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[Gamer Diary] – Dystopian Beauties: How the Apocalypse Killed all the Trolls

2011 November 23
Still from RAGE: a white young woman leaning against a concrete post in a run down looking area; she is wearing a sci-fi helmet showing only her eyes, as well as a black bra visible between the two sides of an unfastened waistcoat style top. She also wears a short skirt and mid-thigh boots.

Are your boobs bulletproof? Apparently, Friday's are!

First of all, my sincerest apologies for disappearing into the far reaches of the internet but that terrible thing called Real Life decided to poke its nose where it wasn’t wanted.  I will tell you all about the Eurogamer Expo, and I still have those goodies to give away, so please forgive my extended absence!

Today, I present to you my observations of the post-apocalyptic female form, with visual examples from RAGE, the recent id Software release.  In case I didn’t mention it before, I am a bit of an id fan – seeing as how Doom was the first proper game I ever played – so criticising them was a bit of a forced exercise for me.  But criticise I must!  When I first saw the trailers and preview footage for RAGE I noted the presence of female characters(!). However, they were distinctly boobed-up and inappropriately attired for life in a wasteland environment, especially given all the violence also included in these vids.

I’d noticed this before in other post-apocalypse/global bad thing games, like Fallout: New Vegas and definitely in Borderlands.  It is also apparent in fantasy RPGs like Dragon Age, as well as sci-fi/horror titles like Dead Space.  All these women are stereotypically ‘beautiful’, i.e. there is not a blemish in sight, their waists are tiny, their boobs are pert (and, more often than not, on display), their eyes are big and shiny, etc – you get the idea!

However, my quibble here is not just the fact that it is disgustingly demeaning, shallow and pathetic but also that it is totally unreal and impractical.  What were the developers thinking?!  I’m sure women may seem all alien and scary to design, but when it comes to internal vital organs, like the heart and lungs, they’re in the same place as a man’s.  IN THE CHEST.  So, why would any vaguely intelligent female survivor of the apocalypse waltz around with the most vulnerable part of her body un-armoured and on display?  How are they not all dead?  In this world full of bandits, territorial gangs, mutants and some evil authoritarian organisation out to kill them, how is it all the bullets/knives/arrows/rockets/etc have missed the gaping void in their armour exactly where their hearts are?

So there’s that part of the issue.  Secondarily, if we look at these women in these games, they look as if they could be glamour models in this day and age.  Now, not to cast doubt on the practicality of models in general, but how many of them, do you think, would even survive the initial global devastating event, let alone eke out an existence fighting and killing fellow humans?  Personally, I intend to build a labyrinthine nuclear bunker under my house when I can, but I accept that I’m abnormal and most glamour models won’t be thinking of these things.  My point being, I am not that kind of pretty and of all the people I know that might survive a wasteland environment none of them are model-esque in their features.

Nor are any of them stupid enough to wear armour that exposes their chest.

So this leads me to wonder whether all of these devastating global events were actually designed so that – in the most Bill Bailey of ways – they killed all the trolls, leaving all the beautiful ladies (in danger) behind.  If so, how then can we assume these women survived?  Proffering sexual favours with the alpha males for protection?  It’s an ogre-ish thing to consider, but what other explanation is there for only the glamorous women surviving?

Three pictures of three women from the computer game Rage. From left to right there is a woman called Destinee lounging against some concrete steps wearing a striped tube-top across her breasts and a mini skirt, as well as a helmet with some pilot's goggles on them it. In the centre is Jani, who wears a helmet with a pink skull decal on it, as well as a long sleeved, low neck leather short jacket, exposing her midriff. To the right is Mel who is pouting at the camera, she wears a helmet with night vision goggles atop it; she also wears a sleeveless form-fitting top and matching gloves that reach to her upper arms.

Destinee, Jani and Mel model the high fashion of the dystopian future.

I doubt that the developers ever think this sort of thing through, as they’re too busy patronising their male audiences with images of huge tits to realise it’s more than just sexist and misogynist.  For games that desire heightened realism, they haven’t thought it all through very well, have they?

And that’s before we even go near the fact that all these women are caucasian.

2 Responses leave one →
  1. November 23, 2011

    I completely agree, but of course this applies to most other character-based computer games too – and indeed most popular media! Sexist lack-of-realism does not only start after the apocalypse :-)

  2. Mr Jirue permalink
    January 24, 2012

    I would agree if the girl’s weren’t from Subway town, but I think their appearance fits the town very well and really isn’t very questionable.
    Subway town on first impression is a very shady town, with the men seeming kinda mobsterish and the ladies seeming kinda whorish. Their outfits fit the mood of the town and they give you a better impression of what it’s like in Subway town. But Subway town also seems pretty safe, protected and under control. No one in the town plans on leaving to go and fight, so there really isn’t a need to dress to fight.

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