Skip to content

The Overwatch girls

Note: Follow-up posts here, here, and here.


Yesterday at BlizzCon, Blizzard Entertainment’s annual conference in Anaheim, Blizzard unveiled a new game.

Yeah, I know, so what? New games are announced all the time. Heck, Blizzard announces new games all the time. So what was it this time– a new expansion for World of Warcraft? Starcraft 2? Diablo? Maybe something new for Hearthstone (a TCG offshoot of WoW in app form) or Heroes of the Storm (a multiplayer online battle arena, or MOBA game, still technically in technical alpha, based on all of the previous)?


Well, okay, yes– new developments for many of these things were announced. But also a new game, as in an actual new franchise, and it is called Overwatch. Overwatch, to sum it up in one sentence, is a 6 vs. 6 team-based FPS (first person shooter) which takes place in various settings on a futuristic Earth, is cartoonishly-styled, and the playable characters are all….well, superheroes, basically. They’re heroes with super abilities and traits, which I’d categorize as much more sci fi than fantasy (as in, mutations and rocket launchers, not dragons and magic).

In terms of character design, this opens up some huge possibilities. This is an entirely new game world which means that anything is possible, and it’s a futuristic world in which the playable characters (at least, the ones revealed so far) are—mostly—human. And a couple of robots. And one bespectacled gorilla, who is already a big favorite.

During the Q&A period following the reveal of Overwatch, the sole female audience member who addressed Jeff Kaplan (game designer for Overwatch) and Chris Metzen (senior vice president at Blizzard) asked about representation in character design. First, she complimented Overwatch’s diversity in terms of color, nationality, and body type of the characters introduced thus far. Then she wanted to know if skins would be available for the various characters to swap their genders around—that is, she wanted to know if it might be possible to play a male version of a character originally presented as female, or vice versa. Kaplan’s reply to this was (to paraphrase): “That’s not something we planned for—it sounds awesome, but we have no plans to do it” which means, effectively, “That’s never going to happen.”

Which is unfortunate, because the available characters for Overwatch aren’t actually very diverse, despite this being a sorta kinda stated goal. Kotaku, PC Gamer, Polygon, and probably other sites have articles up today describing a press conference for Overwatch which took place at BlizzCon, in which Metzen made comments to that effect:

“We’ve heard our female employees,” he said. “And my daughter tools me out about it. She saw a World of Warcraft cinematic of the Dragon Aspects, and my daughter was like, ‘Why are they all in swimsuits?’ And I was like, ‘I don’t know. I don’t know anymore.'” “I think we’re clear we’re in an age where gaming is for everybody. We build games for everybody. We want everybody to come and play. Increasingly people want to feel represented from all walks of life, everywhere in the world. Boys and girls—everybody. We feel indebted to do our best to honor that.” 

He then elaborated regarding the new game:

“Specifically for Overwatch over the past year we’ve been really cognizant of that, trying not to oversexualize the female characters. I don’t know if we oversexualize the male characters. But it’s something we’re very sensitive to. We want that to be part of who we are, what our brand is. I think [Blizzard president] Mike [Morhaime] talked in a roundabout way to that in his speech [at the start of BlizzCon]. It’s something we’re very cognizant of. We want girls to feel kick-butt. Equally represented.” 

At BlizzCon, Blizzard revealed twelve characters for Overwatch, all of whom have character profiles at the game’s web site. You can see them all here in as much detail as you like, but I’m just including some images here so we know who we’re talking about.

The dudes:

Now, you’re thinking– wait a minute, that’s only five. I thought she said twelve total.

I left out one genetically modified gorilla (Winston, male) and one robot (Bastion, no gender). Zenyatta is also technically a robot, but I included him with the male characters because a) he’s wearing clothes, male clothes, and b) he was referred to as a “he” during the Overwatch panels at BlizzCon.

Reaper and Reinhardt, first and second from the left of the dudes, are presumably human. Reaper (age: unknown) has a tiny bit of visible Caucasian skin on his arms, and Reinhardt’s description on the Overwatch web site lists him as being 61 years old and previously a “highly decorated German soldier.” Presumably that armored suit of his which makes him a hulking behemoth compared to everyone else is not just a suit of armor but also some sort of mech contraption– that would also explain why each of his hands are roughly three times the size of his head.

