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That Tropes vs Women in Gaming Part 2 video sure has brought on a lot of serious discussions hasn't it? I don't mean to keep wading deeper into all this, but one question begs another and this is something I'm really curious about: What's the difference between objectification... and just being sexy?

For me this is a really tough question to answer. Speaking as a heterosexual male it's a bit of a double standard. On the one hand, objectification of women and the constant sexualization of women in the majority of media around us is, I think, overwhelmingly bad for us as a society (and I've talked at great length about this subject in the past). But on the other hand there's absolutely nothing wrong with being attracted to women or finding them sexy. Speaking from a male perspective of course, this concept can be applied to how both men and women see things.

I think our tendency to over simplify things is why so many people don't take feminists seriously, because there's this belief that all feminists want to get rid of sexy female characters from media and replace them with ball-busting angry women. And that's not true. Sexy characters are used to damaging affect against women in real life, but being sexy is not a bad thing in and of itself. It's ok to be attracted to women, while also acknowledging the very real problem of women being overly sexualized and presented as objects for men to gawk over. I know that seems like hypocrisy, and maybe it is, but it's a very real truth.

Here's one thing I know gets brought up a lot. You don't have to have women presented nearly naked to be attractive. Women can wear clothing or armor and still be considered "hot." And it doesn't need to be form fitting either. The way in which a piece of clothing is worn and expressed by the person is what's attractive. This blog on tumblr is one of my favorites because it shows how women in the industry are presented, vs how they could still be viewed as attractive without making them half-naked all the time. I strongly recommend you check it out:

And I think that's ultimately what this comes down to... the way in which sexuality is used. A very good example that MovieBob made involves Ivy from the Soul Calibur series. For the most part she dresses ridiculously with absurd outfits and an over-proportioned body to boot:… But that's not inherently objectification as ALL the characters within the Soul Calibur series are ridiculously over stylized to the point of extremes. That's kinda Soul Calibur's weird little universe it's created, and there are often different more modest costumes you can pick and chose if you desire.

However, this advertisement campaign… for Soul Calibur 5 is objectifying because it reduces Ivy to nothing but her breasts. Her face is intentionally cropped out and the snake leading into her chest is obviously meant to be phallic shaped. There's no other subtext to this advertisement other than "imagine your dick here." That's degrading no matter who the character is suppose to be.

One of the problems with the complexity of life is that we can't blanket statement everything. Exceptions always exist. But we also can't explore every exception, because that just takes up too much energy and brain power to comprehend at times. So we're kinda stuck in this in-between realm where with one breath we can be standing up for women's rights and denouncing those who don't, then in the next breath fawning and appreciating the attractiveness of women. Here in America it's kinda a taboo, but we shouldn't be afraid of sexuality.

I'll be honest. I have no answer for this. Like I said, it's a ridiculous double standard and even slightly hypocritical at times... but there it is. Women can be objectified, but they can also be very attractive and sexy. What are your thoughts? What defines the difference between objectification of women (or men), and finding women (or men) sexy/attractive? Is there a middle ground or is it just extremes on both sides? Is there a solution to this problem? I am very curious to know what you all think about this subject because I haven't yet formed a solid enough idea myself and would love to hear from all sides if possible.
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ForgottenDemigod Featured By Owner Dec 11, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
"However, this advertisement campaign… for Soul Calibur 5 is objectifying because it reduces Ivy to nothing but her breasts. Her face is intentionally cropped out and the snake leading into her chest is obviously meant to be phallic shaped. There's no other subtext to this advertisement other than "imagine your dick here." That's degrading no matter who the character is suppose to be."
Weird, I see something completely different. Face is cropped to bring focus to her mouth, which obviously symbolizes "Command".
Serpent symbolizes "Power" just as red colour.
Weird fur clothes symbolize "Wealth".
The mouth shape indicates cruelty and decadence.
Exposed breasts also indicate sexuality.

Looking at the poster, it's obvious to me that it's a (platform?) game, where the player plays a flashgordonesque character that is imprisoned in a castle/dungeon where he has to perform various heroic tasks and is subjected to sexual abuse and torture for gratification of the person presented on the poster.
mortalshinobi Featured By Owner Dec 11, 2014
yeah, have to agree with you more than preston on this one.  that snake isn't a dick as it's directed towards her boobs from her neck, and the fur clothing is a status symbol of power which is also expressed through her skin exposure as flaunting what she has. the snake would also symbolize wickedness, corruption and cruelty, all traits fans like to place upon ivy. not necessarily true but a way fans like to see her.
R501 Featured By Owner Apr 12, 2014
Dear, Mr. TomPreston.

