Study: Sexualization Of Women In Games Doesn't Impact Women's Body Image

Shadow of the Tomb Raider (Image: Tomb Raider, YouTube)

Long-argued is the theory that embodying a lithe and thin Lara Croft in Tomb Raider might make women gamers feel worse about their own bodies. It’s an argument that women like me have used to justify the importance of adding more realistically-proportioned, less-sexualized characters to our favourite games. Yet according to a new study by researchers at Stetson University and Fairleigh Dickinson University in the U.S., playing sexualised female characters in games may not have as great an impact on women’s body satisfaction as conventional wisdom holds.

“Arguing that, at the very least, there ought to be more diverse games and ones that present stronger and less sexualised female characters makes sense,” said the study’s co-author Chris Ferguson, a professor of psychology at Stetson, to Kotaku. “But whenever an advocacy platform develops not just saying ‘We ought to do something because this is the right thing to do,’ but we drift into claims of casual harm that don’t exist, it undermines the advocacy.”

For the last few years, Ferguson has been deeply involved in the debate about whether violent video games spur violence in players. His research at Stetson University rejects that idea. “As a video game violence researcher and someone who has done scholarship on mass homicides, let me state very emphatically: There is no good evidence that video games or other media contributes, even in a small way, to mass homicides or any other violence among youth,” he wrote in a 2012 Time article.

The study, co-authored by Ferguson and Stetson assistant professor of psychology Danielle Lindner, was an “adversarial collaboration,” Ferguson said. He describes himself as more of a “sceptic” when it comes to games’ impact on how players view themselves, while Lindner had a differing view, having previously studied the impact of catcalling on women’s self-images. This means that the study may have delivered more neutral, less biased results because its co-authors have dissimilar perspectives on the issue.

The study, published by the American Psychological Association, asked about 100 women to play one of two Tomb Raider games. In one, Tomb Raider Underworld, subjects played a part in the game where Croft is outfitted in “bikini bottoms and a form-fitting long-sleeved wetsuit top” that was “portrayed in a way that emphasised Lara’s waist, hips, and breasts.”

This was the “sexualised” gameplay, since as the study explained, “one of the indicators of sexualisation is clothing that is not appropriate for the task to be completed.” The other subjects played the 2013 game Tomb Raider, where Croft is wearing cargo pants and a tank top. Participants then filled out a well-known study for self-objectification, or “emphasising physical appearance” in self-evaluations. The study’s results indicated that playing the “sexualised” segment of Tomb Raider Underworld did not make players feel body shame or impact their body satisfaction — or, at least, not as much as other types of objectification, like catcalling.

“Participants identified the sexualised video game protagonist as fictional and thus not a realistic source of messaging about women’s bodies,” the authors theorised.

I asked Ferguson whether the phenomenon of the recent Wonder Woman movie may have had a positive impact on women’s self-worth, considering his scepticism of media’s effect on consumers.

“I suspect that much of the impact of the movie had to do with its affirming women’s views about themselves (or women in general) as having or deserving equality in a realm historically devoted to men,” he said. “In other words, the movie didn’t cause anything in terms of psychological constructs but was recognisable to women (and, of course, many men) as consistent with their beliefs about gender equality... We tend to feel positive about things in which we recognise our own values. But it doesn’t necessarily cause those values to spring into being.”

This isn’t to say that media with singular or negative depictions of women is totally fine, Ferguson said. Living in a culture that perpetuates the idea that some female body types are more valid or beautiful than others does impact how positively women feel about themselves, as does the idea that a woman’s value comes from her body.

Media reflecting that culture might reassert those commonly-held values. Studies Ferguson has read indicate that body dissatisfaction can more directly stem from a family environment, peers, or hereditary dispositions. However, Ferguson explained, gamers should be sceptical about making causal claims about how games affect us without sufficient evidence.

“Media holds a mirror up to culture. And sometimes we don’t like the mirror. It must be dirty or smudged for it to look this way. But it really is more of a mirror.”


Comments

    The study didn't find sexualisation doesn't impact women's body image, it found that when surveyed immediately before and after a single exposure to a sexualised character, the second survey resulted in a 5% worse result (n=89), within margin of a null (ie. no change) conclusion.