Torbjorn, the munitions expert whom you’d swear was a dwarf if this had been World of Warcraft, is 57 years old, making him and Reinhardt the only currently known characters on Overwatch who are eligible for AARP benefits. Hanzo is a comparatively youthful 38, and Zenyatta is listed as a seemingly-meaningless-because-he’s-a-robot 20 years old.

The chicks:

From left to right: Mercy (34), Pharah (32), Symmetra (28), Tracer (26), and Widowmaker (33).

That’s right; the oldest of the female characters has not reached her thirty-fifth birthday.

Other things to note:

  • The only women not wearing high heels are Tracer (futuristic sneakers) and Phara (armored boots, to match her armored everything else).
  • Tracer and Pharah are also the only ones not wearing boob-shaped armor. Tracer has on a bomber jacket which was apparently molded to her exact cup size, and Pharah has…well, regular armor that happens to be electric blue. 
  • The faces of all female characters are visible, though Pharah has a helmet that she’s just not wearing in this picture.
  • The racial diversity of the characters has apparently been left to the women– Pharah is Egyptian and Symmetra Indian. None of the characters revealed yet are (known to be) black or east Asian.

Has Escher Girls seen this? 

And no, “blue” for Widowmaker doesn’t count as a race, especially considering the way she acquired her color, which is– I’m not making this up; it’s on the web site— because “her physiology was altered, drastically slowing her heart, which turned her skin cold and blue and numbed her ability to experience human emotion.”

I can think of a couple of changes to one’s physiology which would accomplish those things,
hypothermia and death from hypothermia, but neither of those works very well toward the end of making someone a sociopath assassin, as it did for Widowmaker. Presumably having cold blue skin makes clothing unnecessary as well, so she’s wearing very little of it, and it also apparently renders possession of a normal human spine completely optional.

A commenter named StingRay02 on Polygon’s story created the following image of the silhouettes of all twelve characters:

Sexual dimorphism wasn’t the goal; it was the starting line
Pictured: “Cowboy Man,” “Katana Man,”
and “Tattooed Enormous Belly Man”

The slight, very similar-looking frames on the right are all of the female characters. The highly varied and significantly chunkier figures on the left are the males (with the two on the extreme left being robots Zenyatta and Bastion).

So the take-away here is that if you’re a female character you must be young, thin, conventionally
attractive, and dressed to accentuate your figure (unless you’re Pharah), but if you’re a male character none of these things must apply. In the poster for Overwatch currently for sale on the Blizzard store, there are three additional “mystery” characters which haven’t been introduced. All three are male, all are relatively large, and two are completely covered in armor while a third standing behind them is less so– and also apparently hugely fat.

In the comments from the Polygon article I saw the following exchange:

I call shenanigans anytime a character has high heels in a combat setting. That is pandering to the male gaze, not crafting a cool character. Window maker is the worst with her broken spine, but Mercy and Symmetra are also doing that popped hip pose every time I see them. Tracer isn’t so bad, still tight clothes, but that is not inherently a bad thing, but more combat sensible poses, practical footwear….she and Pharah look more practical and combat ready.
They may be taking steps…but they are also still indulging in a little creative sexism.

“I call shenanigans anytime a character has high heels in a combat setting.”
I think that’s a design choice to distinguish it’s a woman more than anything. I don’t look at heels and get a boner. I look at heels and think of them as something a woman would wear instead of a man.
My two cents.

I can see your point, but high heels are specifically made to accentuate leg muscles. I think if you want me to take your female characters seriously from a design standpoint, you need to leave the thighhigh boots, heels, and weird boob-exposing outfits on the cutting room floor. Any time I see a female “knight” wearing a breast plate that basically accentuates boobs instead of looking like actual protection, I die a little inside.
I mean, you can design your female characters however you want. I just reserve the right to think they’re stupid when you’ve got your female fighters trying to do shit in heels.

There’s an ape running around in a mech suite. I don’t think anything in this game is meant to be taken seriously.

