So a friend of mine asked me today, “Are you offended by the portrayal of women in League of Legends.” For those of you not familiar with LoL (and know this – gamers are laughing at you if you’ve never heard of it) League of Legends is essentially a free to play game where you control a character, get six abilities, and go kill other people playing the same characters. It’s not all that complex of a concept, really. The big draws to the game?
– There’s an enormous cast of characters to pick from. You can pretty much play whatever style of fighter/support/tank you want.
– Pure Player Versus Player. For those looking to go against opponents with an actual brain (in lieu of a programmed computer foe), this is the game for you.
– You don’t HAVE to pay a dime to play. If you want to buy characters and customize them, you can, but you are in control of what you contribute to this game.
I’m touching on bullet point one up there today. If you’re unfamiliar with the game and the characters, I want you to go here and check out who you can play. Then I want you to take particular note of the female characters. I’m going to categorize them for you here to make this simple. In some cases, I use a skin that’s purchasable to illustrate a point:
Gorgeous, Thin, Ample T & A Available
- Cassiopeia – She’s under the scary category, too, but thems some big tatas.
- Miss Fortune
Total: 17.5 – Cass only gets half points.
Gorgeous, Thin, Less T & A But It’s Still Present
Thin, Not Sexy Unless You’re Weird
Total: 1.5 (Giving Cass half points for cleavage – note that female scaries are still thin)
So let’s tally that up – 31 characters by my count, at least 25 of them are beautiful. At least half of them are sexualized beautiful. Five of them are considered NOT sexy because they’re animals, children, or “little people.” None of them are fat because fat women clearly don’t exist.
Not a good ratio so far.
Let’s break it down for the men, now, shall we? And I’m getting lazy with the images so you’ll have to take my word on it for some of these characters. Want proof? Just ask for the character and I’ll direct you:
Sexualized Men, Plenty of Beefcake.
- Lee Sin
- Tryndamere – It kills me to put this here, because I don’t agree.
- Twisted Fate
Total: 8 if I’m being generous.
Attractive Men, Limited Beefcake.
- Malzahar – Can’t see his face.
- Master Yi – Can’t see his face.
- Ryze – He COULD go up top? I guess?
- Shen – Can’t see his face.
- Udyr – Make the argument he’s beefcake and I’ll probably laugh.
- Xin Zhao
Thin, Not Sexy Unless You’re Weird.
- Alistar – A minotaur.
- Amumu – A mummy.
- Blitzcrank – A robot.
- Corki – A flying little person with old man hair.
- Fizz – A fish boy.
- Galio – A gargoyle
- Heimerdinger – I don’t even know what the crap he is but it looks like a half robot machine man thing. It’s weird.
- Jax – Arguably could be put in scary, too.
- Kennen – Tiny ninja. No really. Like gerbil people ninja.
- Malphite – Made of rock.
- Maokai – A tree man.
- Nasus – Dog man.
- Nanu – Yeti riding small person.
- Rammus – An armadillo.
- Renekton – A crocodile man.
- Rumble – A mechanized squirrel.
- Teemo – Little person kid-like thing.
- Twitch – A rat man.
- Veigar – A little wizard dude.
- Viktor – A mad doctor type.
- Volibear – A bear.
- Wukong – A monkey man.
- Xerath – Alien mage.
Total – 23
- Brand – A fiery demon man.
- Cho’Gath – A demon thing that eats people. Looks like a roided up lobster.
- Dr. Mundo – A knock-off on Mr. Hyde.
- Fiddlesticks – A ghostly scarecrow.
- Karthus – Dead guy.
- Kassadin – Alien dead guy hybrid scary thing.
- Mordekaiser – Black Knight demon type.
- Nautilus – Ocean ghost.
- Nocturne – Ghost.
- Shaco – Evil clown.
- Singed – Evil scientist.
- Sion – Undead dude.
- Skarner – Scorpion.
- Trundle – A troll.
- Warwick – A werewolf.
- Yorick – Undead.
- Ziggs – Explosive midget.
- Zilnean – Old, old man.
- Urgot – Fat AND Scary. WOO.
So that’s 63 male champions, only 20 of which could even potentially “appeal” to someone as attractive. Of those 20? Less than half of them are blatantly sexualized. But hey, at least they got a couple of fatties, right?
To recap: the ratio for exploitive art and presentation of female characters as sexual objects in LoL is over 50 percent. Making them attractive at all without the consideration of excessive T & A? A whopping 80 percent. That’s 80 percent of their female characters drawn to be beautiful. For men? Less than one sixth of their characters are “blatant beefcake”. Less than a third can be even categorized as “beautiful” because Riot’s portrayed them as different species or abhorrent because of scare factor.
So to answer my friend’s question from earlier, am I offended by LoL’s portrayal of female characters? Less than I should be, sadly, because the gaming industry is fucked and I’m so tired of this goddamned topic. I’m -disappointed – Riot lumps women into a category where all their tit-donning characters have to be pretty. I’m sorry, but if you can make 40 something characters that AREN’T pretty on the male side, why aren’t there any on the women’s side AT ALL? Even their token “scary chicks” are somewhat attractive. What message is Riot trying to send? Are all female characters truly drawn just to appease the male audience? And if so, what does that say to boys growing up? Or to women who want to game? Why can’t women be SCARY AND DISGUSTING like Urgot or Mordekaiser? Why do they have to be drawn like pretty princesses and Barbies? And don’t throw Pantheon at me as Riot’s big “here, have a cookie – we sexualize the men, too.” That doesn’t pacify, placate, allow, or explain.
So, long and short of this? For the four thousandth time?
GAMING INDUSTRY. FIX YOUR SHIT.
Note: Sad but true, interwebs trolls are interwebs trolls. The last fourteen-year-old entitled white-kid nerd rager that came in here and tried to basically say “chicks should deal with it because games are made for people like me” was promptly deleted. SO. We can’t have nice things like discussions. Comments nuked from orbit. Games are for everyone, basement-dwelling nerdlings (of which I pretty much am one). Play nice and let everyone have some fucking equality in entertainment, will you?