Elise, the Spider Queen; or How Riot Forgot That Women Wear Clothes

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Hey, everyone! My name is Mandaray, or Gwenna when I’m playing League. I’ve been playing for almost two years now, but I’ve been a gamer for pretty much as long as I can remember. My usual fare when it comes to games are RPGs, shooters, and of course the occasional MOBA. I livestream these games as regularly as I can over on my Twitch.tv channel. When I’m not playing games, writing is one of my other passions. I believe that the written word is one of the most powerful and effective tools for education and change. As such, you can find me blogging about a variety of different subjects over at my blog, Note to Self. Today I was very excited to receive an invitation to join this blog, particularly so that I can write about a subject which is very near and dear to my heart: Female characters in video games.

But enough about me. Let’s talk about Elise.

As many of you will probably know, Riot has recently announced the release of its newest champion, Elise, the Spider Queen. According to the website, this is a character which has been in production for almost three years, and as such I am sure there are a lot of folks in the League playing crowd who are very excited right now. And, looking at her skill set, she does seem like she’s going to be a lot of fun, especially if you’re the sort of player who enjoys champions like Nidalee or Swain.

But what was my reaction when I saw Elise’s picture and skill set released on my Facebook feed?

Disappointment.

Why disappointment, you ask? Here’s why, right here:

And here:

And here:

And, most recently– I think you see where this is going–here:

Notice any trends?

Yeah, so did we.

Look. Some characters are going to be sexpots. I get that. Cassiopea is a fine example. According to her lore, seduction was pretty much her job. So I would expect her to walk (or slither) around in revealing outfits, using her feminine “assets” to the best advantage possible. But every single female character that Riot comes out with? Really? At this point, pretty much the only champions who aren’t purely Tits-on-a-Stick are Karma, Lux, Annie, and the Yordle females.

And you know what? I’m bored. So endlessly, utterly, bored.

Where are the muscle-bound females? Where are the skinny little waifs that look as though they might break if someone sneezes on them? Where are the in-between folks who just kind of stumble around and do the best they can? Where are the old wise-women who have forgotten more power and knowledge than most other champions will ever have? Where are the mothers? Where are the women who were transformed, or cursed, or come from Somewhere Else that are a disturbing (not sexy) cross between human and…something?

Answer is: They don’t exist, because Riot doesn’t want them to exist, because Riot wants to make money. And, like pretty much every other video game out there on the market, for some reason Riot believes its only customers are young, heterosexual males. (This is especially shocking considering how many talented and intelligent women Riot has working for them.) Because of this, it’s going to keep on trotting out those characters with long legs, plump asses and huge, unrealistic breasts. They want you to feel that sudden urge to buy a certain champ you might not consider otherwise because it makes you feel good in your pants-region. How trite. (And if you’re a guy–how insulting. Unless you enjoy people assuming you only ever think with your genitals.)

As usual, it comes back down to the old adage: Sex sells.

But aren’t you tired of that excuse? I know I am. And I definitely know that I am tired of being ignored by video game developers. I am tired of them telling me over and over again that the only choice I get is either jailbait, or sexpot. I’m tired of being so limited all the time by these games which I love. (And I do love League of Legends!) I’m tired of watching all of my gay and female friends get the shaft because no one has bothered to think beyond the idea that heterosexual 16-year-olds rule the market. I’m tired of being given concept art that directly conflicts with the lore behind it. (I’m sorry, but if you live in a cold climate and ride boars all day, you are not going to traipse around in a bikini. You are going to be swathed in heavy furs and probably drink things with a lot of fat in them.) I’m tired of “upgrades” like Diana’s skin suddenly changing her beautiful, realistic armor into something which is only there so the game doesn’t get an AO rating. I’m tired of trying to figure out how Morgana holds up her girls with only a tiny little strip of (what I assume is) leather. I’m tired of wondering why Caitlyn, a sheriff and crime-fighter by trade, would even think about leaving the house wearing a poofy miniskirt that barely covers her bottom.

I’m tired of being given only one option.

Meanwhile, guy champions are rarely if ever left in their birthday suits. They’re outfitted with layers upon layers of heavy, intimidating armor. They tote around huge weapons and, despite being obviously muscle-bound, rarely show off an ounce of skin. The magic casters are clothed from head to toe in long, flowing robes, or comfortable looking pants. Occasionally you’ll get someone who’s not wearing a full outfit, (Varus comes to mind) but it’s pretty rare. Why?

Because, of course, women don’t get turned on by visual things. That’s why women don’t ever watch porn. Duh. Gosh, don’t you know anything?

Insert eye-roll here.

So, what are we going to do about this problem? Well, unfortunately there’s not a lot we can do, at least not until Riot comes to their senses and puts some more open-minded people on their art development team. But there are a few methods we can use to send our message. First and foremost, is we use our words. Start petitions. Write e-mails. Send them feedback. Tweet at them. If you go to a League event somewhere, and maybe you run into somebody who works at Riot, stop them for a second (politely!) and maybe talk to them about it. See if there’s a reason why they’re doing this, and if there’s any way we could possibly change their minds.

Secondly, and perhaps most importantly, stop giving them your money. Don’t get me wrong: Riot is a great company, and League of Legends is a fantastic game. But they’re a business, and businesses only change if their bottom line is in danger. Plus, because of how League is set up, they only get our money if we say so. So don’t say so. Don’t buy skins. Don’t buy champions. (Especially not the Tits-on-a-Stick ones.) Use your IP if you absolutely have to have a champ, or just wait for free weeks. Use vanilla skins. Yes, we might be outnumbered by people who find this character type appealing, but every little bit counts. You would be surprised how quickly it can all add up.

I’m not asking Riot to never put out another sexpot character ever again. What I am asking them to do is to stop slotting women into such tired, boring old stereotypes, and to treat them with the same respect they give male champions.

Because I, for one, want more options.

(This post of course does not even begin to touch on the fact that most characters are white, and that the majority of hardcore support champs are all female, which is an eyebrow-raising factoid all by itself. These are concepts which I believe are better left to another entry. ^_~)

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105 thoughts on “Elise, the Spider Queen; or How Riot Forgot That Women Wear Clothes

  1. markofshame

    Seems like someone does not look at all the champs. Ashe, Diana, Fiora, Irelia, Katarina(arguable), kayle, Leona, nidalee (her clothing matches her character), Orianna (and she COULD have been a literal sex-bot), riven, shyvana, vayne, and while she is a bird lets not forget about anivia. Not all of the female characters are sex icons. You wanted armor on a female? Look to Kayle, Irelia, or Leona. Muscles? Riven or Shyvana can fit the bill.

    Like

    • Yes because for being from a frozen tundra Ashe is wearing so much clothing.
      Yes becuase for throwing bladres around and getting into the heat of battle, Katarina has an appropriate outfit on.
      Shyvanna has nothing once again coverning a mid-drift or the inner part of her thighs, which is super practical.
      Vayne, Fiora, Diana, Irelia, Kyale, and Leona had better have some damn armor on. But why are most of them wearing some sort of heel?! Have you ever tried to walk in those things let along run or fight in them?

      Like

      • Not to mention, many skins for these champions clearly emphasize either their midriff, busts, or buttocks. (How many times have you heard people enthusiastically clamor for “French Maid Nidalee”?) While there are definitely champions who are fully armored, there are many more which are not. And the more new champions are released, the smaller that number seems to become.

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    • I never said there were no armored female champions. Simply that they are becoming rarer.

      Not to mention, a lot of the champions which you have listed come with skins which are extremely sexualized. (Bunny Riven, French Maid Nidalee, Dragon Hunter or Heartseeker Vayne, Frostblade Irelia, pretty much ALL of the Ashe skins, Diana’s skin, etc. Basically the only champs you mention which don’t have sexualized skins are Anivia, Orianna, Kayle, and Leona. Four champs out of an almost 100 champ roster is not a great statistic.)

      This is Riot making it clear they are using sex to make money. They do not do this with male champions. And again, I do not have a problem with sexpot characters. I simply want a wider variety of choices. I think it is becoming quite clear what path Riot intends to head down with its champion design, and I would like to encourage them to do otherwise.

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      • Blank

        Yes because making a skin that changes what you character looks like is a bad thing. Listen if you do not like the Bunny suit Riven don’t buy it and as for male characters last time I checked there is Rugged Garren, Darius is manly and buff, Ez and Talon pulls off that pretty boy look, Graves is a tough cowboy, Jarvin is Chuck Norris, Twisted fate has the suave gambler look HELL Varus walks around shirtless. I am getting sick of hearing this where there is fan service for women but no you all bitch about women instead of enjoying all the cool and hot guys in League

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      • I think the main difference I see between female and male skins is that the women get stripper versions of whatever they’re turning into. (Bunny Riven, Officer Caitlyn, etc.) Whereas the guys, they just get skins. (or if their skins turn them into something, it’s a serious version of that “job”, as opposed to the stripper version.) They get skins that make them look more rugged or intimidating or suave. And you know, I’m even OK with there being sexy skins. Really. Sometimes you *want* to be sexy, and that’s great! I know it makes Riot a lot of money and I don’t want them to stop that–I just want a little more variety. I want to see them explore something other than the tired formula of “women have their boobs out and are breaking their spines to arouse us” while men are “muscular, rugged, intimidating, and aloof”. There are so many different possibilities in between. I just want to see a little variety, that’s all. :) I would also prefer it if Riot kept the sexiness restricted to skins instead of the default stuff. (Great example is Diana’s vanilla skin vs. Dark Valkyrie)

        Like

    • I shall indeed continue to speak on this issue. Thank you for your permission. :)

      Also, remember when the majority of players thought that Kayle was a man? Why do you think that is?

