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What two things do all of these women have in common? I'll let you take a good, long look.....
Boobs, titties, ta-tas, mammaries. These body parts are one of the most railed-against parts as being "overly sexual" in video games. Be it fighting games, RPGs and even shooters, female characters are often touted as being "sexual" from their semi-revealing (to mega-revealing) clothing, especially when seen next to male characters, who tend to wear fully body-covering outfits.
However, the question I have to ask is this: "What's wrong with boobs?"
Breasts are just another body part. And sure, wearing clothing to accentuate them might make them more "titillating" (no pun intended), but it still doesn't mean that wearing tiny amounts of clothes are inherently "bad".
As an owner of massive mammaries myself (say that three times fast, I dare you), I would have to say that boobs get an undeserved rap by both the media and by people who seem to think that sexy clothes in fantasy environments (ie: most games in general) are horrible and wrong.
This blog post is a tribute to breasts, from the small to the large to the man-variety. I can say without hesitation that all boobs are great so why shouldn't we show them off, especially when we can create a game universe where the laws of physics do not apply?
Small boobed and "flat chested" women have an advantage when it comes to cute clothes, too..
First off, small breasts are GREAT. Most people seem to think that bigger is better and that I would post one of those "big boobs are best" blogs, but I completely disagree. All boobs are wonderful! As a woman with large boobs, I am often inherently envious of those with smaller racks. Unless you live in a fantasy world where gravity does not actually act upon the body in a normal way, having large boobs can cause problems with balance.
Plus, the rest of your body is likely to put on more weight (in muscle as well as fat) to create a proper "base" for your boobage so that you don't snap in half (in my situation, I have the "abs of steel" under a layer of semi-flab brought on my my Hashimoto's disease problems -they call it "thyroid belly" for a reason....>_>). If I don't work out every day and do my ab crunches, my back begins to ache, which rapidly becomes tortuous pain.
Most of my smaller boobed friends do not have this problem. Many of them can jog around without wearing huge supportive bras (sometimes two or three!) just to keep themselves from whacking themselves in the face). And yes, I have whacked myself in the face with my boobs-it HURTS and as humorous as it sounds, is not something I want to get in the habit of doing.
For example, in some ways, (and especially when you have small breasts), wearing small amounts of clothing can be actually useful. You can move more quickly, freely, and often use your body in ways that a more clothed opponent might not be able to. Because everyone knows that even if you're wearing armor and completely clothed, getting shot isn't going to be less painful.
Even back in the days when male knights would wear full body armor, often a knight could not do battle wearing all of that metal. Their ability to swing their weapon was limited, and often, if they fell to the ground they could be crushed to death by their armor. Remember, kids, encasing yourself in armor is kind of like encasing yourself in a big can. It doesn't help you if you get crushed inside! Besides, heat exhaustion and passing out from dehydration were also huge issues with wearing armor in general, so while you might be able to ostensibly fend off more grievous body injuries from large claymores and other pointy sword-like items, you might end up losing the ability to function from simply exerting yourself too much and dying of thirst.
Finally, if you think about it, wearing tiny (to no) amounts of clothes has been, even in the day of the barbarians, actually more feared than wearing tons of armor. One of the most terrifying groups of people to even the Romans-the Celts-used to paint their naked bodies blue and red and charge their opponents wearing their birthday suits. And that's actually REAL HISTORY! Since when have you seen a totally naked character in a video game? That's what I thought!
So take one from the Celts, who were hardcore as they come-wearing little to nothing into battle is often actually an advantage (even if it just makes your opponents blush and start bleeding from their noses like an anime character).
Here, Chun-Li shows us that the huge shoulder-pad look becomes less horrible when your clothes show off your boobs in a flattering way.
Secondly, on my list of commonly complained-against female breast portrayal is the game character "clingy clothes" phenomenon-you know what I'm talking about- the clothes that female characters tend to wear that seems to basically be a stretched out second skin that practically shows every little freckle and skin pore. This is often heralded as another attempt to bring "overly sexual" characters into games, and looked down upon because breasts seem to be even perkier and more easy to see even when under full coverage of clothing.
But I disagree. Clingy tight clothing is often uncomfortable if it doesn't have any "give", but skin-tight stretchy clothes are actually standard issue in pretty much any dance, gymnastics, or other physical exertion that requires a lot of dexterity and freedom of movement.
Even men will often put themselves into leotards so tight that Jared the Demon King from "Labyrinth" would blush. Tight clothing, even if it shows every detail of the aureola and nipple, often also supports these more "bouncy" areas, holding them in place without restricting the movement of the rest of the body, which adds an extra bonus when you're executing complicated moves.
I find it humorous that people were more upset about Bayonetta's "sexy look" than the copious amount of violence in the game...so seeing a bare boob is worse than shooting a person into a bloody mass? Something tells me that our priorities as a culture are a little...skewed...
