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Of League of Legends and Skimpily Dressed Women

Posted by Engineer Alexandra Humva , Aug 07 2012 · 725 views

Did the title grab your attention? Well, I feel I need to put this disclaimer out there; I'm probably going miff someone off. I have, however, kept this clean and PC (as per BZP rules), minus the occasional bloody whatever if you're a speaker of Queens English. So, if you disagree, by all means, do leave a comment explaining your position. Let's just all be civil about it, k?

A TL;DR is at the bottom.

So, I recently got out of a good League of Legends game. It definitely wasn't my greatest, but it was fun to do, the team wasn't filled with derps for once, and it was a victory. I've shifted from Garen to a champ I bought a while back, Kayle. She's this angel with a giant flaming sword, pretty good balanced champ really. I build attack speed for her, turns her into a damage dealing monster.

Something special about Kayle, however, is not only that she's had a good two-three years to be balanced, tweaked, and turned into an all-round good champion, but that she's clothed. Well, decently clothed. In fact, in most of her skins, you can see not one square millimeter of skin. In the other two, only her face is shown. And this isn't skin tight spandex or leather, either. It's real, thick, solid, armor. All of her skins are like that. Skins, for those who are not humored in this area, are alternative looks for your champion from the default.

There are a few other female champions in League of Legends like her, but the vast majority fall under one of the more disturbing video game tropes. There seems to be an idea implanted into our culture that it's alright to have a woman wearing what amounts to a handful of metallic scraps; why? Sure, you have the fanservice aspects, but it rather breaks immersion. I've pretty much felt that way since day one; I find it difficult to engross myself in a fantastic world when my female fighting partner is baring her midriff, or worse. For those who don't know, that's where your digestive track is. A bit higher above it, you've got your liver. A sword/knife/pointy thing to the liver means instadeath in about thirty minutes.

Of course, a sword to your intestinal track would be particularly bad as well. Then you have other stuff, like how female armor tends to be a bit revealing of the chest area. Your ribs are good protection, but a knife to the chest is going to hurt all the same. Point being, the torso tends to be a rather important area, hence why historically and in the modern day, that's where we stick all of our protection via armor.

Yet female armor in video games (particularly fantasy, but it's not unheard of in sci-fi) completely contradicts this. Perhaps I'm being a bit of a hypocrite; I do, after all, accept playing as a guy who has such absurdly thick armor, you could never realistically move. Maybe it's just me and my equalist (no, I don't fight to destroy benders, it's how I refer to me supporting gender equality. I have a bit of beef with feminism; that's another discussion for another time, though) brain pointing out the giant lack of equality.

I suppose, then, that I'd be appeased if it was more equally portrayed; you don't see many male heroes running around in steel loincloths, after all. Well, not since Conan anyways. So either strip the men or back on the armor onto the women. I'm more interested in equality than realism in games where you shoot fireballs from your hands and/or use a sword twice your height effectively.

Well bugger, I seem to of rambled and lost track of my point. I suppose a few points are in order.
  • TL;DR, Humva said women in video games (let's not forget creatures that look female, though) seem to have skimpier armor, on average. This is probably true stretching out into other genres like movies and television, but I don't do as many of those, so I haven't noticed it as much. Humva is kinda miffed about this, ranted a bit about your vital organs being right where these digital women show off bare flesh, and then said that he'd be cool if we gave absurd amounts of armor to women or stripped men down.
  • I know, I know, there are exceptions, are there are with all tropes. I'm saying on average, from what I've witnessed. This trope may be in decline, however, due to people realizing this.
  • If you're offended by this, again, by all means, tell me.
  • This wasn't meant to be offensive, just me ranting about something.
Well, I hope you guys enjoyed that.

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I'm a hundred percent with you on this. It's a pretty ridiculous trend in media and one that just doesn't make sense. It's not exclusive to videogames, of course. Anime has this in spades (I'm looking at you, Digimon.) and it's just really silly and definitely stretches the willing suspension of disbelief.

There's actually a story I'm working on (think Hunger Games on steroids in space, except completely different) that was created with this in mind. The setting has an in-universe-imposed Rule of Sexy going on with armor. Minus a couple exceptions, this means guys end up with the short end of the modesty stick, and even the skimpier ones with the girls aren't ridiculous. Trope subversions are cool.
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Engineer Alexandra Humva
Aug 05 2012 10:24 PM
And with absurdly thick armor, at least you can rationalize it in your head. Maybe the guy is just that strong. Maybe it's enchanted armor.

Whereas a woman wearing a chainmail bikini just makes me go "erm, did they turn her skin into Kevlar or something?"
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Havelock Vetinari
Aug 06 2012 10:53 AM
Western civilization...no, human mentality and the urge to reproduce, I curse you!
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I approve of this rant and totally agree. If I'm playing a fantasy game I want them to have armor that actually works.

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I agree that it should be functional, but I definitely wouldn't expect everyone to wear armor. Those that do could try to have it actually protect something however.

A sword/knife/pointy thing to the liver means instadeath in about thirty minutes.

Funny thing is that each game on average lasts 30 minutes, and during that time most champs are dying over and over repeatedly. Heh, in LoL thirty minutes is a really long time to live.

EDIT: Actually, when looking through the store, the only champ I found who really fits this trope is Katarina. Of course plenty of other women bare their midriffs, but they aren't wearing armor on the rest of their bodies. I noticed it's really common among male champs to have armor on their shoulders but not on their chests, and that is more prevalent among the males than among the females. I'd say you have a point about there being many more skimpily dressed women, but not about the armor part.

