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Author Topic: Character designs: sexism and objectification  (Read 5166 times)

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Offline SethalaTopic starter

Character designs: sexism and objectification
« on: April 30, 2013, 12:07:31 AM »
Whelp, decided to dive in head-first again.  This time, I want to ask something about character designs, mostly in video games but other media too.

Basically, I hear a lot of outcry at female characters being sexualized and objectified.  Now, I'll freely admit that I enjoy having sexy characters in games, I've gone out of my way to get a sexy outfit or two in World of Warcraft, and I've dropped some money on some of the more revealing skins in League of Legends.  What I don't fully understand though, is why I pretty much never hear any outcry about sexualized men. 

Now, I have always been a believer in giving everyone equal treatment, and that extends to games too.  So my thoughts are, if a game wants to have sexualized female characters, that's perfectly fine if they want to do the same to males.  But as I thought this, I realized that I didn't have any good idea what the difference would be between just a strong male character, and a sexualized one.  So my question for anyone interested is, what kind of character designs for men would be sexualized?  And a secondary question for the women out there, what kind of designs would you like to see on men to "balance out" the sexy designs for women, or is the only solution to get rid of sexualized women altogether?

Offline consortium11

Re: Character designs: sexism and objectification
« Reply #1 on: April 30, 2013, 01:50:51 AM »
The stereotypical sexualised male character is the "beefcake"... think rippling muscles, broad soldiers and skinny loin clothes. If Red Sonya is the stereotypical sexualised female character then Conan is the stereotypical sexualised male character. Obviously that's not always the case.... comics for example have a long history of *nudge nudge wink wink* sexualising more lean male characters but it remains the stereotype.

Just for a quick example of sexualisation in media, look at the pose in the Red Sonja picture linked above and specifically the pose she's been drawn in; a spine-shattering one that allows the viewer to see both her ass and her bust. It's one of the most common images you see for female characters and there's basically no such comparison for male characters (outside of it occasionally ironic reference).

My own personal issue with the way that sexualisation happens in games is it generally involves something akin to a plothole. Take Mass Effect 2 for example. You're in a life and death battle with the fate of the universe at stake and what the men wear reflects that... see Jacob Taylor who is wearing an entirely practical bodysuit (if a bit tight and lacking in armour), let alone the N7 armoured up male-shep. But then you compare that to essentially his female counterpart Miranda Lawson... absolutely skin tight outfit, cleavage on display and all. And then Jack... does anything really need to be said? When I see things like that I can't help but have my mind go "why aren't they wearing body armour of some form?" and it ends up sticking with me. It's something that happens far too often in games; male characters wear a somewhat practical form of armour, female characters are put into either as little or as skintight an outfit as possible.

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: Character designs: sexism and objectification
« Reply #2 on: April 30, 2013, 02:04:45 AM »
Well objectification is not necessarily about the female character being attractive or even sexually appealing.  This notion of objectification comes into play when the woman’s body and therefore sex appeal is the selling point of the character.  There is no further point to the figure or real interest in the character beyond her ability to look good.  An example of this might be the female lead in the newest G.I. Joe film.  One of the few female members of an elite fighting force, specially trained and educated to battle the forces of terror yet her main play time in the film is when she is using her body to “tease and attract” men.  So no matter how strong, smart or good this woman is her real purpose comes down to her sex appeal.  Despite other factors she is only an object of sexual desire.

Offline SethalaTopic starter

Re: Character designs: sexism and objectification
« Reply #3 on: April 30, 2013, 02:14:14 AM »
The stereotypical sexualised male character is the "beefcake"... think rippling muscles, broad soldiers and skinny loin clothes. If Red Sonya is the stereotypical sexualised female character then Conan is the stereotypical sexualised male character. Obviously that's not always the case.... comics for example have a long history of *nudge nudge wink wink* sexualising more lean male characters but it remains the stereotype.

