Female protagonists in games and their sexualization

I was watching TL;DR’s video and I got an idea on topic to write about (you can also find my comment there which will be expanded here). I’m not gonna go into the numbers argument, what I was more interested in was the end of the video where this girl mentioned the changes that were applied to Lara Croft in the latest 2013 reboot of the series… Lara Croft was converted from old exaggerated female characteristics into a more “normal” one with the latest 2013 title. And behold, she herself stated that people still liked Lara Croft regardless. Doesn’t that tell us that people still love Lara because she is a kick ass character and not because she had massive boobs and thin waist in the past? Oh, yeah, that sneaky little detail… Gamers don’t mind sexy or over-sexualized women, but if they aren’t portrayed in that way, you’ll never ever find anyone complaining over: “Oh, that chick in game should totally be less dressed/more nude and her tits should be larger”. You just won’t. Faith Connors in Mirror’s Edge had very much average body features if not on the “flat” side. Have you ever seen anyone complaining over her sexual appeal or the lack of her exaggerated physical feminine attributes? No.

faith_connors__mirrors_edge_game_1-wallpaper-1280x720 faith_connors__mirrors_edge_game_2-wallpaper-1280x720

Besides, not all of us gamers are attracted by gigantic breasts and massive buttocks. In Faith’s case, I found her eyes, cool eye tattoo and haircut sexy. And in Lara’s case, from physical aspect, her face as well. I might sound totally gay right now, but I don’t really care as that is my preference with women and I see no reason to be ashamed of it. While I didn’t mind her gravity defying breasts, what made her appealing to me was her beautiful face (at least in “The Legend” and later titles because they got a lot more graphically advanced).

LaraCroft1 LaraCroft2

The above two pictures are actual in-game captures from 2006 that I found in my wallpapers folder. I loved her face so much I used these as desktop wallpapers for a while. Notice how my focus was on the shoulders and up and not her breasts and thin waist? Second photo includes some of her cleavage, because I was capturing these while idle camera was rotating around Lara and she was wearing an evening dress that was simply more revealing. Something you totally never see anywhere in real life, right? I don’t know, I just like it how her face looks and how strains of hair fall down her face…


And even that wasn’t primarily the reason why I loved Lara and Faith. They are just kick ass badass characters. I mean, just look at what they both do. Insane agility and acrobatics paired with awesome weapon and hand to hand combat control. Be it a male or female character, it’s just cool to play as one of these two female protagonists and you know it. So stop grasping at the physical aspect of them. Of course it does fire up certain emotions when you see a women with slightly larger breasts (it’s a normal response for a straight man), but it can be very different for different people. For me, size is not the factor but the shape of breasts. For someone else, it’s just the size. To ones shock, people like somewhat flat chested girls as well. Who says they can’t be sexy? Stop generalizing like everyone strictly want or demand women in games to be barely dressed and with massive breasts. If developers design them that way, it’s nothing we can do about it and it was their artistic decision. But if they decide to make women in games more average and life-like, then that is again their artistic decision as well and no one has anywhere demanded otherwise. So, why the hell are these so-called feminists attacking games!? If you don’t like it, play something else that doesn’t have protagonists at all, like Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit 2010 or Bejeweled 3. Both are awesome games that have no male or female protagonist. You just drive cars and destroy gems. Or countless strategy games. Hell, you have games like Mirror’s Edge and latest Tomb Raider that have women presented as an average looking human. The option is already there, you just have to pick them up. But no, it’s easier to demand everyone else to change to YOUR exact preference with zero tolerance for exceptions. Being a bit dictator-ish, eh?

The other part that I continuously get annoyed by is the portrayal of male protagonists. Feminists just go on and on how women have unrealistic body proportions, oversized breasts and so on, but they totally ignore male protagonists who have biceps and abs made of Stonehenge blocks. I could be in the gym 24/7 and I could never be anything like that. Examples? Duke Nukem, Jim Raynor (Starcraft II) and Marcus (Gears of War)…

DukeNukemForever jim-raynor-starcraft-iimarcus_in_gears_of_war_3-wide

I mean, just look at their insane muscled arms and how buffed up they all are. Why I don’t see anyone running around, screaming how unrealistic and disproportional that is and how that places unrealistic expectations on male players? Just a display on how biased feminist claims are and how they only see what they want and disregard everything else. Games are art and art has never been about realism. It was always abstract, disproportional, twisted, exaggerated, filled with nudity and tits with moon gravity or arms with muscles of an elephant. So let the art be art and stop harassing developers (and gamers) for just expressing THEIR artistic views or preferences in games they are making or playing. If you don’t like it, you can always pick something else that you do like or simply make your own and put your skills to the test and not just judge others on something you might not have any clue about. Making games and successfully sell them is not an easy task as there is a broad range of gamers with very different preferences. If you think throwing in a pair of large breasts will magically solve all your sales problems, you are greatly mistaken… And there are many games out there that were a commercial disaster despite the inclusion of large breasts and thin waistlines. And yes, even Tomb Raider is in there…

2 thoughts on “Female protagonists in games and their sexualization

  1. Hmm, interesting. I enjoyed Lara Croft, used to have fun solving the riddles and shooting bad guys.😉

    Something I notice about women, we are far more judgmental than men are. So we are weighing and measuring physical characteristics in other women constantly. Men really don’t do this much. LOL seriously, they’re just happy to see a girl.

    So the premise of your post is a good one. I had a chat with a girl who does not like the way women are portrayed in video games because they don’t look like her. Underneath all that what you’re hearing is, men won’t find women attractive anymore because they’ll expect all women to look like female characters in a video game. Gamergate has been kind of interesting to watch, because it really is about female sexuality and insecurity in action.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve heard that before, that women check other women in detail and talk about pretty much everything that is physically on them, but haven’t actually witnessed it myself beyond movies. I don’t ever remember commenting on another guy in a male company though… Could be some sort of embedded, unwritten rule in male minds that you just don’t gossip about other men.

      I don’t really have higher expectations for women either, because I watch seemingly perfect women in games. For me, these two realms are entirely separated. Sure you develop certain preference when you see something nice (even in a game) that you like, but that can just as well happen in reality. So it’s not really connected as far as I’m concerned.

      Btw, GamerGate is only about ethics and corruption in gaming journalism. It has nothing to do with feminism, hatred of women, anyone’s sexuality or whatever. That’s what all these professional victims cooked up and try to mess the original GG message.

      Liked by 1 person

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