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Why women criticise sexualised character designs |OT2| I have no pants and I must scream (READ OP)

Kilrogg

Resettlement Advisor
Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,781
I don't think Yoko Taro would have gotten this far and with such critical acclaim if not for the women that have held up the writing in his games, namely Sawako Natori. Hana Kikuchi too though, I know less about them. Both of them performed a miracle by making Kaine a damn compelling character in Nier despite the tasteless character design.
Though games by Kojima, Cage or Yoko Taro were never my thing (especially Cage, what a hack), I was always under the vague impression that the writing in Yoko Taro games was better, and that the themes of his games were explored more deeply and maturely. Kojima always struck me as a teenage philosopher in an adult body. But this is all feelings from casually observing these developers' output from a distance. Would you agree with this sentiment? Glad to know there are some competent women behind Yoko Taro's work anyway, though not so glad they're not talked about more.

(also, their treatment of women seems trash, though not surprising comin from Japanese developers and a pompous French pseudo-author -- this comment brought to you by a French dude who's studied Japanese extensively btw lol)
 

Weltall Zero

Member
Oct 26, 2017
10,551
Madrid
Sakurai just announced Mai Shiranui won't be in Smash' Fatal Fury stage background, even though it has a ton of other SNK characters, because Smash is "for good guys and girls". :D
 

esserius

Member
Oct 26, 2017
2,746
The end of the 90s seems to mark a kind of cultural turning point for games, where at one point there was a need for better writing, the PSX era ushered in a much more strongly visual and cinematic construction, one that moved far away from Nintendo's more cartoon-influenced vision of games. It resulted in a fairly large upheaval and video games were quickly talked about very differently. There was a desire for what I can best describe as exploitation of the media, and a move towards that cinematic aesthetic resulted in a massive proliferation of pornography that seems to have simultaneously seeped into video games more commonly. And for whatever reason (there are many I would speculate on), the pushback towards that kind of media simply didn't happen, and the reality of that industry absorption has deeply impacted the current state of video games, from the current gambling-oriented attitudes to the "continuous delivery" models of game development. Finished products have fallen away in favor of models that are much more closely aligned with gambling and pornography industries, whereby the goal is to exploit and addict, rather than a secondary industry being formed around franchise creation, as is the case with toy and movie industries. This has happened to limited degrees in video games, but the goal of video games is not to promote a creative franchise or creator but instead to keep users "using" their game.

The result has been a deep tie to those exploitation industries, and video games currently largely reflect that embedded exploitation in many ways, including the frequently embedded misogyny and racism, classism, homophobia, gambling, etc.

I draw some of these conclusions from experience, but many of them are from a distinct linguistic dimorphism from interviews stemming in part from places like shmuplations.com and other websites that do translations of video game interviews, particularly those that have a longer or older history. There's a sort of language that starts to embed itself in the 2000s that is highly similar to industries where the primary method of consumption is an exploitative relationship. If you've ever looked at books about the history of Las Vegas or the construction of the Playboy empire, you'll see very similar language and attitudes towards the content being developed and the method of consumption (piecemeal sales, a specific construction and visual style, a highly particular audience).
 
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NoirSuede

Member
Oct 25, 2017
295
tbf, the whole reason video games tried to move away from Nintendo's style so much was because of Nintendo video games were stigmatized as something only for kids, a curse a lot of media can relate to (tokusatsu)
 

LSauchelli

Member
Oct 25, 2017
187
Sakurai just announced Mai Shiranui won't be in Smash' Fatal Fury stage background, even though it has a ton of other SNK characters, because Smash is "for good guys and girls". :D
I thought it was a good move, but it's weird when, at the same time, they give Blue Mary giant boobs and still has the 'classic' boob sock shirt.

Bayonetta and Zero Suit Samus are also present in the game, but I guess that those are as far as how 'lewd' Sakurai will allow Smash to be.