    It's inevitable this study's conclusion is going to be used as a wedge by both sides for different reasons, so I think it's important to keep the scope and scale of the study in mind when participating in the broader conversation.

      Thanks for this... i was also gonna point oit the scope issue of tue rsearch but you beat me to it. As always take any research with a grain of salt and not as a smoking gun. It would be interesting to actually see this pushed further on overtly sexualised vs just sexualised ie. Fighting game with bikini outfit vs normal chun li outfit?

      Also consider me impressed Kotaku for this actual neutral stance on this research... I was half expexcting this article to devolve into a full deconstruction/attack

        A lot of video game research either hasn't been done, or there's very little data. I think everyone forgets how young the industry really is sometimes. And it's our bread and butter to report on what the research is - we've always taken a strong interest in covering the institutional and psychological effects of games, how it intersects with real life.

        Re. your second bit, I'd go back and point at the Atari story as proof of the kind of reporting we actually do, versus what people often accuse us of doing. The video game addiction story is another good instance where Cecilia laid out the situation, the good and the bad.

          On the first point.. agreed games is still very much a young medium (the fact we are still questioning the presence of violence and sex on the medium when its been a staple on other mediums now is pretty much my favourite example) hence its great to see small scope research like this. As facetious as my suggestion sounded its something i am interested in results on... there is a markedly different reaction to blatant sexualisation to casual/incidental one. As the scope for this research it doesnt really distinguish this. I would think the results might be much different.

          On my second point.... dont get me wrong you folks at Kotaku do good reporting but there has been a few articles/reports here and there that have left me rather disappointed on the bias at specific times.. this topic seemed like one where the bias could rear its ugly head.

            Nobody's perfect, that's for sure. But I'd argue that the site's published over 158,000 stories since 2007, featuring people from all walks of life and all perspectives, and that the volume of work and what's produced on the whole over any given week, month or year stands up pretty well. I know people like to focus on the bits and pieces of coverage that specifically make them irate, but a lot of that also ignores the sheer amount of work everyone produces on the regular.

            Thank you for being a loyal reader! It's always appreciated.

      It does feel strangely limited in scope, doesn't it? By using two different versions of basically the same game and the same character (one that is famously seen as an icon of female empowerment in videogames--thus, probably given some leeway), the answers get contaminated by specificity. For example, I'm sure that the answers would have been quite different if they used, say, the normal and swimsuit versions of Dead or Alive.

      For that reason, a much different approach would have been to use a diverse number of games and try to see where an average of body image effects sits between "it's ok that my favourite heroine wants to look casually sexy-badass sometimes" and "these sex dolls with humongous, jiggling and almost uncovered bosoms were clearly made solely to titillate horny teenagers".

    While I agree with a push for broader representation of the variety of human life portrayed in all forms of visual media, I am concerned that the focus appears to be mainly on the female form - Males are just as "body stereotyped/sexualised" in many movies and video games, but no one seems too bothered about it really.

    How many men do you know who look like Hanzo, Conan, Nathan Drake, Shepard, Duke Nukem (et al) - just about any male protagonist you care to name. And was anyone really up in arms about Conan running around in a loincloth, while swordfighting (loincloths are not great armor!).

    I'm not trying to make light of the situation - but genuinely, the majority of articles around this subject tend to focus on a narrow subset of the more general issue.

      Interesting point... but from a majority of male players perspectives games are usually part of escapist/power fantasy so there is the expectation of having an unnaturally "perfect" male form. We tend to project more instead of compare which leads to a rather different result in emotions and way of thinking.

      Overtly sexualised female forms in a game however in most instances is less about female power fantasy and more fan service for males....and before someone says it yes i do know some female players do see it as a power fantasy as well its just thats not the usual point for the designs themselves.

      Taken across the whole industry (ie. internationally) I think there's actually quite a lot of male representation, both on the beefcake and androgynous ends of the scale. Western depictions specifically tend to be a bit more homogeneous and it'd be great to see more body types. That said, I personally think there's still more diversity in male body types than there is in women, as far as video game depictions go.

