Opinion: Video games and Male Gaze - are we men or boys?
by Brandon Sheffield
June 29, 2012
[Game Developer magazine EIC Brandon Sheffield makes the claim that the game industry at large still treats women primarily as a vehicle for the display of boobs and butts, not only in games, but within the culture at large, saying this is a natural extension of who we put in charge.]
I won’t pretend to be above biology: I like boobs and butts as much as the next hot-blooded heterosexual male. They’re just about the most aesthetically pleasing configurations of fat and muscle you can find on a person, and I am far from being immune to their charms. But women are a lot more than boobs and butts. That may seem obvious, but the game industry and its fans are demonstrating their ignorance of that fact time and time again.
Video games and Male Gaze
Recently I did an interview, an excerpt of which you can find here, with Hitman Absolution director Tore Blystad. If you haven’t been keeping up with the franchise, a recent trailer for the game got the internet up in arms, as it depicted sexy dominatrix nuns being violently dispatched by the protagonist Agent 47. Blystad is a nice, well-meaning man that simply doesn’t understand why anyone is mad about the trailer for his game. This is actually a very large part of the problem.
Blystad isn’t sure why this trailer in particular upset people, when he feels this is the way the series has always presented itself. When I asked him why these ladies were in dominatrix gear, and why they had to remove their nun costumes before coming to kill Agent 47, he said the ladies are “dressing as something less conspicuous, getting up to their mark, and revealing their true colors.”
He does not realize that giving these women dominatrix outfits as their “true colors” is the problem. Think about it logically for a moment — if you were going to assassinate someone, would you wear the tightest thing possible? Would you expose your breasts to the world, essentially creating a target for a bullet? Probably not. Ryan Consell writes about this clothing phenomenon (and how to fix it) to excellent effect in his article Fantasy Armor and Lady Bits.