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Submitted on
June 27, 2013


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Women as Sex Objects

Journal Entry: Thu Jun 27, 2013, 10:12 AM

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:…

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 :)

Cursed by Hannah-AlexanderReborn by Hannah-AlexanderDetermination by Hannah-Alexander
  • Mood: Irritated
  • Listening to: Marina and the Diamonds
  • Reading: ShadowHeart, by Tad Williams
  • Watching: Mob Wives
  • Playing: Ni No Kuni
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Idontknowwhoyouknow Featured By Owner Sep 17, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Yeah, this journal describes my frustration, my good friend. 
0Umizu0 Featured By Owner Sep 13, 2013  Student Interface Designer
I think Terry Pratchet says something about that in one of his books when he is describing a female fantasy hero, something like "no woman who works with her sword would dress like a linen magazine model", I read it in spanish so I'm not sure of the right translation. That phrase made my day X3
nightwing6497 Featured By Owner Sep 12, 2013
Dreamcardmania Featured By Owner Sep 9, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
hahaha! I'll make one for you! :)
mandaren Featured By Owner Aug 19, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I am doing some catching up on my messages and I completely agree with you.  Most outfits that most lead female characters wear are pretty much soft porn and are completely impractical.  At best, they would distract the enemy for a while, but offer very little for protection against the threats of arrows, sharp pointy objects, or any other damage that may befall them in battle?  A fire slinging mage?  Forget about it. 

One female warrior that I love is Wonder Woman.  But when they talk about her armor, I think to myself 'What armor? She wears bracers, a one piece suit, form fitting outfit, boots, and I think what could be called a crown.'  Granted her 'armor' is imbued with enchantments, but it still looks like a glorified swimming suit to me.  Hawk Girl, on the other hand, did wear armor, and when she wasn't wearing armor, would fight in regular street clothes and aside from her wings, looked like a normal human.
Keyshe54 Featured By Owner Aug 14, 2013   Traditional Artist
I'm catching up of old journals I missed on and your stands out...Sorry for jumping in on this so late :(
Every now and then a few days I get a kinda depressive mood that I just can't shake-- where every where I look there is sexualization and woman 'images' used as sex objects and... I just can't get away from it. It's on TV, book covers, art  ect...  everywhere. I love scifi and fantasy themes stories and movies... but there is little room for the idea of a women to be much more then a sex object, even if there have a strong character they are presented and well more then not held back as a sex object. It's hard to find a game or a comicbook where the women.. aren't tits and ass in some way...

 It's a relief to hear someone speak out on it... Thank you for this journal and you thought on this. It's really is too bad how harsh the feminist movement is taken and well 'acts' becouse this here is somthing they target and talk about a lot, and want to change and improve. Some times too extreme but yeah it's an issue. I like sexy art.. and understand male interests.. and I know sex sells but I truly believe and feel I have seen it as harmful to men and women by doing this 'all' the time-- it make less of the media/show ect, degrades it and harms the opinion of sex and females and men over all. I grew up for a time feeling very affected by these images and seen young men also be so-- I thought the sexed up purpose for females and images was... what women were only good for and what we were. I've seen young men growing up very disconnected with any idea of what/who women are, ideals of beauty and well, even sex.
 How can 'sex' do anyone any good by having thrown in your face all the time?! Let alone making one gender be so sexualized that being a women makes you a sex object and are judged on worth by how much you fit into that?
jpnn80 Featured By Owner Jul 24, 2013
Since you're looking at Japan in your understandable critic, fortunately enough you can also find in their entertainment media a lot female characters shown as leaders and fully clothed, for instance in Ghibli movies with Nausicaa of the valley of the wind or Momonoke hime, or also in the big worldwide success that is the recent anime series Attack on Titans.
Angel-Regiment Featured By Owner Jul 22, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
That's why I really sat here and looked at a lot of your art when I saw the first piece. I mean, a huge chunk of art these days is women with huge boobs hanging out or something and as a girl I'm a little sick of it. Like literally, my deviant ID is me in a /suit/. I think women can be sexy and empowering but most people care so much about the sexy part that they forget about the rest.

I dated a guy last year who told me he only liked sexy female characters. He would gawk at the hot Bayonetta cosplayers and played Lollipop Chainsaw and he always talked about how sexy they were. I just thought, God, is that what we've come to? :/ Someone needs to make a small-breasted main female character in a great game. See how people like that.

And about the picture you saw on the homepage, I agree at how aggrivating that is; that's why I love Skyrim. All the aromor isn't typical girl armor like loincloths and metal bras. It's full body armor and at some points you can't even tell the gender by looking at them in the armor.

I think it's sending the wrong image to children, honestly. How many kids movies do you see these days with a romancey scene and how many in them show a head-over-heels girl or something? I don't know. That's not the same argument. I'm just tired of the image women have in society.
mandaren Featured By Owner Aug 19, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
We need a like button for deviantArt.  You are completely spot on and I love your Skyrim Reference (Just don't count the Saviours Hide, the Captain's armor that you get from Ulfric or the Forsworn armor) .  Though I hate the mods that the computer gamers use to sex up their female characters and post the results here. A lot of the Skyrim clubs have become overrun with these images.  Honestly, I feel as though most of these images are posted just to get views.
Angel-Regiment Featured By Owner Aug 28, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Exactly. The only mod of such I like is Nocturnal's Cloak, but that's how she looks and it isn't some of the slutty things some people post. But there's no one to discuss this with, male or female, except a few choice figures like you and myself, because most people either don't get it or don't care or like it too much. Pisses me off to no extent. Our generation is growing up learning that lots of boob and early sex is okay because of the way women are portrayed in the media. Kids shows on some channels are almost exclusively about teenagers, drama, relationships, stuff like that. It's sickening. I grew up with shows like Ned's Declassified. I miss innocent shows like that. And games. I think it is the Black 2 pokemon game where the female character is wearing cutoff jean shorts with the pockets hanging out? My sister always taught me that if the pockets hang out, that's way too short, and it usually is. It's corrupting our society and it makes me so angry. Not to mention things like porn being so easily accessable... and how dress codes are becoming less and less strict. I'm still in high school. When I was in 6th grade, I remember: knee-length skirts or capris, and sleeves had to be a dollar bill width, shirts could not pass the collar bone. Now people wear practically a long shirt and that's it to school. I saw it the other day and it made me so mad. Who are you trying to impress? Your math teacher? Because this kind of stuff shouldn't matter in school. I don't care how I look during school because I'm not there to show off, I'm there to learn for God's sake. And call me a nerd all you want (well, I am in Latin III, that is pretty nerdy) but I personally feel like if everyone thought that way the schools would be a lot less overrun by horny boys and sluts. I just wish sluts would realize how comfortable jeans and a tshirt was. I can't even wear skinny jeans anymore, they're so uncomfortable, and usually nice clothes aren't fit for a full day of school. Maybe to a date or the mall... I dunno. I just get so rant-y when this kinda stuff comes up.
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