As much as I'm usually hesitant to come into these kinds of discussions, I was glad to stumble upon this journal of yours, because you really do sound like you want to approach this topic with a more understanding and open-minded view than most people I've encountered. Like you, I don't claim to know the answer to this overly complex issue, because I'm just one person in a world filled with billions of different opinions and viewpoints. To respond to your first criteria, you are correct; there is no requirement that a woman needs to be half-naked in order to be attractive or sexy, even if those things are what I do personally like regarding women. As someone whose doing his best to be sex-positive, I'm am doing what I can to promote and encourage the increasing diversity of body types, character designs, attires, and different views of sexuality. To leads to my next assessment. You see, increasing diversity of character design is only half the battle; you can have a female character be dressed head to foot in full-covered armor, but if she's a flat character(in terms of personality and character development), then she's still going to be a flat character no matter how you dress her up; this speaks more to issue of how women are often written in fiction, not solely just how they're designed. I do believe it's possible to have a female characters that are like Mai Shiranui, Ivy Valentine, and Lara Croft in terms of body types and clothing choices while also still being a fully-fleshed out 3-dimensional character with her own personality, goals, and motivations. What this means is that not only do we need to have more diversity, variety, and options in character designs and clothing choices, but we also need to have better written characters, and thus having better written and more engaging stories. Last here are my thoughts on your last two paragraphs; sexuality is a very confusing and complicated subject. Sexuality is about a wide range of things, and I think that includes what we find appealing about ourselves as well as what we find appealing in those who we are attracted. You're right about the contradicting realm that society seems to celebrate and yet at the same time taboos sexuality, and that's going for both the status quo and the activism that's trying to challenge it. As someone who admits to liking the fanservicey stuff that's often shown in fictional medium, I'm often given the idea from people that "Yeah, it's okay to like this stuff... but what you like is still really awful and you should feel bad." and that really does not help me in trying to develop my own sexuality. Trying to be inclusive for other people is good, but I think it's very self-denying to believe that no one ever wants something to be made that caters to their interests, and sex and sexuality shouldn't be any different in that regard. I know that kinda sounds undermined given that society is built by people like me for people like me, but I don't think that makes it any less true; it should be something that's worth considering. We need a better of sexuality, to not be afraid to explore it as well as understanding other people's views and experiences. I think that if we are to make positive changes, we should at least try to compromise together, rather than form an us vs them mentality that's running rampant among the status quo and the activists who are trying to challenge it. I do believe that the fanservice that's oversaturated in our society has a right to exist and have a place in the world, but I also do think that it should be much more limited than it currently is, especially so that alternatives and different ideas can rise to share the spotlight in more mainstream media. We also need to be more understanding and accepting(or at least tolerating) of people's different views and preferences, because there is always going to be people who like things that we may not(and are often conflate them with as inherently bad). So yeah, more increase in diversity, variety, and options, better written characters and stories, and more understanding of ourselves and other people. It might not fix the problem completely or even by itself, but I do think it's at least a step in the right direction. Again, I don't claim to know the right answer to this overly complex issue. I'm just someone who wants to share my thoughts on this as you have kindly asked.

Sincerely, Rahkshi500.
Lalunabluena Featured By Owner Jan 7, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Sexuality in video games, movies, books or TV shows is when the female character is being portrayed as something you can imagine putting your dick into along with being portrayed as a human being with emotions.
Sexuality in drawings or photography is when the woman is being portrayed as being sexy but the drawing has something or somethings that people who aren't turned on by it all can like.

Objectification in any art from is when the woman is being portrayed as a thing you can imagine putting you dick into and absolutely nothing else.               
Seaxwulf Featured By Owner Dec 11, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist

My thoughts? Personally, I scaffold heterosexual aesthetic attraction into three tiers. First level is purely platonic, and that is the "cute" stage. Second stage is transitional/transcendental, and that is the "beauty" stage. Last stage is the erotic stage, the vaunted "sexy" stage that modern America is so hung up over. I think the slider should be kept at the Beauty phase. A lot of folks fetishise cute, which gets downright creepy. (Just think of school-girl uniforms.) Get too hung up on the sexiness and you end up with a throbbing rape culture: men with too much testosterone and not enough brain cells, and women dressing up like broads who are just going to be raped in an alleyway by the end of the next R-Kellie debut.


The Greeks had five cascading levels of love. Storge, philios, epithumia, eros and agape. That is: familial, camaraderie, eroticism, romanticism and Platonism.