Mai is just a titty-ninja and including her would have caused problems no matter what.
 

esserius

Member
Oct 26, 2017
2,746
tbf, the whole reason video games tried to move away from Nintendo's style so much was because of Nintendo video games were stigmatized as something only for kids, a curse a lot of media can relate to (tokusatsu)
Do note that when I say "PSX" or "Nintendo" in this context, I'm talking about the developers that developed for those platforms, not Sony or Nintendo specifically (developers like Eidos or Quest, for example).

This is certainly the excuse that gets bandied about the most. The real reason has more to do with Nintendo's business model, which had a very different revenue model and didn't allow for as many of the exploitative practices that resulted from the PSX. Nintendo was largely seen as being "behind" during the N64 era, and while technology was what got pushed as being the indicator of that, the reality had more to do with an industry that wanted to find a way to exploit a highly consumptive audience. There was a push to be seen as "more adult" without having a practical definition of what that meant, meaning that Nintendo ultimately had a much more mature understanding of the business itself, while the PSX practiced what could best be described as a teenager's idea of what a mature industry looks like (a very, "sex, drugs, and rock and roll" model). This was a result of the PSX's much more open business model, but also meant that quality control, of any stripe, plummeted. And that's still seen in video game business models today, illustrated best today by Steam.

It's a model with no filter, but filters are basically what determine the maturity of an industry, and it's why video games are still very much in their infancy even today (and most without embedded interest in the video game industry would still largely state that they are for kids, regardless of their begrudging acceptance into wider society). Without a lens to look through, little has been done to actually advance the media (and it's a big contributor to why genre conventions are so much stronger in video games than just about any other media). We're still largely at a point where games are defined by conventions and themes rather than creators (we now talk somewhat more about this, but not a lot more), and that weakens their ability to evolve (and has, at the same time, made them much easier to exploit, as "what works" continues to be further polished to a mirror shine, particularly addictive and exploitative design).

Games like Kind Words or LSD, are much rarer and less explored than FPSes and action-adventure, and a lot of that has to do with a disinterest by the larger industry in a work without an exploitative model underpinning it. The goal of the latter is to embed interest and retain users "using" them, not the exploration of a creative idea (and this is more high level rather than targeted at any one game in well-defined genres, which is why I'm not mentioning games that might be considered unique among those genres--and they do exist, but that is not how the genre is understood or developed by the industry at large).
 

shiftplusone

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,979
I don't think Yoko Taro would have gotten this far and with such critical acclaim if not for the women that have held up the writing in his games, namely Sawako Natori. Hana Kikuchi too though, I know less about them. Both of them performed a miracle by making Kaine a damn compelling character in Nier despite the tasteless character design.
I think it also works in his favor that his characters could still work with different designs, mainly because of the strong writing of them. Like they're all horny designs by a horny creator but they're incredibly well realized characters with unfortunate designs

Cage and Kojima have female characters that are neither well designed or as well realized
 

Weltall Zero

Member
Oct 26, 2017
10,551
Madrid
I thought it was a good move, but it's weird when, at the same time, they give Blue Mary giant boobs and still has the 'classic' boob sock shirt.

Bayonetta and Zero Suit Samus are also present in the game, but I guess that those are as far as how 'lewd' Sakurai will allow Smash to be.

Mai is just a titty-ninja and including her would have caused problems no matter what.
The categorical difference they see is probably between exposed skin and covered skin, even if the latter is still covered in form-fitting fabric that may as well be body paint. :P
 

Derpot

Member
Nov 18, 2017
325
France
It would have been easy to give Mai an okay-ish design. It would work if they gave her a sports bra and sports shorts ( kinda like ZS Samus) under her outfit.
Of course some people would get outraged about it, but whatever, at least she'd appear in the game lol
 

LSauchelli

Member
Oct 25, 2017
187
It would have been easy to give Mai an okay-ish design. It would work if they gave her a sports bra and sports shorts ( kinda like ZS Samus) under her outfit.
Of course some people would get outraged about it, but whatever, at least she'd appear in the game lol
Yeah, either they gave Mai her 'classic look', making it not OK for "good boys and girls", or they adapted it to be less sexualized, and then the boner crowd would whine about censorship.

