Rubenstein discuss about character design and the role of beauty design on blog entry The beauty myth and character design in relation to Kathrine Isbister book Better Game Characters by Design. She finds similar weakness on Isbister’s argument that I did when I was wondering why models in Vogue are beautiful females in my comment on the book. Based on Isbister argument sexually attractive females in the magazine would alienate heterosexual female readers. But that seem not to be the case.

Parts of entry also considers about culture dependence of the concept of beauty. Rubenstein notes that some aspects seems to be intercultural , like symmetry, while others varies across the cultures.



5 Responses to “Beauty and Female Game Characters”

  1. tekanji Says:

    She finds similar weakness on Isbister’s argument that I did when I was wondering why models in Vogue are beautiful females in my comment on the book. Based on Isbister argument sexually attractive females in the magazine would alienate heterosexual female readers. But that seem not to be the case.

    Actually, I’m basically in agreement with Ibister’s argument there. Let me quote the part you took issue with [emphasis mine]:

    For example, (heterosexual) female players may not respond as strongly and positively to characters like Cortanoa of Halo, or Princess Yorda in ICO, who draw part of their appeal from being attractive women that the male player is drawn to visually. (Isbister, p. 118)

    Here’s what I say [emphasis added in bold]:

    Simply put, the point I try to make every time I bring up how female characters are hypersexualized is that it is inappropriate sexualization, which puts many women off (not all of women are interested in playing characters created for a presumably male player’s wank fantasy) and perpetuates the idea of “attractiveness” in women being inseparable from sexual availability.

    I break it down more clearly than Ibister does, but I believe the core of our arguments are the same.

    As per your argument, while it’s true that the beauty myth desensitizes women to a certain extent in regards to our own objectification, the overall trend in body types in video games is much more Maxim than it is Vogue. And, despite us becoming more desensitized to that kind of objectification of women, women in general still see Maxim-esque women as “for men”.

  2. tekanji Says:

    Oh, crap, I messed up my blockquote. Can you fix that for me?

  3. Petri Says:

    I agree on argument you quote above but I read your text as comment on oversimplified argument presented by Isbister.

    (Quote is hopefully now as it shoud be.)

  4. tekanji Says:

    Thanks for fixing it!

    Hmm, well, the entire book seems rather oversimplified, so I gave it a pass on account of it being an overview type textbook. I see her as throwing things out for potential designers to consider, rather than engaging in the fleshed out arguments that, say, Graner Ray does in Gender Inclusive Game Design.

  5. Jade Reporting » May 24 Says:

    [...] Beauty and Female Game Characters [...]

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