Just for a quick example of sexualisation in media, look at the pose in the Red Sonja picture linked above and specifically the pose she's been drawn in; a spine-shattering one that allows the viewer to see both her ass and her bust. It's one of the most common images you see for female characters and there's basically no such comparison for male characters (outside of it occasionally ironic reference).

My own personal issue with the way that sexualisation happens in games is it generally involves something akin to a plothole. Take Mass Effect 2 for example. You're in a life and death battle with the fate of the universe at stake and what the men wear reflects that... see Jacob Taylor who is wearing an entirely practical bodysuit (if a bit tight and lacking in armour), let alone the N7 armoured up male-shep. But then you compare that to essentially his female counterpart Miranda Lawson... absolutely skin tight outfit, cleavage on display and all. And then Jack... does anything really need to be said? When I see things like that I can't help but have my mind go "why aren't they wearing body armour of some form?" and it ends up sticking with me. It's something that happens far too often in games; male characters wear a somewhat practical form of armour, female characters are put into either as little or as skintight an outfit as possible.

I've heard it argued that that's a male power fantasy, not a female sexual fantasy, and that the female sexual fantasy is often a more feminie-looking man.  Even so, however, there's plenty of examples of both, and I've never been one to feel "turned off" by something like that.  (Admittedly, I likely wouldn't play as either if there's an option to play as a female character, as that's always my preference, but having them in-game is certainly no deterrent).  As for the discrepancy however, I agree that it's bad, but I would say I'd prefer more of the "not really armor" look for both males and females, though it depends a lot on the setting and how much can be handwaved/justified as "magic/energy shields/blah".  But yes, only having full plate for males and only chainmail bikinis for females is annoying.

Well objectification is not necessarily about the female character being attractive or even sexually appealing.  This notion of objectification comes into play when the woman’s body and therefore sex appeal is the selling point of the character.  There is no further point to the figure or real interest in the character beyond her ability to look good.  An example of this might be the female lead in the newest G.I. Joe film.  One of the few female members of an elite fighting force, specially trained and educated to battle the forces of terror yet her main play time in the film is when she is using her body to “tease and attract” men.  So no matter how strong, smart or good this woman is her real purpose comes down to her sex appeal.  Despite other factors she is only an object of sexual desire.

Would it be fair to say that the problem is with characters that are only sexual characters, and that someone that's sexualized in addition to other, positive traits would be acceptable?  For instance, I haven't seen the G.I. Joe movie, but if she were to "tease and attract" the men and then go on to kick major ass, would you be ok with having both elements as part of her character?

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: Character designs: sexism and objectification
« Reply #4 on: April 30, 2013, 03:31:15 AM »
Sethala, I’m not quite sure what you are trying to move toward.  Are you basically worried that people want ugly woman characters?

Offline Shjade

Re: Character designs: sexism and objectification
« Reply #5 on: April 30, 2013, 04:10:32 AM »
For instance, I haven't seen the G.I. Joe movie, but if she were to "tease and attract" the men and then go on to kick major ass, would you be ok with having both elements as part of her character?

Kicking ass doesn't really change anything. Hell, for a lot of people it just adds to the same concept, the whole 'wild amazon' thing. See also: Xena - Warrior Princess.

Offline meikle

Re: Character designs: sexism and objectification
« Reply #6 on: April 30, 2013, 05:42:51 AM »
Conan isn't really a sexualised male character.  Conan isn't meant to be appealing as a sex object, he's meant to be appealing as a power fantasy.  Those are totally different things.  To be totally honest, if games featured men as hypersexualized as a lot of games feature women, I think a lot of the 18-25 male gamer crowd would freak out at having dongs shoved in their face all the time (because that's really the defining issue -- hypersexualization turns a male character into a delivery vehicle for AWESOME DICK the way that hypersexualization turns a female character into a pair of tits and a great ass.)

