Monthly Archives: March 2014

Warface: Boob WIndows

Trigger Warnings: Misogyny

Sorry I am a little late, but University has been a pain recently. While doing some work, I decided to download a Free-to-Play game by Crytek called Warface. I had seen some videos and thought it looked like some fun. After downloading it onto my Xbox 360 I obviously loaded it up. After a short update I came to the character select and was a little disappointed. Why couldn’t I pick a female soldier? Most modern shooters have recognised their female audience and included them. As the game is in Beta they were looking for feedback so I decided to take to the forums to mention my annoyance. Then I thought; “Maybe they haven’t been added yet, perhaps they will come in a future update.” So I used Google and found this:

Warface Girl

At least the graphics are nice.

Yes, they are on the PC versions, probably just a little bit. Hang on a minute, is that cleavage? unfortunately yes it is. Just like Power Girl, the clothing contains a very handy Boob Window. I wonder what protection that offers? Now, these are apparently the Russian skins, and we will likely end up with our own here in Europe and American as apparently they are different in China (though still apparently sexualized) due to cultural differences in what is considered attractive. Thais right, the female characters are being designed to be attractive, not realistic (though that is kinda obvious). This is only on the female characters, although some mechanic which change a little too (according the Escapist gun recoil also varies). Male characters remain the same. Now I might be able to accept these female models if they were some form of insurgent group, as they wouldn’t have the need to follow Military doctrine and woman do sometimes show flesh for a variety of reasons (from trying to be attractive to men to the Russian Rad Fem groups who paint their slogans across their bare breasts). However, their male counter parts depict a very different style:

This is the second Decade of the 21st Centuary and this Shite is considered fine?

This is the second Decade of the 21st Century and this Shite is considered fine?

Full body armor, even the sniper who are usually depicted as fighting light so they can move around faster has armor on. I suppose the female Rifleman is a little better but it doesn’t really seem like it’s what a female soldier should wear. If ether of these two were close enough to some fire explosion, like a petrol bomb, that they didn’t die but got caught in the flames, the men would likely get minor burns while the woman would suffer major burns because they have flesh on display.

The design of the female characters has of course been defended. What is the defense? Well they were created according to player feedback. Obviously shooters attract a large male player base but girls such as myself, my sister and several friends play them too. We don’t nearly number as much as our male counterparts however, so if they all say “Lets have sexy Ladies!” we can’t have nearly enough numbers to come back with “No, let’s have realistic female soldiers. I certainly wouldn’t snipe with a top that shows my tits to whoever is firing back!” Here is a funny thing as well, when the Lead Producer Joshua Howard was interviewed by Wired (where he defended the decision) he mentioned  “it’s our job to maintain thatWarface has an authenticity to it that makes sense for us.” Apparently revealing female uniforms make sense to Crytek then. Yet, other game companies don’t seem to agree. Here is a female soldier for COD: Ghosts:

COD Ghosts Female Soldier

Helmets are optional.

Fully geared up, minus helmet but I think that’s because this is a character from the co-op alien thing so we would want to focus on her character (and COD male characters rarely wear helmets in campaigns too). Going back to the fact that the female models vary depending on region, but the males don’t, it suggests a major issue. What also changes depending on region in other organisations? Adverts, slogans and names. And frankly I think this is the reason for the female models. They are simply there to add sex appeal to attract the male audience. Its sort of like “Why Play Ghosts were girls wear real armor when you could play Warface and get to see Tits!?!” An interesting experiment, at the time of writing this I typed in “Warface female soldiers” into Google Image Search I got back a lot of images from Warface, with a couple of exceptions, with several being the Sniper and her Power Girl like Boob Window. I then tried “Call of Duty Ghosts female soldiers” and the fifth image was the comparison image from Warface. I think that helps to some up this insulting decision. It is Click Baiting on a game wide scale. I posted on the forums, and have yet to see a response. Likely I will be told that my concerns have been heard but I am merely one in a million. I urge others, whether you girls or guys, to go on Crytek’s forums and websites and tell them exactly what you think of their Misogynistic views.