      I subscribe to the idea that there's room for everything in games, even the highly sexualised stuff, as long there's a healthy proportion of the other stuff too. We should be creating more (and encouraging companies to create more) diverse characters in our games, to help balance out that distribution.

      Nathan Drake particularly seems like a bad example for you to use. He's very much a normal guy, nowhere near the body types of the others you mentioned. The others, sure they're exaggerrated. As for Conan running around in a loin cloth, not everyone used heavy armour and there is plenty of historical reference for warriors running around half naked waving swords. Typically that indicated the people doing it were barbaric or "uncivilised". Surprise, surprise Conan is a barbarian.

      Anyway, interesting article. As pointed out it's only a small study but the results are not that surprising. I particularly like the this quote;
      “Participants identified the sexualised video game protagonist as fictional and thus not a realistic source of messaging about women’s bodies,” the authors theorised.

      What would be interesting would be to run the same sort of study with a range of age groups to see if there's a lot (or any) variance between them. eg: is it more of a problem with young kids who are more easily influenced?

      While you definitely have a point and more male bodies need representation, there's the unarguable fact that many of these characters are men of intense action, their bodies (albeit exaggeratedly) are an expected result of the unforgiving training they followed to become almost super-human heroes. On the other hand, women that are supposed to have reached similar peaks of body fitness as action heroes, often are portrayed with entirely unrelated and even counterproductive features meant solely to attract sexual desire rather than to represent their strength.

    It would have been nice if this was a general study into the impact of video games on body image than just focusing on females. I can't be the only person who always feels disappointed when the hero of a game is the typical buff, attractive, athletic societal ideal male and the overweight or thin and awkward characters are generally reserved for the comedy relief.

      I think there is a bit of a problem with that. At least for some games. I can't see an overweight or very thin character really making sense in a lot of games since they're about action. How many fat commandos, or special forces or ninjas would you expect to see? It'd break my suspension of disbelief to play a game where my character is an action hero who looked like John Goodman.

      Now if we're talking games where the characters are "normal" then sure a range of body types is fine and makes perfect sense.

    inb4 the usual "BuT wHaT aBoUt ThE mEnZ??!!?!?!?" comments.

      Comments like yours are exactly the reason why we need to talk more openly about issues like this that involve men, the whole "man up" attitude is destructive and quite frankly dangerous.

      It's hard enough to convince males to seek mental health help as it is, when people dismiss it so blatantly it's no wonder suicide is much higher in men or why death from preventable illness is higher, when you say"BuT wHaT aBoUt ThE mEnZ??!!?!?!?" your contributing to the problem that men should just "harden up"

        It's definitely good to talk about the issues that men face as a result of the kind of society we have, but it's super important that that conversation doesn't talk over or try to steal attention from the issues that women face.

        I'm not pointing any fingers at you in saying that so please don't take it that way, but there are a lot of people out there that see something written about an issue women face and try to hijack it so it's about them instead, or criticise the people talking about it for only caring about 'one side'. That's a super shitty thing to do. There's room for all of us to be heard and listened to, and we can try to figure out who needs what help from there.

          It's fine to challenge people who do that and I'm all for calling out people that try to hijack an issue, what I have a problem with is trying to dismiss something before its even said, to me it's just as bad as hijacking the issue, it's basically saying "F off you don't belong here".

          This seems more like pre-emptive trolling than proper discussion though.

          Which to be fair... is also a super shitty thing to do as you can still have a discussion (as with comment chain above this) without it devolving into hijacking.

          @m2d2 That seems like a weird thing to downvote, the idea that there's room to hear everyone without stepping on others in the process. Could you share your thoughts?

            but there are a lot of people out there that see something written about an issue women face and try to hijack it so it's about them instead
            After stormo doing his usual shtick and you come in with that.
            Please.

              I wasn't replying to Stormo, and I don't really agree with the way he said it. This article is about a study on the women's side of things, and I just think it'd be nice for us to be able to stay focused on that, acknowledge it and discuss it without it being diluted by the fact other problems also exist.

