There’s been a little buzz recently about some silly Photoshoping that Bulimia.com did to famous women in video games. They made them fat, because, duh, real American women are fat. So our video heroes ought to be fat too. Or something like that.
They pointed out that the “average” American woman–according to the CDC–is 5’3″ and 166 pounds. When you punch that into a BMI calculator, you get a BMI of 29.4. Massively overweight and dang near obese (which starts at 30).
Ok, I’m not going to argue with the folks at Bulimia.com. I’m sure they mean well. They fear that girls who play video games are being assaulted yet again by an “unrealistic” visual ideal of womanhood. I get it. I have sons, so I’m a little concerned myself that they’ll get the wrong idea about what women should look like.
But this attack on video game characters is all wrong. The answer is not making video game characters FAT like the average American female. The answer is to put some freakin’ clothes on video game women!
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I’ll stick with Lara, because she’s a character I’m familiar with–I’ve played a bit of Tomb Raider, and the fact that I had her crawling, leaping and flipping her way through jungle temples in skimpy shorts always made me cringe. She should have been a scraped up bloody mess. I know it’s hot in the jungle, but dang woman, get some pants. Or knee pads. But I know why Bulimia.com is picking on poor little Lara. She’s rather famous for her…ah…boobs. And it’s interesting to note that Bulimia.com picked on version of Lara Croft that’s TWELVE YEARS OLD. Yes, that image is Lara from 2003.
Notice how they didn’t pick on the more recent game from 2013, a reboot of Tomb Raider where a teenage Lara Croft is shipwrecked and must use her gymnastic skills to save herself and her crew from a crazy island cult. Oh, you didn’t know that Lara is a gymnast? Yeah, that’s why she can climb mountains and leap walls with ease. Well, maybe not ease. If you’ve played Tomb Raider like I have, you know she grunts a lot. And get’s very, very bloody. Poor kid.
But why didn’t they pick on a modern Lara? Because her game designers decided to make Lara more real when they rebooted her series. She has normal proportions! And better yet–pants! The new Lara looks like a real person.
Now, I’ll admit that I’m not familiar with every video game. I like games with stories and plots, and a ton of fantasy. I love Skyrim, Fallout, Fable and Dragon Age. I’d try Mass Effect and Halo, but we only have that on the Xbox and I hate, hate, hate the Xbox controller. Though I did manage to get through Dishonored on the Xbox–and I can’t wait to play Emily on Dishonored 2. Anyway…my point is that many of these games allow you to choose your player’s sex when you set up the character, but they keep the uniforms and armor pretty much the same. Play a woman on Fallout, and you’ll start off in the same blue jumpsuit as anyone else. Once you level up, you’ll be a human tank stomping around in power armor.
My second problem with Bulimia.com fattening up video game gals…
A lot of video game characters have to be athletes. Not all of them–wizards and laser toting sharpshooters can get by on their brain power alone. But characters like Lara Croft and Rikku from Final Fantasy ARE athletes. (Full disclosure: I’ve never played Final Fantasy either, but I looked up Rikku and she’s a thief with thing for clawed weapons.) Let’s face it, the “average” chubby American woman isn’t gonna go running around stabbing people. She’s not going climb over walls and trees. Someone with a BMI of 29 is not in shape for that.
I’m 5’2″ and currently 163 pounds. I have a BMI of 29, which accord to Bulimia.com, makes me an “average” American woman. And when this average woman did a ropes course at Go Ape, she was a miserable failure. I had a hard time climbing rope ladders and there’s no way I could have fired a pair of Lara’s Desert Eagles while doing the zip line–I was too busy trying not to fall on my head. Here’s a photo…a “real” woman doing real life video game tasks… Yeah, no one’s gonna play that video game.
This is a photo of real professional athletes at their physical peak, posted by the Huffington Post. All very fit and not a squishy part on them. Suit them up with the proper equipment and I’m sure they’d have no problem taking out hordes of orcs, dragons or even krogans.
So here’s an idea…lets not make our video game heroes look like the couch potatoes on the other side of the screen? Let’s keep it real. But not that real.