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Reader Comments (148)

Posted: Nov 26th 2009 3:18PM pcgneurotic said

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My theory on why we skip past the VG men - the ripped, buff, handsome, burly, super-masculine mascots - in our hurry to get to teh boobz, is that it's some sort of primitive genetic thing that says 'Man hunter, gatherer. Big man, good'.

So we don't blink twice. And the same goes for the big jugs. It's a peacock thing, you know, mating instinct, continuation of the species etc.

The thing that really surprises me though, and I've seen this a few times here at Massively, is the incredibly "liberal pussy" reaction, the scandal and outrage when a picture of humungo-jugs appears on the page. I remember one guy complaining that it was NSFW and how could you-shock-scandal?

Is it hypocrisy that makes us run like fools to boobs and then collectively shout 'Oh noes, poor women, derogatory derogatory?' I don't know. If I see some ludicrous looking anime broad with purple hair, eyes the size of dinner plates and tits like small Hondas exploding out of the screen at me, I skip past it. But if it's a real female, you know, this requires some thought and attention. Could it be then, that MMOG players are naturally more sensitive and well-adjusted than the average Joe?

Oh, and chics with glasses - hubba hubba! That Bayonetta chippy is smokin'!

Posted: Nov 26th 2009 3:48PM Halldorr said

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Seras glasses in her picture look the same as Bayonettas ;) Just saying!
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Posted: Nov 26th 2009 4:59PM (Unverified) said

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Well yeah, Sera's pretty smokin', but that's not the point of this article! /wink
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Posted: Nov 26th 2009 8:25PM breezer said

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Really?

Nobody has said it?

When guys in video games are represented with freakish, insanely huge bundles between their legs THEN you can make a comparison.

Giant muscles and freak-show sized boobs are not at all the same thing.
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Posted: Nov 26th 2009 8:59PM Seraphina Brennan said

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*blushes and goes back to commenting*
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Posted: Nov 27th 2009 7:45AM (Unverified) said

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breezer - Breasts are not genitals.
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Posted: Nov 27th 2009 3:00PM (Unverified) said

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You know, there's also another thing I think.

When they depict men in videogames, their visual sexual characteristics are usually things any dude could have if he worked at it. A man can become muscular and athletic if he works at it. Again, I'm saying the visual, as said before the "bulge" has yet to be sexualized in videogames as of today.

Then we get to the ladies. Ladies can not be what are depicted in games without surgery, and I think that is one of the reasons why it gets to many ladies. They can never be what is depicted as ideal. There are so many unrealistic waist sizes, hip proportions, and breast sizes. I think most guys see the muscular dudes and would think "I could be that if I worked hard enough for it" where as the ladies see how they are depicted and think "I'd need surgery to look like that, and then the weight of the breasts would snap me in two because my waist would be too small"
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Posted: Nov 27th 2009 9:28PM Xocolatl said

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@Skypp
Try saying that if you're an Asian. While we may be able to buff up a bit, it does take considerably more effort. And ultimately, most Asians (especially of the central chinese and/or indian descent) cannot be that big, period. I have many friends who spent hours each day in gyms, with trainers, drinking and eating only most nutritious stuff, and they are not nearly as buffed as those you'd see in video games. Mongolians and Middle Easterners, maybe. But not the rest of us.
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Posted: Dec 11th 2009 4:46PM Vandell said

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GHudston gets a gold star. :3
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Posted: Feb 3rd 2010 1:12AM (Unverified) said

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A gold star for what? Pointing out a fact that wasn't contended? You can surely make a case about the man there being depicted in a overly sensual way or something but it's beyond ridiculous that you think the guy in that picture is equivalent in "NSFW qualities" (or whatever you want to call it) to the woman - who was apparently wearing no clothes, instead using some sort of slime or something to dconceal the "naughty bits." I could go on about how people are desensitized, etc., but even a desensitized person who simply doesn't care about the lewdness in the picture can easily recognize the difference between the man and woman's depiction there.
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Posted: Nov 26th 2009 3:32PM (Unverified) said

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The sexual objectification of men in video gaming isn't much of an issue because, almost unanimously, we get a tremendous kick out of being objectified sexually by women.

Women? Not so much.

I tend to suspect it is because, most women have have to deal with guys trying to get in their pants since the age of 15. Most guys are almost stunned when a woman finds them attractive enough to pursue.

To delve into Sera's position on the matter of videogame women not degrading actual flesh and blood women just for a second... I wonder what her position would be were a game to come out with a hackneyed, exaggerated depiction of a transgendered person cast in some role or another? Or if the only time a transgendered person was included, it was rendered in the most exaggeratory way possible? Or if every game had such a character?

I suppose she herself might be sufficently self-evolved to not get bummed out by obvious and intentional misrepresentations of her specific bowl of the great melting pot, but I tend to suspect that transgendered people on the whole may have a somewhat negative reaction to such depiction.

As, I should point out, almost any group of people would if they are consistently portrayed in a visual manner which stretches the bounds of physical accuracy and/or realism.

