913 Weapon Of Last Resort.

Okay, so Pottermore is a thing that is very popular with people I know. Silverpotion24405 is me. I accidentally ignored a friend request frome someon who had the words Wolfsbane in their username. If that’s you let me know so I can add you up.

I had a dream last night about selling bycycles, or something. There was a Brittish guy who was dressed up as an ice cream cone, but the ice cream part was a top. He was my assistant, or something. I got startled out of it so I don’t remember it very well. The fact that I remembered any of it is strange enough. I vaguely remember going on a road trip with the ice cream guy. He never took off the suit.

Okay, so Skullgirls http://skullgirls.com/characters/cerebella/, if you haven’t heard of it, is a 2D fighting game available for download on PS3 & Xbox360. As a fighting game it’s pretty tight. The animation is top notch and everything is fairly polished. The cast is all female, and it seems to be set in a 1920sish crapsack world. I have done very little research about the actual story and setting of the game, so that might be totally wrong. I get this info mostly from playing the demo. Anyway, the people on my periphery are very concerned about how women are portrayed in media, so I’m oddly aware of it while not always being able to parse what is good and what is bad. So I asked people on my DeviantArt if they thought that Skullgirls was sexist, empowering, or a third, more complex, thing. People overwhelmingly chose the third thing, but a few people brought up some points about the character design that speaks pretty clearly to it being overtly sexist. On average the people who took a negative view were the only ones who made salient points about their arguments, whereas proponents offered up vague statements about this sort of thing being okay, and not harmful for the most part. I would like to present some of these point to encourage further conversation. (Try not to make any commentary more adversarial than you have to please. I don’t want to read fighting, I want to gain a clearer understanding about how people view these issues.)

Slave2Karma posited:
Filia- thigh high stockings with a mini skirt, frequent panty shots and seems to enjoy getting down on her hands and knees a lot.

Cerebella- Mini dress and balloon boobs bouncing every which way.

Parasoul- bare legs and booty skirt, panty shots, pauses to pose with her hips out, in the last shot faints into a mans arms.

Ms. Fortune- Cat zombie monster, okay…with ridiculous under-cleavage and is wearing a utility belt around panties.

Painwheel- unholy monster lady, yet still has been dressed in a loin cloth dress to allow for ass and crotch shots.

Valentine- balloon tits, panty shots, and a nurse outfit. Triple whammy.

Double- Another monster lady…who can turn into all the other ladies.

The only one who isn’t sexualized is Peacock, but that’s 1 out of 8. After putting it all down in writing, I’m sort of wondering how this game could be perceived as empowering in the slightest. A lot of the attacks and concepts seem cool:Filia’s demon hair, Ms. Fortune’s extendo muscle fibers, I even like Valentine’s ‘show me where it hurts’ catchphrase. And yeah, some games try to aim for this kind of ridiculous/ironic level of fan service (Bayonetta anyone?) but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s objectifying and alienating for potential female gamers.

Toadking07 had similar thoughts:
I voted it’s sexist. Most of the girls are dressed like strippers, or at least have some rather revealing article of clothing on. I really think stuff like this has become to standard in video games, that people confuse it with “empowering” women, instead of what it is, idealizing them as sex objects. It’s one thing for a girl to dress sexy because she feels like it, it’s another thing for her to be dressed sexy because it will sell.

If you reversed the roles, had male characters looking like that, it’d be one thing, but I don’t think there are really any examples out there of that. I’m talking about male characters, designed by females, to be sexy and attractive. (which is definitely different than a male character designed by males to be a fantasy strong man) And I mean not just one, but the whole cast of a game looking like this. Guys without their shirts on, athletic builds, tight jeans, abs in your face, low riding underwear, whatever girls are into! It’s definitely going to come across differently.

