Female Game Characters Photoshopped to Average American Proportions

Conrad Zimmerman

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Female Game Characters Photoshopped to Average American Proportions

Eating disorder awareness group asks game developers for more realistic character designs.

Tight waists are de rigueur for female character designs in games but, if you have taken a look around, their general dominance isn't exactly an accurate reflection of the world we live in. Seeking to spark discussion on the topic of depicting women in games in a manner more in line with reality, Bulimia.com [http://www.bulimia.com/] (a website providing information on eating disorders including bulimia and anorexia) has released a series of images showing what a variety of characters might look like if they conformed to the measurements of an average American woman.

Some of the images are more dramatic than others. Jade from Mortal Kombat winds up with a more subtle treatment than, say, Rikku of Final Fantasy X-2, who appears squished down more than anything. Other notable characters include Tifa Lockheart (Final Fantasy Disidua 02), Lara Croft (Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness), and Cortana (Halo 4).

To explain the motivation behind the making of the images, the site reads, "Some gaming studios boast their hyper-realistic lighting techniques, touting natural cloud movements as the latest features of their games. And with that kind of attention to detail, it makes us wonder, why can't they accurately portray the female body?"

[gallery=4446]

Certainly game designers could make the decision to depict less toned flesh. Technology is clearly up to the task, they merely need the desire to do so. It's worth noting that Bulimia.com does not condemn the developers behind the idealized source material nor claim that such bodies are impossible, rather that they are unrealistic as a standard.

Source: Bulimia.com [http://www.bulimia.com/examine/video-games-realistic-body-types/#]

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HavoK 09

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This just makes me wonder how Lara Croft or Riku could keep doing what she does with +15kg around their hips.
 

Fat Hippo

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Maybe people should be encouraged to lose weight rather than making their fictional characters fatter.

*Braces for incoming hate*
 

go-10

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uhhh... I think whoever made these "realistic proportions" forgot that there are women out there who have incredible figures and not everyone is chubby or thunder thighed
 

Chaosian

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In my mind, this more of a testament to how absolutely morbidly obese the average American is, more than anything.
If it's a statement about how women are portrayed in video games, that's fair enough, but I'd rather not everyone be Bob from Tekken in my fiction, thanks.
 

Aerosteam

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Legitimate thing to ask for I think.

However, these are American average body types in real-life. Things like The Legend of Zelda, Halo and Final Fantasy don't have to have woman who look like this. Not to mention Lara Croft and fighting game characters, in which you have to be physically fit to do what they do. They gave bad examples to be honest.
 

Conrad Zimmerman

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Fat_Hippo said:
Maybe people should be encouraged to lose weight rather than making their fictional characters fatter.
Well, that's kind of related to the concern that the group has, that the ever presence of this kind of body image represents an unattainable ideal for the average person, the pursuit of which could result in the development of the eating disorders they provide information about.
 

WashAran

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Lets also hope that they adopt the average to their lifestyle and profession, so that people can play Lara Croft the average american archaeologist or Jade the average american martial artist. Sounds great!
 

visiblenoise

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While we're at it, let's also express our desire that next time Wolverine gets shot, he just dies. As mortal beings, I'm sure that's something everyone can get behind. Jesus Christ. (speaking of which...)
 

Darth Rosenberg

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Conrad Zimmerman said:
Well, that's kind of related to the concern that the group has, that the ever presence of this kind of body image represents an unattainable ideal for the average person, the pursuit of which could result in the development of the eating disorders they provide information about.
Is anyone really suggesting that because a holographic female character in a videogame exists, people binge? Because if they are, I'd really like to see the data and proof of causality...

Yes, I am being a tad facetious, but I don't see the value of pointing out typically heteronormative idealisation in videogames when there are major issues in a nation's attitude to nutritional education, the food industry, and [lack of] exercise. This approach just seems remarkably misguided.
 

Fat Hippo

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Conrad Zimmerman said:
Fat_Hippo said:
Maybe people should be encouraged to lose weight rather than making their fictional characters fatter.
Well, that's kind of related to the concern that the group has, that the ever presence of this kind of body image represents an unattainable ideal for the average person, the pursuit of which could result in the development of the eating disorders they provide information about.
I get that point, but replacing these somewhat unrealistically slender female characters with versions that have definitely gone too far in the other direction seems dumb to me. With the increasing obesity and weight problems of the USA and the western world in general, touting an average weight, which continues growing to unhealthier levels, as an ideal seems problematic.

But hell, if thinking in these terms actually helps victims of anorexia and bulimia (for whom I do have sympathy) then I'm all for it. I just found it rather amusing that the modern average weight should be our ideal, which I would clearly dispute.
 

Thyunda

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Conrad Zimmerman said:
Fat_Hippo said:
Maybe people should be encouraged to lose weight rather than making their fictional characters fatter.
Well, that's kind of related to the concern that the group has, that the ever presence of this kind of body image represents an unattainable ideal for the average person, the pursuit of which could result in the development of the eating disorders they provide information about.
It'd probably be more effective if they didn't use the GTA model, who I'm pretty sure is based on Kate Upton, for it. And...also...these aren't 'more realistic' bodies. These are different bodies. They're not proportioned any better, they're just reversed, for some reason. Maybe if you want to make a point about bulimia or unrealistic standards of beauty, you should shrink the breasts, make ribs visible. Make the character look more real, as opposed to just more fat. I know tonnes of girls who're closer to the first image than to the second purely because I know lots of girls who are fairly thin. They don't have the enormous breasts of the videogame characters, of course, but they also don't have the waistline the second image offers. But they're not underweight. They're just fairly slim.

I just feel like this isn't helping at all. If you're a real woman and you look at those images, your first thought isn't going to be "Wow these images are a much more realistic and attainable standard for beauty."
I guarantee the first thought out of most viewers' minds is "Christ look at the muffin top on that."

