My (potentially controversial) stance on superhero designs in games

Arcana Wiz

Member
Oct 26, 2017
195
God you would be hard pressed to find a less sexy version of the Arkham universe’s interpretation of the Robin boys.
Totally agree. To make a male character sexy you dont just make a wall of muscles and call the day.
It boogles my mind that someone think the females and males are both sexualized on the Arkham games.

Have people really never seen a male model? Or a conventionally attractive male actor? It just boggles my mind that so many people apparently think Hulk Hogan is just as hot as Brad Pitt because of big muscles.
You explained better than me. Just being fit or having muscles dont make a male character attractive... Of course it helps, but there so much more
 
OP
OP
Cosmic Voyager
Oct 24, 2019
1,502
Have people really never seen a male model? Or a conventionally attractive male actor? It just boggles my mind that so many people apparently think Hulk Hogan is just as hot as Brad Pitt because of big muscles.

Yes, some people find overly muscular men attractive. But some people find overly muscular women attractive too and those are nowhere to be seen in games.
I mean yeah, you could say anything and there will be some section of people out there who are attracted to that. However, I think it's far more common for women to be attracted to highly muscular men than vice versa
 

RM8

Member
Oct 28, 2017
4,453
JP
I disagree with that. If we look at the MCU, many of the male characters, particularly Captain America, Thor, Killmonger, Bucky, etc. are huge. Far more fit than the average person could hope to achieve without personal dietitians, personal trainers, and several hours of free time to workout twice a day.

Adding on to that, these characters are usually given at least one "money shot" per movie where they're either shirtless for no other reason than for the audience to admire their bodies, or they're performing some inhuman feat of strength while wearing a size small shirt lol. Not to mention that Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, etc. have model-esque looks on top of their ridiculous physiques.

Now that's not to say that those scenes are purely designed for people who are attracted to men to drool over, but that's kind of my point in general. It's sexualized for the people who are attracted to men, but even if you're not attracted to men, there's that kind of admiration of seeing the "peak" male form. It's pretty common to hear straight men say they have a "man crush" on these superhero actors because they represent what they aspire to be like
Those guys are handsome and have nice body proportions, they’re not gargantuan veiny butterfaces.
 

Ruisu

Member
Aug 1, 2019
216
I'd always heard that these designs are one part "male fantasy" and one part "exaggerated nude (spandex) bodies are more dynamic and appealing on paper" (the same reason so many early heroes had capes). Which I kind of get for paper comics but the effect is almost always garish and off-putting when applied to 3D video game models.
Spandex isn't actually more appealing or better looking, people just seem to come back to it for some misguided nostalgia and because anything more complex will be harder to draw every page and panel monthly.
 

SayWord

Banned
Dec 4, 2019
250
User Banned (Permanent): Sexism; Prior Severe Ban for Dismissing Concerns of Representation
What? Lol. How is that thread not a rational discussion about this? Or are you just a horny boy?
Probably one of the worst threads I have ever visited. Tons of shaming towards people who enjoy sexualized characters.

Hopefully once this medium strikes a better balance of strongly designed characters that don't rely on "sex" and sexualized characters, threads like that won't need to exist. Both types have a place in this industry.
 

Mib

Member
Nov 16, 2017
252
Just to clarify, are you saying Batman in Arkham games is lean, or are you talking generally (ie. other depictions of him where he is more lean)?
Generally other depictions. Off the top of my head, something like Bruce in Batman Catwoman is about as far as you can go with muscles, but even then, for some people that level or musculature can be a turnoff.
 

rras1994

Member
Nov 4, 2017
3,294
I disagree with that. If we look at the MCU, many of the male characters, particularly Captain America, Thor, Killmonger, Bucky, etc. are huge. Far more fit than the average person could hope to achieve without personal dietitians, personal trainers, and several hours of free time to workout twice a day.

Adding on to that, these characters are usually given at least one "money shot" per movie where they're either shirtless for no other reason than for the audience to admire their bodies, or they're performing some inhuman feat of strength while wearing a size small shirt lol. Not to mention that Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, etc. have model-esque looks on top of their ridiculous physiques.

Now that's not to say that those scenes are purely designed for people who are attracted to men to drool over, but that's kind of my point in general. It's sexualized for the people who are attracted to men, but even if you're not attracted to men, there's that kind of admiration of seeing the "peak" male form. It's pretty common to hear straight men say they have a "man crush" on these superhero actors because they represent what they aspire to be like
You do realise one of the biggest fandoms for women in Marvel is for Loki, right? The character that is not overly muscles Like people find the Chris’s attractive but that’s cus they are really good looking, not the giant muscles, they could have a lot less muscles and still women would find them really attractive. Compare how the camera frames Thor and Captain America and how they frame and position Black Widow, and you’ll see who they are sexualising and for who.
 