Thirdly, why is "sexual appearance" considered more "bad" than, say, large amounts of bloodshed and pain? In most games, there's some kind of "bad guy" who is causing destruction and misery over the whole land and it's up to you to somehow figure out how to save the day or the world will be covered in darkness. Torture, murder, and graphic bloodshed are all horrible, terrible things. So why does it seem that "wearing sexy outfits", or God Forbid, showing a naked breast is always ranked up there at the top of the "big no-no" list if you want a decent game rating that isn't given the "adults only" kiss of death?
Yes. It couldn't be the big scary gun or the nasty, zombie aliens that are so horrible-nope, it's those HORRIBLE SEXY BOOBIES OF DOOM!
Boobs are a part of the human body, no more. I find it humorous that people add this huge amount of stigma and significance on what is about as natural and normal as a female human elbow or knee. There's nothing inherently "sexual" about breasts (in fact, breasts usually simply signify that a female human is able to bear and breastfeed infants, which is not really sexual whatsoever).
In the primate world, female chimps and bonobos get huge red swollen butts whenever they're fertile. Males use this as a signifier to go into a crazy mating spree, the likes of which would make Caligula blush in embarrassment. Human females (thank goodness), do not have this trait, so whether or not we're fertile, or use sexual activity for reproduction or stress-relieving pair-bonding purposes, is a moot point. The truth of the matter is that when you go around killing things, that's more inherently bad than when you run around in a battle bikini, boobs bouncing akimbo.
Imagine Tifa doing the "slow motion Baywatch run". Now tell me, does that strike you as evil?
This makes me wonder, is the bare breast less sexy than the "somewhat covered up, but leaving little to the imagination" breast? I mean, anyone can be naked, but wearing something that looks like it came out of "Kink Catalogue" seems to enhance the "sexiness" of something from being "just boobs" to "ZOMGDROOL."
For example, a lot of fashion (which I admit, I am horribly under-knowledgable about) seems to be based around "enhancing" parts of the body that we are socially taught are "good" while "minimizing" the parts of the body that are "bad." Most female game characters regardless of their bodies, seem to wear clothes that are designed for their particular body type. I don't know about you, but most clothes look ok on me, but the truth of the matter is that most pants are freakishly longer than my legs, my breasts often stretch out a shirt in such a way that my sister used to get horribly mad when I borrowed stuff from her because it would permanently change the composition of said shirt, and I don't know anyone who looks good in skinny jeans (no, not even skinny people look good in them).
Image shown in large scale just so you can see the details of how awesome her clothes look!
Clothes for game characters, especially female characters, tend to be lovingly detailed, with amazing styles that are built specifically for their bodies. If she has large boobs, she is able to wear clothes without looking like she's either wearing a formless mu-mu or her boobs fill the shirt, but the arms are too huge and ugly looking because they assume that big boobs=morbidly obese everywhere else.
I have looked (in vain), for clothing that doesn't just take some random "average" body shape and type and basically make clothes by sizing up or sizing it down in exponential intervals, but to no avail. My best bet is to use low V-neck shirts with lots of spandex in them (oh how I love spandex), because only shirts like this can accommodate my boob size without making me look frumpy and horrible. Most "plus size" clothes do not usually take into consideration a larger breast size, and instead make the arm and stomach area poof out in ways that are unattractive and unflattering to me. Plus, I hate the idea that even if I were to shell out the money, the chances of finding a custom seamstress is close to nil. Most "seamstresses" nowadays only alter existing clothing, and will refuse to make you custom clothes from scratch.
"I'm not sure what dancing has to do with beating labyrinth monsters, but if it works, don't question it!"
Which brings me to my final point-female characters in games, from the small breasted to the large-chested, are usually completely comfortable and happy wearing whatever they are decked out in. No one pops out a boob or accidentally throws out their back from running around with very minimally supportive clothing. Even in anime shows and TV programs that portray female characters with large breasts or wearing sexy clothing, the unifying factor is that most of them walk around looking great and acting completely comfortable in their skin, regardless of how "sexy" others see them.
If you think about it, this is one of the most "unrealistic" parts of female game characters, because honestly, most real women would be completely uncomfortable running around in a "battle bikini" that shows off all the areas they've been socially taught to be completely and unceasingly self-conscious about.
But I think that this is one of the most important things we can take away from all of this boobtastic banter is the fact that perhaps, the most important thing we can learn from characters in games is that regardless of how embarrassing you might think you look to others, the most important thing is to become comfortable with your own unique body and build, and learn to enjoy moving in it!
Because the bottom line is that how we feel about ourselves goes quite a long way in how others see us!
So, for some discussion, I was wondering about your thoughts on boobs and breasts-
If you have them-do you have a preference, and do you like the ones you have?
If you're just an admirer-what do you like to see-do you have a specific preference or are you more of a variety guy?
Do you think that gaming becoming "too sexual" is more of a problem than gaming becoming "too violent"?
With over 50% of the world's population having boobs, this is an IMPORTANT DISCUSSION!
I'd love to hear your thoughts!