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Is Video Game Nudity Acceptable?

Trigger Warnings: Not Safe For Work, Nudity

Now, from my previous post you may assume that I am totally against the use of nudity as I bashed using scantily woman to Click Bait. However this isn’t exactly true. You see I am not really against nudity, I watch plenty of Anime where it is common place in the mad stuff I watch. What I am against is it being used inappropriately. What I would like to explore here is two terms I call “Realistic Nudity” and “Nudity Equality.” Lets start with the first one.

Realistic Nudity: So what do I mean by this? Well, nudity is real, and there are obvious times when we are nude. For example, few people shower with clothes one, although they may have a swimsuit on if they have been swimming. As such really I feel it is acceptable to have nudity in these situations. I am not however suggesting that you can throw in a shower for some nudity, although this does happen:

Starship Troopers Shower

What was the point of this scene?

Ok, this is taken from a film, but this provides a talking point. I was just saying that a shower scene is acceptable to include nudity, however this isn’t really the case. What is the point of the shower scene here from Starship Troopers? We learn a little about the character as they talk, but really this scene could have taken place in the barracks. I find it difficult to reason the choice here beyond “We can show some boobs!” However, Starship Troopers has anther nude scene, (SPOILER ALERT!) where Dizzy finally manages to romance Rico.

Work hard and one day a teacher will help you before interrupting.

This results in the start of a sex scene, though we don’t see beyond undressing and kissing. I actually find this nudity more acceptable as it is what it is, sex. Most people are naked whilst having sex, and sex in this case is the start of a long waited relationship for Dizzy, and the start of a hopefully more successful one for Rico. As such a bit of arousal in the audience is acceptable, as movies are supposed to invoke emotions in us, that’s generally why we watch them. Games could take a similar approach as they also try to invoke emotions (more on that in the future). However, they tend not to, and can even misogynically use sex as mini games during the game play. Kratos of God of War is especially good at this:

I bet Kratos never expected to be censored like that.

I bet Kratos never expected to be censored like that.

Really, there is no need for these, Kratos is not in love, he is simply fulfilling the straight male audience’s fantasy. Think, we never see this from the perspective of female characters (Bioware’s games do have female lead sex scenes but they are based upon relationships, not one night stands). In truth, nudity in ancient Greece was not really considered bad or shameful, as with most ancient cultures. As such I could also perhaps accept nudity within games based in these cultures, however it would need to include my second term, Nudity Equality.

Nudity Equality: Nudity is more often than not, woman, and above the belt too. This is obviously because breast are generally the more attractive of woman’s External Sexual Characteristics. Men obviously are considered nude if the don’t wear a top, where as woman are. I do find myself somewhat agreeing with Radical Feminists who seek to have their breasts considered more than sexual objects. This may be because as a MtF Transsexual, I have had to give up the ability to be topless publicly, although it was a privilege I rarely used. I find myself angered when woman are asked to Breast feed in private whilst some hairy fat man is showing his Moobs to the worlds. I guess what I am trying to say, is that nudity should be equal. If you won’t have naked men, don’t have naked woman. Oddly, Grand Theft Auto 4 has included a naked man in one of its Downloadable Content packs.

I bet you are glad for the censor bars now!

I bet you are glad for the censor bars now!

Perhaps a step in the correct direction if it wasn’t for GTA’s continued misogyny. Games should in my opinion accept both or neither. If we take the example of a romance scene, why do we she all the ladies bits but none of the mans? Shower scenes are also very female centric. I’ll link you to Mitch’s brilliant Male Gaze article again. Lets accept the male form (go that sounds weird coming from me) as we seem to accept the female one.

So there you go. I think it is acceptable, but only under certain circumstances. It needs to be realistically believable, without simply being thrown in for the sake of it. Nudity should also encompass more than just woman, as at the moment it is really misogynistic. In the sense of my equality, you may have noticed I have censored not only the woman’s chests, but also the men’s. If you feel my argument is somewhat invalidated by the censoring, let me know.