Here's what you get when you sexualize male characters the way that games sexualize female characters:

Spoiler: Click to Show/Hide

At the end of the day, though, the difference between a strong female character and a lame female character is not how much ass she kicks, it's how much agency she's given and whether she's a character first or just something to look at; female characters are often treated less like people and more like decoration.   There is a lot that can be said about this though -- it's not only 'what the character wears' or 'how the character behaves', a lot of it is just in how the character is portrayed -- for example, does she suffer crippling back damage from the fact that she inexplicable walks around backwards, with her ass thrust out and her torso twisted 180 degrees so you can check out her ass and chest at the same time?  Does she wear impractical attire despite the fact that everything about her characterization suggests it's a bad idea / contrary to her personality?  Does she vamp it up for no reason at all, all the time?  Is she the only woman in sight, by the way, except for all the pretty women standing in the background?  etc, etc.
« Last Edit: April 30, 2013, 05:52:29 AM by meikle »

Offline DarklingAlice

Re: Character designs: sexism and objectification
« Reply #7 on: April 30, 2013, 08:26:17 AM »
My own personal issue with the way that sexualisation happens in games is it generally involves something akin to a plothole. Take Mass Effect 2 for example. You're in a life and death battle with the fate of the universe at stake and what the men wear reflects that... see Jacob Taylor who is wearing an entirely practical bodysuit (if a bit tight and lacking in armour), let alone the N7 armoured up male-shep. But then you compare that to essentially his female counterpart Miranda Lawson... absolutely skin tight outfit, cleavage on display and all. And then Jack... does anything really need to be said? When I see things like that I can't help but have my mind go "why aren't they wearing body armour of some form?" and it ends up sticking with me. It's something that happens far too often in games; male characters wear a somewhat practical form of armour, female characters are put into either as little or as skintight an outfit as possible.

That was so annoying. Especially after the first game made major strides in subverting that trope (Heavy Armor and a Helmet just make Shep and Ashley look like ass-kicking supersoldiers).



Actually Conan is pretty hypersexualized depending on the artist/story.

And you have to remember that a bust and ass are not primary sexual characteristics like a penis is. Rarely do you see sexualized female characters with clearly outlined vaginas. Now, there are a few artists...like whoever did Magna Carta and the cover art for a couple of Exalted books, who are just dying to shove camel toes in our faces, but it's definitely the exception to the rule.

We tend to sexualize people based on secondary sexual characteristics because our society has drawn an arbitrary line claiming that primary sexual characteristics should not be displayed (and cause hey, dat ass is sexy!). People who think that the defining characteristic of male sexuality is the penis tend to display a really shallow view of the attractive capacity (and sometimes even the physical reality) of the sex. It makes sense because society is phallocentric and perpetuates the myth that the male body can't be sexy in the same way the female body can. Frankly, I find that men who believe that their sexiest part (or worse their only sexual part) is their penis tend to be...tedious, and it is not the first thing I am going to go too if I were to describe what makes my lovers sexy.

I think the bigger impediment to seeing sexualized and properly sexual men in a video game is that video game designers are in large part heterosexual men who have no idea what they are looking for.

Offline Trieste

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Re: Character designs: sexism and objectification
« Reply #8 on: April 30, 2013, 08:41:38 AM »
Since consortium linked the Conan picture and mentioned sexualization of men, I've actually been kinda eyeballing the picture and thinking, "... I don't find that very sexy." How's about we go through a mental exercise of what a sexualized male character would actually look like?

Dude is sweaty and grimy and wearing way too much clothing. A lot of women find the whole "man who just got done bathing himself in blood" thing sexy, but it doesn't have to be a dirty fantasy! At least not literally. So let's take some of his clothes off... actually let's take all his clothes off. That's better. Let's also put him in a dew-filled forest glen, kinda like those nymph paintings you see. With a waterfall. Chicks like waterfalls.

Actually, I don't know if all chicks like waterfalls, but this chick likes waterfalls.

