Gender Issues at Blizzcon, Hawt PCs and NPCs, Who Cares?

The infamous Victoria’s Secret catalogue question has been making its rounds on the blogosphere, and I am jumping on the bandwagon. The entire Open Q&A session text can be found here.

I love what you guys have done with WoW, I love that there’s a lot of strong female chars, though I wonder if we can have some that didnt look like they came out of a Victoria’s Secrets catalogue?

Which catalogue would you like them step out of then? We feel ya, we want to vary our female chars more in the future. So yeah we’ll pick different catalogues.

NPCs

This got me thinking about the female role models in WoW, and what they are wearing. The following are only those currently appearing in game.

Alexstrasza – yep, skimplily clad

Sylvanas Windrunner – also skimpily clad

Jaina Proudmoore – belly showing, but well covered

Vareesa Windrunner – suitable armor, not skimpy at all

Tyrande – tasteful robes suitable to a priestess

Greatmother Geyah – tasteful robes suitable to an elder

Shandris Feathermoon – armor suitable to a Sentinel

Magatha Grimtotem – very low cut

Lady Liadrin – armor suitable to a paladin

High Priestess Ishanah – belly showing, but well covered

Moira Thaurissan (aka Bronzebeard) – very scantily clad

The Black Bride – suitable armor

Of these twelve, I consider four of them to be unreasonably skimpy, 2 of them show belly but are otherwise acceptable, and 6 of them are well armored or geared for their class/race. Really, women are outraged over 1/3 of the NPCs in the world dressing a little naughty?

Players

Now, let’s take a look at what we are wearing as players.

Tier 7 (Naxxramas):

DK, Druid, Hunter, Mage, Paladin, Priest, Rogue, Shaman, Warlock, Warrior

Tier 8 (Ulduar):

DK, Druid, Hunter, Mage, Paladin, Priest, Rogue, Shaman, Warlock, Warrior

Tier 9 (Trial of the Crusader):

DK, Druid, Hunter, Mage, Paladin, Priest, Rogue, Shaman, Warlock, Warrior

Tier 10 (Ice Crown Citadel):

DK, Druid, Hunter, Mage, Paladin, Priest, Rogue, Shaman, Warlock, Warrior

Although I did struggle to find screenshots of every set on female models I did find a majority of them. The trend this expansion has been very covered up. If anything is showing, it’s a little bit of belly. I haven’t seen anything low cut this expansion at all.

My Thoughts

I am a woman, and I like my characters in a fantasy game to be scantily clad. I give my characters naughty roleplay or city walking outfits because I think it looks cool and I like it (see here). I like looking at it. I don’t know what that says about me or my own self image or whatever, and I don’t care. I like to look good, and I wasn’t impressed by the tier gear this expansion.

I find it frustrating that the questioner at Blizzcon (who I assume was female) did not do thorough research before asking such an inane question of the panel. I’d be more interested to hear they are putting Jaina in a more proud position lore-wise and making her less of a spineless, sniveling crybaby, than that they cover her belly up.

After hearing this questioner and the outcry from many women throughout the blogosphere, my fear is that the gear in Cataclysm is going to have us wearing boxes. Afterall, how much more covered up can we get?

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4 Responses to Gender Issues at Blizzcon, Hawt PCs and NPCs, Who Cares?

  1. Gauss says:

    I understand people are concerned with how it can be reflected to sterotypes. Even if this is a fantasy game and really shouldn’t be an issue. There are much worse examples of this and WoW for one doesn’t make use of Camera angles to do this as much as other games.

    Secondly, most of the people that play WoW are men. Let’s be honest they want to use everything in their power to make you want to play the game. This is just one of those tatics.

    • Thanks for commenting, Gauss.

      Scantily clad women are part of the genre, and part of what I personally like about the genre. Fantasy games are just that. I choose to dress my characters sexy, maybe because I wish I could do so in real life.

      There’s nothing wrong with beautiful, sexy and strong female characters, regardless of Blizzard’s motive for putting them in the game.

      The scantily clad female issue is more of a societal issue than a gaming issue. If you’re going to lobby your game company to get rid of scantily clad females, then let’s also lobby everywhere else, because really its everywhere.

      Personally, I prefer the freedom we have here in America. While I appreciate that some women might prefer to wear a burka, I am glad that women have the freedom to choose in this country. Let’s keep that freedom alive, both on the streets and in the game.

  2. Tam says:

    I guess I don’t think it was an inane question – I think it must have taken a fair bit of courage to stand up there, and in the midst of boos, ask a question that was bound to generate a negative response from much of the audience. I think part of the problem is that it’s, um, quite badly phrased – I don’t know if she’s getting at armour models, body types, or what and, yes, I agree that getting female characters that do not act in a stupid way (hey Jaina, fancy meeting you here) is more important than female who are dressed in a stupid way but I wonder if perhaps they’re all tangled up in the same thing.

    I honestly think it’s a difficult issue – I mean what men find attractive and what women find attractive finds some state of overlap. I mean, of course women want to look powerful and attractive in the game – I suppose the problem is that they have to find those spaces of looking powerful and attractive within spaces already dominated by what men think look sexy.

    I wonder if this makes sense?

    • That makes perfect sense, Tam, and honestly I thought about these things as well as I was writing this post. I agree that it must have taken her some courage to get up there and ask the question, but I still thing it was a very poorly phrased and thought out question.

      Still, I stand by my post. Taken purely in the context of clothing available in the game and on NPCs, this is a non-issue. Just like in the real world, you can choose to dress the way you wish (to some extent).

      And, I stand by my concern that if Blizzard takes this question literally and at face value, next we know we’ll all be wearing boxes.

      Personally, knowing that much of this next expansion is underwater, I’m looking forward to seeing some skimpy bathing suits. I hope Blizzard doesn’t disappoint me.

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