      I do agree that Leona is an excellent example of a female champ who is entirely armored. She is the only one who doesn’t have any skins which are overtly sexual.

      Irelia is a fair example. Her vanilla skin and most of her upgrade-skins are fairly covered. But the recent Frostblade Irelia skin clearly emphasizes her buttocks and twists her body into a rather strange position which is strongly sexualized.

      My point is not that there have never ever been armored female champions in the game, simply that they are becoming more and more rare. Meanwhile male champs continue to receive practical armor and are rarely if ever painted in sexualized poses.

      Like

      • someone pissed off.

        I for one am going to buy every single “tits on a stick” character riot puts out. And email them on their EXCELLENT design choices. I am so sick and tired of people WHINING. Zyra, Syndra, Diana (less so), and now Elise.
        Sexy is good. if a motif (in this case, spider queen) works on many bodytypes, you go with the sexy one whenever possible. because that IS the most interesting. if a motif DOESNT (ancient keeper of forbidden magic from a swamp of evil), thats all well and good, you make her a badass ancient crone in robes with a long warty nose and everything.
        the default SHOULD be sexy whenever possible. The whole point of character design is to look good.
        I’ve never seen such a wall of butthurt in my life.

        Like

      • Well, that’s definitely your choice, and if you like the sexier skins, then by all means exercise your right as a capitalistic individual and spend those dollars. :) If you believe that “sexy should always be the default choice” then you are going to have a great time being a gamer in this day and age! Everyone caters to you. Have fun with that! For your sake, I hope your opinions never change, because the second they do, you’ll be in my position, where all I want is a little variety and for that simple desire, I receive nothing but hatred and anger.

        In the meantime, though, I think you’re right. I’m going to email Riot and request that instead of covering up the female champs, I want them to make more sexy male champs. If the next several dozen guy champions aren’t wearing bikinis, and if I can’t see the bulges in their tight, latex underwear, or a lot of firm, round buttocks– then I’m not going to be happy. Oh, and they should all have really strong erections, too. Nobody likes a flaccid penis. You’re right–sex is a part of life! And, as someone who thoroughly enjoys sex, I want to be reminded of the good sex I could be having whenever I play a video game. Therefore, it should always be the default, and I’m going to make sure Riot takes that seriously.

        Thank you. :)

        Like

      • someone pissed off.

        And here it is. the real reasoning. lets break it down shall we?

        “In the meantime, though, I think you’re right. I’m going to email Riot and request that instead of covering up the female champs, I want them to make more sexy male champs.”
        Sure. that works. as long as we’re talking male sexiness.
        “If the next several dozen guy champions aren’t wearing bikinis”
        Uh, no. thats not sexy on guys, except a few isolated incidents. and if riot brings out one of those as a champ, sure. why not.
        “and if I can’t see the bulges in their tight, latex underwear,”
        just as much as we can see the erect nipples poking through Zyra’s leaves. oh. right. Nice try.
        “or a lot of firm, round buttocks”
        Agreed! a nice ass is a nice ass.
        “Oh, and they should all have really strong erections, too. Nobody likes a flaccid penis.”
        Again, exageration. We cant see erect nipples or… fluid discharges, shall we say, on the female champs. but no, we’re the ones with a double standard -_-.
        “You’re right–sex is a part of life! And, as someone who thoroughly enjoys sex, I want to be reminded of the good sex I could be having whenever I play a video game.”
        just like you’re reminded of plants (Zyra) lovecraftian powers beyond mortal comprehension (Malzahar), cute hamsters (teemo) and any other part of life you could be experiencing (ok, not so much the malzahar one, if you like your sanity). Whats your point?

        “Thank you”
        You’re welcome.
        If there was no such thing as health problems, only a crazy person would eat anything other than tastiest foods possible. Since sexy champions dont cause health problems, its pretty fucking simple.
        Sometimes there IS no such thing as too much of a good thing.

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      • LOL! You are hilarious, do you know that?

        Here’s a link I think you’ll enjoy:

        http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/sarcasm?s=t

        And while you’re chewing on that, I’m going to remind you that at least 50% (more if you include skins) of female League champions are literally in bikinis, or things that look like bikinis. If they’re going to get the bikini treatment, so should guys. I, for one, think a guy in a tight swimsuit is very attractive. But I have a feeling that most of the guys with hard-ons for women in scant clothes will be made greatly uncomfortable or awkward by guys in bikinis, because OMG THAT’S NOT HOW MEN LOOK WHEN MEN ARE SEXY.

        Also, thank you for reminding me that my nipples, which are a natural part of my body and something I cannot control or remove, are shameful to see in public spaces and only appropriate in highly sexual situations such as porn. Meanwhile, my breasts are highly sought after and should be displayed at any and all times, whether I want them to be or not. I should also not mind whenever I see someone else’s breasts, whether I want to or not.

        But that’s OK. These are just video games. No one takes them seriously, right? They don’t contribute to any kind of dangerous culture, right?

        You go right on thinking that only certain things look sexy on certain people, and that I’m just an angry feminist who’s whining. You go on thinking that sexy should be the default for games. Those things you worship so much are called “gender roles”. They’re what say men should look intimidating and women should look sexy. They’re what say that a man’s sexual arousal and subsequent satisfaction is more important than anything else. They’re what say anyone who goes against that impression is just angry, or threatened. They’re what say “sexy should be the default”. (Which, btw, is quite possibly one of the dumbest things I have ever heard–you get an award!)

        They’re also boring, they’re limiting, and eventually I hope they become outdated, because they’re not doing any of us any good.

        Nice talking with you. :)

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      • someone pissed off.

        I tend to counter sarcasm by being annoyingly literal.

        You’re right about the male sexiness thing. I overreacted to ANOTHER complaint about sexiness in LoL and ranted a little. there SHOULD be more males showing themselves off. (In fact, garen or Ez in a speedo would be great. When you said bikini I though you meant the female swimwear. as in, the top piece on a male. Which is just silly.) In LoL and popular culture. And there could be SOME more variety in the female characters. BUT.
        BUT.
        In fiction (and arguably in life)
        Sexiness, along with inteliigence and other POSITIVE qualities, should be the goal whenever possible. for everyone. Everyone should strive to be a pinnacle of humanity. League should NOT have ‘average joes’. do you see bob the janitor anywhere? no? then you shouldn’t expect to see Jane the baker. (no, not baker’s wife. Baker. What was that about me worshipping gender roles? Cause that was SERIOUSLY offensive.)

        To be honest, I wouldn’t care if there WERE erect nipples and erect penises in LoL. Society does, but thats because they have issues. i’m just saying that your comparison was innaccurate. If you want erect penises, we get erect nipples. And how did this become about you? This is about game characters. You have every right to cover your breasts. so do they. but no, you dont have the right to complain about someone else not. that reminds me of arguements against gay rights when people complain they dont want to see gay’s kissing.

        Video games dont contribute to dangerous culture because I’m smart enough to separate fiction and reality. I’d prefer reality be more like fiction in ALL aspects, but I wont demand women IRL dress like this any more than I’ll demand people learn magic.

        I worship gender roles, hmm? I happen to consider myself a femminist. The only thing that hurts me more than the abuse of women in the middle east and such is people claiming women here have it worse because we DARE to not IGNORE the body when forming an opinion of a woman.

        Men dont have to look intimidating. i said nothing of the sort.
        Sexual arousal in GENERAL is a high priority. Its not our fault that its much more difficult to arouse women than men.
        Looking good should be the default goal for anything and everything in fiction.

        I’m trying hard to stay calm and not rant. Really. I apologize for any direct INSULTS i made, and beg forgiveness on those. I just dont understand what bugs people so much. And I’m tired of being insulted for refusing to IGNORE a person’s body in my opinion of them. Man or woman.

        Like

      • “In fiction (and arguably in life)

        Sexiness, along with inteliigence and other POSITIVE qualities, should be the goal whenever possible. for everyone. Everyone should strive to be a pinnacle of humanity.”
        As the above is entirely subjective, I’d remind you that your personal preferences are not realities.

        “You have every right to cover your breasts. so do they. but no, you dont have the right to complain about someone else not. that reminds me of arguements against gay rights when people complain they dont want to see gay’s kissing.”

        Again: she is not complaining about uncovered breasts. She is complaining about a lack of choices in female characterization.

        “Video games dont contribute to dangerous culture because I’m smart enough to separate fiction and reality. I’d prefer reality be more like fiction in ALL aspects, but I wont demand women IRL dress like this any more than I’ll demand people learn magic.”

        Saying that art doesn’t contribute to culture ‘because I’m smart’ is incorrect. Culture is influenced by (and influences, of course) art & media, and video games certainly count as media. Video games add to our culture, and they can add either restrictive messages (all woman are Zyra) or more expansive ones like the OP suggests.

        “The only thing that hurts me more than the abuse of women in the middle east and such is people claiming women here have it worse because we DARE to not IGNORE the body when forming an opinion of a woman.”

        Playing the ‘who has greater pain’ game is never a good idea, so if that’s what you’re saying I agree with you. If you’re saying that not being killed means you should shut up and be quiet about it, I disagree strongly.

        “Its not our fault that its much more difficult to arouse women than men.”