No, it doesn’t need to be realistic, but I also appreciate when design choices are made that don’t pander to the male gaze. Pharah isn’t realistic at all, but by god she looks like she is ready for battle, doesn’t she? That’s what I want. Sell me that this person is geared for a fight. Not a real fight in the real world, but a fight all the same.

Fair enough. I personally don’t give two shits either way. Difference in opinion.

In case it needs to be pointed out, the “ape in the mech suit” is not sexualized. T_K85 has missed the point rather spectacularly, but pictor and Mr_McGrumpypants managed to nail it. Perhaps because they do give two shits (or maybe even more) about having options for playable female characters in a game which aren’t limited to a very conscribed range of variations on a fashion model holding a massive gun.

To return to that Chris Metzen quote: “Specifically for Overwatch over the past year we’ve been really cognizant of that, trying not to oversexualize the female characters. I don’t know if we oversexualize the male characters. But it’s something we’re very sensitive to.” I wonder which “we” he’s talking about there, and whether it includes himself. Presumably not, because how could you be “very sensitive” to not oversexualizing female characters, but then a) do it anyway, and also b) not know whether you oversexualize male characters?

Let me just answer that question: No, Blizzard does not oversexualize its male characters. It barely, if ever, sexualizes them at all. To sexualize a character is to make it look as if it is one of that character’s primary goals to be sexually attractive. I can’t think of a single male character in any Blizzard game who fits that description. It’s hard to think of a female character who doesn’t fit it. Okay, yes, Pharah (who originally, according to either Kaplan or Metzen– I don’t recall which– was a male character called “Rocket Dude”).

Why does any of this matter? Why am I harping on this so much?

Well, for the same reason that Metzen gave– representation is important. It might not be “serious,” but important and serious are not the same thing. If you want “girls” to feel “kick-butt,” then it’s important. If you want to honestly say that this new game reflects diversity for both men and women. then it’s important. And as I stressed at the beginning of this post, the reason it’s important when it comes to this game, Overwatch, is because Overwatch is a brand new enterprise.

Literally anything is possible– there’s no style precedent which has to be matched, the game is still very much in the design phase, and the game is set in a futuristic version of Earth which I don’t think it’s crazy to imagine would be more progressive than the one in which we live, right now. So why not design it to be? Why not assume that the characters which inhabit it would be more progressive, especially considering they’re, you know, superheroes?

Well, some of them are– some of them have apparently turned to the dark side and become mercenaries. Maybe they could be the backwards ones who think that men can do awesome things whether they’re thin, fat, nerdy, thuggish, young or old, but women can only be pretty. And the heroes could reject that nonsense.


Okay, I checked it out. It's obviously not speaking to me, though– I did watch the trailer, on the day it was first shown. In this very post I discuss all of the female characters revealed on that day. I know what I'm talking about, thanks. If you or the author of that post have any specific points about what I've written, I'd like to hear them. But all that post is saying is "If you have a problem with any of this, you're ignorant and/or in the minority." I'm obviously not ignorant, and not exactly convinced that I'm the minority. And if so, I have no intention of letting that "sink in." Rather, I'd prefer to change it.

I never said you were ignorant, though I do doubt that you read the entire article since you responded to my post in about 6 minuets. I just thought you might be interested in a different point of view. The way I interpreted that post is that the designers of the game, are making it to who will buy the game. They are investing a lot of money into the game, and are trying to make it as 'progressive' as possible. Their biggest concern is sales, and they do a lot of research into what will give them the most sales.

If you made a game,and spent a lot of money on it. Would you make it knowing that your choices are going to severely hinder your sales?

Women can look attractive and be 'bad ass'. You seem to have missed T_K85's point in his posts in your article. The point being that having a woman in a game with a nice butt, does not somehow ruin the entire game, or make it bad or unplayable.

Also you ignored my first post, asking how you would oversexualize a male character.

Your never obligated to answer anything, this is just an exchange of ideas. Nothing gets accomplished if people dont talk to each other. I didnt say that you said a girl with a nice butt ruins a game. I said that T_K85 implied that in his posts.

And Im mostly curious, because personally I have no idea how to oversexualize a male character. I think its impossible.

Hanzo and the Cowboy (match the most) – Robin hood and Gambit (Bad boy types), rogues, with an emphasis on fashion, ab muscles and large eyes. His personality has him wearing his emotions on his sleeves and finding fun and humor in (generally) everything. But male sexual-ization shows more chest and abs, media needs more characters like this.

