Are unrealistic female models a problem?

Female models

The subject of female characters, female developers and women as part of the games industry as a whole, has been big news in the past couple of years. We've heard about sexism and gender bias, over sexualisation of characters and even people questioning whether boobs could be used for elements of gaming other than eye candy.

Most recently though, there's been a discussion about Crytek's Russian FPS, Warface, which has updated to introduce female characters. However, unlike their male counterparts, which were designed in house, Crytek offered the community a chance to take part in the design process.

A noble idea, but one fraught with danger, as the Russian Crytek fans offered up a scantily clad woman, in high heels and little to no protective clothing. It should be reminded at this point, that this character is going to get shot at just as much any of the male avatars.

Ultimately Crytek opted to ditch the heels, but still left in a fair amount of cleavage and no body armour. The female sniper in particular, featured none of the protective clothing worn by the male iteration of the same class.

Unsurprisingly, the Western press and many gamers cried foul, suggesting this was ridiculous, immersion breaking, sexist and immature on the part of not only the developers, but the gamers themselves.

And I have to say, I agree with them.

Look, I know tits are great. I like tits, I'm sure you like tits, and maybe ass as well, but we should be able to move beyond needing to see what in our female characters. I don't know about you, but I don't play a game because it sexually arouses me. If you do, that's fine, play a game that is designed to do that – but why does every game with female characters need to feature an attractive, young, often poorly dressed one?

The problem I think lies, not in men thinking that all women should be half naked, but in men thinking that other men, playing a female character are lesser men. They're “fags,” or “pussies,” so the guys that want to play a female character, or just happen to because that's the game (Tomb Raider) feel the need to say they're only doing so because they want to look at a nice ass while they shoot bad guys.

That might well be true for some of them, but I guarantee there's others that don't care which gender they picked and others still, which identify more with being a female character than a male. And that's ok too.

One argument often put forward by the pro-tits agenda however, is that we could just remove all female characters from games and then there would be no complaining. Of course that's like saying we should remove all the fish from the ocean to deal with overfishing, but let's consider why that sort of move is unnecessary and wrong.

50 percent of the world's population are women. It might not be quite that evenly spread in terms of gaming, but there's a lot of them, to the point now where on mobile platforms, female gamers actually outnumber their male counterparts. That's a massive section of a developer's audience which would never have the ability to play with a character that is their gender. That might not be something they care about, but they might.

Personally I prefer playing as a male character when given the choice – it's just easier for me to relate to. So if I was a female gamer and found all female characters removed, I'd be pissed. On top of that, it removes half of the entire world's experience and stories, based simply off of the fact that male gamers can't find the confidence within themselves to play a female character, just because someone might make fun of them for not staring at her ass the entire time.

It really is as ridiculous as it sounds and it's holding gaming back. It's making it harder for female and male gamers to integrate, it's giving us a bad name in the press as sexist morons and it's slowing the progress of developers creating intriguing and detailed stories about being a woman.

But we don't just need female characters in games that conform to the same universe specific traits as men, in order to preserve some shred of the game world's realism, we need to get to a place where we can play games that have female perspective mechanics and gameplay too.

We got to see Duke Nuke'm piss in a toilet multiple times. Can I play as a female soldier who has to do that awkward balance/squat thing, while pulling my pants forward? That looks challenging in real life, let alone doing so with a controller. Hell make a whole minigame out of it with the control base from Surgeon Simulator and I think we're on to a winner.

The point is, when female characters are reduced to sexual objects for tantalising enjoyment, rather than realistic actors in the title's play (not realism as in real world, but realistic in the context of the game world they inhabit) it restricts and slows the development of gaming as a whole, it accentuates stereotypes and above all, it's completely unnecessary.

Now here's the interesting part. You've read the above (hopefully), you've taken it in (hopefully) and maybe you agree with me (hopefully). If not, judge your state right now. Do you have some interesting counter-point to make? If so, pop it in the comment box below. Are you huffing and puffing with rage and barely suppressed sexual desire because all you've been picturing while reading is the pixelised version of a pair of giant, fake tits?

If so, maybe it's time you played a few less games and talked to a few girls. Really, the real life versions are way, way better than the ones in most games.

