodramatic! :)

      • Mr. Smith says:

        I felt the need to respond to the oversensitivity of the response to your post. Gender inequality is a very real issue, and I see topics like the one you touched on in this post as potentially a symptom of this overarching issue. Men and women should be able to honestly discuss these issues without being shouted down or demoralized by oversensitive advocates who do not even bother to listen to what was being said. If one cannot have a civilized conversation about an issue that is important to them then one should keep quiet for fear of damaging their credibility and position. I felt that you were misrepresented in offensive ways by Miss Lemonade in her overly long and obviously angry blog response to this article. I tried to post a comment on her blog and was unable to for some reason. I hope that she rereads this thread with an open mind, and I feel that she owes you an apology. Who knows, may even happen…

        • Gordon says:

          I left a comment on her blog but didn’t have the heart to check and see if it had been published or responded to. Honestly, I think her post was so incredibly hate-filled, irrational and melodramatic that I think it sadly – and ironically – damaged the cause of equality more than anything else.

          I accept that I should’ve been more careful in some of my choice of words in the article but ultimately I think people either didn’t read it properly or, like you said before, approached it with negative mindset right from the start.

  27. XF says:

    I’m a female gamer…but I can see that my gaming urge is decreasing at an alarming yet, and I have no problem with it. As soon as I ‘get killed’ on a game, I quit almost immediately. use to play Tekken—was really good at it, too, but I gave that game up for many reasons. One reason among others is the fact that I’m tired of female (young school females) dressed in lingerie type clothing. When you think about it, this is NOT a good combination and it encourages sexual impurity and quite possibly pedophilia. What makes it worse is that the game designers of these female characters are very realistic.

    Why are women dressed so skanky in video games, you asked? Well, I think that because sadly, sex sells, and that women in general are sadly portrayed as symbols of sex and nothing else. This is also a dangerous combination because it in returns teaches men to value women only for sex appeal, and it teaches young girls/ women that all it takes to be noticed and appreciated is to dress like a harlot.

    Other problems may because many of these male game designers are just perverts who need to get out of their fantasy world. I remember subscribing to the PSM magazines—they use to have a ’swim suit’ art contest of mainly female characters, and one of their top artists use to always draw women in skanky outfits. Now are all men to blame? Nope. There is an artist for the playboy magazine who illustrates women in disgusting clothing…and the artist is a female. There are both male and female game designers creating immodest designs for female characters. Money comes into play here.

    Well, there are a lot of problems as to why females are portrayed as nothing but sexy things. Fantasy is the biggest blame, and on a Godly perspective, it is lasciviousness-Given to or expressing lust; lecherous. Fantasy and lust is always a bad combination.

  28. wendy says:

    Sorry but I see enough fat ugly women in the malls- When I want to relax playing a game I am not going to worry about why the mostly male game dev team chose that female avatar – I am just going to enjoy looking at something pretty and pretending to be kick ass in insanely fitting armor

    Life is WAY too short to turn everything into a patriarchal conspiracy

  29. AKH says:

    “If we like seeing ‘perfect’ men, why wouldn’t women like seeing ‘perfect’ women? And if males run around wearing what we would wear in our ultimate fantasies, wouldn’t we want our female characters do the same?”

    Do you really believe all women want to be THAT busty?
    Because the last time I checked I definitely had a vagina, wanted to keep and I also definitely wish my chest was two-three cup sizes smaller. Also, some of us would hate showing that much skin regardless of how attractive we looked. Then again, I’m only speaking for most women I know.

  30. Amanda says:

    Geeze. What a bunch of oversensitive people. I would love to say it’s the nets fault, but sadly, there are people still typing these comments on their keyboards. Gordon, I completely understood your posts without the disclaimer or reading your comments. What it boils down to is the over sensitivity and a lack of comprehension while reading or listening.

    Since this has been largely a discussion based around what gender and demography you are from… I am female, 27 years old, stay at home mom, married, and have been a gamer since I can remember. I also love to read about any subject you can imagine. I love manga and anime. I also love to write and draw.

    Currently I am working on a graphic novel. 100% it is mine. The idea, writing and art. It is extremely feminist. It is also religious and philosophical. Lastly, it’s erotic. Whats as bad as sexism?? Women (and some men!!) who deny that the human race is sexual. People are sexual. End of story.

    Why just attack video games? Why not classical art? Why not ask why a woman is naked in a clam shell in The Birth of Venus and get crazy oversensitive about what it means for women?? People will always have this “argument” so long as we demonize sex and expect fantasy and art to conform to certain societal values.

    Hats off to you Gordon, I love the discussion. Because that’s what the post is. I have had the same theory for as long as I can remember. Men are horny. Seriously, they are. How many studies have shown and proven that men just put sex to the forefront most of their lives. Yes it’s biological. That has also been (dare I say it??) *proven*. Women can be too, yes, but in most cases it’s not true. There are hormones to be added into this.

    To me though, this entire subject falls into an issue where we demonize sex as something abhorrent and taboo. When we accept sex as it is, perhaps there will be no more sexism and gender inequality. Why?? Because its just sex or its just art or perhaps its just pretty. Duh.

  31. Amanda says:

    Btw, I found this post cause I was looking for pictures of sexy male demons on google. I can draw sexy female demons, just not guys. Geeze I must be sexist… right?!

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