Of wait was this rhetorical?

Third wheel perspective here.

I've read all you both have to say. Here's what I think: Blizzard is in the business of making money and for the genre of games the title will be released for, the demographic the studio is "comfortable" with (young men and cosplay girls) they are building the game for their marketed early adopters. This is "smart" economically and why the studio will succeed.

But… I submit to you (conscious) women of gaming are attacking this issue completely wrong, and are trying to undermine the vary appeal of art as idealized reality. I think the women designing characters for these games should sexualize male characters more. This puritanical ideal that games should be "less sexy" devalues the reality that women find (certain) men very sexy and male characters should cater to that desire. This maybe just the young black male perspective, but a better world is MORE SEXY, not less. Example: – Mutual sexualization allows for all parties to be happy, and evens the social playing field, while allowing artist to continue to create the 20-30 something female characters they love.

Wasnt that the point of your whole article?

However I am completely fine with making the men in video games more sexy for women. I have no problem with that.

I just think that women vary more in what they find sexy in men, then what men find sexy in women. So its much harder to make a male character sexy.

Nope it wasnt rhetorical. I honestly dont know how to make a male character sexy to a female audience. Arent buff abbalishious men in games and movies, more of a power fantasy for men, then being sexy for women? And as I said below, I think women look for sexy more beyond physical appearance more then men do.

Considering that I wrote a post just yesterday in which I proposed making a video game that is entirely about well-endowed naked men having sex, and yet you two are here using words like "puritanical" and accusing me of wanting video games to be less sexy, I have only two possible conclusions:

1. You didn't read this post or yesterday's post, at least with any degree of comprehension.
2. You actually think that "sexy" is defined as "exclusively small, young, thin women dressed in lingerie and high heels with unrealistic to impossible proportions as the choice of available playable characters in a fighting-oriented video game."

If #1, all I can tell you is: read both posts. As many times as is necessary.
If #2, well…….gosh, I'm really sorry. That is a painfully limited notion of sexiness, and I pity anyone who actually holds it.

See, what I actually want less of in video games is sexism. And no, I said in the other post, that isn't something that could be accomplished by simply throwing a lot more naked men into the mix.

I don't know if you've watched any of Anita Sarkeesian's Tropes v. Women in Video Games series, but here's a spoiler: She never says she wants video games to be less sexy. Not once. I suppose it's possible that she does want that, deep down, but she never says or even suggests it. In fact, she recently gave a talk in which she outlined some things she actually wants. You can see the list here:

Hope that helps. Again, no– I do not have any goal that can be described as "making video games less sexy." It's entirely possible to be sexy without being stupid, or sexist, or stupidly sexist.

Or maybe you didnt write out your article as well as you thought you did. Maybe I coudlnt comprehend it because it wasnt adequately stated. Arguing over who is to blame here is pointless.

No, I didnt read any of your other posts. I was basing everything I said on what was written in this article. I should not have to go research other posts to understand the meaning behind this article.

So, if I personally find young, thin, well endowed women, in lingerie sexy, its somehow wrong and I should deserve your pity? Who are you to dictate what anyone besides yourself finds sexy? These are video games, and in most of them, all characters not just the women, are completely visual. The fact that you pity people, based on what they find sexy is sad. What if I like bikini armor? Does that make me a bad person? What if I like skinny young women? You cant pity people for what they are attracted to.

Some people are attracted to large women, or small women, tall or short, skinny or fat, blonde or red head, etc. Many different people are attracted to many different things. But when making a game, you cant have such a huge variety, or you will risk hindering your sales. You have to go with the general viewpoint. Some do, but most guys dont find fat women sexy. Same with men as well. Most guys like looking at a girls butt. So playing a fun game, while also looking at a nice butt at the same time, is just that much better. In general, more guys are attracted to white women then women of other colors.

Its definitely true that most games are made to please the male eye. And there is a reason why the women in games, are predominantly skinny white girls. In general, thats what men like to see. But also most men know the difference between a video game character, and a real women. Just because a women is objectified in a game, doesnt mean they are objectified in real life.

