Saturday, December 31, 2011

got a glitter drop of fall and I'm on my knees

[Help] Far Shadow: If [your] explore/history plaque hunting, use the instructions and maps on Paragon Wiki, it's not too hard if you're full of smarticles
[Help] Falling Barometer: smarticles is officially an awesome word. I award you one internet, which comes with a dozen cookies of your choice, as long as your choice is oatmeal raisin.

So there's a lovely little round-up of the plain differences between SOPA and PIPA, but more specifically, how SOPA would affect us all (post-passage, assuming that it does pass in the US), over on CNet. I highly recommend everyone interested to read through it; it condenses the issue down to good, solid talking points, and eases understanding of what is a staggeringly overwritten, yet surprisingly vague, prohibitionary bill.

Once upon a time...Wau. That's kind of scary. I've known about the poor ladies in the radium factory for years now, but this apparently is the male version. So...if teeth loosen, and bones weaken, and tumors develop, just from licking brushes dipped into radium paint...what would happen if you had sex with radium condoms?

Actually, don't answer that. I truly don't want to know.

The next bit is going to wander slightly. So, I've been engaged for some time following the exploits of the Women Fighters in Reasonable Clothes Tumblr. Some of what they post is clearly fan art; some's not, and is actually taken from published works, art books, movies, what-have-you, and it's all thrown in this melting pot of mixed genre armors--not what ultimately would work best, but whatever--as armor--would actually work, as opposed to best display more bits of skin than any fighter would, ordinarily.

The topic came up again recently when friends of mine tossed me this link, which eventually leads back to another Tumblr blog, namely the Tumblr of Grace Duval, a fashion designer and designer of wearable art, who was absolutely blown away when Jezebel liked the pictures posted enough for a feature.

But that brought me back to thinking about armor designed for females, and the very next day I found this link, written by a maker of armor, who points out both the ridiculousness and the utility of armor as worn by females. (And I still think the best example is the Gothic plate designed for Elizabeth's character from the film of the same name.)

Just to reach from there a moment, it's not just female characters in armor who are given this treatment. Sometimes women in uniform get the same treatment. That's ridiculous as a working uniform for any gender, unless part of your job involves constant breast-feeding. Come on now.

But I'm still thinking on the topic. Why is this the male armor upgrade for Dynasty Warriors 6, and this the female armor? Or what about Wolfenpride's response in a forum on the same topic? I mean, while I get what what he was saying, does it unnerve anyone else that his first response to the sight of figure-revealing armor is murderous necrophilia? Or is it just me?

And it's not like this is just in one game, or even one game genre; it's broadband and wide-spread.

Fantasy, science fiction, it doesn't seem to matter, it's all the same thing. Even in areas where one wouldn't think it would naturally crop up--for example, the Gunslinger add-on for City of Heroes.

The guys? Got the full-on Wild West treatment: specialty guns, chaps, a rather jaunty top hat, vest, a bolo tie. It's a nice outfit. The duster, especially, was very well done.

But the girls? Got the bar wench. Not even kidding. And there's zero attempt to hide it--if you play a female character, you get ruffles, corsets, and thigh-high boots with spurs. You might as well put out a sign asking for ten bits an hour.

Normally, I won't lie, I'm all for cheesecake in games, but I want it to have some relevance to armor, rather than just being made of metal. (Which most of it isn't anyway, so what the hell?)

(from the random album)

Because seriously. This isn't armor. This is a chick in lingerie--partial lingerie, at that!--with a bow. There's nothing in anything she's wearing that would protect her from a slightly incompetent rodent with a toothpick. Let alone big guys with guns.


Anonymous said...

On the female armor: well.... right. I mean, media created primarily by and for young straight males, women looking all sexy, doesn't seem to need lots of explanation. Eyerolling and amusement and outrage and a desire to do something to fix it certainly. But puzzlement? Not so much. :)

Icterus Dagger said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Icterus Dagger said...