        Factually incorrect.

        “Looking good should be the default goal for anything and everything in fiction.”

        My opinion is different here, but that’s fine.

        “I just dont understand what bugs people so much. And I’m tired of being insulted for refusing to IGNORE a person’s body in my opinion of them. Man or woman.”

        I’m personally bugged by restrictive social messages being Good until proven Bad. As to your feelings, neither the OP nor any post currently on this blog has insulted you for refusing to ignore someone’s body. Which, by the by, is entirely separate from your sexual attraction to body.

        Like

      • someone pissed off.

        in paragraph order
        1: so you would rather humans be greasy and overweight and unintelligent? face it, its part of life to try and improve and excell. Often with the purpose of breeding, via sex, related to sexuality, so this is pretty topical.

        2: Show me a female character in the game with NO conservative outfits, and you’ll have found a character I agree needs a new skin. But a female character (of appropriate age and humanoidness) with no SEXY outfits is JUST AS BAD. or are you saying that non-sexy choices should be the prefered one?

        3: I’m saying that if people are dumb enough to take media as messages, instead of just having fun with it and moving on with their lives, thats not my problem and no one has the right to make it such. Basically, if I’M capable of looking at Zyra and NOT expecting all women to be like her, instead of killing my fun just for the sake of preventing that possibility, we should be educating people better. (I have the same issue with not being able to trim my fingernails on a plane)

        4: I’m just saying that women here could have it better, but I’m tired of being compared to the mysoginistic assholes running those countries when I try hard to be the opposite.

        5: Then why isn’t the array of sexy male champions satisfying female players?

        6: You would rather things be ugly? interesting “opinion” (so sick of that word)

        7: I dont consider it separate. My sexual attraction is just as much a part of me as anything else, and I will not be ashamed of it, or refuse to want it satisfied. And again, this isn’t a RESTRICTIVE social message, its the opposite. Restrictive is countries where women are put to death for showing their ankles. No woman HAS to dress like Elise. If they choose not to, men are going to be more attracted to those that do, dueto simple biological urge. And thats not a bad thing.

        Like

      • “1: so you would rather humans be greasy and overweight and unintelligent? face it, its part of life to try and improve and excell. Often with the purpose of breeding, via sex, related to sexuality, so this is pretty topical.”

        No, nor is that what I said. I said that your subjective ideas of what sexiness is aren’t realities, and that remains the case.

        “2: Show me a female character in the game with NO conservative outfits, and you’ll have found a character I agree needs a new skin. But a female character (of appropriate age and humanoidness) with no SEXY outfits is JUST AS BAD. or are you saying that non-sexy choices should be the prefered one?”

        You’re still on the wrong axis. The point here is not ‘sexy is bad’ – it’s ‘woman are more than just objects of male pleasure’. It’s not about a value judgement on sexuality, it’s a desire to see woman who are both sex-bombs and something else. Or, failing that, to see many more male sex-bombs (this one isn’t my preferred solution, but hey). I’ll repeat the point: female league champs should be more than just sex objects.

        “3: I’m saying that if people are dumb enough to take media as messages, instead of just having fun with it and moving on with their lives, thats not my problem and no one has the right to make it such. Basically, if I’M capable of looking at Zyra and NOT expecting all women to be like her, instead of killing my fun just for the sake of preventing that possibility, we should be educating people better. (I have the same issue with not being able to trim my fingernails on a plane)”

        And I’m saying it has nothing to do with intelligence. Media is made up of messages, period, and the messages that make up our media fabric matter. It’s not about ‘I see sex-bombs in LoL, all women must be sex-bombs.’ It is, as stated before, ‘women are more than sex objects, and LoL should respect this diversity.’ It’s not about killing your fun, it’s about making the world of the League a place everyone with money can enjoy spending it.

        “4: I’m just saying that women here could have it better, but I’m tired of being compared to the mysoginistic assholes running those countries when I try hard to be the opposite.”

        I’m not going to congratulate you for not being a misogynist, since I think that should be a given.

        “5: Then why isn’t the array of sexy male champions satisfying female players?”

        First, female players are not a monolith any more than male players are. Second, there is only one male champion that’s a sex object (Varus). The numbers don’t compare across the sexes, is the point.

        “6: You would rather things be ugly? interesting “opinion” (so sick of that word)”

        Oh please. I said I don’t think things should default to looking good, that you assume that means I think things should be ugly is nonsensical. I rather like the word ‘opinion’, but there are very few words I don’t like.

        “7: I dont consider it separate. My sexual attraction is just as much a part of me as anything else, and I will not be ashamed of it, or refuse to want it satisfied.”

        You really aren’t seeing this? Your sexual attraction to a body is different from that body. Your sexual attraction comes from you, the body doesn’t. The body of another doesn’t have to own your attraction to it, ever, since they’re not the same thing. Is that clearer?

        “And again, this isn’t a RESTRICTIVE social message, its the opposite. Restrictive is countries where women are put to death for showing their ankles. No woman HAS to dress like Elise.”

        A restrictive message is one that reduces the ordinariness of a choice. For example, our culture assumes heterosexual to be the norm until proven otherwise. You are, once more, trying to say ‘it is less restrictive, therefore it isn’t restrictive.’ Restrictive is also where most women can’t charge their rapist without going through the flipping Inquisition. Of course no woman has to dress like Elise, that was never the discussion.

        “If they choose not to, men are going to be more attracted to those that do, dueto simple biological urge. And thats not a bad thing.”

        You are once more incorrect on what a biological urge is. Men do share some preferences across cultures, but they tend toward hip-waist ratio and general symmetry (not height, bust size, waist size, hip size, weight, etc). Those things in the parenthesis vary with the times, culture, and individuals involved.

        Like

      • someone pissed off.

        1. And I’m saying sexiness is just another word for attractiveness, which its in our genes to strive for, along with intelligence, strength, ect. and even if it isn’t in our genes, we should strive for it. if you respond with ‘thats subjective’, it means you say their are alternate views. what view is alternate from we should strive for better? the view that says we shouldn’t. its pretty cut and dry. I’d like to hear a specific viewpoint besides that, instead of just “its subjective.

        2. where did I say women are objects of male pleasure? saying that things should generally try to be attractive is not saying that attractiveness is all they’re good for. Whats the definition of being ONLY a sex-bomb, and being a sex-bomb and something else? Elise is a cultist leader exploiting her followers. seems like that qualifies as “something else” to me.

        3. Nothing wrong with league representing other types of women as long as they qualify in the IMPORTANT parts of style and badassery. Its just hard to find a decently interesting woman with those two qualities that isn’t also some variety of sexy. those that do exist (Old crone witch character) should of course be added to the League ASAP.

        4. You seem to be implying I AM Mysoginist is the problem.

        5. define sex object. shirtless? Pantheon, Lee Sin. Pretty boy? Ezreal, Taric. ECT. Lets talk specifics.

        6. If you dont think things should look good, it either means you think they should look bad, or they should be invisible. since one of those just doesnt work for a video game… *shrug* explain what you DO think then.

        7. The problem is that you are assuming that the ONLY reason bodies are made like this is for the benefit of others. Or at least thats what I’m seeing. I’m seeing people say its impossible for a woman to look like this and enjoy it.

        8. so you want a society where every nonharmful choice is equally valid, not just legally but culturally. as in, there should be a perfectly equal amount of preference for every choice. Which isn’t going to happen because people like some things more than others. Or at least thats what I’m getting. I freely admit I have difficulty understanding what people mean. if I got it wrong tell me.
        and I fully agree on the rape thing. The problem is that THAT issue can be solved without removing sexiness from games.

        9. whats your point? that we should be trying to remove those things in parenthesis from ever being considered? This is where I FEEL people are shaming me for liking those things. (just how I feel). As if society having things it likes is somehow wrong.
        Thats probably not what you’re saying, but I don’t know what you ARE saying.

        Like

      • “Nothing wrong with league representing other types of women as long as they qualify in the IMPORTANT parts of style and badassery. Its just hard to find a decently interesting woman with those two qualities that isn’t also some variety of sexy”

        Congratulations. Just when I thought you couldn’t get any more close-minded than you already were…off you go.

        That statement clearly implies that you think badassery and YOUR version of sexiness go hand-in-hand. Therefore, no woman can be badass or stylish without also being sexy. Even if this is limited to League only, that mindset is just awful. And it also pretty much paints you as a misogynist, so if you’re honestly trying to not be one, you just failed.

        “Thats probably not what you’re saying, but I don’t know what you ARE saying.”

        You don’t know what we’re saying because you don’t want to. You heard me asking for a tiny–TINY–bit of variety and equality between the male and female champs, then proceeded to fly off the handle because you felt like I was attacking you, or “whining” about something. (To which I say, you have whined way more than I ever could.)

        Even though I have repeatedly stated that I DO NOT WANT TO REMOVE SEX-BOMB CHARACTERS FROM THE GAME, you act like I’m going after the champion selection screen with an axe, taking away all of your precious boobies while at the same time making you feel ashamed of all the times you’ve spent jerking off to their images. The fact that you *still* don’t get my point, or any of the points made in the blog post, makes me think that maybe you’ve been typing all of these comments with your eyes closed.

        Either open your mind and unlearn your privilege, or stop wasting our time.

