Tag Archives: boobs

BOOBS or: Did a Woman Really Write This?

27 Mar

Ivy Valentine (SoulCalibur)

Whilst browsing G4TV, I must have been  deluded to think that when I chose to click the featured link to an article with the promising title of ‘Boobs in Video Games‘, I would be presented with an opinion piece with a positive message.

Here was me, thinking this might be some kind of critique of the wholly unrealistic portrayal of female bodies in video games. I was hoping to be shown characters whose breasts where disproportionately large, perfectly shaped and/or barely covered, and subsequently told that this was BAD or at least unrealistic. Not so. The author revels in the objectification of women.

A particularly annoying segment:

“For example, when I questioned why gamers seemed to generally prefer Elena Fisher of Uncharted’s puppies over Chloe Frazer’s, they cited reasons like: “She doesn’t have whore boobs,” and “Chloe’s breasts are too slutty — we prefer the subtlety of Elena’s knockers.””

The author, Sherilynn Macale, is a woman. Shouldn’t she take at least some sort of offense to breasts being called ‘slutty’ or ‘whore boobs’? Does she have an opinion on those statements at all? Of course not, because that kind of stuff is fine for women to say in 2011, as it has been for all too long.

'Whore Boobs'

Sherilynn “Cheri” Macale is then, what Ariel Levy might call, a ‘Female Chauvinist Pig‘.

Ms Macale, on her own blog, presents herself  not only as ‘freelance writing’, but also as ‘boy bullying’. Boy bullying? Really? A quick scan of her twitter, and of her portfolio page, shows us instead that Cheri is adept at objectifying herself. Wearing skin-tight trousers and a tiny open top, she poses stretched out across super cars; imagery that is clearly made to gratify the straight male demographic. Where is the boy bullying in that?

'Subtle Knockers'

As a woman with the privilege to write for a widely circulated online publication such as G4TV, Ms Macale just should not be reinforcing such primitive,  gratuitous  depictions of women, especially when body image is such an important issue for both women and men, more than ever. Sating the obvious, this can be seen in the proliferation of cosmetic surgery (with 1/4 women now having considered surgery),¹ eating disorders (anorexia was barely heard of a century ago),² and all the rest. And whilst I appreciate that men are portrayed physically unrealistically in video games (i.e. the all to common ‘macho man’ image), there are certainly instances where they are not, and these are far more common than with female characters. A good example of a male character with a realistic physique is Otacon from the Metal Gear Solid series.

Presenting the ideal woman in games as one with impossibly large breasts ALONGSIDE an impossibly slim waistline, is damaging in a number of ways. Firstly, it presents to women who play games that this is the idealised version of themselves, and is the body image that men are singularly attracted to. But more importantly perhaps, seeing as though that straight men are still the ‘main demographic’, is that it gives men unreal expectations of what to expect from women, just as much as the porn industry does, just as magazines do, just as advertising does ad infinitum. I am not saying video games are the cause of unrealistic conceptions of body image, but they certainly have their part to play.

Whilst I understand that Sherilynn Macale is not a games developer, and thus has no direct control over the portrayal of women in video games, she could AT LEAST have something negative to say about the objectification of her sex in the industry she obviously cares about. Even a modicum of social responsibility would be appreciated, so that women no longer have to either a) act like/ participate in heterosexual male cultures or b) overtly objectify themselves, to gain a degree of respect from men. If you are a female games journalist, it should be OK to act like one.

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