Sexualization in games? Why not!

I was sitting in the office, minding my own business and then my wife sent me a link to this picture:

It got me thinking... The artist here is right. The nudity and sexualization of games or any other medium is only a problem for those who can't see through it. Kinda obvious, right? Took me 30 years to realize that? Maybe. You can skip the rest if you want. I will continue though. Stop laughing, I'm dead serious.

I grew up in the 90's, with the games from the 80s and 90's and all the surrounding popculture. And with the 90's being the age of Lara Croft, Baywatch and Duke Nukem. I confess to all the sins of a teenage gamer. I did always have Tifa in my party in Final Fantasy VII (one of the reasons was because her limit break was the only skill-based one, but let's be honest, boobs were important too). I did play only female characters in Dead or Alive (because frankly, who choses the guys?). I did play Wet: The Sexy Empire as an underaged kid, along with several Japanese erotic game novels (and I frankly, I mostly enjoyed he writing - sex scenes got tedious and repetitive really quickly).

You now have every right to discard my opinion as biased, manipulative and sick to the bone, but... All this was a natural part of growing up. It allowed me to play BioShock: Infinite without staring at Elizabeth's boobs and instead focusing on her story. It allows me to look at Akiba's Trip not only as a fan service, but also a really fun game with decent story and really, really cleverly abstract mechanic. It allowed me to critically look at Catherine and what choice I would make if I were in Vincent's shoes. And I did not base it at all on which pair of tits I liked better. I am able to look at Quiet as a tragic character, completely ignoring her appearance and not getting a boner during the water scenes. 

But I still want to be strong and fast like Solid Snake. Be able to pull up myself and a busty gal with one hand like Cloud. And I wouldn't mind having muscles like Duke, because hell, who would? Apart from gymnasts, volleyball players, anyone who wants to fit in any door... But you get my point :) Does the fact that I'm physically inferior to the idea of these characters make me rage? No. They are representations of physical traits that many of us find attractive. I can either bitch about it or go to the gym.

Sex and sexualization is a part of life and part of every medium and every art. It makes perfect sense that in a fantasy world we want to see visually pleasing characters. Because I like Quiet as a character, I don't dress her in the baggy outfit just to prove some moot point, because I don't want her to feel uncomfortable. Even if mechanically she won't suffocate or anything. (explanation: the character is supposedly half-naked because she breathes with her whole body. Changing her clothes does nothing to her but it does to my immersion and suspension of my disbelief in that quirky world) And yes, sometimes the pervy stuff gets pretty ridiculous, but I love how games like Lollipop Chainsaw or Bayonetta grew so self aware that they are practically parodying themselves while still having lots of fun, innovative, amazing gameplay. 

People are saying that sexualized characters in games promote impossible standards among the audience and that is partially true. Partially, because these standards aren't impossible and some fantastic proportions can be successfully translated (not transfered to real life. Just look at the professional cosplayers. Both male and female). Also, there is nothing wrong with the second part. Is it bad that a medium makes people want to be more fit? Can anyone tell me with a straight face that liking big boobs or cleavage is somehow wrong? I always wanted to be with a girl who isn't  just smart, but also gorgeous. I married a girl who isn't just smart, but also gorgeous. Sweet and caring too. Did I hurt anyone? Did the world stop turning because somewhere out there there are women and men that actually fit those "impossible standards" bills? Or is it just the howls of the envious?

The problem starts only when we can't look past the sometimes oversexualized coating. When we automatically call the character a bimbo just because she shows some cleavage. When we deny the characters any personality they might have just because they have muscles bigger than ours. Ass rounder than ours. I can only hope that the ones that feel offended or endangered by more sexualized content will someday be able to clear their vision of their unfulfilled, perverted, juvenile thoughts and see the busty and muscular characters as virtual persons, not just pieces of virtual meat.

And seriously, go hit the gym, you lazy asses. Those juicy chicks and hunky dudes won't just settle for any fat nerd ;)