        Like

      • someone trying to understand.

        wow. way to put words in my mouth and attack my character. I’m not gonna say I don’t SOMEWHAT deserve it but jeez. I tried very hard to avoid insulting you directly.
        That said, thanks for being so harsh. Its generally what it takes to get me to listen. thinking about it, there are plenty of ways a woman can be stylish and badass without being sexy. Thankyou,and I’m sorry.
        I also agree I overreacted hard, and that the League could do with more variety. Thank you, and I’m sorry.

        I am not reading with my eyes closed. I have admited difficulties with seeing other people’s point of view. I have a kind of autism that includes difficulties with empathy and understanding. I’m sorry if I’ve made people upset. I’m really just trying to understand why this issue bugs people. if the situation were completely reversed, it wouldn’t bug me, so I really don’t get it…

        What do you mean “unlearn my privilege”?

        Like

      • 1. Sexiness still isn’t being a sex object, which I’ve said. It is in our genes to pass on those genes; outside forces are what changes traits already existing in a population. And again, you are saying that humans should strive toward your ideal beauty – beauty is not an objective thing. You may think your view is ‘we should strive for better,’ but what I’m still trying to help you understand is that ‘better’ is not some objective goal. It’s not ‘we should be better’ vs. ‘we shouldn’t be better’; it’s ‘we should be this kind of better’ vs. ‘we should be that kind of better.’ This is, and has been, my specific viewpoint. Saying ‘it’s subjective; is valid when it is, in fact, subjective.

        2. I didn’t say you personally did, I said that’s what the OP was about. Have you seriously been here this long without getting that? I have defined sex object, and that’s the definition. I am, as the OP did, judging the skins against that measure. Again, you are saying that the lore should be considered separately from her appearance despite your previous assertions it shouldn’t be. You can’t look at her skin and think ‘cult leader’ (unless you have very interesting ideas about what a cult is). Instead, Elise is presented in a way that signals ‘sex object.’

        3. You are more than welcome to have criteria you think should count as important. They’re still not facts, though. There are people who don’t find Faith (Mirror’s Edge) at all attractive, and she’s a bad-ass with crazy awesome style (in my opinion, ’cause it’s subjective). What the OP, and myself, are saying is that we think it’s important to have female champs who aren’t sex objects.

        4. If you expect congratulations for not being misogynist, you are part of the problem. I’m not about to say that you do or don’t, though, I merely wanted it said that I think the default should be non-misogyny.

        5. I’ve defined sex object, read my comments. Amount of nudity and/or attractiveness isn’t part of it. The definition is already pretty specific.

        6. No, it means I am fully aware that my opinions aren’t objective. I think that there should be diversity of goodness, and not homage paid again and again to a single idea of what good looks like and/or is.

        7. I’m not advocating against the creation of bodies like Elise. I’m advocating for other bodies as well, since I think Legends should be much less cookie cutter in a world that’s supposed to be realized. No one is saying women can’t look like her and enjoy it, so whatever you’re seeing is coming from your end.

        8. Equally valid culturally does not mean equal preference for each choice. I’m not sure how you arrived there. I’m saying that I don’t think there should be cultural restrictions on non-harmful choices (which will open up the whole ‘what’s harmful conversation’ which can begin and end here). Again, no one is saying sexiness needs to be removed. What we’re saying is that all those parts of women that aren’t sexy first should be included as well.

        9. My point is that personal preference to them isn’t supported as a biological urge. Your feelings are valid, but they don’t clash with the OP. All we’re saying is that the percentage of women who are sexy first is too high in LoL. Our solution is to add women who aren’t sexy first (which is not to say they aren’t sexy, just that it’s not the primary point of their skins).

        Like

      • someone trying to understand.

        1. Thats a good point. Sorry it took so long to get it. Thanks for your patience.
        2. I can and do look at her skin and think cult leader, in that I think it works for one knowing that she is. You’re right in that it doesn’t tell us that she is. maybe I’m trying so hard to respect women and not SEE them as sex objects that I can’t tell if they’re designed as such or not.
        3. see above about the difference between me not seeing them as sex objects and them not being designed as such.
        4. I agree what the default should be.
        5. once again, the issue with me not seeing them as such. I think thats where the core of it is.
        6. Agreed.
        7. Agreed. I admit I was overreacting.
        8. Agreed.
        9. Agreed.

        Basically, I admit I was wrong or misunderstanding on a lot of points. part of it really comes down to the fact that when I see a sexy woman I dont ONLY think of her as that, so I was having difficulty understanding that others might. I do feel pretty stupid for not appreciating variety more though. It would actually be MORE beautiful (sexy, attractive, whatever, tome its all basically teh same) to have more options. (though I still dont want a female gragas).

        Like

  2. LordDerp

    I love it when my women turn into spiders, inject venom into my flesh and then cover me in spiders. so sexy….irony is the lowest form of wit.

    Like

  3. Danny

    One thing to keep in mind is that Riot’s market is in fact dominated by young males – this is not a myth or assumption at all, take a look at the recent stats they released about game hours and whatnot (90% males, age 16-30).

    I’m not taking any issue with your argument, btw – I mostly agree and just wanted to clear that up.

    Like

  4. U.N. Owen

    While this is rather well written and I agree that the females could do with a bit more clothing; maybe trying to apply race to a fictional world is a bit asinine, no offense intended of course. Female support is also another point, though if Riot decides to create male support characters like Taric and what little others exist is likely for future thought.

    Like

  5. Kurasshu

    Think about the target audience. It’s mostly to teenage males. Of course they’re going to take that to the bank. Sex does sell. You’re right for what it’s worth.
    However, you’re missing the big question. Are people at Riot going to take this into account when their cash crop is sexualizing female characters and they’re making money? No. As long as sex sells, they’ll keep doing it. Sorry to burst your bubble on this, but it’s highly unlikely that the entire fanbase of young males they sell to will stop buying “skimpy skins” because of feminist views. Riot has released the rare female champ that isn’t overly sexuallized. Take the new Championship Riven skin for example. She’s fully armored.
    Of course, if you really want to argue further about it, the body is a work of art. In order for the game to sell everything has to be appealing to the eyes (mostly to the eyes of your fanbase). Even with some of the male characters they’re not dressed fully either. But again, the fanbase wants to see armor on their strong male characters. But, occasionally they’ll throw a bone the female LoL players like Tryndamere or Varus which are barely clothed. But, I digress. If you don’t like it, don’t pay to play the game.

    Like

    • No, I don’t expect them to stop doing things that make them money, which is why I’m encouraging people who want to see this particular issue changed to stop spending money on skins, especially skins that are nothing but Tits-on-a-Stick.

      And I absolutely love the female champs who have been given full sets of armor. They look great! I want to see more. What I don’t want to see is stuff like Elise, Zyra, and Sona anymore. I’m tired of it. I’m bored with it. I’m sick of being ignored because they only care about their heterosexual male customer base. My money is just as good as theirs is. And I’m going to keep it to myself until they make the changes I wish to see.

      Like

  6. Devinly-Princess

    Though ive never played this game, I know what you mean, I wish they would at least put the pervyness in games more subliminally if it has to be there at all, instead of being all up in your face with it. Another thing that sucks for females is that when you go out and play a game that looks really fun, such as lollipop chainsaw, it kinda makes you worry if someones gonna think your a pervert or lesbian lol
    Ahh When will people stop being so shallow,

    Like

    • Yeah, I’ve heard that a lot of people were made uncomfortable by the main character of Lollipop Chainsaw. For myself, I don’t really enjoy zombie games, so it was of no interest to me from the start, but if it had been the fact that the main focus of the game seems to be panty and boob shots would have probably kept me away all on their own. I feel like there are plenty of other places to get that stuff–why does it always have to be in my video games? I’m so bored with it. There are just as many women playing games these days as there are men. Let’s stop pretending like their opinions and their dollars are the only ones which matter.

      Like

  7. I guess the biggest irony for me is that you mentioned cassi as having her sexy nature fit the lore …. yet she’s arguably the most “monstrous” champ in the game with that snake lower half (unless you count Anivia … but like Kayle unless you were told it was female no one would have known).

    Think of how far it would have gone to declare Kha’Zix as female in the lore? Simple gesture of “we hear you that there are too many sexy champs” …. not a single pixel would need to be changed… oh well.

    Like

    • Funny how all these “monstrous” champs seem to come with perfect midriffs and bouncing bosoms, isn’t it?

      Also, I knew Kayle was a female champion the moment I played her. Her lore clearly defines her as a woman. Her voice is clearly that of a woman. And yet I cannot tell you how many men argued with me that she was a guy, right up until (and even slightly after) the Unmasked Kayle skin came out. Funny how someone who is obviously a woman gets tagged as a guy because she’s wearing full armor, huh?

      Like

  8. MishraArtificer

    I honestly had a blast reading this article! I recently saw a post on the League of Legends forums talking about this very thing and he got a crazy amount of negative reviews. Also on a quick note I don’t think Riot realizes that in the terms of the gaming world including all GAMES i.e. Farmville, Sims, L4D, etc. Majority of their population are females. They are pandering not to a young male gamer crowd but a WHITE young male gamer crowd which severely limits their choices. I mean in terms of race very few male or female champs come to mind and maybe Tarics Pink looking skin is somewhat blackish? But I can’t tell since people presume he is gay simply from his outfit. My brother and I were recently talking about this and also noticed that there were no females on any of the League of Legends Professional Teams that made it to the world championships, which really disturbed us and drove our desire to find female gamers add them to our roster so we can have the most diverse team set up as possible.

