Warning: Imma 'bout to rant.
First off I'd like to point out that I'm not a raving feminist. I acknowledge that women are not equal in western society (despite corporate efforts that seem to be more about statements and false enthusiasm on the subject rather than actually taking women seriously) and I don't think we will be equal for a long time, if ever. Just how it is. Unfortunate (from the perspective of a woman), but just how it is.
ANYWAY. Here's my rant. I'm really tired of a female character being undermined by her being half nude. Really, really tired of it. And I'm not talking about artistic nudity, I'm talking about ass-cheek flashing skirts, bikini tops and little else (I'm looking at you, Japan).
I love a strong female lead, but they're so rare. Writers find it so hard to create a complex female character; they're either so brave and outspoken that they become butch and unattractive by design, or they're a sex object. A hopeless damsel in distress or someone who can hold their own until a man comes along and is inevitably better than her at everything bar looking good in a tiny dress.
Let's take Kaine as an example, from videogame Nier. She's totally badass, until she turns around, and then she's just all ass: static.giantbomb.com/uploads/o…
She transforms from being an actual person with actual feelings, to a sex object in the time it takes for her to turn around. Personally, I find it insulting. Whether we realise it or not, this image is brainwashing both women and men into thinking that this is all we're worth. We don't have feelings or brains, we're all tits and ass.
I understand that comic book and videogame companies are targeting their prime audience: men. And men want something to look at. It's understandable, I'm not criticising. But I feel it's sending the wrong message.
Of course there's nothing wrong with having a sexual and powerful character, but I'd love to see more female designs that aren't defined by their sexuality. I'd like a character to be respected for their battle prowess and/or personality, and for their attractiveness to be a bonus (I feel the Final Fantasy girls almost hit that mark).
I write this because of a recent picture that made front page. I shan't link it. But it basically depicted an Amazonia tribe amidst 'war'. It would've been cool except that all the women's 'armour' consisted of thongs, skimpy straps and bikini tops with the occasional helm and javelin thrown in for health and safety. I feel like the idea of this strong society of warrior women was completely undermined by the artist depicting them as sex objects. It's such a shame… and worse still, it's ACCEPTED.
It's difficult to find any fictional character that's worthy of being a role model, at least in terms of dress. Perhaps because a strong woman with clothes on is either too boring for a man, or makes them feel uncomfortable?
I'd like to see more characters like Anya, from Gears of War.
Buffy The Vampire Slayer
Heather from Silent Hill 3
Faith Connor's from Mirror's Edge
Perhaps even Black Widow, from the Avengers, to a certain extent.
Now, I'm not bashing men. I'm not saying that men are purely driven by sexual desire and have no interest in women beyond physical attraction. That's not it. I totally get that men want something to look at. (And we certainly don't help ourselves with Playboy etc.) I'm blaming the media and uncreative, lazy writing and that the bottom line is, well, sex sells.
I suppose I can't get mad at these primarily male writers/designers/illustrators, but it would be nice to be shown some semblance of respect and acknowledgement to the fact that we are more than just sex objects and not EVERY design has be all tits and ass. Just saiyan.
I'm sure an onslaught of people will disagree with me, but I'd be interested to hear your opinion, especially if you're a man! Please do share