I think leaving her out of the game is a safer option, at least until SNK goes ahead and 'fixes' Mai themselves (yeah, like that will ever happen).

The categorical difference they see is probably between exposed skin and covered skin, even if the latter is still covered in form-fitting fabric that may as well be body paint. :P
Yup, seems that's where they're drawing the line. It still a bit weird considering the whole 'body paint' thing.
 

Mib

Member
Nov 16, 2017
215
It would have been easy to give Mai an okay-ish design. It would work if they gave her a sports bra and sports shorts ( kinda like ZS Samus) under her outfit.
Of course some people would get outraged about it, but whatever, at least she'd appear in the game lol
The thing is, Mai already has a couple of safe for work designs of her in casual clothing (which matches KOF's early aesthetic), they just never get used in game. Nothing is stopping them from putting an updated biker jacket Mai in the background.
 

Xaszatm

Member
Oct 25, 2017
8,590
Listening to Waypoint Vice on Death stranding brought up the game idea of Asexuals
There more Asexual people in the world of DS cause the world is ending and people are losing connections with each-other.
...uh...as an asexual I heavily disagree with that statement. I have plenty of connections with other people. Is their context here?
 

Mib

Member
Nov 16, 2017
215
Listening to Waypoint Vice on Death stranding brought up the game idea of Asexuals
There more Asexual people in the world of DS cause the world is ending and people are losing connections with each-other.
I don't know anything beyond the early trailers, but yeah that was sketchy.

On Kojima vs Yoko Taro, I feel like Austin explains my take on it when he talks about not wanting to give Death Stranding a pass. Kojima wants to say something, it just tends to be shallow and not all that insightful. But within the space of AAA and blockbuster equivalent games he stands out for at least trying to say something.

IMO Yoko Taro, for as gratuitous as he gets, manages to actually be insightful and succeed at integrating those gratuitous parts into the game and its themes (although as said above, that might be due to having female writers backing him).
 

Xaszatm

Member
Oct 25, 2017
8,590
Me: Oh boy with The Outer Worlds I'm sure glad we're finally getting proper representation of asexuals in gami-

Kojima: *slaps*

Me: Well it was fun while it lasted!
 
I don't know anything beyond the early trailers, but yeah that was sketchy.

On Kojima vs Yoko Taro, I feel like Austin explains my take on it when he talks about not wanting to give Death Stranding a pass. Kojima wants to say something, it just tends to be shallow and not all that insightful. But within the space of AAA and blockbuster equivalent games he stands out for at least trying to say something.
Kojima and his team are very much having a metaphor but not really being careful on how it may be a problem.
 

SapphiCine

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,351
I need to know more details but I feel safe assuming the worst that Kojima will poorly depict spread misinformation about yet another marginalized and misunderstood group of people. 🙃
Me: Oh boy with The Outer Worlds I'm sure glad we're finally getting proper representation of asexuals in gami-

Kojima: *slaps*

Me: Well it was fun while it lasted!
:(
 
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¡ B 0 0 P !

Member
Apr 4, 2019
1,439
Greater Toronto Area
I play a lot of this game Dead by Daylight, an Asymmetrical multiplayer game where basically 4 players are trying to escape from 1 player who is a slasher movie villain (some of them licensed) and I wanted to compliment how good the majority of the original character women in the game are.

Most of the women survivor characters are fully clothed in their default skins, and even with the pay cosmetics there are very few scantily clad options. The killers are a bit hit or miss (Spirit is just straight up as naked as bandage mileena from MK9 back in the day, which is unfortunate) but some of the women killers are still very good.
DBD has terrific art design. Some of the best realistic designs in the indie scene. I'm honestly surprised at of how many cosmetics they've released they have yet to release a swimsuit or underwear pack like many other companies would. Hell they didn't add a stereotypical hot girl until 2 years after the game launched, and she isn't even the most sexualized women. That honour belongs to a middle aged overweight Latino. It's wild.