Personally I find strong women sexy, like the new Laura Croft. And Im most attracted to flat chested women, which are rare in games. But I dont expect every game that comes out, to cater to me and my tastes. When it comes down to it though, I would rather see a bunch of skinny women running around in Overwatch, then a bunch of large women. And in general, most men would agree.

I think she meant that abs and chest showing do not equal male sexualization. What I think that amounts to is a reasonable amount more muscle definition than the average joe proportionate to their weapon skill, and personality and clothes that express individuality, openness, and practicality.

OK. wow. I'm just going to wade in here. You two CLEARLY have lost sight of the argument at hand. The original argument was that body variation is nonexistant in the women excepting tracer, and their physique doesn't really match their specialization. This is also a problem sometimes in comics as well, because actively leaving out muscle definition and adding an impossible level of flexibility to their spines helps to distinguish the sexes. In real life, all humans take on many forms, and the point of the article is that the females only represent two forms. If all the characters had the option to select which sex they are for their classification, I think that might solve the problem posed by the author. I can be ok with fighting in heels to an extent. Black widow showed everybody who's boss when she was tied up in a chair in the Avengers movies. But fighting a whole campaign in heels- everyone who wears them knows that's bad. Like bleeding feet bad. Thanks for hearing my input.

Also, side note, Hanzo is clearly sexualized, as is the mystery "cowboy man". Symmetra and Widowmaker are also sexualized, but in an impractical way. I think that the boob-suit for Mercyis more aerodynamic, and it's close to a skydiving suit. She's a flyer, so she can wear whatever shoes she wants.

Sexified male characters would look more like this (and even if there is no such word as sexified, there should be, and now there is)

A male superhero costume given the same treatment as habitually applied to the female versions would produce something like this:

Mixing up the two you would get something along the lines of:

David Bowie from the movie "The Labyrinth" also qualifies as a sexy male character designed for the female gaze.

If I offended anyone I am sorry, I never meant to insult anyone. I also apologize if we got off track.

All I really meant to say is that, these games are mostly made for men so the characters are made to please the male eye. The company would rather take the safe rout, and design the female characters to be attractive to the average male eye, then risk making a more diverse female character design. In order to change this, you would have to change the entire media industry. Not just games, but movies, comics, tv, everything.

I personally dont blame the company for taking the easy rout, in the end its sales that they are concerned over. I think Blizzard here DID try as much as they could to be more diverse and progressive.

I suppose that works. Sexified male characters are usually of the bishonen variety. Bishonen meaning 'beautiful men'.

Referring to that little comic strip in the PowerBoy post, is that how most women feel about the design of PowerGirls outfit? Showing some cleavage of her breasts? Or is it how some overly sensitive people feel?

I dont think you can compare the two. Boob cleavage does not equal the same amount of uncomfortableness that dick cleavage gives off. They arent similar. Just go to any beach in the usa (except a nude one I guess). You will see plenty of bikinis and breast cleavage (which is considered acceptable), but it would be near impossible to find a male with such penis cleavage on his outfit. They just arent the same.

Also I will freely admit that David Bowie (his costume and his sheer presence) in the movie Labyrinth, definitely took away my enjoyment of the movie. He was very distracting from an otherwise great movie.

You missed the point of the dick window image. It is not, and never was, intended to be an exact equivalence (but feel free to insert any battle-thong with cameltoe drawn in for a better equivalence. And those are sadly rather prevalent in women's superhero clothing too).

It is an attempt to show what applying the exaggerated exposure of primary and secondary sex characteristics when applied to male clothing could result in. Keep in mind that in the USA in particular women's breasts are sexualised to the point that they are all but considered primary sex characteristics nowadays (even if biology does not).

The fact that it makes you uncomfortable looking at it is the entire point of this image, as is made clear by the comic of which it is a part. The -degree- by which it violates societal standards is irrelevant. It is in fact even indicative of the double standard applied to men's and women's clothing and what they must and must not expose.

