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Posted: Nov 26th 2009 9:37PM (Unverified) said

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When I mentioned the lack of packages on male avatars in games, I wasn't talking about dressing men up in jock-straps or latex hot pants, or having the outline of their junk showing through their pants.

If you look at most male avatars in games, they are literally genderless. From belly button to the top of their in-seam, they are completely flat. It's not even about making them sexy... it's about making them look male. I imagine a lot of character modelers are worried someone might notice them working on the crotch, and assume they are gay.

Posted: Nov 26th 2009 9:40PM cray said

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On the subject of MMOs and sex, I think they are something that shouldn't be avoided or talked as if people don't think about virtual sex or at the very least fantasize about being someone else. I myself am male but have played a number of games using a female avatar, for several reasons, not all them sexual or gender dysphoria related.

I've had situations where I've played with a large group of males, and I've felt there was too much virtual testosterone, so I created a female avatar to offset things. Of course I got called queer for doing it but after awhile it seem to settle down the other guys. It actually was pretty amusing to see them treat my avatar differently despite the fact they all clearly knew I am male.

I've also played minority characters, I'm pretty assertive about diversifying the make up of my avatars. But I also enjoy playing as female. I am pretty careful about the armor, as I like to be practical. But other times I just love playing dress up. Guild Wars females has some the most attractive outfits, most them are highly impractical for combat, but they are a joy to look at.

I've tried Second Life explicitly to create a female avatar as I can spend hours designing her look. My taste various from tacky to contemporary to retro. My only complaint about Second Life is the lag and the lack of things to do.

Posted: Nov 26th 2009 10:55PM Joshua Przygocki said

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Two words: "Barb Wire" a horrible movie that only exists because Pamela Anderson has boobs...

Posted: Nov 27th 2009 12:15AM Heraclea said

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Chivalry is not dead. The proof of this fact is that the ridiculous rhetoric of "objectification" --- the notion that men who like to look at pictures of women with conspicuous secondary sexual characteristics like breasts, visible tokens of fertility since Cro-Magnon days, and which is imagined to be somehow demeaning to the women "victimized" by the "male gaze" --- this rhetoric circulates without being called the rank nonsense it obviously is.

You see the typical pseudo-psychology -- e.g. the notion that men who find breasts attractive suffer from a vague and undefinable sort of arrested development. The interest of men in images of sexually mature women is called childish, and other epithets meant to demean anyone who expresses it.

The fact that this nonsense circulates, scarcely challenged, is a mighty demonstration of female power of the sort that is seldom acknowledged. It keeps many, probably most, heterosexual men in a constant state of minor embarrassment, a perennial need to apologize for even acknowledging their biologically determined and inborn tastes. It serves an agenda, one which chivalry forbids men to notice.

Posted: Nov 27th 2009 12:25AM oxlar said

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Sera, I don't think your being fair in addressing the whole argument. Your kind of creating a strawman argument by ignoring the most heinous of grievance being portrayed by the game Blade and Soul. And that is allowing people (males mostly) to virtually experience a situation where they are commiting acts of violence upon someone who appears to be a 15 year old girl with breast implants that is flashing their underwear at them. Many people are just fine with sexual representation and many people are fine with violence. But when you make the target of violent activity provacative in a sexual manner, it takes on a whole different meaning. Then throw in an art style that commonly depicts teens and pre-teens in sexual situations, it takes on an even worse element.

I think you do your article a great injustice by not addressing the more serious aspect of this issue and just sloughing it off as prude vs not prude when it comes to boobs. The argument is so much more.

Posted: Nov 27th 2009 12:54AM Seraphina Brennan said

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While I understand your fears, Oxlar, I don't think Blade & Soul is the best target for your argument. While the one character may appear to be a young girl, the truth is that we don't know how old she is. If you would ask me personally, I don't believe she's truly as young as you believe she is. I would put her more in the 20s range than the teens, as it seems that all of the females in the game's races are much shorter than their very tall male counterparts.

Secondly, the whole "But there's violence against X in this game!" argument is extremely tenuous. As someone with a psychology degree who has studied the research, the relationship between someone playing it on a game and someone going out and doing it is extremely muddled. Most studies can't actually show a reliable link between the two, and when they do, the methods that the studies use are usually questionable. Formally, the APA has not found a relationship between violent behavior and video games.

Even if studies do find a link, then it's just that -- a link. Too many people run out and assume that just because a study says two things are related that they possess causality (meaning that one thing causes the other thing). This is, in fact, highly untrue. All a study can prove is that two of the variables may work in some sort of tandem. This could mean that people who are naturally violent are drawn to video games.

However, as I said above, the APA has not found a reliable link between violent behavior and video games.