Infinite-Ion added:
I had to watch someone play as each character and yes, I do give the animation a standing ovation. However, what I want to know is why must their outfits be so short? Plus, if we were to think about it, Filla and Painwheel are 15 or 16; yet, Filla looks like she’s ready for some adult entertainment despite losing her entire memory! I wished the bodies were made to be more.. believable? I have a hard time imagining a lot of 15 to 16 year old girls looking like a Filla.

Adding onto that, it said that she was a C cup in biography. I don’t believe that for a minute because that looked more like a D and on up; much like Cerabella, Valentine and Parasoul. >> I do, however, like Peacock (even though she can be annoying, at times) and Ms. Fortune since she’s about the only “woman” who isn’t blown up like a doll.

Oh, what I’m trying to say is, “I don’t think this game is empowering because I wouldn’t want any girl to mirror the lives of these women and girls especially Peacock, Painwheel and Marie (though she was the boss, she wanted to do what she could to protect Peacock as she had did for her in the past). I’m not surprised by the choice of outfits and yet, I am due to both Marie and Peacock. I thought they were going to make everyone slutty because age really doesn’t matter, at all! All and all, I think it’s more complex than just being “empowering” or “sexist”.

When I first started looking Skullgirls over I looked to see if there was very much talk of it being sexist, and there is some. Not nearly as much as I expected, but a few people leveled some serious ire at the game. For the most part, however, the game seems to get a pass because it’s so well done in other areas. Particulalrly the animation and game mechanics. Which makes me wonder if overall quality trumps social irresponsability. I actually sort of know one of the clean up animators and I asked him what he thought of the “controversy”. Basically he thought it was blown out of porportion for the sake of getting pageviews, and from what I’ve seen in my search he’s right. For the most part people don’t give a shit one way or the other. On Tumblr Skullgirls has oceans of fanart and general support. Pretty much every site that presents art is the same way. It’s generally well liked and no one is all that concerned about the character design.


I’ve seen screencaps from Skullgirls, and I agree that the characters are sexist. My argument: So what? It’s a video game. If your young child is getting his or her role models for proper dress and behavior from a game, especially a fighting game, than you really need to examine whats going on a little more locally.

As for your experience on DevArt, that’s society for you. People who don’t have a problem with something will rarely investigate why they don’t, while people who are against something are prepared to ferverently exclaim why they hate it.

I’d argue the other side of things: most games aren’t meant for kids in the slightest.

I’m not so clear in my typing. Sorry. I am not trying to claim the games are made for kids, but more that it seems a lot of con arguments are about role models. Sorry, but we’re past the age of choosing new role models. Therefore, clearly people are concerned about children playing games like this and taking life lessons from it.

I never went as far as to say I hated it—just that the level of fan service going on was alienating to potential lady gamers.

It’s not about: ‘Oh no, this game is evil because it’s sexist, think of the children!’

It’s more like: ‘Ya know, I’d love to get beyond the massive wave of bouncing tits and panty shots and see what this game is about, but it’s just getting a little weird for me.’

game companies have a hard time accepting the idea of a ‘lady gamer’, about the same way Hasbro can’t accept that there are adult toy collectors. I know that’s not a defense, but it’s a sad truth.

Plenty of adults still collect Hasbro toys, and plenty of ladies still play video games. I don’t know how frustrating it gets for toy collectors trying to make it with an industry that producers toys more for children–but as a female gamer (and movie fanatic and comic book enthusiast) constantly getting hit in the face with a wave of over sized tits gets pretty frustrating, and it’s a contributing factor as to why so many ladies are turned off otherwise awesome dorky stuff.

It gets Frustrating. Hasbro tries to walk the line, but they end up favoring kids. Mattel has a better approach, with their Mattycollector website.

Filia is popping out of her school girl outfit because Samson(her hair parasite) is a massive glutton, and the nutrients and calories and whatnot from everything he consumes are partially passed on to her.

Based on the angry fist shaking of the soldier, I’m pretty sure Parasol’s time out animation where she faints is supposed to be a joke. Her outfit’s hard to justify though.