We're off to kind of a good start, but when I think of Conan, I'm really sorry, I think of anabolic steroids. Maybe it's because he was played by the Ahnold at one point. So anabolic steroids have this reputation for, ah, shrinkage. We don't want that. But we also don't want "SUCK MAH TWENTY INCHER!" either. In my experience and in my conversations with other women, Conan would be ideal at four, maybe five inches, but the man should have girth. And he's a strong, strapping barbarian so in our mental picture, we should make sure he still has his foreskin. You're going to need that detail burned into your brain - trust me. Would I lie to you?

I think it's no secret that no small number of women also enjoy pegging, and even if a woman doesn't enjoy pegging, many women like looking at dat ass, so a sexualized Conan really needs to be kind of ass-first at the camera. But we like faces and (usually) lips, too. So he'd need to be sticking his ass toward the camera and kind of looking over his shoulder and smiling and also naked under a waterfall with his uncircumcised penis peeking at us from between his slightly-parted thighs and oh by the way, sword calluses hurt so he would actually be Conan the Guy Who Kills People With Silk.

That was a really pleasant mental exercise that pretty much shows you that, no, men in video games aren't actually sexualized. Beefcake is, like nearly everything else in traditional gaming, aimed at the straight male player. That's changing, and it's a cool trend, but please don't pretend that it wasn't there in the first place. >.>

Edit: Correcting typos.
« Last Edit: April 30, 2013, 08:43:27 AM by Trieste »

Offline meikle

Re: Character designs: sexism and objectification
« Reply #9 on: April 30, 2013, 09:09:16 AM »
It makes sense because society is phallocentric and perpetuates the myth that the male body can't be sexy in the same way the female body can. Frankly, I find that men who believe that their sexiest part (or worse their only sexual part) is their penis tend to be...tedious, and it is not the first thing I am going to go too if I were to describe what makes my lovers sexy.

Hey, I didn't say sexy, I said sexualized.

Like, the new Lara Croft?  She's pretty sexy!  She's strong, she's incredibly capable, she fucks shit up everywhere she goes and doesn't stop moving.  She's also not very sexualized, especially not the degree that she was in titles past.

I'm willing to admit that I have no idea what people find attractive about men, so whatever, I'm okay with that.  I think sexualization is very often enforced by placing sexual characteristics front and center, though, for sure -- and a guy running around topless just doesn't strike that chord the same way that a woman displayed like, say, this does:



Edit: Maybe we could look to yaoi, which, true, does not emphasize sexual organs so much as... other things:

« Last Edit: April 30, 2013, 09:39:23 AM by meikle »

Offline Healergirl

Re: Character designs: sexism and objectification
« Reply #10 on: April 30, 2013, 09:26:34 AM »
Meikle,

Just looking at pictures like that makes my back hurt.

Offline Kazyth

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Re: Character designs: sexism and objectification
« Reply #11 on: April 30, 2013, 09:43:50 AM »
The fact that she is apparently doing the Cabbage Patch with just her chest, while having a waist almost as narrow as her neck, doesn't help that idea at all.

Offline Healergirl

Re: Character designs: sexism and objectification
« Reply #12 on: April 30, 2013, 09:55:36 AM »
*HG has real trouble tearing her gaze away from that yaoi pic....*

Offline meikle

Re: Character designs: sexism and objectification
« Reply #13 on: April 30, 2013, 10:01:13 AM »
*HG has real trouble tearing her gaze away from that yaoi pic....*
HANDS
Spoiler: Click to Show/Hide

Just googling 'yaoi hands' is fun.

Offline Moraline

Re: Character designs: sexism and objectification
« Reply #14 on: April 30, 2013, 10:18:49 AM »
In my experiences, I find the largest outcry about sexual objectification of women in games/comicbooks etc tends to come from men more than women. The women that usually yell about it are the ones that are hard on the feminist battle lines and object to it on those principles. Most of the female gamers/comic book readers etc that I know of don't really get bothered by it at all.

Which to me explains why we don't hear about male sexual objectification as much. Men don't complain about themselves but they get self righteous and all white knighty about women's rights. (Even if we don't want their help.)