    Again wonderful article and I totally agree with you 100%. Being a Male minority I was VERY pissed off when I saw Elise, I am simply putting IP into her since I think the Spider form looks freaking badass, but her human form really is a major disappointment. We need to see female champions that are every walk of life not merely as you so kindly put it Tits-On-A-Stick or cute yordles. I would love to even see a bare skinned man who is not ripped just so we can spread out the love even more!

    Like

    • You aren’t the only guy….My husband has an article pretty much saying the same thing. He was super excited for spider queen and although he didn’t expect a drider type character, he didn’t expect it to look identical to other recent champs either.

      Like

    • Thank you! I’m glad you found the article enjoyable. I honestly, truly don’t have a problem with some characters being sexualized. I understand (and agree!) that boobs are awesome. It’s fine. But 50% of female champions that come out are extremely sexualized. Elise points to that trend not only continuing, but increasing. They’re all the same body type, they’re all the same color, they’re all the same age…it’s boring! (Not to mention patronizing.) Where is the variety? My money is just as good as a young man’s. Why is Riot ignoring me and my interests? Especially when it has been proven again and again that there are just as many female gamers as there are male ones?

      All I want to do is to make them aware of this issue, and hopefully change their minds. I want a little variety in an already amazing game which I love and feel strongly about. And I definitely want to see a female professional team! In fact, I had an interest in starting one of my own not too long ago, but unfortunately the women I play with aren’t comfortable being competitive. (Even though they are all extremely skilled players.)

      Like

      • blackblizzard66

        I don’t have an issue with the sexualization piece either I just want it spread out equally over the genders. And no I completely agree, the same type of female champ over and over doesn’t give well to diversity. On the note of Race Malzahzar is Arabian soo ;). Riot is so concerned with their white male population they don’t notice the others. I believe Riot as with many others are stuck in the mentality that White male gamers dominate the market.

        Many of us want to have others see this issue and a lot of the LoL community reacts violently when it comes to things such as this. I know you were looking for an all female as it sounds but you are more than welcome to join my Brother and I in trying to redefine the Esports genre by having not only a diverse team in terms of ethnicity but also in gender.

        Like

      • Yeah, we’ve got Malzahar and Karma, I think, which are the two champions of color. Though honestly there’s been so much head-scratching over what color Karma actually *is* that I’m still not sure which side of the line she falls on. Again, though, only two, maybe three champs (allowing for me forgetting one) out of so many is a pretty poor statistic. I often wonder how the people of color who play League feel about it. Maybe they don’t care. I don’t know. I hope it doesn’t bother them.

        I notice game companies getting stuck in that exact same mentality, and it utterly floors me. Studies, petitions, and fan outcry have proven again and again that young white men are not, in fact, the dominating force behind every single market. I think this is why I’m so alarmed by seeing Riot go down this path. As they gain popularity, they seem to believe the key to keeping it is to go with the stereotypical route, and I would like to see that change before they go too far down that path.

        I also really don’t understand why the LoL community reacts so violently to the idea of female champions not all being Tits-on-a-Stick. It’s not even like I never want to see another sexpot champ ever again. I can make the most logical, rational argument on the planet and, well..you’ve seen the comments.

        Thank you for the invitation! I would be delighted to join you guys. I’ve been really wanting to get back into ranked play recently, and obviously diversity in the game is very important to me. Feel free to add me on League, my username there is Gwenna. :)

        Like

    • I don’t know of many females who find them to be eye candy. I certainly don’t. Nor Varus or Tryndamere. There simply aren’t as many male options for a female to choose someone who ‘looks good to them’ vs. the female options.

      Like

    • Yeah, but notice that their toplessness kind of dovetails in to their lore, and the characters they’re representing? (Barbarian and a Spartan) Whereas a lot of female characters have lore which strongly indicates that they should be fully clothed (Caitlynn, Sivir, Sejuani) and yet they are not.

      I agree that there are male champs which are presented a bit more as eye candy, and that’s great! Carry on with that. All I’m asking for is some variety, because I see Riot heading down the same path which many video games tread, which is “all our girls are going to be skinny and hot with big boobs, and all our guys are going to be gigantic and muscle-bound.” It’s boring. I want more.

      Like

      • Agreed! I think that’s part of the problem, as well. It’s not just that the female characters in League are showing a lot of skin, it’s that their bodies are twisted into overtly sexualized positions which are clearly meant to emphasize certain characteristics and seduce the eye.

        And, once again, I really have no problem with that–as long as I’m given the ability to choose something else, if I wish to. I would also be satisfied if more of the male champions got the same treatment.

        Like

  9. RR

    FYI, my girlfriend plays only those sexy female characters. And my other friend – girl – likes them too.

    Not every girl is afraid of other attractive females, so don’t generalize.

    Like

    • Gale

      I don’t think the purpose of this article was to state that particular fear. She clearly and concisely made logical points to back up her argument. You don’t feel a bit silly at all, being pandered to in this manner? The math is in: 50% of the Female Champions are sexualized, if you look at default skins alone. If you add skins like Heartseeker Vayne, Battle Bunny Riven, and Dark Valkyrie Diana, it goes well beyond that 50%.

      Compared to 6% being children, 9% being yordles, 6% being monsters, and 18% being being armored. This is a drastically different division than the Male champions.

      Don’t you want to see a little more variety? Like the author of this article said, an Old Witch of sorts? Maybe a cursed individual, similar to Warwick’s woes? There are tons of possibilities, but we aren’t seeing them at all.

      Like

      • Well said! It’s not just about seeing fewer sexualized champs, it’s about seeing other champs which are still female, and yet from totally different sets. Are there no more children who are talented at magic, like Annie? Are there no evil crones or absent-minded alchemists or scientists about? Are there no mothers? Where is the variety?

        Like

    • LOL! What part of my article indicated that I was afraid of attractive women?

      As I recall, the words I used were “bored” and “disappointed”. Maybe you should spend some time with a dictionary, ’cause I’m pretty sure neither of those indicate fear.

      Also, I’ve been a long time Sona player, and we all know what she’s primarily made up of. I love her. I love Zyra too. They’re a lot of fun to play. Doesn’t mean I’m not still disappointed in their art and visual design.

      Like

  10. Antix

    Yeah sorry, but i think your being a little too judgemental. if its such a big deal to you, dont play her. i personally, will be playing her because she sounds like a hell of a lot of fun.

    Like

    • It is a big deal to me, and it’s not just about Elise. Also, I think I would be a lot less “judgmental” on this if I didn’t see the exact same trend in almost every single video game I have ever played.

      Like

  11. Antix

    and another thing, you seem to forget that its a game. the characters aren’t meant to be role-modles or trendsetters, and no one is going to (hopefully) change their opinion about themselves simply because the spider queen wears a below-average amount of clothing. also keep in mind that they ARE a business, and a damn good business at that, because they appeal to their audience, the majority of whom are young men who enjoy scantily clad women beating the ever-living hell out of each-other. people who actually care that the women are scantily clad clearly arent the target audience, otherwise you’d have a scantily clad kassadin (a horrifying thought) or a shirtless olaf skins. the fact remains that even if you got EVERY PERSON who agrees with you to boycott them, riot still would not care, because they are a heartless cold business, and no amount of angry feminists will make them go against their core audience.

    Like

    • Wow, you have a very depressing, defeatist view of life. Also thanks for excluding the opinions of everyone but young, heterosexual males. I would encourage you to pursue a career in video game character design–you sound like you’d fit right in!

      Oh, and if you think this post is me being an “angry feminist”, major LOL. Trust me, you’ll know when I’m angry.

      Like

  12. someone pissed off.

    I’ve never seen a bigger wall of WHINING in my life.
    Where are the muscle-bound females?
    -Sivir
    Where are the skinny little waifs that look as though they might break if someone sneezes on them?
    -Lux
    Where are the in-between folks who just kind of stumble around and do the best they can?
    -not in the League of LEGENDS
    Where are the old wise-women who have forgotten more power and knowledge than most other champions will ever have?
    -I give you this one. I’d love a character like that. because she’d have an excellent evil laugh.
    Where are the mothers?
    -Doesnt mention any of these women NOT being mothers. sexy is not an exclusive category that prevents other descriptors.
    Where are the women who were transformed, or cursed, or come from Somewhere Else that are a disturbing (not sexy) cross between human and…something?
    -in horror stories, not a game build around having everything fantasy and magitech thats COOL battle it out for an audience.

    and you know what? even if they made a HUNDRED more sexy females back to back, any ONE of them would STILL be more interesting than any of the above. its hardwired in. sex is part of life, tired of people hating it.

    Like

    • You are mistaken, Sivir is not muscle bound.

      Lux is no more or less a waif than Soraka; though I actually think her pose & costume is pretty kickin’ whilst not being a rehash of old tropes.

      I will assume she meant ‘in-between’ folks as a body type thing, in which case I agree with her. Else wise Legends does imply a certain oomph (maybe Heimerdinger could be a stumbler?).

      If, by not specifically saying a character isn’t a mother, than they are mothers; any characteristic not mentioned might belong to a character. As this would be problematic to discuss, I’d say that if it’s not explicit in the lore it’s not a thing.

      Male examples: Warwick, Kassadin, possibly Karthus.

      While that says a lot about you, it doesn’t reflect reality. True, sex is part of many human lives. However, the things we find sexually attractive (beyond basic body type & genetic/immune compatibility) are not ‘hardwired in’. If they were, styles of pornography wouldn’t change, and they have. Socialization is what this is, and it’s learned behavior that can be unlearned.