              I still think that's a weird thing for you to downvote, but if that's a view you disagree with then okay. I just wanted to get some insight into what you disagreed with.

                Yet Stormo was the one who decided to put in a division already because of his own ideology and you come back with a "but there are a lot of people out there that see something written about an issue women face and try to hijack it so it's about them instead" when someone called him out on it, if you think that is a weird thing to downvote, perhaps take a look at what you wrote might be a weird thing to say, if perhaps it came after someone ACTUALLY said "What about mens problems". But it didnt. It came after stormo being stormo.

                  I know what I wrote. When I said "I'm not pointing any fingers at you in saying that so please don't take it that way" I was pretty clear that I wasn't replying to someone saying 'what about men's problems'. I was also clear in my reply to you above what my intention was.

                  It looks to me like you read something into what I said that wasn't there. So yeah, it's a weird reason to downvote someone, and especially so to keep pushing that your mistaken reading is the correct reading even after I clarified my intent. Why are you turning this into a fight instead of a conversation?

                  @zombiejesus
                  Everything you said before "but there are a lot of people out there that see something written about an issue women face and try to hijack it so it's about them instead" Was much akin to "with all due respect" or other pleasantries due to the fact its coming after what stormo said.
                  If you cant comprehend that. OF COURSE you of all people would think its a weird thing to downvote, then you go on to claim im pushing a mistaken reading of what you said and trying to turn this conversation into a fight, when you tagged me cause you didnt like a downvote.

                  Dude, you fucked up. You read something into what I said that wasn't there, that's fine, it happens. That's why I tagged you, so I could get some insight into what you disagreed with. That's not a fight, that's a conversation, where I asked you what you disagreed with and then explained that what you've taken issue to is something I neither said nor meant.

                  The fight is when you're doubling down on your mistake and trying to tell me I meant something I already told you I didn't, as though you've got some view into my mind that I don't even have myself. It's pretty arrogant for you to assume that, when a normal person would have said "okay, you didn't mean it how I took it, it just seemed like you did from how I read it". So yeah, you are turning this into a fight, you're acting defensive over something you still can't justify, upset that you disagree with something I said that you can't actually quote because it's not there.

                  @zombiejesus
                  Wow. Still going with the "read something i didnt say" argument even though i literally quoted it back to you multiple times.
                  Cool.
                  Read what rock_m posted above you where you whinged about being downvoted. He seemed to get it.
                  Im just going to ignore whatever mental gymnastics you seem to be doing at the moment. You get a gold medal for that too BTW.

                  The only thing you've quoted is this: "but there are a lot of people out there that see something written about an issue women face and try to hijack it so it's about them instead"

                  Sure, let's have a look at that. Do you disagree with the statement that there are people out there who do that?

                  Of course I read his post. He was, as I read it, talking about Stormo. I wasn't.

                  I'm certainly getting that impression from you. This, for example:

                  but there are a lot of people out there that see something written about an issue women face and try to hijack it so it's about them instead

                  Do you disagree that there are people out there who do this?

                  @zombiejesus
                  Well done. Actively not understanding the point even though its been explained to you. Even given you another persons post to help. But you keep on holding onto some idea that ive read something you didnt say, and kept going back to it time and time again and then saying im arrogant and defensive.
                  Even though i explained to you, saying that shit that ive quoted to you, and now you are quoting back after stormo trying to troll the argument, is why i down voted you.
                  And you keep missing the point.
                  Kudos for that effort. It takes an incredibly strong will to ignore it for so long. Hats off to you.

                  Do you disagree with that statement? It's a simple question.

                  @zombiejesus
                  So let me get this straight.
                  You refuse to accept the reason why i downvoted you even after i gave you the reason and more importantly, showed you the context of why i downvoted you. Even gave you a big ol flashlight and shined it at it.
                  Yet. You call me defensive. Arrogant. Because you couldnt understand what i was saying.
                  You then keep on going back to the quote, still refusing to see why saying that after what stormo said is a weird thing to say.
                  And you expect me to continue to engage you further?
                  https://media.giphy.com/media/65os7odbIW6pa/giphy.gif

                  So that we're on the same page, I asked you to quote what it was I said that you disagreed with, and you pointed to that statement. Now, when I'm asking you to say clearly if you disagree with that statement, you're avoiding answering.