Myself, I think that the media should have no place in redefining sexual mores. It has ended in oblique disaster. Body dysmorphic disorder, bulimia, anorexia, otherexia. The West has become a virulent mess. If a more realistic, organic sexuality were pushed, than we wouldn't see so much depravity. Much though people complain, in the 40s-60s the media showed representative types, arguably. Granted, they showed fine specimens, but did not attempt to transmogrify the latent morality of culture. Since cultural Marxism took root in the late 60s, we see media actively redefining mores. Now people try to emulate the media, rather than the media trying to emulate people.


This inversion of reality serves to ground people in a mass dissociative disorder which impacts virtually all strata of social existence. But that's probably some jive talk for a different little white comment box.

Mosspetal Featured By Owner Aug 7, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Good article! I agree with all of your points. It really is a shame that sexuality is pretty taboo here in America. It makes it seem downright wrong for anyone to talk about it now, and most people seem to think scanty clothing is needed to be considered "sexy." There has to be more to it than that, and the objectification of men and women don't help that at all. Good points brought up. Hopefully more people will pay attention to it now from your article :)
KitKat-Felilnine Featured By Owner Jun 20, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
I generally agree with your points. However, I think there's a general mixing-up of the difference between "sexy" and "looking pleasant, ie not awful and kinda brash and revolting".
To give an idea, Barbie is really unrealisic and a bit sexualised; but the solution to her is not the unhygenic and foul-mouthed Feral Sheryl doll! The ideal doll would have a normal build, a face that you'd see on a pleasant natured ordinary girl in the street, and yes, she would have breasts. Just normal breasts that aren't pushed on you by their unrealism - but not just that. I've seen realistic enough portrayals of women - where there was something very sexualised in the essense of them (maybe the drawing style? it was definietely in the creator's minds), which was quite independent of the proportions of their breasts or what they were wearing.

Which brings me to your point I don't agree with - the putting together of two unrelated but often confused things - that wearing anything where you can at all see any of a woman's body (eg her stomach) must equal sexualised. Not true in the slightest. I've seen (many) highly, highly sexualised portrayals of women, who were very 'covered up'; and I've seen many of women in everything your definition would consider 'sexualised', such as a bikini, who have been completely normal.
The point is, it's not what you wear, it's how you wear it.

To make a character attractive - and this goes for male and female - is to start with a likeable personality. (This can include the appealing, bad-tempered mavericks who leave trails of destruction and chaos in their wake - it doesn't have to mean traditional heros.) Then, create a face that expresses that. (Having an expressive face will set your character apart from most others, as the million variations of "pout" are far too common.) This really sells your character. Now, prefably by doing some research on the closest real-world type of person to that personality you can find, conclude what sort of body type they have. So yes they may be sort of flat and skinny, or they may be chubby and - oh oh! shock horror etc - have larger breasts; that doesn't mean sexualised either - unless the designers go out to make them look sexualised. Finally, dress them as they would choose. If that means wearing something where you can see their stomach, that's what it will be! And it is time that people stop thinking that's sexualised. (Because knee-length skirts were considered sexualised when they initially appeared too. It's a combination of not-used-to-it-so-we-hate-it and seeing only a few slutty types dare to wear it - because of this pathetic reaction that the normal types got when they tried it, which put them off trying it again!)

Which comes back to the main question - how do you define the difference between attractive (as in pleasant, normal, appealing) and sexualised? One thing to start with, though I repeat myself, mixing up 'attractive' (as in not grotesque and repulsive) with sexualised/sexuality/whatever - a very large error.
It's very easy for me to cite examples of what isn't sexualised and what is, but much harder to come up with a definition - perhaphs partly because any hard-and-fast rules have the same problem as the famous '7 rules for determining an unjust law'. Someone once showed me that those rules could easily be used to support dictatorship if someone came at them from the wrong viewpoint and enough bad values. Same thing here. I can see why people go back to ridiculous rules like 'if she's not wearing a circus tent then she must be sexualised'.
So I will cite some examples. A recent website-hoster ad - very sexualised but the woman's clothes had nothing to do with it - proved when it looked no different when it was cropped to a close face-only shot. What made it sexualised was her expression - that sort of awful stripper-pout that I have never seen in an unposed/real picture - ever. So that gives you an idea - it was not the height of her front (yes, that would have been put down unfairly as 'sexualised') but how she acted that was sexualised. Exactly the same thing in computer games. Old-style Laura Croft is not sexualised because she wears shorts or a top that fits; she is sexualised becauase her creators set out to make her that way, from her expression to even the way they made her body itself.