And then there's Tryndamere.
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Engineer Alexandra Humva
Aug 06 2012 02:23 PM
Ah, yes, my apologies if I conveyed that I was more concerned with the armor. Sometimes it makes sense that you don't have heavy armor; some are more assassin/thief types, it makes sense that you'd have lighter armor to be more nimble and agile.

I was more concerned with the relative amounts of covering. :P For instance, I'm totally cool with, say, Malzahar. He's a mage, he doesn't appear to be wearing armor, instead just a cool robe. Or Kassadin, in his Pre-Void Skin. Then look at Morgana, or alternatively Leblanc. Morg's skirt is absurdly oversized but hey, you didn't see me complaining about Garen's absurdly thick chestplate. But her torso is just a bit lacking. And she's one of the tankier champions the game has.

So yeah, it'd appear I misconstrued my point; a problem with most of my rants, I get off my main point. Armor was more just a bit of metathinking for me, I'm more concerned with relative amounts of clothing and armor between the genders. For instance, take a look at some of Caitlyn's/Miss Fortune's skins, and you'll see where I'm coming from.
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I never really thought about Caitlyn that way (I use the Safari Caitlyn skin, although she might be showing her belly, I never notice in game), but Miss Fortune is over the top, and she looks terrible as well. Today I saw a tanky Miss Fortune, and it was really weird. =P Speaking of which, I presume the designers never meant Morgana to be tanky. Take Singed; he's a scrawny old man, but one of the tankiest magic dps characters in game. I suspect that that wasn't intended.

After Zyra was released, I noticed a lot of players were complaining about the same thing. The lead champion designer basically said "well we like to make them that way," although he mentioned that they make a point to sometimes make non overly sexy female champions like Riven. I guess Riot just needs some more conservative employees.
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Engineer Alexandra Humva
Aug 06 2012 04:34 PM
Yeah, for every four skimpy female champs you have one conservative female champ and one male champ channeling Conan.

But I agree with your points.
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Jean Valjean
Aug 06 2012 11:11 PM
:kaukau: I completely agree. I have never been able to take a scantily dressed character in fiction seriously (with the exception of Princess Leiah, although she wasn't introduced that way), and in real life I'm often annoyed with things such as cleavage and short skirts. Why is it that when men are expected to wear ties to work, women are only expected to wear tang-tops under their suits? And when men wear suits to formal occasions, women wear sleeveless dressed that basically reveal half of their body? Even regular T-shirts are divided between the sexes, with female T-shirts often having much wider collar regions that reveal their collar bones. There seems to be a douple-standard in culture. As you said in this entry, it gets especially conspicuous in video games and comics when women manage to be scantily clad and armored at the same time, as much of an oxymoron as that is.

And on another note, I don't understand why warrior females often have really long hair when their male counterparts cut their hair short (unless their a barbarian like Conan). The longer hair to me seems impractical. But then I realize that this actually happens in real life, where male marines are expected to buzz their heads and female marines pull their hair back.

Give me a strong character that I can see as a human being any day. That usually includes a woman with short hair and clothes that don't necessarily distinguish from a man's unless for practical reasons (Batman's suit wouldn't fit on Catwoman's figure, for example). Then it would also be a good idea if the female characters didn't move in swaying, hypersexualized ways as they often do.

The sad thing is, there are many females who don't find it offensive because the unwarranted tropes surrounding femininity (such as dress codes and hair styles) because, growing up with those tropes in their culture, take their identity in them. Challenging many of the tropes surrounding curious case of cultural distinctions between the sexes usually offends whoever is being questioned, because it means challenging their identity.

Great entry, by the way. I like to read other people's opinions about this stuff and i'm glad I'm not the only male out there who disagrees.

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This blog

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The following blog contains excessive rambling on the world and extremely poor paragraphing. If you are easily offended or turned off by these two things, leaving now would be a good idea.
This blog is written by Alex Humva, penname of some random teenager named Alex Censored. He writes stories, writes rants, writes screenplays, plays games, makes games, has a terrible work ethic, and is generally sarcastic. He believes in a Judao-Christian god, but most other people who do too give him a glare because of his weird beliefs, possibly because he's somehow bi at the same time. He's an utter equalist who feels that any discrimination amongst humans for things they were born with is wrong. He doesn't care about xenos though, let them all burn.
He's also an aspiring engineer who hopes to get a scholarship at his local big engineering college and one day help humanity. More likely he'll be a pencil pusher in a basement somewhere, but he's a bloody minded optimist.
Because of his peculiar personality and beliefs, he gets into fights often, though they usually end when he wakes up the next morning and doesn't feel motivated anymore.

Current status of the OTC RPG community

Format: RPG Name - Discussion topic - Current status - Am I part of it?
To Save The World!

Invalid - Active - No

Mass Effect: Division

Discussion - Active - No

Pokemon: Rise of the Rockets

Invalid - Active - No

X-Men: Darkest Days

Discussion - Active - Yes


Discussion - Active - Yes

Halo: Forerunners

Discussion - Active - No


Discussion - Active - No

Spirits and Men

Discussion - Active - Yes

The Proelium

Discussion - Active - No

Digimon: Generations

Discussion - Active - No

Transformers: EC

Discussion - Active - No


Fallout: Austin City Limits

Discussion - Active - No

LAST UPDATE: May 6th, 2013.

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