I brought up this image to show what an -objectified- image of a man would look like, specifically an image that is objectified in the same way that female characters habitually are. Women don't typically react as negatively to images of objectified women as men react to images like this (or most of what you can find on the Hawkeye Initiative), but that is more because from young age women are inundated in imagery of impossibly sexualised and objectified women (much of which can not be achieved in reality without the use of extensive photoshopping and expensive cosmetic surgery). But yes, once you start thinking about the typical depiction of women in games and comics (and fashion magazines!) you tend to become uncomfortable by a lot of it, especially by the spine breaking contortions, the needless posing for the viewer (rather than for the action) and the biology defying physicality and the swimsuits that can not even stay put with the extensive use of double sided tape (and in many cases would actually injure and even outright kill you, for trying to move around in with all those sharp metal blades against your skin).

It didnt make me feel uncomfortable, it just made me question the accuracy of what it was trying to say.

How can you say that the degree of uncomfortableness is irrelevant, and then go on to say its a double standard. Is it not a double standard to hold them them equally (the penis window, and boob window) when they clearly arent, and then go on to use that to compare what men and womens clothes expose?

Either way, if there was a comic of PowerBoy, that had him in that outfit. I would not read it, but it would not bother me if it existed.

Beyond that, I do agree that women are made to look attractive, are sometimes objectified, and are probably less bothered by it then men because its made more obvious. But men in media are also just as objectified. Just often in different ways. Being wealthy, attractive, successful, athletic, bad boy, and the stereotypical swave sophisticated dude, just to name a few. Men are just less visual usually in their objectification. Girls wear bikini armor, while guys wear business suits (or bikini armor lol).

Personally I think its mostly harmless. Most people realize that its not real, and dont carry that over into the real world.

Different subjects really. The degree of how uncomfortable somebody is with a picture is irrelevant because it is not a match. There is no winner for the most disquieting imagery. If any image makes people uncomfortable that is what is relevant, not the degree of it. Not that you're guilty of it, but it is basically explaining that nobody gets to play the 'my objectification is worse than yours' card, something that is pretty prevalent in discussions involving the more rabid gamergaters.

Regarding the double standard, that is about something else entirely. The fact that images that are blatantly obviously objectify women don't even register as such, and that the standards of beauty that are held up to young girls in magazines are not physically possible, is a double standard. And no, the impossibly buff male character who is wider in the shoulders than he is tall, and who has arms thicker than an actual human male, are not perceived as physical reality by anybody. This in contrast to the typical depiction of female characters which -is- perceived as a supposedly achievable beauty norm. That is a double standard.

And in the end it all boils down to the fact that men are objectified as a male power fantasy. As are women.
With rare exceptions women in comics and games (and in more than a few movies) are there as prop for the supposedly male gamer. They have no agency, no independence. They exists as an extension or excuse for the male hero to act in a particular way. In quite a few games with female protagonists they are, on closer examination, simply gender swapped. Bioware's much vaunted Mass Effect series was lauded for its strong Femshep playable character. But if you look at it, other than the character model and (to an extent) the available romance options, her story, her preferences, her attitude, her entire character is that of male Shepard. It is nice that the game offers women and girls a chance to play a hero of their own gender, but for all intents and purposes that is just cosmetic. At the story telling level there is only the default male Shepard with the ability to cross dress as a woman.

And no, it is not mostly harmless. These things perpetuate stereotypes that are harmful to men and women. Even if they are only a small part of this, they are still a part of it.
Think of it this way. You said you would not play a game with Powerboy in this costume in it. Yet women have precious little choice in playing game and reading comics were every frigging female character they see is (un)dressed in something that is typically far worse. Again with a rare few exceptions (about as rare as overtly sexualised male characters) women do not have the luxury men have to ignore the one or two titles where they dislike the costuming choices. For women it is an all or nothing choice.
Nobody (well, I guess I should hedge my bets and say almost nobody) wants the powerboy costume. Like the Hawkeye Initiative it shows to people who are unaware of the problematical side of games and comics when it comes to blatant sexualisation and objectification of female characters, exactly what it means. In this particular case by applying to a male character's outfit the 'rules' by which female hero costumes are sexified. If it shows the audience that they do not like to watch something like that, it should also make clear that women are equally uncomfortable by the stereotypical stripperific outfit, porn poses and vapid mindless eye candy role of female characters in the typical comic and game.