<snip>


<snip>
Now speaking from my own perspective. I think images like the giant boobed anime character posted above are stupid. With that said though, it doesn't bother me in the slightest. I actually find it amusing and funny. I've never felt threatened by these images or felt the need to conform to any ideals from it. I've never seen images like that as anything other then silly fun.

Also, I totally find Conan sexy.

The man isn't just a power symbol he's also promoted as being irresistible to women. Confidence and Power are considered to be two of the most attractive qualities to women. They are right, with Conan's confidence and his attitude he is very attractive. He is the ultimate Alpha Male and eventually becomes the most dominant king of his world - the ultimate Alpha Male archetype.

PS: I don't like my men in dewy waterfalls and most certainly have no intention of pegging any of them. I like my men, strong, manly, and in control.

Age of Conan - Intro Cinematic (High Def)


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Re: Character designs: sexism and objectification
« Reply #15 on: April 30, 2013, 10:19:22 AM »
The stereotypical sexualised male character is the "beefcake"... think rippling muscles, broad soldiers and skinny loin clothes. If Red Sonya is the stereotypical sexualised female character then Conan is the stereotypical sexualised male character. Obviously that's not always the case.... comics for example have a long history of *nudge nudge wink wink* sexualising more lean male characters but it remains the stereotype.

Just for a quick example of sexualisation in media, look at the pose in the Red Sonja picture linked above and specifically the pose she's been drawn in; a spine-shattering one that allows the viewer to see both her ass and her bust. It's one of the most common images you see for female characters and there's basically no such comparison for male characters (outside of it occasionally ironic reference).

My own personal issue with the way that sexualisation happens in games is it generally involves something akin to a plothole. Take Mass Effect 2 for example. You're in a life and death battle with the fate of the universe at stake and what the men wear reflects that... see Jacob Taylor who is wearing an entirely practical bodysuit (if a bit tight and lacking in armour), let alone the N7 armoured up male-shep. But then you compare that to essentially his female counterpart Miranda Lawson... absolutely skin tight outfit, cleavage on display and all. And then Jack... does anything really need to be said? When I see things like that I can't help but have my mind go "why aren't they wearing body armour of some form?" and it ends up sticking with me. It's something that happens far too often in games; male characters wear a somewhat practical form of armour, female characters are put into either as little or as skintight an outfit as possible.
Honestly I think it's just a double standard myself. How many shirtless guys are in Twilight? Your ME2 reference is good, but what about Tali one of the more favored romantic interests if internet polls are anything to go on. She wears a full body suit that's essentially skin tight. I found her very attractive and her booty and bust are on display. It's sexualized but in a more subtle way, and it has a lot more to do with their individual personalities. Yes Miranda is Ms. Fanservice, but I think Bioware has a lot more fun with this concept than people give them credit for.

Also, I find Jack's stripper-rific outfit to be more ironic because of her personality. Plus this was completely averted in ME3 by armor options and you had Vega there beef-caking it up. It's not hard to look for sexualization on either side. :\

Offline Cecilia

Re: Character designs: sexism and objectification
« Reply #16 on: April 30, 2013, 10:25:54 AM »
Well, here's an interesting video that touches on some of these issues.  I like how she starts with "it's okay to enjoy games and still be critical of them."  As a mother of a young boy, I am concerned about how the games he plays make him view women in general.  This topic reminds me a little of how I dealt with the whole "Barbie" thing with my daughter.  Once she got her covered Barbie, we pointed out that real women have nipples, that their feet aren't always pointed like that and that their heads don't spin around 360 degrees.

http://www.feministfrequency.com/

Offline TheGlyphstone

Re: Character designs: sexism and objectification
« Reply #17 on: April 30, 2013, 10:29:50 AM »
Relevant PA comic:


Offline Avis habilis

Re: Character designs: sexism and objectification
« Reply #18 on: April 30, 2013, 10:31:14 AM »
It's not hard to look for sexualization on either side. :\

The last nail was driven in that false equivalence's coffin years ago: http://www.shortpacked.com/2011/comic/book-13/05-the-death-of-snkrs/falseequivalence/

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Re: Character designs: sexism and objectification
« Reply #19 on: April 30, 2013, 11:01:55 AM »
The objection to sexualized female characters has never been that there is sexualization, but the number of games in which that's the only treatment of women.... and in which the particular sexualization being provided is very, very obviously geared toward the tastes of undersexed teenage boys as opposed to the kind of sexy that any reasonably broad cross-section of women might actually want to identify with. The inverse example, Conan, by contrast embodies the most common core sex and power fantasies of that same target demographic.

