Saturday, May 25, 2013

Chick Armor is for the Birds

Hmm I wonder what the lesson in this is...

Okay so for those of you who don't know me very well this is a very annoying staple I see in fantasy and sci-fi: chicks in sh*t armor. I don't have a problem with women appearing sexy, but I feel like there is a line that's often crossed and for a long time there wasn't much negative response about it. But hey it's the age of the internet and social networking and people are way more connected. People, women and men, are making their voices heard. But why am I so bothered by this? Well, many reasons, but one may be this- this is art and art is a reflection of the society that created it in some way. So what does this say about our view of women? Remember video games and comic books aren't just for teenage boys. A lot of girls grew up around this stuff and some try to identify with a character they like. But when a defining trait about a character is her sexuality it can shape someone's perspective(male or female) badly. Now if this was something you only saw in a small percentage then tat's fine because it would've been added to a melting pot of different personalities and traits in different types of characters. But it's very common for one of the top characteristics of a female character to be sexy. Even as a kid when I wanted a game I felt uncomfortable if her sexuality seemed to trump her other traits(awesome traits even). Because of this,
pew pew!
 I never played Tomb Raider. Now in the 90's there was a lot of "girl power" oriented stuff so a game like this sounded awesome. I first learned of Lara Croft through a gaming magazine that was accidentally sent to my house for half a year. All I had so far was Crash Bandicoot and Spyro so upping the ante with a cool-ass pistol toting adventurer sounded fun. But then I would see screen caps of the game I would often see tits and butt frames really well. I didn't understand why back then, but didn't want to play. I do, however, want to play the newest one. I've seen the trailers. It looks really challenging and though Lara is still attractive it doesn't look like their throwing sexuality all in our faces.

But another example comes from when I was in college and got into Soul Caliber. My favorite character off the bat has to be Ivy Valentine. Why? She's a badass with a sword that deconstructs into a sharp segmented whip chain. Need I say more? Well if I do her dad is Cervantes, a pirate ghost. BAM!
But when I see her... well...
No... just... no. Now in the developer's defense she has a really cool costume alternative but this is the standard outfit that I see her marketed as. It's sexy but the dumbest sh*t. Yes Ivy you're amazing but not that amazing, no one is. You wouldn't be worried of accidentally nicking yourself a little? But let's face it, this costume design wasn't made with practical use in mind. Maybe when it was getting greenlit the word "empowering" was used. What a crock. That word has become a double edged sword for visually developing female characters.
"It's like she's so empowered she doesn't even care if she's only wearing a napkin while millions ogle her. That's not what she's about. She's about female empowerment!"-Mr. Derp.
  My younger sister is 19, and I remember we played the crap out of SC4 a couple summers ago. I asked her recently, "What do you think of this costume?" when showing her Ivy. She just stared blankly, opened her mouth as if to respond, and simply walked out of the room. So many awesome points for the character, gone. Despite her cool back story, despite her amazing fighting skills it hits with her outfit alone- part of your creation is for the pleasures of others. There's something very demeaning in that. There's other games that, though they may seem very well made and fun, I wouldn't buy if many of their females(or main female) was represented in such a lazy way- Bayo-fucking-netta included.

Now I'm not going to pretend there aren't cool video games developers who do the opposite of this:
Oh hai Trion, Bioware and Bethesda. How's it hanging? Now again, I want to make clear that a female character showing skin and/or being sexy isn't a bad thing but like any trait, physical or mental, let there be a good reason. I want her to be a good character, because in some games, you really get attached to them and it helps the player get invested. But if SEXY is her defining(or only) trait, then you have more of an object than a character. I've seen games with strippers in them so, yeah, being overly sexy should be a pretty big thing, but if you're not you better make sense. Often in games wizards, like the one above, need lighter clothing to cast spells quicker- GREAT MAKES SENSE (and the wizard above is still quite tastefully dressed). But if you're a warrior, an archer, a knight, a sniper, a rogue-WHATEVER- you probably should have armor, or clothing in general, that is practical in your mission, adventure or quest.

Good thing those vital organs-breasts, shoulders, forearms, thighs, shins, hips and feet- are covered. Good work now give that respectable warrior a weapon!
AHAhahahahahaha, oh... oh it's funny because it's silly

Now I know I'm not the only one to complain about this kind of stuff. Games are one thing but I think the mainstream comic industry is saturated with dumb crap like this. It's nice to hear someone decided to address in it a funny way. Take a look at the Hawkeye Initiative if you don't know what I mean. Also College Humor addresses this pretty well. So I guess the next move is, what am I going to do about it(heh, instead of rant on a blog). I think I'd like to celebrate those who make an effort of drawing proper warriors like this website does. For many weeks I plan to draw those interested as fighters in different kinds of armor or practical clothing in general. There's a mixture to choose from: pirates, paladins, ninjas, archers, assassins in fantasy and scifi. My volunteers don't know which they'll end up as but I guarantee they'll look quite fierce without um.... Ivy-ing it up.


  1. I am super interested! You can totally draw me as a lady.

  2. Hi Kip! (Cool name by the way).

    It's funny you're the second guy interested in the project. So far I have 20 people lined up- trust me you'll know the guy one when you see it. I have gotten two finished in two weeks. After I'm done with the next 18 I'll be making another set and I'll put you in that set. Keep following and thanks for posting!