OP
OP
Cosmic Voyager
Oct 24, 2019
1,502
Those guys are handsome and have nice body proportions, they’re not gargantuan veiny butterfaces.
They are gargantuan. They're not roided up like Schwarzenegger, but they are about as massive + shredded as you could possibly be without veering into roid-looking territory.

Compare Evans and Hemsworth to someone like Paul Rudd or Tom Holland in those movies. The latter are "average, yet fit/athletic" body types, meanwhile the former are like triple their size. They are huge, particularly when you factor in their height.
 

deepFlaw

Member
Oct 25, 2017
15,820
Have people really never seen a male model? Or a conventionally attractive male actor? It just boggles my mind that so many people apparently think Hulk Hogan is just as hot as Brad Pitt because of big muscles.

Yes, some people find overly muscular men attractive. But some people find overly muscular women attractive too and those are nowhere to be seen in games.
Sometimes I think people (well, specifically straight men, of course) think “I like big boobs, so what’s attractive to women must be... big... muscles!” or something. It’s a really weird assumption that would be easily challenged by, for example, thinking about literally any celebrity that’s considered generally attractive to straight women. Or, thinking about it more now, how people don’t talk about body builders the same way as super models, and so on.

EDIT: well, I guess the above post disproves my point in a way; issue is apparently more not realizing that these game characters look nothing like them
 

Pancracio17

Avenger
Oct 29, 2017
7,639
I dont disagree, but I dont agree completely with you either OP. Like in principle I agree that superhero designs *should* be over the top. Especially if its not some serious story and its an over the top story, however I dont agree that male designs and female designs are treated the same just yet. Men still have most of the wierd/non-sexual designs and women still feel way more sexual than men, Arkham itself is a good example of that imo.
 

Arcana Wiz

Member
Oct 26, 2017
195
Sometimes I think people (well, specifically straight men, of course) think “I like big boobs, so what’s attractive to women must be... big... muscles!” or something. It’s a really weird assumption that would be easily challenged by, for example, thinking about literally any celebrity that’s considered generally attractive to straight women. Or, thinking about it more now, how people don’t talk about body builders the same way as super models, and so on.

EDIT: well, I guess the above post disproves my point in a way; issue is apparently more not realizing that these game characters look nothing like them
Yes, i'm not a woman so i cant speak for them. But for me is clear that just affirm that big muscles = male fanservice is VERY reductionist.
 

tr1b0re

Member
Oct 17, 2018
937
Trinidad and Tobago
They are gargantuan. They're not roided up like Schwarzenegger, but they are about as massive + shredded as you could possibly be without veering into roid-looking territory.

Compare Evans and Hemsworth to someone like Paul Rudd or Tom Holland in those movies. The latter are "average, yet fit/athletic" body types, meanwhile the former are like triple their size. They are huge, particularly when you factor in their height.
People like Evans and Hemsworth because they are attractive and have good body proportions

Even if they lost the muscle they would still be attractive because of that

Muscles aren't what makes them attractive, its a nice extra, and if it goes too far (like in the Arkham games) then it loses appeal for many people
 

RM8

Member
Oct 28, 2017
4,453
JP
They are gargantuan. They're not roided up like Schwarzenegger, but they are about as massive + shredded as you could possibly be without veering into roid-looking territory.

Compare Evans and Hemsworth to someone like Paul Rudd or Tom Holland in those movies. The latter are "average, yet fit/athletic" body types, meanwhile the former are like triple their size. They are huge, particularly when you factor in their height.
They look like handsome fitness models like Marc Fitt or Jordan Yeoh, not like Hulk Hogan. Big =/= hot.
 

rras1994

Member
Nov 4, 2017
3,294
People like Evans and Hemsworth because they are attractive and have good body proportions

Even if they lost the muscle they would still be attractive because of that

Muscles aren't what makes them attractive, its a nice extra, and if it goes too far (like in the Arkham games) then it loses appeal for many people
Yep, one of the photos of Chris Evans I saw women going gaga over on Social Media was the one with him wearing that fisherman style jumper which showed no skin, not he’s really muscly photos
 

Zacmortar

Member
Oct 25, 2017
6,976
female objectification is not a good thing ever

also on the male side, hyper muscle is gross as hell

(also gays and lesbians often do not share the same tastes as their straight counterparts, so its more than just "what do men and women find attractive")

edit: and, to call all the ripped superheroes fanservice for girls is stupid anyway. Superheroes look like that because its a male power fantasy, thats it.
 

slothrop

Member
Aug 28, 2019
392
There's nothing special about the concept of "superhero" that differentiates then from other types of characters, it's basically just a subset of mythical characters that originated in Western comic books.
 