Author: Jon Martindale

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I think its just news as to

I think its just news as to create debate and coins, a combination of pleasure and economics. We will always have sexual games as with sexual movies and so forth unless the holy roman church or some other ascended problem decides to censor everything through force and politics. Even so, we will have them and people who hunt them on both sides. Is it good, bad? I could say both, one or none. The question is nobody really knows and probably never will. What I do know is that its legal and therefor valid for a number of cultures and that should be enough for many of you. I can understand the person with self image problems concerning what is being seen on many screens. Once, I had this sort of adventure in which I understood how we are totally bombarded with sex everywhere in many countries. From late night innuendo on the radio, to the music itself, movies, novels and more. I couldnt even turn on the news because the reporters had such a provocative escot. It wasnt because of my image of self but due to intense focus on other matters but, due to the distance I could actually feel what I knew beforehand. Equally, you better get some love for yourself, dress up for your man or woman and get active enough to tear him or her from the screen if you see any sort of sexual interest that isnt being satisfied by you.

Lose your penis?

We're outnumbered on mobiles are we? No shit 'cuz we's playin' real games. When Crytek makes a mobile game in the same manner then maybe all your pussy bitch whiny cunt bullkife will make some sense. What kind of basement dwelling, troll faced mongoloid looks at an animated drawing out of triangles made to represent a woman, & wets his panties? Quit whining about all the sexism shit. If large numbers of women gave a shit, then large numbers of women would be involved. They'd be designing & developing games if they really cared. The woman doesn't come with huge amounts of armor 'cuz she's most probably gonna fail anyway before a man has to come in to get the job done right, so she might as well be naked before she gets slaughtered. And WTF you mean "and maybe ass as well"? WTF? Ass first bitch! Ass first. Then maybe some shit tits, if the ass is producing. Know what I mean?

Wow. This is easily the

Wow. This is easily the trashiest, most ignorant thing I've read in my entire life. Your parents must be so proud of you. And I love how you managed to somehow centre a dialogue about women on men and men's needs and completely ignoring the effects and needs of women. Wave that misogynist flag high!

It's just as rare these days

It's just as rare these days to find realistic male characters as it is female ones. Most of the male characters in games are either the Epic Games ultramuscular, gruff voiced trigger happy morons, the ultimate soldier types (SAS or Navy SEALs) or even empty headed jocks. These characters are then also placed into hypermasculine environments involving heroic combat or sports prowess beyond 99% of real men's abilities. The point here is that games for the most part, are male oriented fantasy escapism so the male characters are always idealised hypermasculine types and the female characters are either eye candy, masculinised or both (a good example is Samus Aran, she's as badass as any man but looks like a barbie doll without her armour). The last time I can remember playing as a male character who wasn't some sort of superhero was John Shepard in Mass Effect who experienced loss, self doubt, fear and love and the female Shepard was just as good (even though some of the other female characters were the classic eye candy/masculine types). In the types of games we have available to us right now, the likelyhood of finding good, well realised female characters is just as unlikely as finding good, well realised male characters. There are always exceptions of course, some games which are distinctly story driven rather than testosterone based combat driven have pretty good characters but even so we're not talking literary masterpieces here.

Just the facts.

"And I have to say, I agree with them." Ive been using MG as a news source on gaming since back in the old Q3 UT CS days. Back when this site reported news not opinion. Wtf has happend lately ive no clue. But stop mixing up megagames with some douchebag/fanboy filled pointless forum you hack.

i disagree with your

i disagree with your disagreement iv not even read the "article" because of others that wasted my time with opinions rather than facts and just opend this post for pics and to see how **** the comments are ;)

Indoctrination

The first port of call, for any baby/toddler/child, is to watch Disney films. This is generally how a male and female are made to play their parts. If we didn't know we'd all end up being a sexual with only reproducing in mind instead of selling sex. For you to realise this is to understand what you are.. you are not a machine, you are a biological sentient being which came from nature.. (or another planet where are dna was mixed with the planets natives to produce the white man)

I grew up in a house not

I grew up in a house not watching disney films. I have however studied gender extensively and while media is an influence in developing gender roles, the idea that without media we would all be sexless is at best paradoxical and nonsensical. Sexuality is a biological component of humans as much as it is a socialised construct - we've long told romantic stories about hopeless girls and boys finding each other's arms not to turn everyone straight, but to express our longing to explain the strength of our affection for a particular type of person. These are observed in adults, adolescence and children who are far to young to be influenced so strongly by media consumption.

Loved it.