      Finally, I’d like to point out that the OP never hated on sex. What she said was that she wants more diverse female champions – body type & presentation alike.

      Like

      • Well said!

        And yes, I meant “in-between” as mostly a body thing. I agree that the League calls for a certain “oomph”, as you put it. Makes perfect sense. But maybe a character who has powers she/he can’t control fully? Or stumbled into? I know we have some characters like that, but I’d enjoy seeing an “average person” become suddenly elevated to “superhero”…complete with an average person’s body. I think that could be fun.

        One useful thing which PissedOffTrollHead brought up is that I wasn’t clear enough when I defined “mother”. They were right when they said mothers can, indeed, be sexy. (The thing is that most of them don’t *care* about being sexy anymore–because they’re moms. They have bigger fish to fry.) I mostly used the term “mother” to describe an age-range. A lot of the female champs seem to be young and in their 20′s or early 30′s, whereas the male champs are often much older. I wish I had made that clearer in my original post and may edit it to reflect that.

        And OMG, so much agreement with your statements about sexualization and sexual attractiveness being due SO MUCH to culture and societal norms. A few hundred years ago, seeing women bare this much skin would have truly been considered the work of the devil. These days, it’s everywhere. Sex and what is sexually attractive not only differs from person to person, but differs from era to era because of–you guessed it–culture! Which means that this is not the way things have always been, always will be, or should stay.

        And, like I said–I honestly, truly, 100% don’t have a problem with sexpot characters or people. Hell, even I enjoy getting “done up” now and again and flaunting what I’ve got. It’s fun. But to see every single new character reflect a completely unrealistic body type? To see the men get to be “normal” and see the women almost constantly changed into strippers? To constantly see female characters be overtly flirtatious and in-your-face sexual tropes? No. Not acceptable. At the very least, it’s terribly boring!

        Like

      • someone pissed off.

        Gonna try and stay more calm on this one… I REALLY respect you for how calm and polite you’re being about this. my posts earlier were rather rude, and I’ll try and stay polite.

        in order by paragraph

        1: nothing stopping such a character from being sexy. maybe not supermodel sexy like these girls, but still generally attractive. an UGLY character is different, unless they have a reason thats part of their lore (Urgot, trundle, ect). Like aforementioned possible old crone character
        2. again, different age ranges (older. lets not go the other direction) can be sexy too.
        3. The thing is, I dont believe sexuality is ‘shifting’. I believe its developing, and societies like ours are nearing the ‘finished product’ as it were.
        4. Spaceships were ‘unrealistic’ 200 years ago. look where we are now. look where we can go if we keep it up. same thing. and YES I would expect men to be improving their looks via new biotech too. I’d be first in line to give myself a better look actually (which isn’t to say I dont try to keep up my appearance). nor do I think live would become more boring if we had the tech to make everybody attractive. so why would a game be different? Men being normal is just as boring as women. and I don’t see how every character being some kind of in-your-face sexual is boring either.

        But I admit, I’m the kind of guy who just doesn’t GET bored. with anything. ever. if I like something, it never STOPS being entertaining. some things are more or less, but they all have positive values in the entertainment stat, as it were. Maybe thats something odd about me thats colouring my viewpoint.

        Like

      • I would jump in on this, but A) You talk like a fucking crazy person and seem to have made missing the point into an artform, and B) VerdantSamuel is covering the subject excellently and succinctly. Rock on. :)

        Like

      • “1: nothing stopping such a character from being sexy. maybe not supermodel sexy like these girls, but still generally attractive. an UGLY character is different, unless they have a reason thats part of their lore (Urgot, trundle, ect). Like aforementioned possible old crone character
        2. again, different age ranges (older. lets not go the other direction) can be sexy too.”

        If I understand the OP correctly, she wasn’t using sexy to mean ‘an attractive character.’ Also, being presented as a sex object is not the same as being sexually attractive.

        “3. The thing is, I dont believe sexuality is ‘shifting’. I believe its developing, and societies like ours are nearing the ‘finished product’ as it were.”

        Your beliefs are yours; I disagree.

        “4. Spaceships were ‘unrealistic’ 200 years ago. look where we are now. look where we can go if we keep it up. same thing. and YES I would expect men to be improving their looks via new biotech too. I’d be first in line to give myself a better look actually (which isn’t to say I dont try to keep up my appearance). nor do I think live would become more boring if we had the tech to make everybody attractive. so why would a game be different? Men being normal is just as boring as women. and I don’t see how every character being some kind of in-your-face sexual is boring either.”

        It’s interesting that you say ‘improving’. What you mean is changing, since (again) what you’re talking about is subjective. Also, as the OP said, if every character in the game was purely a sex object there’d be no problem. Her complaint is that female champs in the League default to Sex Object, while male champions default to Legends.

        “But I admit, I’m the kind of guy who just doesn’t GET bored. with anything. ever. if I like something, it never STOPS being entertaining. some things are more or less, but they all have positive values in the entertainment stat, as it were. Maybe thats something odd about me thats colouring my viewpoint.”

        I’m not going to lie, if I like something I like it until it’s gone. The boredom, for me, is in the excess of static characters. Basically, I like a League with varied and dynamic characters. Producing static reprints of the same female champ (with minor cosmetic differences) is boring because I’m interested in dynamism. This is part of the reason why I’m not as into the League lore as I’d like – and lore generally enhances my experience.

        Like

      • someone pissed off.

        1&2. what does “being presented as a sex object” mean then? Cause its sounding to me like there’s an arbitrary limit on bust size or whatever before the character suddenly becomes unacceptable. Which is ridiculous.
        3. if we move back towards sexual conservatism, it can only hurt our society as a whole. I present examples like Saudi Arabia.
        4. Again, strict and quanitfiable definition of ‘sex object’. and really? improving our bodies is subjective? present an alternate viewpoint then. Are you suggesting we should all be greasy and overweight?

        5. I dont see whats so similar about the champs. I really don’t. Zyra’s a former plant who acquired a body and is relishing the idea of feeding more in her new form, Syndra’s an egomaniacal powerful wizard, Ahri’s a former fox who is trying to become human and make up for her earlier issues with eating souls (and livers if you go by the original stories about her base creature), and now we have a psycho cult leader exploiting her followers for personal gain. Their body type factors very little into their character, so why NOT make it a sexy one?

        Like

      • “1&2. what does “being presented as a sex object” mean then? Cause its sounding to me like there’s an arbitrary limit on bust size or whatever before the character suddenly becomes unacceptable. Which is ridiculous.”

        A sex object is valued only in terms of their sexual appeal and accessibility.

        “3. if we move back towards sexual conservatism, it can only hurt our society as a whole. I present examples like Saudi Arabia.”

        You are, once more, thinking of human sexuality as a long line moving toward an end goal. Did we evolve wearing clothes, then? I can answer that: no. Acceptable sexual expression is decided by society, either explicitly or implicitly. I think that, ideally, we’d be able to be sexual beings without needing to be sexually available, but we’ll see.

        “4. Again, strict and quanitfiable definition of ‘sex object’. and really? improving our bodies is subjective? present an alternate viewpoint then. Are you suggesting we should all be greasy and overweight?”

        Given above. Improving our bodies are subjective because improvements are suggested. For example, I would consider neck appearing longer than a foot on an otherwise blase woman unattractive. Other cultures find this kind of body modification to be the epitome of beauty. Since there ins’t an objective idea of beauty, it is subjective. So yes, improvements are certainly subjective without an objective goal.

        “5. I dont see whats so similar about the champs. I really don’t. Zyra’s a former plant who acquired a body and is relishing the idea of feeding more in her new form, Syndra’s an egomaniacal powerful wizard, Ahri’s a former fox who is trying to become human and make up for her earlier issues with eating souls (and livers if you go by the original stories about her base creature), and now we have a psycho cult leader exploiting her followers for personal gain. Their body type factors very little into their character, so why NOT make it a sexy one?”

        The champs are all designed in ways that indicate them as sex objects. The lore is all well and good, but in LoL the lore often has no influence on how a female champion dresses. This point was made by the OP, but perhaps I can condense it a smidgen. Having all female champions be one body type doesn’t make sense, especially given that male champions don’t receive this treatment. You could try saying ‘what’s wrong with sexy?’ – but that’s moving to another conversation entirely. What the OP, myself, and others are saying is that female champions should represent the same diversity that male champions do.

        Also, weren’t you the one just saying that you were tired of being asked to ignore bodies? I ask rhetorically, of course you were. Yet now you suggest ignoring bodies. Not rhetorically: what makes it different when you suggest it?

        Like

      • someone less pissed off now.

        1&2. I value no one, fictional or real,on ONLY those things. But I do consider them extensively.
        3. I see HUMANITY as moving towards a society where there is no such thing as responsibility or difficulty, and everyone simply enjoys themselves and has fun. Given this as the end goal I wish for, I flat out admit I see sexual availability as a good thing. Sex is fun, the more of it we all have the better. humans attach too much emotional silliness to a simple thing.
        4. Objective goal given above. and ideally any modifications to our bodies would be something we could undo and then do differently easily. I’m aware I’m speaking of extremely far-out science fiction, but just keep in mind the idea of spaceships was once the same thing. I really have that much faith in human science. that one day we’ll alter our bodies the same way we rearrange lego. casually.
        5. What indicates that they’re ONLY valued in sex appeal and sexual availability? ONLY. You said only. I value these characters for lots of other aspects. (Syndra in particular holds a special place in my heart for the rich justice she meeted out on those that would hold her back. Which has nothing to do with her sexually.) I dont see it as moving to another conversation. I see it as when everything else about a character has been decided, why not pick sexy? There can be variety in the kind of sexy, which I agree and admit to overreacting about earlier. but, for instance, I don’t like gragas and trundle. i prefer attractiveness, regardless of gender.