Tangentially related: I re-read a short magazine reunion interview with some of the cast of Aliens, and I was thinking about how Ripley (Siguorney Weaver) went from fighting a xenomorph in Alien while wearing panties and I think a half shirt(?), to looking fabulous in a flightsuit and kicking Alien butt in a construction mech in Aliens.


Sorry, had to delete first iteration of this.

Emilly Orr said...


I'm not sure I ever said I was puzzled, precisely (maybe "horrified" at one point, but that was directly related to the "gut and THEN rape" comment about another game's pointless armor), but...well, I guess this goes less to "why do they make women sexy in games?!?" because I'm all for that, but--why the pointless armor in the first place?

Let's go back to Dynasty Warriors 6. The male armor seems suitable for a fantastic take on a sprawling Asian culture. But the female? That's not even from the same culture. Cheesecake, I get--but violating the design ethos of your own game to be sexy?

Yeah, maybe that does puzzle me a tad.

Emilly Orr said...


Well, Ripley's kind of the definition, isn't she? She went the cheesecake route in the first film, but all successive films featured her more or less clothed--more in Aliens, less in Aliens 3, and not even the same person in Aliens: Resurrection. :)

But just to break down the loss of attire in Alien: it was never described as armor, was the thing. Mostly male designers will design sexy numbers for females, I get that. Hells, give most female artists the option, they'll design sexy numbers for females, 'cos girls are pretty and that pretty much goes across gender lines.

Where I start having a problem is, I suppose, game by game, rather than the game genre as a whole. While it is widespread, there are games that don't descend to this level. (Runes of Magic, for instance--while the higher-level womenfolk have their choices of artfully-cut robes, or wisps of fantasy metal, for upper levels, the lower levels get balloon pants.) Or sometimes it's a case of some of their things work, and some profoundly don't.

Emilly Orr said...

For example (carrying from the last message), City of Heroes. There's a lot of sexy options, and there's a lot of characters in the game who use them, myself included. (Hells, I'm currently working up two healers, one redside, one blueside, and the heroine is wearing essentially spray paint with foot and arm wraps, and the villain is wearing a very high-cut thong with a breast-enhancing, nay, a breast-EMPHASIZING corset...and of course thigh-high boots!)

Where we collectively tend to have the problem is when the options for male and for female characters are so markedly different, as to indicate that the females simply can't wear the male gear because of male privilege. And female gamers? We tend to resent that. A LOT.

Icterus Dagger said...

Yes, I understand what you mean perfectly. As I said, my Ripley statement was a bit tangential. I follow these threads with interest because for years I've been saying essentially the same thing, and Bella and I alternate between disgust and outright laughter at some of the gaming ads on TV when they show the female warriors thus clad (or not). At risk of sending your cringe meter off the scale, we're more of the Nancy Drew adventure game types anyway ;-)


Alexandra Rucker said...

Where we collectively tend to have the problem is when the options for male and for female characters are so markedly different, as to indicate that the females simply can't wear the male gear because of male privilege. And female gamers? We tend to resent that. A LOT.

This. 'Nuff said.

Emilly Orr said...

And see, I wouldn't mind so much if it wasn't the constant breakdown between utility and sex appeal. So few games get really sexy costumes for guys--there's still a few (Adam from, what is it, Mass Effect 2? Has it down, and there's a superhero in City of Heroes called Foreshadow that has a skin-tight, wonderfully sleek look that manages to be both feisty and seductive), but by and large, if you're male, you wear the heavy armor, and if you're female, you wear a smile. And a necklace that mysteriously barely covers your breasts and your nether bits.

Balance it out, people. Sex sells? Sure. Make the guys sexy, too. Or give the girls more 'unisex' options. Something. Because it's unbalanced as hell and of course people are going to miss.

B'sides, you want girl gamers, you have to dress them not like elven tarts on sale to the lowest bidder. You can still have sexy, seductive costume options without going bipolar, people. And you can't invite girls into your games and expect us to want to wear the two pieces of ribbon and the ornate shoulder cuff to protect our fragile female skin from, well, any goddamn monster out there.