Ms. Fortune’s entire concept is built around being able to separate and reattach her limbs and head at will. You can see the stitches where she was cut up on the places her body is exposed.

Painwheel fights by contorting her body in ways that shouldn’t be possible and ejecting sharp objects from her body. Her clothes can’t restrict her movement or be in places they’d just be shredded anyways.

I’ll admit that Cerebella and Valentine are really fanservicey. I don’t see anything that could justify it.

As for Double, I find it hard to believe that anyone would find Double appealing at all, or at least in a way that could be considered sexist. Her nun form is the most clothed any of the main characters get, and she only assumes the forms of others for combat purposes.

Does overall quality trump social responsibility? Yes. I think Mafia is a good example of this, and maybe GTA IV. Besides, you can always be (or claim to be)subversively responsible. I have never felt less drawn to a life of crime than when playing Kane & Lynch, or GTA IV. Or Pulp Fiction, for that matter. They’re excellent, but not irresponsible.

My other argument is that social responsibility in fantastic and frivolous entertainment is in the same category as physics, graphical realism, and anatomical accuracy. You take from them (or implement them)as needed, without losing sight of the forest for the trees.

As you can see from the name, I think I was the friend request on Pottermore :P No hard feelings, I probably would ignore any friend request I didn’t recognize also ^__^

My quick way to check for sexist representation is simply to ask one question. If I was a woman going into a fight, what would I wear? Obviously not heels, or a short skirt, or anything that would allow my breasts to fall out or get in the way, etc.

Catwoman wears a outfit that covers (and protects) her body from head to toe along with boots made for what she does (steal), but I doubt anyone who sees the character would doubt that she’s sexy.

Yeah, it’s still sexist because of the superheroine body design in general, but some effort could be made to appease the female reader while still appealing to the male fan-base.

I think that it’s less about the body than the costumes in terms of sexism. And that was in the old days realy. The body design is occasionally overdone, but it generally makes sense fo what they do.

That’s modern Catwoman. golden age Catwoman wore a purple dress with a plunging neckline and a thigh-hi slit up one side, and black high heels. Her current outfit is a very recent development.

Eh, I say Skullgirls is exempt because of over-the-top ridiculousness. For instance: you could condemn a game for being over violent – blood ‘n guts and stuff – but when it gets to a certain point beyond that I can’t condemn it…depending on how “beyond” it gets. Skullgirls looks cartoony to me, and on top of that it’s not aimed at kids (so far that I know) so it’s pretty much harmless. If they had replaced it with all dudes but still gave them all ridiculous powers and kept up the awesome animation and fun factor, then I’d still get it ’cause it looked like a fun game.

The over-the-topness of it is why I took it all with a grain of salt when I was looking up the characters, but it got me thinking. Kill Bill is COMPLETELY over the top in terms of blood and gore, but it never got over the top in terms of sexualizing The Bride—in fact, it never did it at all to my recollection. Did it affect the film at all to have a leading lady who wasn’t a sexual object? I realize now that I (a girl) love Kill Bill, but I won’t bat an eye at a lot of other lady badasses because it feels like they exist solely for men. It was nice having a fighting lady who wasn’t a sex object for once, especially when she could have very easily been made into one and it would have been overlooked because the world she was in was so ‘over the top’.

My question is—if they replaced all the characters in this game with guys and THEN sexualized the crap out of them, would you still be interested in playing it? If their asses were constantly jiggling out of their pants, their balls were bouncing, and they were flashing underwear shots and striking sexy poses, would you feel weird about it at all?