I mean, look at it the other way. If you replace all the sculpted male heroes' abs with beer guts. Sure...it's more in-keeping with the 'average,' but it's not in-keeping with the character. It's not making them realistic. It's just altering their design to make some obscure point.

Unless the new trend now is to pretend skinny girls just don't exist or are unhealthy. That's...still body-shaming.
 

Erttheking

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Fat_Hippo said:
Maybe people should be encouraged to lose weight rather than making their fictional characters fatter.

*Braces for incoming hate*
You most certainly didn't mean it, but you kinda pointed out the problem when you refereed to a character getting realistic proportions as "getting fatter". One of the stars of the Sopranos suffered from anorexia, and while the show was still running, she beat the problem and started eating properly and gained weight to the point where she was average for her size. People called her fat.

American views of the female body are kinda messed up right now. People think super unhealthy thin is the default for women and there's a lot of pressure to meet that unreasonable standard, the media playing a big hand in pushing it, and me and quite a few other people are starting to notice it and are being really creeped by it. I saw a mannequin in a store 6-12 months ago, then looked at my average height Mom who has been on a major exercise and healthy eating trip for awhile now. It was disturbing how much smaller it was. Reminds me of this.

http://i0.wp.com/media.boingboing.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/av1.jpg?zoom=2&resize=680%2C1019

Add to it, that Christie character from Teken 5 actually looks like she's anorexic, I can see her freaking rib cage!
Chaosian said:
In my mind, this more of a testament to how absolutely morbidly obese the average American is, more than anything.
If it's a statement about how women are portrayed in video games, that's fair enough, but I'd rather not everyone be Bob from Tekken in my fiction, thanks.
These women aren't obese. They're normal sized.

EDIT: *Sigh* once again people take criticism of video games way too personally.
 

Areloch

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I guess we're also ignoring the context that all of these characters have very physically active lifestyles/jobs, which is likely why they'd be in such good shape in the first place?

Huge element with America's obesity issue(and other countries dealing with the same, America certainty isn't the only one) is that most middle and upper class jobs are white-collar, which involves lots of NOT being physically active and also usually long hours. This makes it very difficult to have time, energy and money left over to dedicate to staying in shape. Even if you're eating healthy food, if you don't do the exercises needed to burn the calories you take in, you'll still gain weight.

Not that it excuses being unhealthy, but the unfortunate reality is that LOTS of people have to choose between "being able to work to keep living" or "being physically fit".
 

ShakerSilver

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why can't they accurately portray the female body?
Maybe accurate compared to the average American woman.
rather that they are unrealistic as a standard.
It's unrealistic to be healthy? This really does sound like an American problem.

Seriously though, what's next? Photoshopping gymnasts and athletes images to make them more "realistic"?
 

vallorn

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This is more a damning indictment of American physiques than the form of videogame characters.

Get in shape you daft numpties.

You see, if they had picked people who had neck biceps (Gears of war), waists 4 inches wide or breasts that defy gravity (Dead or Alive) I could see the point, but the characters they picked are thin but athletic and healthy. Plus the fact that it's all women makes me scratch my head, Wouldn't adopting Kratos, Marcus Feenix, or any of the other stupid body designs that men get also make the same point but do it better because it wouldn't be needlessly gendering the issue?

Conrad Zimmerman said:
Fat_Hippo said:
Maybe people should be encouraged to lose weight rather than making their fictional characters fatter.
Well, that's kind of related to the concern that the group has, that the ever presence of this kind of body image represents an unattainable ideal for the average person, the pursuit of which could result in the development of the eating disorders they provide information about.
But they aren't real people. They are fantasy depictions. And if someone is going to be affected by fantasy depictions of what someone looks like then they might just have more serious issues than eating disorders.
 

Metadigital

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It's a good message, but it misses the mark by quite a bit.



The message:
On the left: An unrealistic representation of the female form.
On the right: A realistic representation of the female form.

The reality:
On the left: An anime inspired stylized video game girl.
On the right: A slightly deformed anime inspired video game girl.

Neither images are realistic. Presenting either of them as being "ideal" or "normal" is the problem.
 

Amaror

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Ok and why should the female video game characters depict the standart body proportions for america?
It would quite frankly be rediculous if a character like Lara Croft, someone who endures extreme physical challenges on a daily basis, would have the standart body type of an american woman.
I would also like to know where they got this "standart" from. Just from all women of all ages in america? This standart is somewhat correct were i live for women of their late thirties and early fourties, but women in their twenties and early thirties, which i believe a lot of these characters are, are usually a fair bit thinner than that. Not as thin as some of those videogame characters, granted, but still a fair bit thinner than the "standart"

Edit: After reading the article again i get it now and i support what this website is doing.
I would advise some other people in this thread to do the same. This isn't some fat acceptance campaign or something. This is meant to fight eating disorders by showing that these videogame characters don't represent the standart and that women shouldn't starve themselves to try and look like them and i support this wholeheartedly.
While a lot of the videogame characters have bodies that are at least somewhat achievable, if difficult, there are also quite a bit that have body proportions which are just not possible to achieve. And there's nothing wrong with these characters existing or looking like that, but it is important that everyone gets that these are not achievable expectations.
Eating disorders are absolutly horrible diseases. A friend of my sister died that way and seeing someone slowly killing themselves without anything you can to do help them is truly horrifying.
 

Conrad Zimmerman

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vallorn said:
But they aren't real people. They are fantasy depictions. And if someone is going to be affected by fantasy depictions of what someone looks like then they might just have more serious issues than eating disorders.
I would agree with you, though I don't believe this group is as concerned by individual depictions as much as a noticeable lack of alternatives.