                  Everyone reading this knows why. Because you don't disagree with that statement. You know there are people like that out there. But that was what you pointed to when I asked you to quote what you disagreed with. So you actually don't disagree with what I said, you disagree with something you inferred from what I said, but that I didn't actually say.

                  You don't want to admit that, because that's exactly what I told you a dozen comments ago - that you read something into what I wrote that wasn't there, and then disagreed with that.

                  @zombiejesus
                  We are chapters apart.
                  I explained the context of you saying what you said after stormos axe to divide was horseshit.
                  You then precede to ignore it and then claim i read something that wasnt there. That i was arrogant. That i was defensive.
                  Have a look what you have been saying. Really have a look.
                  The fact that you cant see it is just, so sad.
                  The fact that you keep on coming back to "well, it does happen" shows that you will never get it. Ever.
                  Ive got nothing to admit to. You keep on trying to change the discussion. Im just not having it because its not the point. But you will never, ever see the point because you stubbornly refuse to or understand the context of it. You threw some names to see what would stick.
                  It never did.
                  I explained why. You refuse to accept it. You tried to change the viewpoint/argument because you so desperately want to be right, when it doesnt matter to the point i was trying to make, but hey, this isnt the first time youve ignored a point from someone.
                  Weve both got better things to do. Bye.

                  Yeah, you explained what you thought I'd said. I explained to you that I'd neither actually said it nor meant it. That should have been the end of it, that's where you should have said "no worries, it was a miscommunication". But you didn't, and here we are.

                  Part of why this whole exchange frustrates me is I've made a conscious effort over the last few months to try to understand you. I've tried to read your comments with an open mind, put myself in your shoes, or at least try to understand how some of your perspectives could come about. I've tried to do that because I don't see a point in having this bizarre hostility. I'd much rather we got along and had mutual respect for each other's differing opinions.

                  Shit like this, though? It trashes all of that. It turns you from a three-dimensional person with nuanced thoughts and opinions into a two-dimensional trope of a disenfranchised young man looking to blame others for his lot in life and ensure that everyone around him is as unhappy as he is. Maybe that's not the real you, but that's what you're putting out into the world around you.

                  And that's why it's frustrating. Because you keep making what seems to be a concerted effort to look like that trope and not like a normal person. I was polite with you for the whole first part of this conversation, I genuinely wanted to know your opinion, and you immediately poisoned the well with that sarcastic "sure" reply. Even then I still tried to have a conversation with you with the goal of solving whatever misunderstanding there evidently was here, and you kept pushing the notion I'd said something I hadn't.

                  I suppose all I can take from this last few months is that the time I spent on trying to understand you was wasted. You don't want to be understood, and you evidently don't want to understand others either. That's a genuinely sad place to be in.

                  I'm genuinely sorry that we couldn't find common ground, after this much time. I'm not interested in perpetuating hostility here either, so how about you don't vote on or reply to anything I say, and I do the same for you, and we both enjoy what this site has to offer in isolation? Because it seems to me that interacting at all is just going to lead to more pointless conflict.