Sakurai just announced Mai Shiranui won't be in Smash' Fatal Fury stage background, even though it has a ton of other SNK characters, because Smash is "for good guys and girls". :D
Was funny seeing so many folks in the Smash thread not getting what is so scandalous about Mai. Someone posted a NSFW sprite of her from a game and a ton of posters were joking about how the person who animated that was a god, did a service, etc.

If Sakurai had kept her in the stage but changed her outfit we'd have another vagina bones censorship controversy.
 
I need to know more details but I feel safe assuming the worst that Kojima will poorly depict spread misinformation about yet another marginalized and misunderstood group of people. 🙃

:(
We'll have to wait till the full release to see the email that Rob was talking about in the podcast (59:30 https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/7x5j39/what-is-death-stranding). From Rob, whatever the email is implying the thing about Asexuales, he being forward on what it saying. And I trust Rob to dig up any bs from a person's statement.
 

Choppasmith

Member
Oct 25, 2017
3,549
Beaumont, CA
If Sakurai had kept her in the stage but changed her outfit we'd have another vagina bones censorship controversy.
I feel like even if they went with her Real Bout/FF3 design people would still complain it isn’t the “right” one. It was a good call. I’d only say they probably could’ve gotten away with her being a spirit.

It sucks, she can really use a design refresh but I think SNK is just too scared of the backlash after her “?No Mai no Buy” absence from KoF XII.
 

Vee

Member
Oct 27, 2017
725
I feel like even if they went with her Real Bout/FF3 design people would still complain it isn’t the “right” one. It was a good call. I’d only say they probably could’ve gotten away with her being a spirit.

It sucks, she can really use a design refresh but I think SNK is just too scared of the backlash after her “?No Mai no Buy” absence from KoF XII.
Its funny because these guys are the KOF fans that A. Were really never going to buy the game or B. Buy the game play it for maybe a week and be over it.

The no mai no buy crowd dont actually give a shit about mai or FF/KOF in general. Doesnt help that from what i hear mais never been particularly good in the past couple of games from a tier perspective(i could be super wrong on this)
 

NoirSuede

Member
Oct 25, 2017
295
Its funny because these guys are the KOF fans that A. Were really never going to buy the game or B. Buy the game play it for maybe a week and be over it.

The no mai no buy crowd dont actually give a shit about mai or FF/KOF in general. Doesnt help that from what i hear mais never been particularly good in the past couple of games from a tier perspective(i could be super wrong on this)
The "No 买 No Buy" sentiment originally was from KOF 12, a game with a ton of problems and did not have Mai due to the new HD sprites costing so much, and tier is basically irrelevant when talking about fan favourites for example Jun from Tekken who is the most requested low tier char in the entire series (and yes Mai has never been top tier in any of her appearances)
 

Choppasmith

Member
Oct 25, 2017
3,549
Beaumont, CA
The "No 买 No Buy" sentiment originally was from KOF 12, a game with a ton of problems and did not have Mai due to the new HD sprites costing so much, and tier is basically irrelevant when talking about fan favourites for example Jun from Tekken who is the most requested low tier char in the entire series (and yes Mai has never been top tier in any of her appearances)
You make it sound like people wanted Mai for reasons other than T+A. Actually a lot of people were really sore about the lack of female characters in XII in general, but for Mai it was mostly about "seeing her bounce in the new style"
B. Buy the game play it for maybe a week and be over it.
Honestly, I'm not much better. ^^ I really love the characters, music, and lore of KOF. I drop it pretty quickly once I have a chance to see at least all of the endings and character interactions. Meant to make a long post about King in response to a post about her a couple pages ago, but I've been busy with overnighters this week. No biggie, but when you read the team stories, see in game interactions, and see the endings, I feel a lot of these character have really subdued arcs that's really great to observe as they change.
 
In this case based on what Rob described, absolutely. I just don't know enough about Kojima games to confidently say that it applies to his games in general.

For full context, it's probably best to listen to the waypoints podcast.
Looking back on his past games, he generally open to queerness. However, I question how he represent his queer characters.
 