TV show from the '80s. Woman, very much wearing a very very 'not sexualised' dress, was being very very sexualised. Why? Because she was flirting, posing, posturing and trying to lead the hero on. Do you see the pattern?
(Incidentally, I think this may mistake may be deliberate on some people's part. The idea that 'using your feminitity' (that is, flirting, leading people on, and using that to control and manipulate people) is somehow feminist seems to be quite popular. Probably partly because it works very well (kind of a Faustian Bargain - sell your soul to get what you want). So in order to divert attention, so noone calls this Real Sexualisation of women, (of everyone, actually), as exactly that - instead a scapegoat must be found to divert attention, and that to be called Sexualised instead.)
DTJB Featured By Owner Jun 12, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
The term feminist is actually broader than most people imagine. It goes beyond the image of a woman decrying sexuality in a form of radicalism. Anyone, man or woman who stands up for the rights of women in any degree is a feminist.

Anyway, I believe the reasons there isn't a yes or no answer to this discussion is because everyone has their own gauge of what's sexy. You could have a bikini model alongside a fully clothed business women and there's always going to be someone who thinks both are sexy. It doesn't have to get to the point of blatant eroticism, it all depends on how the woman presents themselves. Personally, I'd look at the business woman and if all she does is give me sly smile, I'd think that's sexy. And what most people would classify as objectification, I'd classify as camp or boring; the King of Fighters fan in me finds Mai Shiranui nowhere near as sexy as any other member of the female cast.
KitKat-Felilnine Featured By Owner Jun 20, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
To use your example, the girl wearing a bikini could be looking at you normally and the woman in the suit could be flirting and sexually touching herself; which one is sexualised then?
DTJB Featured By Owner Jun 23, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
If we're talking in general terms, both would be sexualized. From my point of view, it would only be the woman in the suit. Since each individual has their own opinion about what is and isn't going to count as something that's sexy or sexualized, you can have many different viewpoints about why the bikini model and the suit are both treated as such. Because of the broad definition of what counts as sexual objectification, both are going to be categorized as such in one way or another.

Personally, I would take the two, but identify the woman in the suit as the one who is sexualized because her actions are much more provocative. If the bikini model just acts normally, then she's just acting normally. Sure she looks sexy, what? She's just another woman in a swimsuit, nothing special there really. The woman in the business suit however is putting action into her presentation and her actions would be blatant to the point that they're sexualized in my view. Maybe the reason I wouldn't find the average bikini model completely sexualized is I'm at an age and maturity level where I'd view a woman in a bikini acting normally and I wouldn't lust over her like most guys would.
juha91 Featured By Owner Jun 6, 2013
I... think that when character, be it her/him, has an actual personality that makes audience care of her/his fate whenever she/he's on screen, clothed or not, it's just having a sexy character, and there's nothing wrong with that. However, when it's obvious that the character's only reason to exist is to look attractive, it's objectifying.

In short, when the character has heart and personality in her/him and exists for something else than only to look attractive, it's not objectifying in my opinion.
UltimaWeapon13 Featured By Owner Jun 4, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
The difference between objectification is not so much an issue of how bad, it's an issue of how much. There's a fine line that's acceptable, between "normal" and "slut" in the world of media, and there's only a small group of people that can skillfully tread that line.
lulucanpy Featured By Owner Jun 3, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
The problem, as I see it, is that because of all the thin, nearly-naked, all tits-and-ass female characters/images presented, it almost shouts to the masses "There is no other beautiful or sexy!"

Which is the complete opposite, because you can look sexy in more modest clothes, or own your sexuality without resorting to boob jobs and wearing nothing. Personally, I think men look sexier in suits than in speedos, but that's just my viewpoint I suppose.

So I guess my point is, it's not a problem to view people as sexy. It is a problem to view them as sexy only if they conform to a specific, non-realistic dress/body shape.
KitKat-Felilnine Featured By Owner Jun 20, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
No, that's not it either.
What is presented to the masses as 'there is no other beautiful or sexy' is the concept of the flirting, pouting woman. I have seen them in bikinis, and I have seen them in 'modest' clothes, and they are still sexualised. That is what is common to the portrayal of women in computer games - the awful way of acting that is all flirt. Yes, sometimes it is obscured - like in a romance book, the heroine is always unwilling to be interested in there hero at the start. Here it is often the supposedly 'fiesty' heroine, who is supposed to be uninterested in the hero to begin with but is really (romance book style!) just acting bitchy to lead him on. This is also a real danger to real women - it teaches men that a woman saying "no" is just a an invitation to pursue her.

