Sexy Video Game Characters and Cosplays


So Metal Gear Solid creator Hideo Kojima put out a tweet recently that kicked up a firestorm in the gaming world. In case you missed it, here it is:

The tweet’s been pretty universally dragged through the mud.  Gameranx called it creepy. David Ellis, Halo designed, called it disgusting.

At face value, their reactions make a certain degree of sense. We were all raised (I hope) with the sense to treat everyone with respect and to treat everyone like human beings. That statement really sounds like “oh look at this sexy thing. Why don’t you women dress up like this for me.” That sort of statement is pretty creepy… like the dude lives in his parent’s basement, and is covered in Cheetos dust. You know, that type of dude. The type of why who never talked with a woman to begin with and has no idea how to interact with one.  It’s an attempt to turn a woman into nothing more than a set of breasts.

On the other hand….

Ever hear of the old expression about the elephant in the room? It refers to topics  that aren’t discussed, but everyone knows is there. In this case, we have a couple. There are people who like to cosplay as sexy characters. Hell, I’ll go a step further. There are people who like to dress up as erotic characters when they cosplay. They are also quite attractive. These women, for lack of a better term, are also sex symbols as well as cosplayers. I don’t mean they are filmed having sex, but are viewed as very sexy. I’m willing to bet companies love it when they dress up as their characters. The companies get word of mouth for their product, not to mention great advertisements for it as well.

This is just a small sampling of cosplayers. And of course, not every cosplayer dresses up like that. These cosplayers, though, are very popular and are probably the “face” of cosplaying. So when Hideo Kojima talks about cosplayers, I’m wagering he’s referring to these cosplayers.

There is another elephant in the room that should be talked about. Video game developers tend to make female characters look as sexy as possible. The guy was only saying what other video game developers say behind closed doors. I mean… how could they not intentionally be doing this? The women look, and are dressed, as provocatively as possible!

Video games tend to objectify women. Women are dressed up in incredibly sexy outfits and treated like sex things rather than as people. Seriously! Why would anyone want to show a ton of skin when they are in battlefield conditions? At the very least, they should be covered in scar tissue, you know? So on one hand, I applaud Hideo Kojima for recognizing the elephant in the room and being blunt about it.

What do I think of this?  I’m in the middle of the road here. Yeah, I really get why people would be sickened by the comment Hideo made. I do. I get it. But I also see it as a symptom of a larger issue of the portrayal of women in mass media, not just video games. Is it a problem? I honestly don’t know. I’ve heard it leads to eating disorders and other physical/psychological problems. But I know when I play games, I seem to favor/prefer the women who are physically appealing (sexy).

I think it would be a good thing for the video game community to have an open and frank discussion on it. And no, that doesn’t mean Anita Sarkeesian talking down at us all with the assumption that it is bad a priori. There are a lot of people with a lot of interesting opinions on this, from businesspeople through the gamers… everyone has their own unique take on it.

What’s yours?


One comment on “Sexy Video Game Characters and Cosplays

  1. I feel it should go both ways if we going to have women dressed that “sexy”. And every time I have suggested it I get blasted for it. But I don’t see what is the problem with it? As a female gamer., I have no issues having a pretty attractive/sexy male character to play. I’ll be honest, I’d prolly favor playing them for that reason a bit. Does that objectify that character? Yup. But thats whats happening to female characters in gaming made more “sexy”. I think its only fair that if we are going to do it to female characters, we do it to the male characters as well. But keep in mind I play a game to play a game. I’m not spending 60 plus dollars to see a chick in her under ware or a dude in his skivvies.

    But here is my other issue as well: It sets up the expectation of girls in gaming or even in the sci-fi (I.E Slave Leia) or fantasy universe (I.E Morrigan) that women in gaming have to be sexy, and that we really shouldn’t be taken seriously. I’m not someone who “Shows it All” when I cosplay. I think thats awesome for the gamers that do. If someone wants to dress “sexy” go right ahead, if that makes you happy: MORE POWER TO YOU. And i mean that. People need to do what makes them happy. However, it shouldn’t be a sterotype nor should it be expected that ALL female gamers should be doing this. My worry is that it turns female gamers more into a shallow sterotype, and promotes video games being a “guys thing” and not something that should be shared as a whole.

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