Today’s bit was inspired by the soon-to-be-notorious discussion on Sinsynn’s Sexy Models post, and the general discussion in the community at the moment on this topic (see this excellent post at Tentakel). The post that you’re reading now replaces one I had half-written on the subject of sexist – as opposed to sexy – models.
First some background though. In real life I mostly work on research in ethics and moral philosophy, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that I think humans should be excellent to one another, and that we have the potential to change things and to make the world and ourselves better. There wouldn’t be much point studying ethics if you don’t believe that we have choices. I also think the easiest way to find out how someone wants to be treated is to ask them.
I’m not opposed to sexy models personally, though I do think many of them are obviously pornographic and should therefore be treated as porn, not as art. However, the attitude that male gamers are somehow qualified to judge what female gamers should and should not be offended by – well, I was going to say it “upsets me” – but that’s too strong a word. I don’t easily upset. Let’s just say it made me want to write a post of my own.
I don’t want it to be too long though, so here’s my final opinion in a nutshell, paraphrased from the discussion on House of Paincakes which I urge you to read if you have a couple of hours:
I guess, like I said in my first reply, it’s the thinking it’s a non-issue that I have a bit of a problem with. As a male, I’d feel like a high and mighty hypocrite saying I am truly offended/upset by overly sexual female models – I’m not. But I can see how a woman could be, and I don’t think it would be unreasonable of them . . . I have seen many gamers (online, it has to be said) suggesting that anyone who finds those sorts of models distasteful, or even straight-up offensive, is some sort of politically correct crybaby who shouldn’t be taken seriously.
I think if someone claims to be upset by something we should take them seriously, and find out why. Women especially. They aren’t men, so we have to trust them when they tell us what they feel about things like this. Otherwise we’re just being jerks and putting words in their mouths.
Hark from Game Over made an interesting response to SinSynn’s post. She had an issue with the impractical armour of the “cheescake” models and especially with the fact that most of them have no visible faces. Here is a woman who is sympathetic to the hobby, gaming, fantasy and sci-fi in general, telling us that these sorts of models are not that cool. I quickly polled the gamer women in my life (more than two!) and they agree. I see no reason to ignore them.
As Sinsynn pointed out, in our culture we tend to think of strong, heroic-looking men as sexy. That sort of portrayal has nothing to do with porn, which portrays people as nothing but a collection of sexual attributes and appetites. By the same token, we can have female heroes who look strong, sexy and feminine without being pornographic. There’s nothing wrong with female or male heroes being hot. Look at Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Conan.
Sprinkled throughout this post are some models by Reaper Miniatures that I think achieve that. I think these sorts of models are much better for the hobby in terms of inclusion and public relations than the other kind, plus they look great.
It’s true, one of them’s a dude, but he is an elf so. . .