I also think your continual references to anything less than what a crinoline-and-corset-era person would consider to be 'usual', as "nearly naked/wearing nothing", is part of the problem. As well as being utter rubbish, it also conviently obscures the real problem - what I have just mentioned, the flirting, pouting, slutting, 'modestly dressed' woman (or man), who weirdly is never considered at all sexualised. They are always called 'sensual', 'feminine', 'smouldering', etc. I have seen it with REAL people photographed in the media, not just the portrayals here. THIS is what demeans real people. And THIS is what noone will tackle - becuase so many have their own fantasy of a woman/man who acts this way, 'but that's OK they're dressed modestly, so therefore they're not sexualised'...
octobird Featured By Owner Jun 3, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I don't care.

I'm a girl, and honestly I don't give a crap. Unless they something or do something that is really sexist, I really don't care, and that counts for sexism against BOTH genders.
GeneralSnuggles Featured By Owner Jun 3, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
My point exactly; sexiness becomes objectification only when it's done in access and in extreme cases. Such as, like Tom said, Ivy.
Hyuuga-Kiri Featured By Owner Jun 3, 2013
[link] This is a wonderful article on why objectification in fiction matters. I've seen a lot of people comment that "it doesn't matter because it's not real" and this really illustrates why fiction does matter.
Kayru-Kitsune Featured By Owner Jun 3, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I just have to say, you've now successfully wasted over an hour of my time at work. I can't stop reading the Repair Her Armor tumblr. XD

I honestly agree, I like a lot of the things that this tumblr does, because you can still be sexy and also have an outfit that makes SENSE with your character and their environment.
I think that there really ought to be a middle ground, there's no reason why there can't be. Either there needs to be more of this: [link] , or guys have to understand that if looking at that makes them uncomfortable, that's EXACTLY what we're going through.
It's not that hard to be sexy without all the skin, honestly. :\
mosobot64 Featured By Owner Jun 3, 2013  Student General Artist
My own interesting take on this is that as a woman, when I see a male character, I notice he tends to either just be an ordinary or even ugly dude, or he's sexualized to the point of objectification. (Ie: We only ever see his chest, or him with his shirt off, etc...) It'd be cool to see more sexy, whole-cloth male characters in media. Same for female characters as well, I suppose. :P
mudfire56 Featured By Owner Jun 3, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I totally agree with this. I'm okay with sexy women in media, as long as they aren't there purposly to turn the male audience on. I just ask for them to have an actual personality and reason for them being there xD

In the case of outfits in things like MMORPGs, I'm fine with showy armor, too. Though, if they have armor that barely covers for women, they should have skimpy armor avalible for men also. I think that would solve the issue more than just covering it all up.
KitKat-Felilnine Featured By Owner Jun 20, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
'Covering up' isn't a solution at all. Wearing 'showy armour' as you put it, is not sexualised. However, the way which most female characters stand, walk, move in these games is very sexualised. I think you would be surprised how non-sexuallised - normal - most would look if worn by an ordinary person.

Though yes, I do think there should be "showy armour" for men as well. I think it stupid that female characters have armour/outfits with some care to their design and men have things like Plain Tunic/Really Bulky Armour That Makes Everyone Look like they are on steriods.
ManiacalCupcakeXD Featured By Owner Jun 3, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
About the blog you linked to:

The original clothing/armor... I don't know what to say! O_O
They were just ridiculous! How can I take a half naked woman battling serious? Would anyone take a man battling half naked serious? I hope most people would find it amusing instead. I really don't hope anyone can take a naked woman going to battle serious either....

However I liked the changed clothing. They were sexy without looking slutty.
Women don't have to be naked in order to be beautiful or sexy... It's a stupid cliche that you have to have huge breasts and an enormous butt to be pretty.