I only needed to read it once to understand that the point being made was that female characters needed to be more diverse and less stereotypically fashion model beautiful. Kind of like the male characters in the same game.
Each of the male characters has a unique body type (even if it is generally exaggerated) and a unique face. They also tend towards functional armor.
Each of the female characters has a body type that is pretty much interchangable (as their silhouettes also reveal), they have faces that require a magnifying glass to distinguish and with one exception have 'armour' that makes sense on a runway but not on a battlefield.
That the article was saying 'stop treating female character designs like that and treat them more like your male characters'. Can't see any confusion about that particular message really.

Half the gamers are now women. It seems silly for any game studio to continue creating a majority of games that actively drive away potential female customers through marketing and problematical gameplay mechanisms.

(and no, mobile games are no longer the silly time wasters they were a couple of year back. There are now game apps that rival console games. Not to mention that smartphones now easily have the computing power and screen size to play any of the classic games. Portal 2 isn't quite possible as an app, but the time that Farmville was the apex of gaming apps is long past us. Soon as somebody can work out the controls, WoW or one of its clones would become possible on a latest generation smart phone).

Ok understood. Dont really appreciate the insult though.

I dont quite agree with some of it, but I understand. I still think one can make a good argument for Widowmaker's outfit being appropriate for her role.

Im not saying that there shouldnt be more diversity in character designs. But I do think that for a game like Overwatch, most of its players are going to be male, and they would prefer the stereotypical attractive female characters. Not everyone, but on average. A game like Overwatch is, gameplay first and looks second.

One heck of a post.

I dont envy women who want to read comic books, play games, or watch movies that are designed for the male eye. And its definitely true that most games and comics and I think movies, are made for men. I would argue though that a woman in a game (or whatever) can look stereotypicaly beautiful, but also can be a strong and well developed character. Not just a prop. I believe we need more characters like that. I personally find strong indipendant women to be attractive. Women need better representation in game (ect), but first its the entire industry that needs changing. The industry is geared towards men. Its almost like complaining that men need better representation in a Victoria Secrets store.

I think your example of FemShep from Mass Effect is a little off. The character is just a blank slate, there is no default male or female roll for it. Its an empty vessel so the player can project them self onto it. I have played through the game as male and female Sheperd, and its basically the same. So is FemShep acting like a man, or is she acting like a strong female character? The game is diverse enough that you can act however you please, male or female.

You have to look at the demographics for said games. Yes half of gamers, if not more then half are women. However in a FPS like Overwatch, 80% of its players are male. Women gamers tend to drift towards RPGs and PC gameing. Male gamers tend towards FPS and console gameing. Also as a note, MMOs are not considered RPGs. Most of the people who play WoW are male.

Overwatch being a FPS, its going to have a much larger male demographic. Hence the game being designed more for the male eye. Im not sure its fair to complain that women dont have better representation, in a media that women have much less of an interest in. The Expendibles (movie), was made for men. Overwatch (game) is also made for men. Just like how Twilight was made for women.

Yeah I noticed the heels too, that was probably by far my biggest complaint. Lack of coverage on Widowmaker seems "forgivable" – she's a sniper character, so at least in theory one could for once actually justify "freedom of motion armor." Thematically, she is supposed to be a "the baroness" trope, thus the sexualization, though her impossible spine and wonky in-game walking animation are just awful.

Symmetra to me just looks like she's going to do a tech demo at a company cocktail party rather than do anything like fighting. Visually, she's my least favorite character for that reason, she just doesn't look like she belongs on a battlefield to me.

Hi Alex,

1. I'm well aware that it's a game, thanks.
2. I'm also well aware that my opinions are my opinions.
3. Actually, I DO like to play the game. I like to play video games generally, and I like to play this video game. That is a big part of why I care so much about how women are depicted in it– if I didn't ever play video games, I wouldn't ever see the things discussed in this post. I criticize because I care.
4. Again, I know it's A GAME A GAME A GAME A GAME.
5. Nobody was held at gunpoint and made to read this post. No action will be taken to compel video game developers to listen to what I have to say, let alone do what I'd like them to do. There is no sense whatsoever in which anyone is having my ideas forced on them.

Hope that clears things up for you.

Leave a Reply to blank Cancel reply

Primary Sidebar

Secondary Sidebar