Third of all, and this is more of a personal thing, those girls are far from defenseless. In fact, in the trailer, it is one of those "young girls" who defeats the large, burly man who dominates another man earlier in the trailer. I know this doesn't make it right, but it does perhaps go to show that these girls aren't as young as the may seem. I mean, you are saying that they are "young girls with breast implants" but they most likely are women with large breasts. I don't think ancient fantasy realms possess breast implants, and perhaps the breasts are what the artist is using to denote that these are women, not girls as, as you are saying.

However, like I said, I understand where you're coming from with your argument. To that end, may I point you towards the Dead Or Alive series, which involves a few girls who are 17 and involved in a very brutal fighting tournament. (Kasumi and Koroko are 17, Ayane is 16.) If you want to make a case for brutality against young girls, then I'd focus on that title more than I would focus on Blade & Soul.
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Posted: Nov 27th 2009 2:59AM oxlar said

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Come on now, lets not get mired in being too 'literal' and ignoring the spirit of what is being said. Also, being 'defenseless' is not a justification.

I'm perfectly fine with violence in video games that do not emulate real world violence. Killing zombies and fantasy battles are great. But I feel that games like Grand Theft Auto that emulate real world violence is dispicable. Granted thats neither here nor there as this is not the subject of conversation, which brings me to the point that arguing real life violence vs video game violence is not what I'm talking about and I think you know that. I'll give you the benefit of the doubt.

Posted: Nov 27th 2009 3:01AM pcgneurotic said

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I don't think it matters which part of the anatomy has been grossly over-stylised. It's a bit like saying that it doesn't matter if a car runs you over if it only ran over your foot and not your whole squashy body. What next - giant penises are Ok, as long as they've got tiny balls attached? It's too fine a distinction.

Posted: Nov 27th 2009 3:48AM SkuzBukit said

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My personal take on it is that some developers almost use the "empowering" of women characters in videogames as an excuse to give them unrealistic proportions, "we want this lass to have enormous boobs.....hmm okay better make her a "strong" female character then, it will be more socially acceptable!"

When you consider the average woman in the EU is a size 14-16 the lack of realism becomes apparent, while I can agree to artistic license something there has to be said about "keeping it real" because why should videogames be just another link in the media chain of unrealistic body-images for women, if the game has a big variety of shapes available & not just the "hero" stereotyped body types then that would be a real departure from the norm, & that kind of choice would mark out videogames as something unique in the media sphere.

Posted: Nov 27th 2009 3:50AM Bezza said

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What I have always found interesting isn't so much the over sexualised characterization, particularly in MMO's where you create your character. But the tediously regular inability to create anything other than the near perfect physique.

Very few MMO's will let you create a chubby, or solid bearish male character. Some will let you create marginally plump female characters, but nothing even close to realistically proportioned XXXL male or female toons.

Now I know some will have a chuckle at the idea of even trying to do so, but if you have been around the web and ever googled "plumper, chubby bear" you will -after you overcome your shock- realize that not everyones idea of beauty falls into the same category. Take the sexualisation away and from a pure creative standpoint it is very hard to create a non-asymmetrical even "lumpy" or mutant toon in most games.

I think its time game developers allowed more freedom to create the character you want, and that means accepting that to be a hero/villain or adventurer you dont need a sixpack, DD cup size.

Posted: Nov 27th 2009 5:11AM (Unverified) said

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Ask most guys, and couldn't care less about big boobs. Decent size will do, even small size depending on the women's figure are all good. Really don't know what it is with games/anime/whatever, but what ever. ALL GUYS find pretty much all breasts fine and well, whether you have one smaller then the other, or whether they are big or small. THE ONLY breasts that I have ever personally said, "wow no way would I be into that" is the chick from American Beauty (not her blonde friend, the one who sticks her breasts out the window). And TBH, I'd probably be alright with those breasts anyway, idk just wasn't into them at the time... They hung low (what she was only 17-18 when it was filmed and they are LOW) and warped... @_@

Women's rights was something that happened because society changed. Before, both men and women worked hard and suffered. Women living on their own and needing a whole pay-role was unheard of, because for the most part families worked in their own businesses and didn't get payed OR worked at home with the family... Society changed and so did the rules needed. Women weren't kicked around for thousands of years and then feminism didn't magically change that, both women and men were kicked around for thousands of years... And both are still kicked around. Women did and will always have less 'direct' power because of the way humans work, doesn't change the fact that what they lack in physical ability they make up for in emotional and other areas... I mean at this stage in society women have more of an upper hand then men do in most areas, which imo isn't a good thing, men are weak (I mean, they are being raised by single mothers, that did you expect to happen?) and because of that women aren't getting what they need from men (which is strength).

Extreme "oh we've been opposed for thousands of years, lets be lesbian"-feminism is both bad for males and females for those reasons.

And lastly.
Craig David jumped out of the water in James Bond topless, sure. But that wasn't even half the story. That first blonde bond film (one of the best) is where he makes a huge emotional connection with one female and full, FULL of romance. The reason WHY the topless scene worked was because it was based around a film that got its female audience emotionally connected. Women sexualise men, sure, but they are NOT men. Men work visually, women don't. Women will find an average bloke who is good to her (and is a man) much more attractive then a muscle-bound Brad Pitt who cannot even sort out his own marriages, even though her man being good-looking is perferrable/a plus of course.