Vee

Member
Oct 27, 2017
725
You make it sound like people wanted Mai for reasons other than T+A. Actually a lot of people were really sore about the lack of female characters in XII in general, but for Mai it was mostly about "seeing her bounce in the new style"

Honestly, I'm not much better. ^^ I really love the characters, music, and lore of KOF. I drop it pretty quickly once I have a chance to see at least all of the endings and character interactions. Meant to make a long post about King in response to a post about her a couple pages ago, but I've been busy with overnighters this week. No biggie, but when you read the team stories, see in game interactions, and see the endings, I feel a lot of these character have really subdued arcs that's really great to observe as they change.
Oh yeah I'm not better at all lol, I love fighting games and buy all of the good ones out of love for the genre. That being said I definitely don't give a LOT of them the time they deserve. I take back what I said about point B and just put those Mai "fans" in point A that they never were going to buy the games anyway.
 

Village

Member
Oct 25, 2017
8,105
You make it sound like people wanted Mai for reasons other than T+A. Actually a lot of people were really sore about the lack of female characters in XII in general, but for Mai it was mostly about "seeing her bounce in the new style"
If i'm not mistaken KOF often does popularity contests specifically for who the men and women playing their games like of both genders and if i'm not misremembering mai does very well with women. That isn't to suggest there isn't a bunch of horny people out there playing video games, and that isn't to suggest that there aren't LGBT wQomen into mai. However to use juri as an example, this could be a case where for the people who want that sort of thing get thier sexy character, but people also just find them really cool.

Now all that said being said, I have no idea what one would find cool about mai. I'm not a KOF lore mark but she doesn't seem that remarkable and I find some of her dialog problematic in parts. But maybe i'm missing something
 

Mib

Member
Nov 16, 2017
215
Looking back on his past games, he generally open to queerness. However, I question how he represent his queer characters.
Yeah that sounds the kind of representation that's amazing when you're younger (or starved for it), and miss or put up with the problematic and shallow elements. For the time, it seems really progressive (Vamp especially), but also easy to make fun of and laugh off.
 

Shining Star

Member
May 14, 2019
785
I may not be on the up and up for what's come out recently, but I still don't buy your original claim. I'll concede there has probably been more shows aimed at women in recent years but I'm going to need some evidence that anime aimed at "both genders equally" eclipses anime aimed at men.

I feel we have very different criteria for what makes a good woman character.
Much like SapphiCine I don't buy this for a second. And I watch a lot of shows. They are almost all, categorically, aimed at men. There are a handful every season that aren't, but given that there are roughly 60 shows every season now, having that handful is honestly pretty pathetic. And without some evidence showing the needle tipping more towards parity I'm really disinclined to buy that statement.
What do you mean you don't "buy it?" That's my experience and how I feel about the things that I watch. If you had a different experience that's fine but if you try some new things I think you'll see there are way more than a handful!
 

Choppasmith

Member
Oct 25, 2017
3,549
Beaumont, CA
If i'm not mistaken KOF often does popularity contests specifically for who the men and women playing their games like of both genders and if i'm not misremembering mai does very well with women. That isn't to suggest there isn't a bunch of horny people out there playing video games, and that isn't to suggest that there aren't LGBT wQomen into mai. However to use juri as an example, this could be a case where for the people who want that sort of thing get thier sexy character, but people also just find them really cool.

Now all that said being said, I have no idea what one would find cool about mai. I'm not a KOF lore mark but she doesn't seem that remarkable and I find some of her dialog problematic in parts. But maybe i'm missing something
On an FF forum I posted at years ago, I knew a woman there who genuinely liked Mai specifically from the Fatal Fury anime. She just found her carefree attitude and puppy dog love relationship with Andy cute so I can believe it, but I haven't really seen it myself.
 

