The lights are on
Veteran Member - Level 12
As a longtime player of League
of Legends, I've always been bothered by how one of the most popular
games on the planet portrays it's women characters.
It's sadly not anything video
games haven't seen before. The game is filled with women champions
for players to play as, almost all of them boasting ridiculous breast
sizes and skimpy outfits. Heck, even the most clothed women in the
game, the armored Leona, is still wearing high heels.
Thankfully, developer Riot is
not blind to criticism. The champion Sejuani upon her
initial release wore a helmet, a fur bra, and a loincloth. If that
sounds like a severe lack of clothing for a warrior who fights in the
frozen north, where sub-zero temperatures aren't uncommon, you are
probably right. They remodeled her based on player feedback and now
Sejuani is among a select few female characters in the game that aren't overly
Going hand in hand with the
game's sexualization of it's female characters is one of the game's
champion roles - support. Supports in League of Legends exist
almost exclusively to help their AD carry, making sure the carry gets
as many kills and as much gold as possible so they can deal out heavy
damage to the enemy team. The AD carry gets all the glory, but it's
the supports that are the unsung heroes of the League.
This role, defined by
supporting others from the sidelines, is almost comprised exclusively
of female champions, with the exception of a robot, an undead
creature, and a very obviously gay man. There are women champions for
every role in the game, but support limits itself to primarily women.
Sure, a women can be an assassin or an AP carry just like a male
character can, but women are the only ones who can support. To
support is to be feminine. Perhaps it's not such a surprise that
support is the least played role in the game. Intentionally or not,
Riot is sending a message.
Riot's newest champion looks
to be changing that. Recently unveiled, Braum is probably the
manliest man in the entire League of Legends. He's also a support.
Bare-chested and sporting a supreme mustache, Braum protects his
carry and teammates with a massive shield, taking hits so they don't
This is incredibly refreshing
to see. It sounds silly, but developers should be thinking about how
their game's depict gender, race, and sexuality. Like it or not, our
worldview is shaped, even if only in a tiny way, by the games we
consume. Millions upon millions of gamers play League of Legends
every day, viewing the splash art for the game's sexed up girls that
reinforce the idea that to support is to be feminine. If women are
only there for support in game, what does that tell players about
women in the real world?
Riot with Braum is showing
that support is not in fact feminine in nature, and that there is no
shame in a manly man protecting others instead of going for the kill. No doubt Braum players will frequently find themselves supporting female
carries, intentionally sitting out the spotlight so their women
partners can carve a path to victory. It's a step in the right
direction, but there is still much work to be done. I hope Riot
can continue to build on what they've learned so far as they move the