Trying to sexualise men (for women, gays don't count!) is much less effective then trying to sexualise women, because women just aren't visual the same way men are.

Posted: Nov 27th 2009 6:16AM (Unverified) said

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I'm not going to lie. I like boobs. Big ones, small ones, etc. What I object to when is all the box art and screenshots for a game feature women of almost freakshow circus bust size. It seems like publisher is saying, "This is turd in a box, but it's got ridiculously busty women. So, you should buy this cause you're a dude. And especially if you are a nerd, this is as close to feminine attention you'll ever hope to get!"

I don't know, it just seems like a marketing gimmick that assumes I'm such a male pig I'll buy their product. Hey, I am a male pig, but that only comes when selecting which stripper to get a lap dance from... not selecting what games I play!

Posted: Nov 27th 2009 6:35AM Meagen said

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I'll have to agree that my biggest issue is not the sexualization, it's in the *sameness* of the sexualization. If there is ever a woman on the cover of a video game, she will always be extremely thin, dressed in very little and have giant boobs of which only the nipples will never be seen. Regardless of whether she's an enchantress from a fantasy kingdom, a seasoned zombie hunter, or a roamer trying to survive after the Apocalypse.

How about a woman who's completely covered in a skin-tight jumpsuit? (And no, not one that is fully unzipped. Come on, there's sexually charged imagery and then there's THIS BABE IS ABOUT TO HAVE SEX WITH YOU, NOW BUY THIS GAME.) Or wearing a robe that shows just enough of her curves to tantalize the imagination. Or wearing full armor, with just a sort of knowing smile hinting that once you both get to somewhere that isn't full of ravenous undead, you can help her out of that and maybe see where things go from there.

And why does the woman always have to be wafer-thin, with giant boobs? It's kind of making the impression that no other kind of woman can ever be sexy (because if they were, they'd be on video game covers too). Can't we have a woman with well-defined muscle tone and a medium chest? Or a thin scrawny one with smallish but perky breasts? (I have it on good authority that there are men who do find that sort of woman sexy.)

This is especially annoying when the game promises me "customization" but it ends up being "choose between D or DD breasts and a variety of bikinis! Or play a guy". Seriously, people, are gamers that terrified of catching "the gay" that a game will tank if it even allows the *option* to fully dress up a female character?

(Guild Wars *almost* got it right - some of the classes have a wide variety of revealing and non-revealing outfits. Rangers have plenty of armored-looking armor to choose from. But nearly all female Warrior armor features exposed cleavage, sometimes through conveniant holes cut in the plate-mail, which seems less "sexy" and more "terrible idea". And pretty much all sets for female Elementalists feature an exposed belly and lack of pants.)

Posted: Nov 27th 2009 10:21AM (Unverified) said

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Great article. It's nice to see something that isn't off the wall ridiculous about the issue.

Posted: Nov 27th 2009 11:08AM ultimateq said

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All of these replies, and the replies to the blade and soul post just shows you that sex sells. Case in Point.

Oh yeah, and men are still pigs ^_^

Posted: Nov 27th 2009 1:16PM (Unverified) said

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Can't argue with you there UltimateQ. But at least in this case we're pigs regarding imaginary computer generated women rather than real ones.
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Posted: Dec 1st 2009 12:15PM Cendres said

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Honestly the whole men are pigs is incredibly unfair thing to say and/or believe.

Because in reality women are just as gross. No really, in American society I guess we're supposed to hide the fact that we're just as turned on by the male body as they are by ours and we are capable of the same sexualized thoughts as men are, sometimes even more so. Hang around a bunch of 40 year old women in the coffee break room and try not to let your head explode with all the graphic sex talk....

:D
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Posted: Dec 1st 2009 12:37PM ultimateq said

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It was a joke :-(
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Posted: Dec 1st 2009 2:46PM Magius said

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@CindyL: I couldn't agree with you more. I've been in plenty of groups where the guys speak like sailors but nothing can turn the heat on like a group of women. You want to see a guy blush throw an unsuspecting one into a group of women (specially if they are celebrating something).

:D
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Posted: Nov 27th 2009 12:30PM (Unverified) said

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One thing I want to throw out: The main target demographic for marketing (at least in the US) is men 18-34 and the common perception is that these guys like (in no particular order) booze, cars, sports, girls, video games, loud music, action stories, and technology. If that ever changes, then you won't see as many beer commercials, fantasy football leagues, and Playboy-esque magazines.

Granted, the game in question was an Asian one, but Asian males like teh bewbs, too. There's also a bunch of other strange fantasies (like just about anything ending in -dere), but the large-breasted women translate the best overseas. Just be glad this wasn't a Queen's Blade MMO. ;)

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