I really loved this article. The writing style was perfect and all thoughts and opinions were excellently expressed. My only issue is that I do not see the author listed anywhere on the article. Who wrote it? I'd like to read more of their articles.

Because that's would be a

Because that's would be a power fantasy designed by men for the benefit of men. If you want to talk about impossible beauty for men you have to look for the Yaoi stereotypes but even then, they're expressions of male sexual prowess through appropriation of feminine traits.

Caracter is more important

I think the problem is not just the appearance, it's the character. The writing of female characters is terrible, it's the same in Hollywood, they are always written in such an annoying way, either waaaaay to sensitive or the 'ass kicking chick' I think we need a good female character. The best example of a good female character was Alex Vance from half life 2, yes she was an ass kicking chick but not all pissy or 'sassy' about it. Lara croft is okay but sometimes a little too full of herself

eh....

The community that plays the game decided as a collective what kind of female character they want to play as! It is fantasy! So I think you should shutup and mind your own business instead of playing mr White Knight on megagames and tainting this place with your politically correct garbage that really nobody wants to hear. I'm really surprised you actually are proud of writing up such a dripping emo spam of text, perhaps you should apply the same enthusiasm with telling us about the latest gpus becaues most of those articles aren't even half the length of this one. You may think 'lol we get more hits' yeah well you do today, but if you keep writing this garbage I'm gone, I'll find my news elsewhere.

Yes it is fantasy! MALE

Yes it is fantasy! MALE fantasy. That's the point. Asking men what females should look like in a game is like asking them if pads or tampons are better. Sure a lot of male internet douchebags probably have a stupid opinion but they have no fucking idea and it doesn't give a good representation of women.

To be honest I think a game

To be honest I think a game with too much input from gamers always turns out to be shitty. Most gamers don't know jack about game design, coding etc. They just know what they like but that's not good enough, for example, if you combine a bunch of food you like the result won't always be edible will it?

I`m one of those gamer girls

I`m one of those gamer girls as well, and i think that a good game would sell itself withou the nudity and over sexualised women or men. Fighting mechanics and the story. (that bad woman who "banned" her husband from playing those)

Those "women" in the games

Those "women" in the games have made me really insecure of myself and my body, that when my husband plays those games which have that kind of "women" in them give me an anxiety attack... Thats what it has done for me. I`ve banned" my husband from playing those *saying it with alot of shame in my eyes' I think if games had real women in them, alot of us(women) wouldn`t have issues with our bodies. Sexualism overall.

^ this

It's stupid to blame games for something like this, the problem has been around for over a century, maybe more, I'm not sure when advertising started using mostly good looking people.

You're why everyone hates men

You're why everyone hates men. You're the reason women hate men, you're the reason men hate men. You make men hate themselves for being men. You are the problem here and you're just another dumb fucking american that's too blinded by their own self-absorbed bullshit to see that.

You are spot on. Most (if not

You are spot on. Most (if not all) of the comments here comes from fat male gamers so they think it's normal to portray women like this.. maybe because they wouldn't be able to date women like this in the real world in the first place. The point being, gaming is superficial and most guys choose (when the choice is given) avatars which are much better looking then themselves to compensate their own true image. In this superficial, artificial world, they won't mind seeing women with the same perception. Seven years ago, there were pratically no lightning in games, the devs improved that quite a lot but despite all this eye candy games doesn't look real still; they need to show real people in it. We need virtual avatars that looks real instead of looking like fade model without any particular traits. This needs to evolve in gaming. Personally I'd love to play a game where I can have my face and my body in it, if we'd have this possibility in Steam or else maybe some people would have more humility and respect.

No, people don't need to look

No, people don't need to look like their real selves ingame, despite what you may think some people BENEFIT from pretending to be something else for a couple of hours. Think of someone stuck in a wheelchair, yay now you can sit on a wheelchair ingame too, someone who suffered deforming injuries, or simply someone who is stressed out due to whatever reason. All that because oh, some people have insecurities. Get rid of your computer, smartphone, tv and any other form of electronic communication then go live in a cave because insecurities come from the current culture and the standards it defines, not a specific medium such as games.

Just wait, some day the porn

Just wait, some day the porn industry will invent a fuckable "dick port", pop in the latest rendition of Tomb Raider and let the joy happen. The only woman a man really cares about is the one he can get a dick into, all other arguments are null after that point.

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