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In Defense of the Sexy Ladies

by William Johnson on 04/23/13 10:58:00 pm

The following blog post, unless otherwise noted, was written by a member of Gamasutraís community.
The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the writer and not Gamasutra or its parent company.


This is a response to†Anjin Anhut's tumblr post. Which itself is a response to†Jason Schreier's Kotaku article.

So I’m a big fan of sexy ladies, and also I’m a big fan of feminism. This is the one point where I disagree with the common cultural critique of feminism.

I don’t think we should have boring female protagonists. Now, I don’t think that’s what people, like Anjin Anhut, are advocating, but I do think without offering good examples of where it works, people are basically going to go to the extremes, and think the only way to counter the sexy lady problem is by creating the most horribly boring, bland, and uninteresting female characters.

I’m going to defend sexy ladies in video games. You see video games are art. In order to make a point art will almost always be exaggerated. So if you are going to create a female character, a degree of exaggerated female characteristics is going to happen no matter what.

This is the crux of the medium. Everything is exaggerated, or else it wouldn’t be real, because its not real already. Explosions need to be bigger. When you jump you have to be able to jump at least 3 times your height, if not more. You punch something it’ll go rocketing in to the sky or explode in to a million pieces. Without some exaggerated visceral feedback, it doesn’t not feel real. It doesn’t feel at all.

So in character design, exaggeration goes nuts. If your character uses guns, they’ll probably have a giant gun. If he uses knifes, and since knifes are suppose to be small, instead they’ll probably just have a billion knives. If they use a sword, odds are the sword will be bigger then the character.

If your character is male, they’re probably going to be hyper masculine. This isn’t a good thing, per se, but it is a conceit of the medium. So a female character to emphasize that they are in fact female will have exaggerated effeminate features. This isn’t a bad thing.

I don’t think beautiful hyper sexualized females are the problem. Sex and sex appeal should not be something we should fear or be offended by. People should not be afraid or ashamed of being beautiful, sexy, or whatever.

Subtlety is not good game design, its not good character design, and often isn’t good art (sometimes it is). I don’t want the world to be bland and unattractive. I want it to be exciting and over the top. And if that means characters are going to be so over exaggerated and hyper sexualized they become abstract and frightening towards the viewer, that is awesome!

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