If a videogame developer ever tells you they “didn’t show the females of that alien species because they would look awkward”, what they’re really saying is “we’re stupid and sexist and can’t conceive of a female character without a pretty face, boobs and ass, please kick us in the groin, we deserve pain”
This is the Sorceress from Vanillaware’s Dragon’s Crown. Lately, this character has been getting a lot of heat, becoming the new icon of sexism in video games. Are you offended by this character? Do you find it sexist? Well guess what, it’s not.
Taking offense to hyper-sexualized female characters is not slut shaming. These characters don’t get to choose what they want to wear. Men choose to dress and pose them in ridiculous physics-defying ways that they don’t choose to do for male characters, thereby making clear the sexist attitudes of the characters’ creators. Women aren’t choosing how they are being represented here, MEN are.
If videogames were being designed by women, I can guarantee that there wouldn’t be mountain ranges across the chests of all the female characters, nor would male characters be as hyper-sexualized as their female counterparts currently are. There wouldn’t be characters with foot-long penises swinging around in Speedos in every game, posing in awkward angles that best display their nether-regions—because it looks ridiculous (see the Hawkeye Initiative).
These present sexist designs spring from the minds of men socialized in a hegemony of patriarchy. They are clearly created with male consumers in mind, and it’s impossible to rightly say that the designers were trying to “empower” women and not just trying to give men a sexual object to look at.
Saying that the rampant hyper-sexualization of women in videogames isn’t sexist but sexual and that you’re actually being sexist for thinking it’s sexist is like saying that the offensive stereotypical POC characters in movies and TV shows aren’t racist. And that the problem lies with people who find these characterizations racist and not in the white people who wrote them. In the context of the world as it is, you can’t ignore the bigger paradigms of issues that these things contribute to. Sure there are Asians out there who consistently get good grades, I was one of them! But when EVERY Asian character on TV has to be smart, a bad driver, and/or knowledgeable of martial arts, it’s racist.
And also, the hyper-masculinization of the warrior character is not a comparable issue. This warrior character was created to make men feel power, not to belittle them for not being as powerful themselves, nor to send a message that all men should be chunks of muscle. This non-effect is clearly seen in the attitudes of the gaming community. Also, these are men creating images for themselves, already making the issue incomparable. And yes, men are indeed pressured to be masculine, irl and by the media, but that is also a facet of sexism. Because while the best thing a woman can be is a woman, the worst thing a man can be is also a woman.
To add to your last point joopinks, OP also succeeds in making multiple false equivalencies. These male characters exist to satisfy a male power fantasy, while the female characters exist to serve a male sexual fantasy.
OP can go ahead open their eyes to the fact that most female video game characters are designed dishonestly, by people with only enough concern for the audience they abuse by perpetuating this BS to craft excuses for their self-serving motivation.
Put another way: Anti slut-shaming arguments exist to help real women, whose autonomy and dignity are compromised when idiots jump to harmful conclusions based on arbitrary things like how much sex they have or how short their skirts are. Applying these same arguments to a fictional image of a women crafted by men means you cannot question the motivations of these men. Motivations which could not be more clearly biased in favor of stoking boners.
These two responses pretty much sum up how I felt whilst reading that original post.
Because yes, celebrating femininity is a great thing, and characters shouldn’t have to embody stereotypically masculine traits in order to be heroes. No argument there.
But there is a goddamned world of difference between a woman willingly owning/flaunting what she’s got, and a bunch of dudes creating a hyper-sexualized female character with absolutely no agency of her own and then defending their actions by saying "no it’s okay, she’s cool with it!" — because of course she’s cool with it, because that’s part of the damned fantasy.