Posted: Nov 26th 2009 4:00PM DevilSei said

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Well, Nier, the game being made for the 360, has a transgender female in the game, though honestly I couldn't tell by the picture of her.
Enchanted Arms has a transexual in your party for the first part of the game (i just thought he was gay at first).


As for the whole burly man in gaming thing, that really tends to be offset by (J)RPGs. Snake isn't exactly burly either in MGS, but he is still a badass. Rufus from SF4 is faaaaar from muscular, as are a few other characters. Its just as men, I assume, we don't care much about those kind of things. We see some uber-ripped guy, and sure we might wish sometimes we had that kind of muscle-mass, but then we shrug it off and continue on with the day. If we wanted to, we could get that buff, but we choose not to.

Women who take offense to a game's depiction of their gender though? Eh... no clue on that. Might have something to do with the ability (or rather lack of it) to increase the size of their bust. Only way to really do it is grow up on a firm drinking natural milk, drink a lot of beer (alternatively ingest a lot of hops), or breast surgery. Those three all aren't exactly the most ideal unless planned far ahead of time (one of which quite literally).
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Posted: Nov 26th 2009 8:44PM Seraphina Brennan said

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Well, you can ask Sera's opinion as Sera is right here. :)

Actually, I can offer two more examples of transgendered/crossdressing occuring in games. First would be Guilty Gear's Bridget, who is a man dressed up as a female nun. The second is Final Fantasy VII's Cloud Strife, who famously dressed up as a woman to sneak into an escort club.

Both instances are a bit overplayed, but I didn't find either of them insulting. Then again, I'm the type of person who really isn't insulted by much. You would have to really, really push me in order for my opinion to change. I guess if these ladies were literally dragging their breasts in wheelbarrows, I'd have something different to say, but right now I find it in the realm of artistic fantasy. I honestly feel indifferent, whether the have huge breasts or small ones. And that would be the same for a depiction of a transgendered person as well.

I wanted this column to reflect more of a look into how this all works out, not make a blanket statement on how things should be, which it seems people are turning this into.
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Posted: Nov 26th 2009 10:37PM LuxAurumque said

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I would like to point out that we play video games not only for fun but as an escape. To be honest I don't believe any woman wants a game where the female protagonist is flat chested, has limp lifeless hair, and dresses in sack cloth. Same for men we don't want to play a game as a potbellied guy hit with an ugly stick. Heck the only reason the way women in these games are visually depicted is a problem is the target audience. Hell read a bodice ripper romance novel and tell me the women in there are for real (or the men for that matter).

As for transgendered(tg) depictions? The tg and those that crossdress(cd) are shown in a negative light normally used as comic relief. Those that cd or are tg are not always gay as they are normally shown to be in media. A woman wheres pants that is fine, but a guy puts on a miniskirt all of a sudden he is laughed at or escorted off the plane. The GLBTQ community has come a long way from being arrested for being different but there is still a long way to go. It is a long process but recognizing the problem is the first step to fixing it.

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Posted: Nov 27th 2009 2:06AM (Unverified) said

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Wait... WHAT!? BRIDGET IS A GUY??

http://img92.imageshack.us/i/bridgetil1.jpg/

Oh, hell. Where I have been. -_-

You ruined everything. =(
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Posted: Nov 26th 2009 3:40PM (Unverified) said

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I would be inclined to believe that we skate over the depiction of men in video games and concentrate on negative depictions of women precisely because of centuries, if not millennia, of objectification and repression of the female of the species by patriarchal power structures.

Objectification and repression of men just seems to pale by comparison. As people on here are so fond of saying, Sera, you ain't comparing apples with oranges.

Posted: Nov 26th 2009 8:46PM Seraphina Brennan said

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That's very true Sporkboy. Very good point. It really is a millenium or so of training that leads us down that style of path.
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Posted: Nov 26th 2009 3:44PM (Unverified) said

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"So if you're looking for a more realistic depiction of a woman, perhaps you should go check out a Barbie... er... never mind. Oh, I know, perhaps take in some classical art... wait... no... another bad example. Comics? Oooooh, yeah, those don't have realistic depictions either. Movies? No. Books? Probably not."

So it is okay for the video-game industry to contribute toward the beauty myth because other media do it? This is either disingenuous in the extreme or...just plain horrible...

Posted: Nov 26th 2009 5:49PM (Unverified) said

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Not really, it's just the way things are. As a species, we try to depict the very best traits in our mythology. Since we are visual creatures, they tend to be physical traits.

In an MMO, or any game for that matter, we are the hero. We're the Chosen One who is the only one who can save the world. The traits this character has HAS to be exceptional, within and without. While it's true that in some, it awakens feelings of inadequacy and envy, in others (such as myself) it shows a goal I can try to aspire to.
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Posted: Nov 26th 2009 3:51PM hansh0tfirst said

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I'm not sure how relevant this is to the article, but it reminds me of another double standard. Male players who dare to "gender bend" by playing female characters are frequently scorned as either perverts or "dubious" in sexual orientation. Yet play a big, shirtless, muscle-bound oaf with oiled-up skin, and your motives are beyond reproach.

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