I think I ranted more than I intended to... (._.)
KitKat-Felilnine Featured By Owner Jun 20, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
I notice the return of the silly terms - 'naked' again for 'not modest by sexist, out of date crinoline-era standards'. Once again, usually an excuse for 'I want to flirt but I don't want to be called sexualised, so I'll stick it arbitarly on (someone else's) clothes'.
I agree with not needing to have oversized breasts etc to be pretty...particullary silly when the same men who look down on a woman for not having oversized breasts also scoff at a woman who has breasts like they seemed to be drivelling over - calling her a 'bimbo' and often 'a slut'. Weird non-standards...
As for "not serious" for anything not-considered-modest-by-crinoline-era-prim, well, the problem with real armour, that people think is practical, is that it was so heavy that the knights couldn't even get to their feet without help! I suppose the unable-to-stand knight should be taken seriously...
AyumiKasugai Featured By Owner Jun 16, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Ever hear of an African warmonger known to many as "Gen. Butt Naked?" People found his terrible behavior more grave than amusing. All he wore were combat boots.
(look it up on Wikipedia, took place in Africa in the 1980s)

(back to the main discussion)
Seriousness sometimes takes a holiday when dealing with character designers. They don't realize that without the right design, you can't convey the seriousness of the games.

Then again, I have my own ideas of video games.

Look, I'm not happy either that double standards are in place. If I mention I'm feminist, the men I run into think I'm gonna castrate them, all because I'm bald and fat. In reality, my weight was caused by a dangerous psych med and I've been bald for 6 months while wearing wigs with long hair. On May 29, 2013, I decided to let my hair grow back again.
ManiacalCupcakeXD Featured By Owner Jul 4, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
(Gen. Butt Naked)
That's just... horrible...

(main discussion)
I don't think I could have said it better myself.

And you probably don't care about hearing this from a stranger but I hope you get better.
AyumiKasugai Featured By Owner Jul 4, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Well, when you're stuck on the toilet and the book is Uncle John's Bathroom Reader, you may end up walking out enlightened on other situations.

As for seriousness, I tend to be overly serious as I overthink.

I'm doing fine, since the doctors told me that my health is getting better. They put pills in my pharmacy's file and I'm using them. Thanks for caring as not many people on the Internet seem to care.
ManiacalCupcakeXD Featured By Owner Jul 8, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I often overthink myself. My Family says I think and worry too much about everything.

I think the World would be a better place if people understood that it's possible to want others to be happy even if you don't know them.
I'm glad you're doing fine.
AyumiKasugai Featured By Owner Jul 8, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Don't worry, overthinking keeps you busy.

Well, I try not to wish ill will on others as others had done things of ill will to me. They probably have their own problems.
ManiacalCupcakeXD Featured By Owner Jul 14, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I believe that's a good way to think.
Budochou Featured By Owner Jun 3, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
You can find something sexy without objectifying it. I belive most men do find their girlfriends/wives sexy but really love them for their personalities. I love cock but I wouldn't get married to a dildo.
Abt-Nihil Featured By Owner Jun 3, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
The problem only arises when you're not able to reconcile your being objectified with your being a person. Any person has indefinitely many attributes which are readily objectified in many situations. Sexual objectification is just one of these. As a worker, you're objectified to the work force you deliver. As a kid, you're objectified as not-quite-a-person. As a prisoner, as a provider, as any kind of being who fulfills a social role, you're being objectified. If you are able to reconcile this with your still being a person - i.e. MORE than the sum of your objectifications - then you really ARE a person. Being objectified in different contexts can be functional, and that's the point that's being missed so often. It's BEING REDUCED to any given objectification that's the problem.
Caliphos Featured By Owner Jun 3, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Honestly, I like Ivy for her attack set rather than her default tattered web costume or whatever. And (maybe I'm basing this more from SC2), she's an intelligent if not strong character, or is supposed to be. She has brains--she knows alchemy/science and used it to produce her living sword that she fights with--and from her dialogues and story, she seems to be a fairly strong character (though I suppose the story is somewhat secondary to the combat experience). I'm sure there are other things that could be picked up if I owned SC3 and played SC4 more, and it's sad to know that what was done was not entirely unexpected. What worries me is that she has money (I believe one of the levels in SC2 is one of her studies), so why she can't afford normal clothing poses a serious problem. Maybe it's her sleeping attire and all of this Soul Edge business drags her out of bed in the wee hours before she can change into something rich and ostentatious?
Darth-Flake Featured By Owner Jun 3, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I don't care how revealing clothes are and I see no problem with advertising who only shows quest. But I can never never never accept an armor that is barely hiding her nipples and her pussy. It's just no armor! It doesn't protect anything!
zo-za Featured By Owner Jun 3, 2013
I feel mostly it's the personality, or lack of, that a character is given.
I could play an entire game with a scantily clad busty woman, as long as she's not a one dimensional sex toy for the male players.
Likewise I couldn't play a game with a women who is equal to a man, but is basically just 'I am woman hear me roar'.
Character depth is important.
narutofangirl1213 Featured By Owner Jun 3, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I don't really feel like women's appearances in games is a huge problem. But that is because I can enjoy and laugh at their appearances and at other times I don't care. I have a lot of trouble really enjoying the female characters themselves. I could care less about the lady's looks if I could just relate to her or like her somehow. It's something that actually bothered me when I was talking about the problem with ladies in games.
HorrisR34 Featured By Owner Jun 2, 2013
I feel like it's a matter of severity and how the game/movie/whatever makes it work.