I always dislike these arguments because saying it’s “sexist” is misusing the term. Sexism is a form of prejudice. How is it prejudiced to depict a woman wearing skimpy clothing? What is an animator prejudging by doing so? Unless someone is going to say that there is literally no way to be a decent human being while wearing a miniskirt, I don’t see what one has to do with another. The only thing close to an argument I’ve ever really heard was that teaching people to look at women a certain way is bad for society. But then, as another guy already said, glamorizing criminals is also bad for society, but fortunately, generations growing up on everything from the Godfather to GTA have yet to decide criminals are awesome and we should stop locking them up. A fighting game in general promotes violence, but again, it doesn’t actually affect anyone. So I don’t see any evidence at all that depicting women in that way has any effect besides affecting sales.

Sweet! Me thinking Mike has earned some cool points for this stunk. If nothing else he’ll be fun to hang out with and play D&D.

Hmmm, the only worrying thing to me is that there are many people raising concerns about the character appearances in Skullgirls and there’s very little discussion of the characters themselves. With the exception of Valentine, I don’t believe any of the characters behave in ways that jive with the accusations of sexism. Being male, however, I’m sure my perception of sexism is off. Alls I’m saying is there’s more to the characters that meets the eye, and I wish people would consider the characters themselves sometimes.

People who want to hate something will never look past why they hate it, nor will they consider an opposing opinion.

Your beliefs that anything is off on this game are wrong. Why? because our real, living world is filled with violent people hoping to one day hurt you or your children. Grow the fuck up. Some fucking game does not reflect some dark reality that we should rail against, its called the world. Welcome.

Times may change, but standards must remain. If anyone feels a game, or any form of entertainment for that matter, offends their sensibilities and/or is counterproductive to social advancement, that is their opinion and cannot be considered wrong simply because the reality of our world is harsh or cruel. A person wishing to transcend the evils of the world around him or effect change must work to move beyond mere acceptance of a situation and hold himself and others to higher standards.

That’s all that’s taking place here. So where is the offense? How can wanting to make things better than how they were found be cause for anger and verbal abuse?

I wouldn’t say it’s cause for anger and verbal abuse, As a general reaction, it’s somewhat less than persuasive, but I DO understand it.

The main issue, as I see it, is that accusations of sexism are hurled around as soon as so much as a a glimpse of female flesh is spotted, without considering context, or anything.

The anger and verbal abuse is a natural reaction to the world in general trying to empower women 24/7. Which is fine, but why start with video games? If you’re really concerned about the plight of women, start with porn. Those women could actually USE the help.

But they won’t. Because it’s not about women. It’s like the ‘how would you like it if there was a game like this where men were sexualized for women’s benefit?’

That’s a stupid question. I wouldn’t care, and no single man on the planet should, either. Just like no women should care if this game is sexist, either. It simply doesn’t matter. Video games don’t CAUSE sexist behavior. If some guy is sexist because of anything this game has to say, it was going to happen no matter what.

If you want to transcend the evils of the world around you, focus on a REAL evil, not a media talking point. Most of the angry people are responding like children, sure, But how can you blame them? They look out into the world and see a place where ‘male-only’ institutions are ruled unconstitutional, but ‘Women-only’ gyms riddle the country like untreated VD. They feel persecuted for their gender, and liking to look at attractive women, and I can’t blame them.

I’m a lady, but I’m no prude. I hardly get up in arms when a female badass shows some skin. Sin City is one of my all time favorite movies/comics. The difference between Sin City and something like this is that in Sin City, it makes SENSE for the badass chicks to be dressed like hookers: because they ARE hookers.

I understand context, and that’s exactly where my side of the argument comes in. If it makes sense in context, I have NO problem with it—Gail’s wearing a fishnet body suit, she’s a hooker, it makes sense. Aeon Flux dresses like a dominatrix—but it’s in a trippy future world and the standards of decency have declined tremendously (although I do question the functionality of some of her attire, but it’s actually gotten her killed at least once so at least it’s been addressed that practical shoes on the battle field are a good idea). But when a military operative like Parasoul is wearing a booty skirt, that’s when I start to roll my eyes. And yes, it’s meant to be over the top and should be taken with a grain of salt, but Kick Ass and Kill Bill were over the top as well, and those leading ladies did just fine without the sexification treatment. If anything, it made them more effective as characters.