“Top 5 Transsexuals?” Not quite.

TRIGGER WARNING! Transphobia and Not Quite Safe For Work.

Being a Transsexual, I pay a bit of attention to Transgender inclusion in the media. It’s only natural that I want to know how we are represented. This is what led to me finding the video “Top 5 – Transsexual Characters in Games” by Zoomin.TV Games on YouTube. At first I thought “Oh, cool. A video that celebrates the inclusion of Transsexuals in games. This will be worth a watch.” Oh how wrong I was. It was poorly researched, misinformed and had a fair bit of Transphobic language. So where do I begin?

Well lets begin before the video even starts. Here is the thumbnail, lets play spot the issues!

If this isn't click baiting, what is?

If this isn’t Click Baiting, what is?

Firstly an issue that isn’t specific to Trans* people. It is blatantly clear that Poison’s ample assets are being use to do what I call “Click Bait.” Using a scantily clad woman (or women) for the Thumbnail will obviously attract straight men (check out this awesome article on the the “Male Gaze” by my mate Mitch on Gay Gamer.net) as they will want to see more. Zoomin.TV Games seems to use this a lot. Misogyny at its best. Now about that text. “Dude looks like a lady” is an insult to Male to Female (MtF) Transsexuals such as myself. It does this by maintaining the idea that MtF Transsexuals are men who simply look like woman, not that we in fact are. So what on earth is it doing here!?! As I said it would seem that this video is celebrating Transsexuals, so why insult them? I can only assume it was a poor attempt at a joke, so perhaps all the other thumbnails poke fun at their subjects.

It would appear not. What could be taken from this? Transsexuals are funny, funnier than funny games, even funnier than toilets (yes, they have a video on toilets).

Now, lets actually talk about the contents of the video. Obviously it includes five characters, but does it include five Transsexuals? Short answer: no. What I will now do is go through the five characters and discuss what my issues are with them as well what is wrong with how Zoomin.TV Games conducts the video.

5. Poison: Final Fight & Street Fighter. Ok, Poison is a Transsexual, at least to a large enough amount of people, including those who make the games she appears in, for me to accept her as such. She also doesn’t follow the horrible stereotypes seen in Grand Theft Auto 5 (again, check out Mitch’s stuff). Of course Zoomin.Tv Games mucks up by focusing on her genitalia, and even imposes a little bit of Trans-misogyny. The Trans-misogyny is basically the suggestion that we MtFs need to tuck away “our business” to look like woman. We should not have to do anything to look like woman as we are woman, and woman come in an amazing variety of shapes and sizes, intersex woman may also be insulted if they have a penis. Focusing on Poison’s genitalia also objectifys her, and completely avoids a very important talking point. You see, the reason not everyone accepts Poison as Transsexual is that she originally wasn’t. She was Cis-Gendered (not Trans)  but this didn’t sit well with Western testers as the main character of Final Fight was a man, so we had a man beating up a woman. Of course the best way to deal with it was to make the woman a man, so let’s make her a transvestite, and later a Transsexual. It is an unfortunate view that a man beating up a Cis-Woman is a no-no but a Trans-Woman is acceptable, or even funny (Bad Trans Jokes covers this here). Thankfully, Poison has moved on from this as she appears in the Street Fighter games alongside other women.

4. Bridget: The Guilty Gear Series. This is where we learn that Zoomin.TV Games has done little or no research into Transexualism or Transgenderism as Bridget is a Transvestite not a Transeexual. As Zoomin.TV Games points out, Bridget asserts that he is a guy, becoming angered when anyone claims he is a girl. He of course wears girls clothes but that is not Transexualism. I think the issue here was not that Zoomin.TV Games is confusing the word Transvestite with Transsexual, but confusing the word Transgender with Transsexual. Why? Well Transgender and Transsexual are commonly confused with each other. As Transgender is Umbrella Term that would include both Transsexuals and Transvestite it would have made more sense for it to be used to include them. If that had been the case Bridget would have been fine. However Bridget has served to show that Zoomin.TV Games has failed to research even the basic terminology, suggesting that this video was based upon personal understanding and a flawed personal understanding at that.