                  @zombiejesus
                  No i explained that what you said, stemming from what stormo said was bullshit. Not the place for it, but because you think youre right, you dont care. You didnt think for one second that you saying "well it happens and im right that it happens" is not the play to make after divisive troll bullshit. Not what i THINK you said. What you said and why given the context was bullshit.
                  CONTEXT. I know its a dirty word to you. But once again. I downvoted you because of the context and how your opinion gives stormo more credence to him thinking hes right and how much of the shit you said was padding just because you wanted to say "Well techincally people do try to make it an issue about themselves".
                  Because thats the issue that you dont get do you? The way you do things is the problem. Not the thoughts in your head. You dont understand what happens further down the line.
                  It wasnt a miscommunication like you THINK it was. I made it VERY CLEAR why. You just refused to accept it.
                  You really couldnt get past "im right....so why downvote" could you?
                  But you ignore that then precede to make up so much shit like i read something you didnt say, say im defensive and arrogant, then turn around and claim that "im trying to understand your viewpoints" and the precede to act like everything youve been doing is due to some altruistic thing to getting to know me that you need to be applauded on and act like I poisoned the well when YOU claimed i was being defensive when YOU started acting defensive and claimed i was arrogant.
                  Goddamn you are one conceited prick. The fact that anyone could possible share a different viewpoint than you is suddenly 'a disenfranchised young man looking to blame others for his lot in life and ensure that everyone around him is as unhappy as he is' shows that you are just a broken logic machine. When for the record, the only person i blame for the way i am, is shitload of bad luck and bad genetics that BY THEIR POWERS COMBINED delivered a bad run i couldnt recover from. Dont even hate/blame the woman that physically abused me cause sadly she was abused first and took it out on anyone else she could. Sadly people do this. Not everything is about gender. Lifes fucked. Im not looking for someone to blame.
                  Where the fuck have i blamed ANYONE for my problems on THIS place? Where have i made anyone try to be unhappy as i allegedly am on this place? THROUGH A FUCKING DOWNVOTE? Did the left demand you hand in any critical thinking skills when they gave you that high horse you seem to be on?
                  Ill upvote/downvote every single thing i want until the day Kotaku removes upvotes/downvotes. If you have a problem with that, once again take it up with kotaku.
                  You were the one who picked a fight. You tagged me. You called me defensive and arrogant.
                  You were the one who took back an upvote in another thread because you couldnt be seen sharing a similar opinion to me.
                  Dont act like for one second like you are doing a nice thing before spending the whole of your post acting like im a trope because you cant accept your own shortcomings and because its easier to go a stereotype than see context and nuance.
                  Maybe you should spend a little less time thinking "why is he the way he is" and a little more "why am i the way i am". Because goddamn all you did here was cling to "im right and he must be mistaken in downvoting me because im right" and held onto it refusing to let go because all you care about is that you are right.
                  NOW im mad. Congratulations. You finally got me. Well done. Hope you enjoy it.

                  That screed certainly proves my earlier description of you, so thanks for that. You are all the things I described earlier and more, it seems. You know why I took back the upvote? Because you showed me you're not capable of normal conversation. Why would I still upvote you on something after the nonsense you tried to pull here?

                  I'll be quite clear with you again - I think the best path forward for both of us is to avoid each other. That seems like a mature solution to an evidently intractable problem. If you're so invested in protecting your right to vote specifically on my comments, then why not embrace that childish mindset fully and we can both downvote every single comment we each make, pushing both of us into moderation over and over and over for as voting still exists on this site? Does that solution appeal to you more than just avoiding each other like a normal three-dimensional person would?

                  @zombiejesus
                  You are a real piece of work.
                  But thanks for admitting that you are petty. Its appreciated.

                  Yes, that was a petty suggestion. It was there to show you how petty your "I will vote on whatever I WANNA vote on" is a petty response to the suggestion that you completely avoid someone you don't get along with. It doesn't surprise me in the least that you weren't able to parse that.

                  @zombiejesus
                  Ah yes. Someone ELSES fault for you being something.
                  Which one of us again was looking for someone to blame for their lot in life?
                  The fact that you think you are the good guy is just, so delicious.
                  I will continue to upvote/downvote on anything i deem fit. You want to escalate that because you want to see me as a trope because you yeeted your brain into space where logic and context live to you...
                  Thats on you. Good luck.

                  Cool. So please don't reply to me or vote on my comments, let's be adults. This was frustrating for both of us, and the last thing either of us wants is for it to happen again. This is my last reply, good luck with your life.

                Nice sockpuppet account with no posts voting on 30 comments in 90 seconds. Imagine being dumb enough to think it wouldn't be obvious how that happened. Got a good laugh out of that one.

                  Believe it or not, wasnt me.
                  You wont believe it, but whatever.

      Thank you for being a shining example of why there are men (including myself) that have found it hard to open up in any way due to fear of derision for our own insecurities.