        I’m ENJOYING bodies. You’re DISLIKING them. “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all” is similar to what i’m suggesting here. if you dont like them, don’t look. i totally agree that there should be more variety of female champs. but until you guys give me a specific list of what it will take to satisfy you (howmany of each other type of female character, even percentage wise)… I just see this coming up for every sexy female, no matter how many champion slots we hand you.

        Like

      • 3. As someone who considers the act of sex holy (inside marriage, outside marriage, any number or gender of consenting partners counts), I find your implication that attaching sex to emotion is ‘silly’ insulting. I will mention the bonding hormones humans release when they have sex, suggest you do some reading, then leave it at that. Now, a correction. Sexual availability itself doesn’t mean sex object. Judging someone solely by it does. The end.

        4. It’s closer to being real than unreal, actually, which I’m eagerly anticipating (I plan to go into Human Genetics).

        5. Your personal ethics are irrelevant when discussing the damaging nature of how Riot chooses to portray female champs (unless you are a skin designer). As for moving of conversation, the one we’ve been having is: there should be more diverse female champions. The one you’re projecting in an attempt (conscious or not) to derail it is: sexiness is bad. They’re two different conversations, so moving from one to another is just that. Again, you’re attempting a divide between character & sexiness that doesn’t exist. These champions are to a great extend their skins, and presenting their skins in the same way over and over devalues both the characters and the diversity of the game. If you think there can be variety in the kinds of sexy, you are halfway to our point. We argue that sexy should either be primary with female *and* male champs, or that it should be secondary in male *and* female champs. We’re arguing for equal presence or lack of objectification.

        Stating a false assumption with emphasis doesn’t make it true. I’ve never said I didn’t like the bodies being presented, I said I’d like to see some diversity. Interesting that you’ve made this an ‘us vs. them’ thing, but not unexpected. My personal opinion is that the percentage of sex objects be equivalent for all represented sexes. So yes, it will come up again until the percentages reach that, because we’re looking for equal percentages. I would suggest reading the forum post linked below – It contains a blow by blow of current percentages. It also contains reactions to this information which mirror yours.

        http://na.leagueoflegends.com/board/showthread.php?t=2646142

        Like

      • someone trying to understand.

        3. Yeah… I’m not big on the holiness or religion thing, but if you want to thats fine. I just hope that society learns to have more respect for those that DONT too. If a girl (or guy) DOES dress revealingly, they’re looked down on by alot of people for being ‘dirty’ or whatever. Which drives a lot of my passion. Maybe in some ways I’m going too far the other way. In some ways. still, kudos for accepting multiple partners as acceptable outside marriage (not to mention sex outside marriage). I respect you a lot for that, though after all my stupid today I doubt its mutual.
        4. I’m glad you’re all for it.
        5. Like I’ve said above, a large part of it is that I don’t see women JUST as hot bodies no matter what they’re wearing. I guess that coloured my perceptions about how damaging it could be. I agree that the game’s diversity is devalued, but I don’t see any of the girls as being less interesting and unique because they’re all sexy. But I ALSO admit thats just how I view things.

        I think the best approach would be a more four way approach.
        An equal number of male AND female champs where sexiness is primary
        and an equal number (equal to each other and each of the above) of male and female champs where sexiness is secondary.

        That forum post you linked has only one thing I disagreed with, and its more of a personal little debate thing: I think fiora’s egomaniacal personality neatly explains her outfit. she’s a show off in all respects. she’s so good she doesn’t need a fully concealing outfit to kick your ass. But again thats just a little personal thing.

        thanks again for the patience. I’ve learned a lot.

        Like

  13. John Smith

    Let’s be clear here: is the issue that female champions HAVE sexy skins, or that they have no non-sexy skins? Because if it’s the first, I have no interest in this article because Riot makes lots of money off those skins and as long as they provide non-sexy ones for feminists, they are giving you more than 90% of the rest of the industry. If the argument is they have no non-sexy skins:
    Aristocrat Vayne
    Arctic Warfare Caitlyn
    Queen Ashe
    Silverfang Akali
    Royal Guard Fiora
    Infiltrator Irelia
    Sakura Karma
    Most of Kayle’s skins
    Wicked LeBlanc
    Iron Solari Leona
    Spell Thief Lux
    Morgana is debatable…I would put Blade Mistress because she’s made out of blades, but I would concede here if you really want to argue
    Orianna is a robot…we’re not going into weird fetishes here
    Redeemed Riven
    Ironscale Shyvana
    Bandit Sivir
    Justicar Syndra has a short skirt…if that makes her sexy, then sure you can say she needs a new less-sexy skin
    Soraka is a fallen star mage unicorn thingy…again, avoiding the weird fetishes
    I agree with your argument with Sejuani..hopefully she’ll get a more clothed skin as time passes
    Zyra obviously has a very sexual appearance…hopefully she’ll get a more clothed skin as she goes
    I’m not including Janna, MF, or Ahri because their lore or in-game comments clearly indicates that their sexual
    Sona is kind infamous for her boobs…you can’t blame Riot too much for capitalizing on that. Besides, Pentakill Sona is pretty no-nonsense. Honestly, I would have given Riot so much kudos if they had given her a full neck thingy (inherently hiding the cleavage) for that skin, but oh wellz
    I didn’t include monsters/yordles/children because let’s face it, how many people are complaining about them. If you want to get your rocks off thinking about a cryophoenix, I don’t want to know about it.

    Like

      • This.

        Also the whole “you should be happy with what you get” argument is very, very weak. I, for one, refuse to live that way. Especially not when I’m in a “paying customer v. business” type of situation, where the business’s objective is to make its customers happy. (This, in my mind, applies to video games very strongly, since they are purely a luxury/entertainment item.)

        Maybe I’m not their target demographic, but I AM a customer of Riot Games. Therefore, if there is something about their business practices which makes me unhappy, I have two choices: Walk away, or influence their decisions using my words and my pocketbook. Since I love League of Legends and think it’s a great game, I am loathe to walk away. The sexualization of their female champion roster has not yet reached the point where I would consider it so overwhelmingly alienating that I cannot cope with it. (Though, if their current trend continues, that day will come soon.) So I have chosen the secondary option.

        I wrote this blog post to encourage those who share my views to join in on the discussion, and also to provide them with a way to effect the changes which they wish to see.

        Like

      • Game Delver

        And I am personally glad. This is a well-written post, and one that easily does not have to be solely about League of Legends. This is a gaming issue across the entire board, along with also being a fantasy issue as well.

        As a male gamer, I can handle female character design still retaining female anatomy to at least a somewhat unrealistic level. After all, a woman who actually feels the need to wear plate armor in her everyday life is probably not going to get the blacksmith to make a mold of her chest when he crafts it.

        BUT, and here is the key point that I agree with you own: the majority of your female character designs do not need to be 90% naked. It just hurts the authenticity of placing the character within the context of a well written story, whether it is a fantasy story or otherwise.

        Like

      • Thank you! Very well said. I agree with your sentiments wholeheartedly. And, like I said in the original post, I don’t mind it when characters are flirtatious or sexual in nature. But I want there to be more variety, and I do not wish to see every single female character getting this treatment, regardless of her abilities or her lore. I would also like to see more male characters undergo the same kind of treatment that their female counterparts must automatically endure.

        Actually, I found a fascinating post furthering exploring this subject today. It really expands on a lot of what my original post touches on, and I think you may find it interesting as well:

        http://howtonotsuckatgamedesign.com/?p=7852

        My only regret is that my original post did not contain more hard math, or research. I have since found other posts and articles which do contain the numbers, as it were, so I’m glad that I’m not the only one who has an interest in this trend. In my next post, I may expound upon some of these.

        Like

      • Game Delver

        Nice find on the link. It definitely is a deeper and far more nuanced issue than most people think, and that really reflects it.

        However, as a male gamer that does recognize the issue, it is difficult for me to get motivated beyond the incredibly blatant stuff. I see that it is an issue that game artists do have to be obvious about signifying women more than men (with examples like one of the Koopa Kids in your link), but I am more worried about more egregious acts. Namely, almost always presenting women as half-dressed, large breasted, and impossibly skinny. Those are the gender signifiers that need to be buried deep in the ground.

        Like

      • I absolutely agree that token female characters and female characters who have gigantic breasts and wear almost no clothing need to go. Or, at least, be significantly lessened. Like I said, I have no problem with those kinds of characters showing up from time to time. Some people/characters enjoy presenting their bodies in those ways. But don’t give me characters who live in the arctic and wear bikinis, or hard-boiled mercenaries who strut around without any damned pants.

        And while I can understand not being motivated to fix things much past the “obvious” problems, I truly believe it’s a problem that goes deeper. For instance, a lot of the male gender signifiers are just as limiting as the female ones. Men are presented with one image consistently, over and over again, throughout their lives: Be strong and be aggressive. Rescue the princess. Anything else is often seen as “weak” or “girly”. (Or worse, gay.) Not only is that dangerous to one’s self-esteem and self-image, but how boring! Men can be so many different things, just like women can be. I wish to see this reflected more in video games. Strength does not always have to be physical. I want to see them treated like human beings and characters first–gender second.