Swift_Gamer

Member
Dec 14, 2018
2,427
Rio de Janeiro
Being fit as a male comic book character is not sexualized. People don't call female designs in games sexualized because the women are in good shape. It's because of the way they are designed to look (how they are dressed) and act.


If the Joker in Arkham Knight were walking around in an open cut shirt and briefs, how do you think most of the target audience of that game would react? And yet this happens:
Like they do with Vaan.
 

hikarutilmitt

Member
Dec 16, 2017
3,974
Indeed. It all comes back to that male power fantasy.

The women are curvy and large breasted and skimpily dressed because that's what you're expected to want.
The men are big and muscular because that's what you're expected to want to be.

Many newer comics seem to be breaking away from this mindset, thankfully. Spider-Gwen, Kamala Khan, etc are doing great jobs for women and the men are no longer roided up monsters. Games are getting there, too, but some are just taking their time unfortunately.
Being a straight white 30-something (almost 40-something :( ) male that all of the designs discussed are targeted at, it got boring for me pretty quickly. I still have moments where I'm playing something that is just outright trash, but I don't ever really play games just because "oh man tits and asses!" at all and I can't remember ever having done it unless it was specifically the point of the game (DOAX), and even then it's weird they way its done between Western and Japanese games.

I will say, though, that if they ever sexualize Kamala... I will be first in line to riot at the Marvel offices.
 

lazygecko

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,384
The one aspect character design I don't really have any issue with is the skintight suits, which has been equally applied to both genders and I don't believe is innately meant for titillation. Artist Alex Ross made a pretty good video about its prevalence in the medium:


I only really start questioning the decision when I see it applied discriminately. Like fantasy or sci-fi armors where they have no qualms about bulking the men up with thick padding and layers while women instead have these inexplicably form-fitting armors.
 

Slayven

1000% Demon King
Moderator
Oct 25, 2017
44,690
Side tangent, Gears designs always bothered me. The level of sexual dimorphism is insane
 

kubev

Member
Oct 25, 2017
3,372
Pacifica, CA
Both men and women are depicted with their attractive features cranked to 11, and both men and women are given body-tight suits (or very skimpy suits).
While I can understand people disliking skin-tight suits from a sexualization standpoint, I don't mind them, as I can see how they're more practical from a mobility standpoint. If a character's wearing armor, however, then he/she should be more covered up.
 

Khanimus

Avenger
Oct 25, 2017
17,887
Greater Vancouver
If you think "men have muscles" is somehow equal to the extreme hyper-sexualization of women comicbook characters, then you have a weak grasp of the topic and sex-appeal.
 

snowhite

You fuckers are beautiful.
Member
Aug 7, 2018
714
I wish this was a troll post so I could just ignore it and move on.

But this appears to be sincere. Sigh.

When men make posts like these (and I say that as a man), the argument often boils to - "Hey look, the men in this game/movie/comic are just as objectified/sexualized as the women. That makes it okay!"

If we lived in a society where men and women were treated with equal respect and women didn't have a history of being oppressed and objectified for literally thousands of years, I'd agree with you. If that oppression and objectification wasn't happening right now across the world, I'd agree with you.

But all of that's still happening. The context of a woman being objectified is completely different from that of a man. If you, as a man, are walking alone in a street at night and a couple of women comment on your butt, at most you'll be uncomfortable. You might even enjoy the attention and feel complimented. But if the same thing is done to a woman by a couple of men, the first reaction of most women would be fear. In that moment, there's a very real possibility of her being harrassed, assaulted, raped and even murdered. And she's acutely aware of all these possibilities.

Your argument is similar to the people who say they are colourblind or raceblind. It's like saying that since black and white people have equal rights in America, white people doing blackface is just like black people doing whiteface.
 
Oct 25, 2017
15,474
Male superheroes are designed to be the idealized male form their meant to be aspirational for for the (generally assumed) young white male audience, the "traditional" design of women is meant to be lusted over. That's not even up for debate that's just what it is.

this is just you ignoring context for a dumb argument
 
Aug 28, 2019
358
I also think that sexualized designs in superhero games is justified moreso than in other types of games, because, for the most part, it is an even playing field. Both men and women are depicted with their attractive features cranked to 11, and both men and women are given body-tight suits (or very skimpy suits). The fact that both sides are being viewed through the same lens keeps things level.
Honestly, this feels a bit like responding to a customer who didn't like the food by saying "Yes you did."