        Nah I was more taking aim at the kind of people who make posts like that because they are raging misogynists who try to couch their misogyny in false "reasoned discussion" language.

        If you thought I was taking shots at the issue itself, then you were mistaken. I guess I've just had it with a lot of the sexist/racist/misogynist shit that passes for comments on Kotaku AU these days.

    I kinda get this, but nothing is more damaging to a Women's body image than another woman. Just looking at Women's magazines, there's so much contradictory stuff in there. Most of the time, these are written by women. Women are the ones who do the judging and treat others like crap.
    Video games has nothing on those magazines.

      Women cyber bully each other and slut shame a hell of a lot more than men do.

      Women's magazines have been pretty unhealthy for a long time, for sure, and there's a solid community of people trying to get them to change too. This seems like the kind of thing we can put pressure on from multiple angles at a time, and gradually effect change until eventually that momentum builds enough to force the big incumbents into acting.

        My ex had all those trash magazines, it was quite horrendous what the put in those them, not just the unobtainable beauty standards that the advertising presented but the articles themselves are shameful.

          Yeah, my sister used to read some of them, and I've skimmed through some out of boredom in doctors' waiting rooms and stuff. I have a very dim view of them, but somehow they manage to sell, a lot. It's beyond me.

            Because people are morons and don't know any better. I don't really know why otherwise.

      Ive always wondered exactly who in the world womens magazines are "really" marketed to with all the models and whatnot every other page for ads an articles...

    I like to play games... the end. When I was younger I always struggled playing Sonic games, it made me question my ability to run fast but then I realised, it's just a game and then I had a fun.

    Study funded by the Big Jiggling Tiddie Association.

    Is this a joke? Tomb Raider? The woman who is completely clothed in practical adventuring gear in the last 3+ games (plus the header image)? Is there seriously a suggestion by anyone that this free climbing, tomb raiding, athletic badass should be, impossibly, a fatass? What utter stupidity. If I were to try to list games with sexualised women, Tomb Raider wouldn't just be last, it wouldn't even be on it!

      The modern TR game was used as the control, the sexualised one was the wetsuit outfit from Tomb Raider Underworld. I don't think anyone's implying she should be fat, but that weird legless but arm-covered wetsuit with gun belt really doesn't shout 'practical'.

        The only issue I have with this is that the wetsuit outfit was while she was on boat and diving for a mission right? It's not like she was wearing it while running around in the city. (Sorry my memory is a bit hazy so correct me if I'm wrong) So that would make it a practical outfit right?

        And that style of wetsuit is real. I won't argue their practicality or otherwise, but you can easily buy them. Maybe someone who uses them regularly could comment on the benefits of a legless, but long sleeved suit would bring.

          Yeah, I did a search beforehand and they do exist, but I've never seen anyone actually use one professionally (surfing/diving/etc). The fact she's wearing gun straps on her legs just makes the whole image a bit absurd, despite the flimsy 'she was swimming' premise.

            I'm sure I've seen some of the female surfers wearing them during events. But again, I don't know why you'd chose one over a full wetsuit, or a sleeveless one.

            I don't deny it's kinda weird having the guns over the wetsuit, but it's not as blatantly out of place as some other character design choices.

              They note in the study that this particular depiction was chosen because it isn't a blatant example of sexualisation, because people react differently when it's blatant, but rather it's far enough to be sexualised without being so far that people dismiss it outright.

                I only say it's weird based on this quote from the article;

                This was the “sexualised” gameplay, since as the study explained, “one of the indicators of sexualisation is clothing that is not appropriate for the task to be completed.”

                To me that would imply that a wetsuit in a swimming section of a game is *not* sexualised. Even if they add a gunbelt and shooting to it. Honestly, I find the short-shorts and cut off tank-top when she's running around the jungle to be more sexualised since it's inappropriate attire.

        I think the wetsuit itself isn't all that weird in the context of diving, but coupled with the barbie doll proportions and mega hip swaying walking animation and the camera angles being focused on her arse for 90% of the mission all add up to a clear and intended sexualisation.

        Which is fine. Sex and Sexualisation is not inherently bad.

    Who freakin' cares???

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