Overdone to the point of objectifying - Ivy, is one prime example as you noted.

Sexy, but not objectified in my eyes - Palutena from Kid Icarus.

Middle ground - Samus Aran, while she's out of her suit.

One might ask why Samus isn't in the objectified list. Well, here's an answer. She has a reason to be in a skin tight suit. Think, she needs to remain mobile, and she sure as hell isn't going to have a bunch of buckles and frills on a suit that's not even meant to be seen. She has reason to be like that. It's sexy, but it's not objectifying.

However, it's also important to note one significant thing:

These kinds of people, on every part of the spectrum, exist in real life. There ARE naturally big chested or wide hipped women that like to wear "slutty" outfits. Is it okay when someone does it in real life? Yes, I like to think it is. Is it bad when someone does it in the media? Apparently, but I don't see too much of an issue. As long as it's not overboard, I just like to say that people are like that in reality. In fact, I know some people like that.
The-Golden-Knight Featured By Owner Jun 2, 2013
Feminism doesn't want to get rid of sexy women. If I know right, they'd just be grateful if they could see more sexy - even naked - men (and I aim to flip off the 'double standard'; just look at my latest comic page fresh in my gallery for proof). But anyway, I love talking about stuff like this! :D Because the short answer is, sexy is *AWESOME!*

Sexy vs objectified? It's sexy when it's not being shoved in our faces, or if there's a *REASON* someone is naked (like the person just likes sleeping nude but duty called and woke the person up out of their sleep, or more bluntly, there's a *romance* going on). I think the solution is to make everybody naked at some point or another. That way, nobody has any more reason to bitch and complain. ;p 'Objectified' basically means "HEY LOOK! BOOBS! Don't care about anything else going on, just look at BOOBS!" I've seen more than enough of that on Deviantart to feel nothing from pictures of it. It has to be sweetened by context, because if not, it's only good for yanking off to - and the male stimulation is short-lived and fleeting. Again, give some CONTEXT, in other words, a GOOD REASON - or even a DECENT one! I mean, yanking off is fun and all, but solely targeting that is a poor low from a critical perspective.

Ironically, sometimes a certain piece of clothing can be more magnetizing of the gaze than actual nudity; like when a woman wears nothing but a long shirt that goes down a bit past the hips...Very good for creating verisimilitude!
Monalux Featured By Owner Jun 2, 2013  Student Writer
I am a woman, a gamer and a writer, and this is an issue that always makes me uncomfortable.
I agree that woman are over-sexualized in media. I have never perceived it as a problem until someone pointed it out to me. I grew up gaming, it's just one of those things.
Personally, I play both sides. I have the very sexy, very femfatal characters, and then I have the very masculine women who are still beautiful in there non-boobholder chest-plates. Then there the ones that ride the line a little.
There seems to be no one right answer, but rather a matter of choice. And I mean to be fair, I think most people are different when they're playing a game as opposed to in real life. If you get home from a rough day at work and want to admire you're scantily-clad female charecter while she bashed some heads in completely unrealistic manner, I think that's your business. If that makes you uncomfortable, you should have the choice for more realistic portrayals.
For me it comes down to choice. You should be able to choose what you want to play, on either side of the argument.
MummyMetaller Featured By Owner Jun 2, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Of course there's no problem with 'being sexy' or men finding a woman sexy (or vice versa), the problem is having it shoved in our faces every two seconds. We can't even leave our own homes and go to pick up milk without some scantily clad gigantic woman staring at us from a poster; let alone those overly 'look at my ab's' giant men.

We're constantly getting this image of what 'sexy' is burned into our psyche; and as such it causes some people to not feel comfortable in their own skin. So many people are being told via imagery of same shaped women and men that THIS IS WHAT SEXY IS! Having this same crap in the games we play just really sucks (and movies/books/tv programmes etc. And is it just me; or whenever there is a 'strong woman' character; at some point she is rendered vulnerable in whatever story she happens to be a part in; as a sort of reminder that she is in fact 'still weak?' I know all heroes etc go through that; but it seems to be more prominent and effective in female characters... From my own view anyways.)