Syril

Member
Oct 26, 2017
4,651
On an FF forum I posted at years ago, I knew a woman there who genuinely liked Mai specifically from the Fatal Fury anime. She just found her carefree attitude and puppy dog love relationship with Andy cute so I can believe it, but I haven't really seen it myself.
That's pretty much how she is in the games, too. Her characterization is this weird three-way tug of war between that, her design and animation, and SNK's infuriating attempts at self-awareness taking the form of characters constantly trying to shame her for her outfit. The anime specials and movie take the fanservice shit even farther than the games and animate random bits of nudity in her scenes.

For what it's worth, Fatal Fury never animated her nearly as egregiously as King of Fighters does.
 

Choppasmith

Member
Oct 25, 2017
3,549
Beaumont, CA
That's pretty much how she is in the games, too. Her characterization is this weird three-way tug of war between that, her design and animation, and SNK's infuriating attempts at self-awareness taking the form of characters constantly trying to shame her for her outfit. The anime specials and movie take the fanservice shit even farther than the games and animate random bits of nudity in her scenes.

For what it's worth, Fatal Fury never animated her nearly as egregiously as King of Fighters does.
I think you misunderstood me a bit, by “not seeing it myself” I meant women liking Mai. I don’t really see a female fan base for her online.

And yeah, in XIII a lot of her dialog is just a lack of self awareness, she basically acts out this comic:



Before this, In SvC Chaos her dialog is just straight up brainless ditz.
 

RedSwirl

Member
Oct 25, 2017
4,784
Y'konw, one interesting aspect of Mai's character the games never seem to really delve into is her mastery of disguises. You just see it in some of her fight intros.

There's the one in CvS where she dresses up as Chun-Li to piss her off when fighting against her, and the one where she freaks Andy out with a mechanical baby.

For what it's worth, Fatal Fury never animated her nearly as egregiously as King of Fighters does.
I just noticed this. If you look up each character's page on the SNK wiki you can see all of their sprites, and Mai's stance in the Fatal Fury games is different from her stance in the KOF games. Her overall design also seems to be different in FF3.
 

Mekanos

Member
Oct 17, 2018
13,053
If i'm not mistaken KOF often does popularity contests specifically for who the men and women playing their games like of both genders and if i'm not misremembering mai does very well with women. That isn't to suggest there isn't a bunch of horny people out there playing video games, and that isn't to suggest that there aren't LGBT wQomen into mai. However to use juri as an example, this could be a case where for the people who want that sort of thing get thier sexy character, but people also just find them really cool.

Now all that said being said, I have no idea what one would find cool about mai. I'm not a KOF lore mark but she doesn't seem that remarkable and I find some of her dialog problematic in parts. But maybe i'm missing something
I like her very early designs. She was definitely still sexualized but I felt like it was a bit more tasteful and from the very few times I played SNK games in arcades, I thought the fire ninja archetype was fun. I don't know exactly what game it was that turned her into a glorified stripper, but I guess it would be when they turned her idle stance into a cleavage showcase.
 

CatDoggo

Member
Oct 25, 2017
675
What is it with JRPGs and having their female characters stand with their feet and knees pointed inward in the most uncomfortable looking way possible? The FemC in Digimon Cyber Sleuth has posture so bad that it starts to look painful the longer you stare at in, and now I noticed that the new FemC in Sword and Shield is doing the same sort of pose with her legs as well.

Edit: Example



And while Pokemon is not as bad, it still makes me feel bad for all of the aching she's going to get in her joints. LOL
 
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Village

Member
Oct 25, 2017
8,105
What is it with JRPGs and having their female characters stand with their feet and knees pointed inward in the most uncomfortable looking way possible? The FemC in Digimon Cyber Sleuth has posture so bad that it starts to look painful the longer you stare at in, and now I noticed that the new FemC in Sword and Shield is doing the same sort of pose with her legs as well.
One design choice out of aresenal to make a character seem more innocent and youthful.

Which is problematic in various ways
 
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Persephone

Persephone

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,401
Prefacing this with the fact that I've never played a Kojima game and don't plan to: I don't understand people who give Kojima's hideous misogyny a pass because he's a "genius". Like, everything I've heard about his games just makes him sound like a pretentious ass who's high on his own farts.