3. Naota Shirogane: Persona 4. Naota is a girl who creates a male persona to become accepted by the police. Whilst it isn’t perhaps common knowledge, there is an actual medical condition Transsexuals (and others in the Transgender community) are diagnosed with. It is called Gender Dysphoria (formally Gender Identity Disorder) and explains that it stems from someones Gender Identity (a persons internal perception of their sex) is not aligned with their Biological Sex (whats between your legs). It also contains some reasons that someone is not Gender Dysphoric. An important one here is that someones Gender Identity  must not be based on any perceived advantages of that sex. Well that is what Naota is doing as she has seen that men are more readily accepted by the police so she acts like on to also become accepted. She is not Gender Dysphoric, so she is not a Transsexual. She is actually rather damaging to the Transsexuals as her character suggests that it is done for purposes beyond our mental wellbeing, that we are all deceitful. If we do accept her as a Transsexual, she can also be talked out of presenting as male. This is highlighted as positive, despite major Psychological groups condemning attempts to change or remove Transsexual thoughts and feelings. So either way she really does not belong here at all.

2. Kaine: Nier. Zoomin.TV Games actually acknowledges that Kaine is a Hermaphrodite, not a Transsexual. I don’t agree with that either but more on that later. Kaine has a penis thanks to a demon possession. Now, I haven’t read much on this as I am playing Nier and don’t want to spoil plot points, but a possession suggests it wasn’t Kaine’s choice. Transsexuals are not forced into Sexual Reassignment Surgery, though they may be coerced. So Kaine is not a Transsexual either (I think we are one out of four so far). I am actually  confused as to whether Zoomin.TV Games thinks she is Female to Male or Male to Female. As previously mentioned Kaine is described as a Hermaphrodite, really the correct term is Intersex, although really I don’t think this should be how she is described. This is magic, and to claim that she is a good example of Transsexuals detracts from the reality of the experiences of those who actually live with it through their lives. Kaine is cursed, that is the best way to describe her.

1. Birdo. Argh, Birdo annoys me (and Mitch) terribly. She is often billed as being the first Transsexual, and I suppose that is correct. However lets look at the manual description brought up by Zoomin.TV Games:

Birdo

See if you can find what’s wrong.

Yep, the best Transsexual character according to Zoomin.TV Games is misgendered in her official description. Yay! If this represents good inclusion, do not show me bad Inclusion. Birdo also looks sort of like a Dinosaur Drag Queen,. Pink with a bow? Seems very stereotypical of girly, and not all Transsexuals want to be girly (my favourite outfit includes a tank top with a pair of skulls squaring off, some knee-high black goth boots and a black skirt). Her Transsexuality has also been dropped so it wasn’t really seen as a good enough thing to remain part of her character. That is likely as it was really all there was to her and probably really for the best. However Zoomin.TV Games gets bad again by stating “We all know her little secret.” This is really the worst issue, Birdo’s Trans* past is a cool little fact, it’s a secret she doesn’t want you to know and so forth. It goes right back to objectifying Transsexuals and suggesting we are deceitful. Why is that the best Transsexual character?

So, Zoomin.TV Games may have attempted to be accepting, but they fall at the start line. Between the Transphobia and lack of research this video is a two and a half-minute insult to those they would appear to celebrate. Perhaps that is actually the intent, it wouldn’t be the first time that a group has acted as an ally to diminish others. It certainly seems to have worked if that was what they wanted as the comments are full of insults to Transsexuals, or reminding us that we are objects of sexual desire, nothing more.

So as to make this fair, here is the video so that you may watch it and draw your own conclusions. I wouldn’t recommend it obviously.

All the images for this post have been taken from YouTube and the Video in question. I do not own any of them.