I was taunted ruthlessly by boys and girls when I was growing up because I wasn't 'feminine'; and I wasn't doing exactly as every other girl was doing (Yes; I was the one punching the boys... I was that cliché girl you find in those stories lol).

I think the argument isn't 'we want to take out ALL sexy women', because hey; I enjoy looking at women just as much as any guy. I think the argument stems down to 'for god sake we're not ALL like that; and as such we don't ALL find gigantic breasts or washboard abs attractive; and that is NOT when makes a character interesting! Give your characters some damn character and variety!'

Personally I think it's just where people get damn lazy with character development. Why put all that effort in when you can just give your female character a stick thin waist and giant breasts; or your male character a six pack and pretty eyes, everyone will instantly love your character then; right?

What ever happened to the days where men (and women) could look at the opposing gender (or their own gender; whatever the person's preference is of course) who happened to be fully clothed and didn't have the same body shape/personality as so many others before them; and actually find them attractive.

What ever happened to characters being classy? I love porn just like everyone else; but I don't have to see every inch of flesh on the character I like just to 'like them more'... If anything that puts me off :/

But... Again I suppose that's just my opinion really. As I say; we're not all the same ;)
DiddyJakal Featured By Owner Jun 2, 2013
MummyMetaller Featured By Owner Jun 3, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
YagamiYoshi Featured By Owner Jun 2, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
I can't say exactly when it goes from okay to problem, but I'd say, as a rule of thumb, if there's no reason for them to be there/look like that, and it's done purely for sex appeal, while being entirely impractical, then it's not okay.
Draco-Ryo Featured By Owner Jun 2, 2013  Student Digital Artist
"I think our tendency to over simplify things is why so many people don't take feminists seriously, because there's this belief that all feminists want to get rid of sexy female characters from media and replace them with ball-busting angry women. And that's not true. "
Trust me, five minutes on Tumblr and you'll believe that too. Some feminists really are like that. I don't know if it's a majority or a minority but they're certainly the loudest ones.
Religion0 Featured By Owner Jun 3, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
Minority, they're just a passionate minority, and passion tends to make you rather loud. Most people hit the middle-ground, or somewhere just to one side of it, in big debates and arguments, but you still tend to see mostly the extremes represented, just because people who are that far off usually care more about the subject at hand.
OzzieScribbler Featured By Owner Jun 2, 2013  Professional General Artist
As you said, it's really hard to form an opinion on that matter. Pretty sure that's because we're brainwashed by our culture to view beauty (especially in women) as some fixed set of standards to meet.

To see the difference between sexiness and objectification we have to understand that 'sexy' is (and definitely should be) relative. Objectification is in part based on fallacy that there are universal ways to be pretty/appealing/sexy, even though in fact they're arbitrary. When a character is based entirely on societal expectations of (female) sexiness, there's a big chance she's also reduced to the role of an object.

But other relevant parts of objectification are lack of context and agency.
The former is easier to spot. Lack of context occurs when the character acts and looks according to arbitrary societal norms of sexiness despite of context. No matter the circumstances and setting, the character is always in some way framed as sexy. All the Escher Girl posing, bikini armors and generic porn actress/model looks go in here.
The latter is harder to recognize and most defenders leech on this problem: they use the argument that a character CHOOSES to be 'sexy'. The problem here is fact that a fictional character by definition lack agency, as all their choices are made by their authors. A character appears well-rounded when good writing keeps the illusion of her possessing a free will. She have an agency in her own choices only when they feel consistent with her established persona. When everything she does seem to serve only the 'sexyness', she'll appear as flat character at best. A person doesn't revolve around one theme (i. e. 'sexyness'), an object does.

Another problem with the above is when 'sexy' is the default and every (female) character gets her own explanation (this flat, illusory agency) to be conventionally 'sexy' in some way. Even when justified for every individual case, it's just artificial for ALL women in the story to adhere to what society taught us to view as 'sexy'.

Sorry, I could elaborate on it all day, but it's just too draining.
Bluewyrm Featured By Owner Jun 2, 2013
Thank you for making the point "sexy is relative"
Someone ought to be screaming that off of mountaintops...
Religion0 Featured By Owner Jun 3, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
Good luck convincing someone to do that.
Bluewyrm Featured By Owner Jun 4, 2013
Then I'll do it myself. I've got the energy.
Religion0 Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
Got the mountains, too?
OzzieScribbler Featured By Owner Jun 3, 2013  Professional General Artist
There are as many ways to be a sexy as to be a person. After all, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
I really don't get how it's constantly forgotten.
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