        Either that, or, I wish to see games like Mass Effect or Skyrim where gender really doesn’t matter much. I would love to see more male characters that leave just as strong an impression on me as some of the female ones do.

        I would also like to see a lot more games present transgender and gay characters as something other than creepy, or silly stereotypes. Borderlands 2 disappointed me greatly in this regard. Their Mechanomancer character–a character which was presented as being “easier to play” for less experienced persons–instead of being some sort of androgynous or transgender cyborg, was a girl. A little girl, at that. How do the phrases always go? “You cry like a little girl” or “you fight like a little girl”. Yeeeah. But within the BL2 world and mythos, characters that are cybernetic or barely human at all are PERFECTLY normal. They missed an extremely obvious opportunity in favor of making the character “cute” and “sympathetic”. And I can’t think of any reason why, other than perhaps sheer laziness.

        Basically, I wish to bring balance to both camps. I think women are suffering the most blatantly right now, either because male devs don’t care or don’t know any better. But I know full well that people who are dumb enough to assume all wimminz like the color pink, are likely just as dumb when it comes to figuring out what being a man is supposed to mean. As such, I would really like to get more men interested in this issue. I think we will all be surprised at what we can accomplish, and the characters that come forth when we do.

        Like

      • Ah, now with the Mechromancer I totally disagree…I have guys using the Best Friends Forever Skill Tree because it does take a lot of skill to use. They enjoy trying to use trajectory of one wall to get the bullet to bounce off and hit something around a corner. That doesn’t say weak to me. That says calculating. However, yes new players are enjoying it because it makes it easier for them. She also has three skill tree lines that are of varying difficulty and expertise! I discuss it more here and will probably make another post once I play with her some more, but yeah http://reithena.wordpress.com/2012/08/15/girlfriend-mode-and-why-of-all-things-that-doesnt-bother-me/.

        Like

      • Well, perhaps I should expand on my thoughts further: I have no problem with the skill tree. (I do have a problem that it was called “girlfriend mode”, but in my mind that wrath gets placed directly on the head of the idiot who said it, not the entire company.) What I felt uncomfortable with is that it was something which was designed to be for “weaker” players was presented as a little girl. The implication is that girls are weaker gamers. Which, in my mind, isn’t any better than being forced to play “sex kitten” characters, as you put it. (I like that term, btw.)

        HOWEVER, your post is very well written and I can definitely see your point of view. All in all, it’s not something which really makes me rage–it’s just something which disappoints me. That plus the tokenism of Maya really makes me feel let down. But I can see it making some female gamers feel more comfortable. Braver, and stronger, and more confident? Not sure. To me, it wouldn’t. I would be pretty insulted if someone insisted on me using that skill tree, simply because I was female. (Or if the assumption is that I’d want to play her because I was female.) But that doesn’t mean she isn’t fun to play, or takes more skill than you’d expect.

        I guess what it comes down to is my major problem with the character is the assumption behind it that only female gamers can be bad. I feel like if it had been an androgynous or cyborg character, it would have fit in well with the BL2 universe, and have appealed to everyone.

        Like

      • I think out of all the characters, her story makes the most sense for coming to pandora. And I think, while yes, Maya is the sole female character which makes her a bit token, Gearbox does it in a great way. I don’t see either of those characters as weak or helpless or any other traditional tropes. Take Gaige out of the female role and put her into the Child Genius role and she fits perfectly. Then they added the mannerisms that are most associated with teenage girls, probably getting daughters and wives and sisters input. Take Maya out of the female role and put her into this sheltered and trained child setting and she makes perfect sense. They added some female accents to her. Not to mention it is the only game that has such a wide array of character representation available for both males and females! I feel that when looking at Borderlands it is really the Magic the Gathering of the video game world. It is not perfect, but it is something that we should be encouraging and cultivating.

        Like

      • Hmm. Perhaps you’re right. I am still not completely happy with Maya’s character design, (from a visual standpoint; I haven’t played the game so I cannot speak about anything else) but you make some good points. It is entire possible I may have gotten the wrong end of the stick on this one. :)

        Like

      • On top of that, what better what to promote women in STEM then having a teenage girl create her own robot and summoning system? Then go out and adventure with him? If that isn’t advocating for strong and smart women, I don’t know what is.

        Like

      • I actually had no idea any of that was in the game. You’re absolutely right that that’s a great message to send. Now I wish the devs had talked more about that instead of just glibly calling it “girlfriend mode”.

        Like

      • Yeah, that was a complete and utter slip up on their fault. And the guy who said that was severely punished for it. My husband and I argue over who gets to play Gaige. And he loves Maya because she plays like a single target DPS type character or he can switch it over and general DPS while I go in and Tank as Axton. Go look at some of the NPC’s for Borderlands 2, particularly Ellie, who is the daughter of Moxxie and Tiny Tina. They really are quite inclusive.

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      • Yeah. The media kinda just took a hold of that comment and ran with it, so despite the whole overview of Gaige that they gave, including backstory tidbits and stuff…it all got washed out.

        Like

      • I really was willing to overlook the girlfriend mode thing as just some idiot saying something, well, idiotic, but then I saw pictures of the Mechanomancer character and the misunderstandings compounded from there.

        Like

  14. Maleist

    Lol, yet another example women and their insane desire to change ALL things to what THEY think is better. All i read in that hilariously misguided post was a rather wilted opinion on how things could be improved if they were changed. Like most men however with similar minded girlfriend’s who think “oh, that chair would be perfect if you moved it over there”, I’ll do the honorable thing and consider your opinion for at least 13.4 seconds before discarding it.

    Have fun with that ‘bad boy’ you are almost certainly likely to be attracted to (if not already). :D

    Like

    • Yes, because only women ever want to change things, or think that things would be better if ___ happened. Men, meanwhile, are perfectly happy to go along with things As They Are.

      But thank you for taking time out of your day to read the post, and leave a comment as well. I truly would not have been able to appreciate you apathy towards the subject otherwise. Your “honor” shows through loud and clear.

      Like

  15. Well, as said, it’s a market, the producers design into how they see the market until sales hurt, then they review things. The smart producers review all the time and react almost as fast as things change, which is one way to spot them. Move on, folks…nothing to see here…sex still sells…dog bits man,,,and producers rise, fall and are replaced in the market. For we poor slobs who get put off by eternally unimaginative products, there are usually other producers, or were or will be…

    Like

  16. Oh god so many whiners commenting on this post :o
    You have a very good point, and I do agree that it’s sometimes a bit too much with the sexual tones for the female characters. But as you clearly stated they do earn oh so much on these designs, and they will never ever change.
    I read once where a game developer/designer said that the main reason for these designs was that it was so difficult to make a female design that didn’t look a male if you didn’t put in the huge tits and lack of clothes, it simply looked too much like the males. I don’t know if that’s true, but I can imagine it could be a problem.
    Personally I do feel like you might be caring a little bit too much about this (mainly because I don’t see a problem in this), but if it bothers you you definitely should do what you can to change it, but I can almost guarantee that they wont change, it’s been like this for almost every game ever made. ^^
    But really nice written, hope to see more from you in the future :)

    Like

    • Yes, unfortunately any time you point out anything wrong with how women are portrayed in video games, you get a lot of trolls. Still not sure why, but they seem to feel like it’s important.

      I think that just because this hasn’t changed yet, doesn’t mean that it can’t. The demand for female figures in video games which are more than just a pair of breasts is growing daily, and I really believe that I will see a major change in my lifetime.

      And like I said in the post–I honestly don’t have a problem with characters like this. But when they are my *only* choice? (Or close to it) That is an imbalance, and one I wish to see corrected. There is nothing wrong with sex. But there is something wrong with reducing female characters to mere sex objects.

      As for your point about needing a marked difference between genders so that people can tell who is male or female–yes and no. There are many, many ways to make it clear a character is female without going over the top. But I for one would enjoy seeing women who are more “traditionally” masculine. It doesn’t bother me when I don’t know what gender a character is.

      Again, it comes down to variety. Not every woman wishes to appear feminine. Not every woman wishes to display her sexuality publicly. Some just want a simple mix. I have no problem with those who do. All I want are options, and in this case, I am willing to put my money where my mouth is.

      Thank you for your comment. :) I am glad you enjoyed the post.

      Like

  17. Great post. I’m not a gamer, but I totally agree with your viewpoint. And you’re a wonderful writer.

    I certainly hope the baboon who had the poor judgement to flame you enjoys his little tiny pecker, because in exactly ten days it is going to turn black and fall off. I have spoken.

    Like

  18. Leaguer

    I agree that there should be more “rugged” female skins ie Kayle. Even Kayle unmasked isn’t blatantly sexy.

    There are some “sexy” male skins: Tango Twisted Fate, Debonair Jayce

    You must remember though that 90%+ players in League of Legends are male. Riot is simply programming to their audience.

    Like

  19. Amron

    Most ridiculous post ever. If you’re THAT distracted go jerk off in a dump or play some other online video game, or sell what you think should be in the game to some people who will listen. I don’t see what all the fuss is about, who cares really about how much cleavage they show or don’t. No one complains about art from back in the days which show a ton of nudity. No, it’s because it’s ancient it’s considered “art”. Art is art. An imitation and nothing more, take it as that. Unless the LoL girls were real, and you had some issue with them flaunting about, S.T.F.U. Seriously.

    Like

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