Bulimia.com recently posted an article where they photoshopped popular video game women to reflect more common body types. Since I just jokingly posted a farcically large breasted pirate woman yesterday this article seems appropriate in a way. The original article can be found here. I will also copy over a few snippets for discussion.
If video game creators are going to pride themselves on accurate digital representations, then it’s time for them to get real about women.
With realism in mind, we altered some of the most beloved female video game characters with Adobe Photoshop, shaping their bodies into images that represent the average American woman’s measurements.
My knee jerk reaction was that the characters being played in most video games are not average american women. Some of the images come from fighting games where if we went for realism I would imagine they should style the character after Ronda Rousey or another professional fighter who spends the majority of their waking hours honing their bodies into fighting shape. So making the character heavier isn't more realistic either. The above pictured Lara Croft is a rock climbing adventure seeker, more realism would probably make her skinnier with more realistically small curvature. But having said all that I do respect the idea that video games could use more average looking women and I think the video game industry has a serious problem with breast size.
Cartoons which is what most video game avatars in a sense are always going to be idealized, and that would cut both genders when it comes to comparison. However, most of the male figures have physiques that are achievable and representative of elite athletes and soldiers. The women characters in their idealized form are typically not possible without surgical manipulation to achieve a body with almost no body fat except in the hourglass shape features men so enjoy. Below I have a picture of Carli Lloyd, she is possibly the greatest soccer player alive and a world class athlete. Taking a character modeled after her but then slapping a Low Rider magazine cover inspired butt and bumping up the bra size a couple letters is a bit too much.
I also think the outfits can be ridiculous. Below is Ivy from the Soul Calibur fighting game series which happens to be my favorite fighting game. Do you really think any woman would fight in such an outfit, especially a woman who wields a whip blade that is often manipulated by wrapping it around HER OWN BODY? She should be in full armor or at least some thick leather to control such a thing.
The incidence of eating disorders is markedly higher in females. Furthermore, the average age of onset for various eating disorders spans from the late teenage years through the mid-twenties. The health repercussions of eating disorders are amongst the most severe of any mental health condition, with alarmingly high mortality rates if left untreated.
As a gaming dad with a daughter, I know she will grow up around games and this is something I will have to contend with early. I fully understand the idea that sex sells and you want to have appealing characters in your games, but lets reign it in a little guys. There are plenty of attractive real females in the world, let them have their due in the digital realm.