I also (shock!) have no problem with porn—it is what it is. But when characters in a fighting game look like they’re FROM porn, and it constantly happens in video games, comics, and movies, it gets a little old. It’s not about women’s empowerment and fighting evil—it’s the constant wave of unneeded panty shots and tits I get shoved in my face when I’m trying to get my nerd on. Yes, tits are awesome, but I’m not LOOKING for tits. I’d just like to read a comic, or watch a movie, or play a damn video game without having to roll my eyes at the ridiculous amount of fan service going on.

You say you wouldn’t care if men were sexualized in a video game. But how would you feel if in the majority of video games, comics, and movies, the male protagonists (and or antagonist) constantly had his ass hanging out and his balls bouncing? If he strode around wearing completely ridiculous costumes that looked like underwear into battle, moaned like he was getting nailed when he was getting hit? Wouldn’t that get a just a little weird for you after a while?

My point isn’t that video games cause sexist behavior, it’s that the way they portray women alienates female gamers. It’s the constant tit bouncing and ridiculous costumes and sex moaning in combat that turns someone like me off of what could otherwise have been a great game. And yeah, big loss for the company, but people wonder why women don’t play more video games—and this is a big part of it.

Sorry to aim my less-than-coherent reply at you (I’m quite sick) But it’s been something that’s been swirling around in my head for a few days, and you were the last Skullgirls relevant reply on the thread. ^^;

Quite alright. Personally, I now work in an industry where the vast majority of my coworkers are female, and I’m continuously passed over for advancement on account of subconscious gender prejudices while at the same time I have to listen to the constant laments and/or excoriations that I am somehow oppressing both my superiors and peers by being so terribly terribly despicably male. Reverse sexism is just as prevalent as regular sexism these days, and it’s far easier to get away with.

To that end, I am of the opinion that the only way to find any gender equality is for everybody to be as sexist or reverse sexist as they wish. It will be a chaotic free-for-all, but much more honest than what we’ve got now.

The anger and abusive language to which I was referring was that exhibited by Xhen, over an issue which was only tangentially mentioned in Crave’s initial rant. Rather than looking at whether or not the game was sexist (over which I personally don’t care), he apparently chose to attack Crave. I believe that’s called an ad hominem in which one attacks the speaker rather than the argument, in this case blaming the evils of the world for any perceived shortcomings on the game’s part, as if fiction were tied to reality and vice versa.

I commented as I did because I was curious as to what leap of the imagination was required to get from a simple video game to telling someone to STFU on account of the world being a big, scary, dark, and evil place. That logic is a gaping chasm which I still cannot fathom.

I should probably wait for a strip with Nina in it to bring this up, but my memory is so screwed these days I probably won’t even remember in five minutes.

Everyone working at megatainment is damaged.

Mike is completely out of his element as a manager because he actually drinks the corporate Kool-aid but doesn’t know how to actually run a store. Carol was pining after Thomas until she finally just jumped him, which kinda suggests she’s got something deeper she’s not letting be known. Brooksie has severe social problems. Wes is an upcoming foil. Reggie, aside from being a complete dick, has delusions of grandeur and was born under a cursed star. The only one who really seems all there is Nina. She’s more awesome than should be legally allowed in one person. What’s she doing at Megatainment if she’s not got some damage she’s really good at hiding?

Everyone everywhere is damaged.

Good answer, if easily misconstrued as a little on the depressive side.

I knew a young man in college who was not damaged. Home schooled. Parents were cosmetic surgeons. Martial artist, multi-linguist, trained in etiquette and comfortable in all company. The guy was so frustratingly perfect that being around him was maddening. But, considering it was just the one person, and he’d been too sheltered throughout his life to be damaged yet, I gotta give you that one.

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