Women gamers get pissed at it because it's impossible not to notice when an entire industry is actually going out of its way not to cater to a huge sector of potential consumers. Male gamers get pissed at it because, if they've grown out of the target "undersexed teenage boy" demographic, it's annoying not to have gaming culture grow with them. 

Offline Moraline

Re: Character designs: sexism and objectification
« Reply #20 on: April 30, 2013, 11:09:00 AM »
The last nail was driven in that false equivalence's coffin years ago: http://www.shortpacked.com/2011/comic/book-13/05-the-death-of-snkrs/falseequivalence/
That comic is absurd. I can assure you that I don't find feminized men to be attractive.

Batman is fine the way he is. Actually as Bruce Wayne in a suit he's a sexual god to me. Same thing goes for Tony Stark. Both are confident with broad shoulders and well built, along with finely tailored suits. That more accurately fits what I find to be attractive. It is true that I'd like to see their eyes better. I don't see all that many well drawn eyes on any cartoon character or video game character because it's a tiny detail and hard to render without great cost, it's much cheaper and easier to give them broad shoulders.

The objection to sexualized female characters has never been that there is sexualization, but the number of games in which that's the only treatment of women.... and in which the particular sexualization being provided is very, very obviously geared toward the tastes of undersexed teenage boys as opposed to the kind of sexy that any reasonably broad cross-section of women might actually want to identify with. The inverse example, Conan, by contrast embodies the most common core sex and power fantasies of that same target demographic.

Women gamers get pissed at it because it's impossible not to notice when an entire industry is actually going out of its way not to cater to a huge sector of potential consumers. Male gamers get pissed at it because, if they've grown out of the target "undersexed teenage boy" demographic, it's annoying not to have gaming culture grow with them. 
This I can agree with more but less about the sexualization and more with the lack of female leads. Although that is changing. There's been a lot of games out like Tomb Raider with strong female lead characters in them (Wet, Velvet Assassin, Mirror's Edge...) 

I'd be much happier if games came with either a choice between female lead or male lead instead of forcing us into one or the either. Then make the stories more gender neutral.

Offline SethalaTopic starter

Re: Character designs: sexism and objectification
« Reply #21 on: April 30, 2013, 11:14:08 AM »
First off, thanks everyone for the explanations.  After posting the topic I went around a bit more and found this: http://thehawkeyeinitiative.com/

So, yeah.  Admittedly, I have to ask the women here how many of the pictures on that site are actually attractive, and how many are just silly? 

@PumpkinSeeds: Sorry, I was tired and somewhat incohesive.  What I'm asking is, I know that having a female character that's supposed to have useful skills but ends up doing nothing important for the story but be eye candy for the male characters (and viewers) is dumb.  What I was asking though, is if the character is attractive, and uses her attractiveness to gain an advantage, but then also turns around and proves that she's capable of much more than just being a sexual object, is that acceptable?  Or is it better to completely ignore her attractive side?

@meikle: Is it wrong if I looked at that picture and thought "he's too hairy to be attractive?"  Or is that part of the attraction for women?

@Trieste: The only thing I'm not completely ok with in that description is his dick showing, actually.  As Alice pointed out, there's a difference between primary sexual characteristics (the genitals) and secondary ones, and society has pretty much ingrained in us that showing the former off is wrong.  I'm fine with showing off a bit of a bulge on occasion, just like I'm fine with showing a bit of camel toe, but going beyond either of those drops it from "sexualized character design" to "outright porn".