If these sorts of exaggerated designs really are equally appealing to both men and women in the same ways, then why is this discussion always so tilted? Clearly a lot of people do not feel equally catered to (I certainly don't), and the reasons given are always the same.
 

NinjaScooter

Member
Oct 25, 2017
25,614
I disagree with that. If we look at the MCU, many of the male characters, particularly Captain America, Thor, Killmonger, Bucky, etc. are huge. Far more fit than the average person could hope to achieve without personal dietitians, personal trainers, and several hours of free time to workout twice a day.

Adding on to that, these characters are usually given at least one "money shot" per movie where they're either shirtless for no other reason than for the audience to admire their bodies, or they're performing some inhuman feat of strength while wearing a size small shirt lol. Not to mention that Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, etc. have model-esque looks on top of their ridiculous physiques.

Now that's not to say that those scenes are purely designed for people who are attracted to men to drool over, but that's kind of my point in general. It's sexualized for the people who are attracted to men, but even if you're not attracted to men, there's that kind of admiration of seeing the "peak" male form. It's pretty common to hear straight men say they have a "man crush" on these superhero actors because they represent what they aspire to be like
it’s not a matter of whether or not some people might find big muscles and skin tight spandex attractive. Do you think the designers of those male characters and interpretations, in this case of the Batman Arkham games, designed them specifically to be lusted after or sexualized? Like that was their set goal with the design? Because I 100% believe this to be the case with the way the women characters are designed. This is the distinction.
 
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IMCaprica

Member
Aug 1, 2019
646
Jacked dudes and women in absurdly tight and/or revealing outfits both (generally) come from the straight man gaze. The women are the eye candy and the men are the power fantasy.

Also for what it’s worth I think alt costume Ryu in SF5 is good looking not because he’s got muscles on muscles, but because he has a beard. The overall design theme of a rugged outdoorsy guy kind of accidentally succeeds at multiple gazes.
 

super-famicom

Avenger
Oct 26, 2017
4,825
I wish this was a troll post so I could just ignore it and move on.

But this appears to be sincere. Sigh.

When men make posts like these (and I say that as a man), the argument often boils to - "Hey look, the men in this game/movie/comic are just as objectified/sexualized as the women. That makes it okay!"

If we lived in a society where men and women were treated with equal respect and women didn't have a history of being oppressed and objectified for literally thousands of years, I'd agree with you. If that oppression and objectification wasn't happening right now across the world, I'd agree with you.

But all of that's still happening. The context of a woman being objectified is completely different from that of a man. If you, as a man, are walking alone in a street at night and a couple of women comment on your butt, at most you'll be uncomfortable. You might even enjoy the attention and feel complimented. But if the same thing is done to a woman by a couple of men, the first reaction of most women would be fear. In that moment, there's a very real possibility of her being harrassed, assaulted, raped and even murdered. And she's acutely aware of all these possibilities.

Your argument is similar to the people who say they are colourblind or raceblind. It's like saying that since black and white people have equal rights in America, white people doing blackface is just like black people doing whiteface.
I appreciate this post, thank you.
 

Transistor

The Walnut King
Moderator
Oct 25, 2017
14,133
Washington, D.C.
I wish this was a troll post so I could just ignore it and move on.

But this appears to be sincere. Sigh.

When men make posts like these (and I say that as a man), the argument often boils to - "Hey look, the men in this game/movie/comic are just as objectified/sexualized as the women. That makes it okay!"

If we lived in a society where men and women were treated with equal respect and women didn't have a history of being oppressed and objectified for literally thousands of years, I'd agree with you. If that oppression and objectification wasn't happening right now across the world, I'd agree with you.

But all of that's still happening. The context of a woman being objectified is completely different from that of a man. If you, as a man, are walking alone in a street at night and a couple of women comment on your butt, at most you'll be uncomfortable. You might even enjoy the attention and feel complimented. But if the same thing is done to a woman by a couple of men, the first reaction of most women would be fear. In that moment, there's a very real possibility of her being harrassed, assaulted, raped and even murdered. And she's acutely aware of all these possibilities.

Your argument is similar to the people who say they are colourblind or raceblind. It's like saying that since black and white people have equal rights in America, white people doing blackface is just like black people doing whiteface.
Very well stated