@Moraline: That actually makes me wonder, I've noticed it tends to be more "acceptable" for women to find other women attractive than it is for men to find other men attractive.  Is this just a result of society, or are women more likely to be "bi-curious" than men are?  Or, another idea is that for at least some women, being overly sexy is as much of a power fantasy as being overly beefy is a power fantasy for men, is that true at all?  (Honestly have no idea on either of these, not trying to say that it's the reason for this.)

@Glyphstone: That comic (and the resulting thread) are kind of what made me want to make this topic, actually.  Though again, it comes down to primary characteristics on the male and secondary characteristics on the female, which I think is generally more offensive.

@Avis: Aside from the lips, I'm fine with that batman design, honestly.



There was a short string of articles about this game on Kotaku recently, and the artist of the game mainly clarified that his designs on all of the characters were supposed to be exaggerated to the point of silliness.

Anyway, I think my original question was pretty well answered, so thank you all for commenting.  I'm trying to think of what it would be like if just about every male was portrayed like this, and... honestly, not sure what I'd think.  So yes, I think I see where some of the complaints are coming from now.

Offline meikle

Re: Character designs: sexism and objectification
« Reply #22 on: April 30, 2013, 11:24:24 AM »
There was a short string of articles about this game on Kotaku recently, and the artist of the game mainly clarified that his designs on all of the characters were supposed to be exaggerated to the point of silliness.
"I did it on purpose" doesn't make it better.

Quote
Is it wrong if I looked at that picture and thought "he's too hairy to be attractive?"  Or is that part of the attraction for women?
I don't know.  Is it wrong that I look at a lot of female characters and think "She's too grotesquely anatomically disfigured to be attractive"?

Here's a fun blog: http://boobsdontworkthatway.tumblr.com/page/2

Started on page 2 since the most recent page is all about the same Dragon Whatever character.
« Last Edit: April 30, 2013, 11:27:23 AM by meikle »

Offline DarklingAlice

Re: Character designs: sexism and objectification
« Reply #23 on: April 30, 2013, 12:06:17 PM »
Alice would just like to point out that societal ingranations are dumb and that she really is all for Conan's dick showing ^_^. She suggests that the representatve from the state of Trie come for a summit on primary vs. secondary sexual characteristics to be held at a local clothing optional pool/bar ('cause yes, we have those. I love this town).

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: Character designs: sexism and objectification
« Reply #24 on: April 30, 2013, 12:26:29 PM »
 The problem is that once more the attractiveness is highlighted in greater detail than the other qualities.  There is no need to gloss over or ignore that a female character is attractive, but when their other skill set is reduced to this or when their sexuality is obviously placed into every aspect of their being then objectification becomes apparent.  For instance in the film, a crack team of special forces could not come up with any other ideas than sticking their female companion in a pair of short-shorts bending over at the corner to kidnap a Congressman?  Also that notion demeans men as well because they are reduced to dogs that simply follow their “nose.”  Since Lady Jaye has sorta become a model for me, I will also use a card image of her.

Lady Jaye

Notice that the image has her holding implements of battle.  So certainly she is skilled at fighting because she has the pistol and knife in hand, yet these are off to the side.  The image frontline and center of her large breasts which are barely constrained by a white top that looks more like a bandage and an open green jacket.   Sexualized with other attributes reduced.  Now some might disagree with me, but I would then point toward the Scarlet Johansson version of Black Widow.  If you notice many of the pictures of Black Widow show a zipped down top, but instead this actress went with a more conservative look (hard to do in skin tight black).

Scarlet Johansson

Arms crossed over the top show a defensive posture with no cleavage spilling out at all.  The outfit is tight, but the weaponry is positioned in “realistic” portions that are also parts where the eye would be drawn.  Attractive, deadly.  Another example, a bit more conservative, is that of Michelle Rodriguez from SWAT.

Michelle Rodriguez

Both Black Widow and the SWAT character are attractive women, but the attractiveness comes secondary to their actual character.