@Riot A serious discussion about gender. Please read

First Riot Post
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ZombieCakes

Senior Member

10-07-2012

Quote:
Originally Posted by IronStylus View Post
Holy **** that was a lot of well composed, extremely well thought-out points and a lot of data to back it up. I very much salute you! This is the stuff that's actually super useful for people like me in a position to help define our body types. I love this information and this amount of it because I can look and be like.. "Oh hey, I think I see where we can fill in some gaps!" You've actually saved me some work, and I owe you a coffee.

Funny thing is that a very nice young lady came and talked to me on the floor of the finals about this very same issue. She made similar points which I.. ya know.. agreed with, like I tend to on these subjects. That said, I don't think I can possibly address the entirely of this pose aside from stating what I've stated before. I believe we need to have breadth, depth and contrast in our characters. We need to have archetypal characters and non-conventional. This goes the same for body types, in this particular case, female body types.

Recently I've been doing some core exploratory work on our champions, past and present. I've developed an even more concrete belief that we need to vary female forms as our game angle requires pretty drastic differentiation in proportions between characters, especially females, to make them truly read as different. Right now, on paper, many of our females read differently, but when plugged into game angle they read as very similar body types. Diana, though having a pretty curvy lower body (larger thighs) and trimmer upper body with smaller breasts still looks in the same general category as Syndra though she's pretty overall standard voluptuous. My bad there. I might have pushed proportions on Diana even further. In fact, I'd like to go back to Diana and push proportions. I think we've standardized our females far too much, producing mainly costume changes. I really want us to focus on stylizing our females as much as we do with our males.

Make no mistake, this is something we have our eye on. I had a discussion with our Art Director about this issue just the other day. We want that barbarian woman who can smash any guy she might encounter, we want us to get the spindly tank-girl type who's far less exposed, we want utilitarian, we want majestic, we want creepy, we want it all. We also do want sexy, in all it's variations.

You also brought up something in there interesting about Varus. He is one of the only examples we have of a different take on males. We tend to make our males of sort of three types. Athletic, Heroic, or Hulk. So, Singed, Garen, and Mundo respectively. That generalization but there you have it. Varus hits a great sweet spot. He's quite androgynous, a bit more anime archetype. He's sleek, trim and mildly feminine, but dang is that ever sexy as far as I’m concerned! Basically, anything Riot Taco Storm can cosplay as is something I'd really love to have more experiments like.

I’m not quite sure I’ve hit on all or any of your points aside from providing you an assurance that we’re taking a hard look at our champions and some stuff is going to change as we go. As always I’d love to keep this conversation going and see what more points come up in this thread. I apologize for not hitting everything but I’ve just gotten back from the finals which has been a rigorous thing today to say the least. I’m a little hug-drunk right now.

I really, REALLY appreciate all the hard work and analysis you put into this. It has certainly not gone unnoticed! This is information that I like to act on and I thank you for it!

I'll try to hit on more points in smaller doses.
Honestly, I gotta say, this is the best post I've ever read on these forums. OP, you have no idea how thankful I am for this, that goes for IronStylus as well!

I've tried pointing this kind of thing out for a long, long time, but like you said, I just get pushed down by other people. The worst thing is there's comments such as "You're just jealous", "There's plenty of good-looking male champions", "Deal with it" or even "Don't play if you don't like it" As if these type of characters (mostly referring to the fetish-themed skins) were something normal to every good game, or even absolutely acceptable. I know they're common, but by no means are they necessary.

Another thing is the comparison in men to female, it's true, honestly most girls aren't after fetish-themed skins or flirty champions. If anything, girls prefer men who are well-dressed and charming. But if you're going to do it for the female champions, you should do it for the men too. I recently found someone who came up with a skin idea for "Unprepared Garen." While I would normally say, it's way too obvious that this skin idea is way too sexualized, you look at the female skins (including defaults) and it actually seems like something completely normal.

Another thing I've always anticipated was a female monster, back from when Anivia was the only one, I remember looking at champions like Cho' Gath or Kog' Maw and hoping one day we'd get a female like that. One day, they announced Shyvana, a half dragon female to be joining the League. Sadly, I got my hopes up way to high, only to be let down at the sight of the actual splash art for this.. champion. Basically a human female, only with blue skin. Another Evelynn, to me. Not to mention, all of her skins show her as a normal human caucasian female, though I do give kudos for the amazing armor on her purple skin (can't recall the name..).

When Kha'Zix's art came out for the first time, I posted a comment asking if it would be a female because we have no female monster champs, mostly as a joke, only to get a reply from Morello himself stating something like "Well, just because we don't have any neon pink monster champions, doesn't mean we need one either." Which was pretty harsh, considering I thought Morello had brought some good champion ideas to the League, I actually lost quite a bit of respect for him there. Ironically, though, he got a lot of replies from people saying "If there was a neon pink monster, I'd insta-buy him even with RP!"

So, basically, I'm happy someone had the guts to pull this topic out seriously, mindful of all the possible incoming downvotes. And, of course, reading IronStylus mention a Barbarian female champion who could crush her opponents made me very happy, and proud!

I do hope one day girls will be more respected in this game, when it comes to champion design, not to mention, Riot censors the word "s-e-x" in the forums, but accentuates it visually in-game. Hopefully, one day there will be a nice fix to the female champions, I'm not saying make them less sexy, just make their outfits actually make sense, at least. And maybe eventually there will be more to choose from for girls who are looking for female characters with strong personalities and decent clothing, or just a hot guy to play :P


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FelixNz

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Senior Member

10-07-2012

I for one would like more variation in the female faces, not just the body types, a vast majority of them have the same, conventional oval shaped face with smaller mouth & nose, and hardly any cheekbone definition with perfect makeup. New Soraka is the perfect example, but Sivir, New Lux, Janna, Ashe, Caitlyn, Katarina etc, could well all be the same person, but with a different hair-dye and costume each time

Some suggestions:
Geena Davis/Sigourney Weaver look - Squarer Jawline, more "pursed" mouth shape, medium to well defined cheekbone.
Angelina Jolie - Bigger mouth & lips with angular features, and very defined cheekbones.
Penelope Cruz - Fairly conventional beauty, but a good example of a bigger nose than the standard LoL look that doesn't diminish her gorgeousness in any way.
Zooey Deschanel - Very round face with larger eyes, somewhat similar to the LoL look.

I'm sure others can think of better/more examples as well


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Empyrius

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Senior Member

10-07-2012

i agree with the post that yes there is an over sexualization of women over men. I wont point examples. But the fact is a majority of people on LoL are male players. In business you appeal to what sells. Unfortunately *** does sell. Also, most men dont realize that they are over sexualizing women when they create their ideas and models. Yes we have little cute ones, but we have alot of women who are definitely sexy I have yet to see a gross female monster, one that looks like you would run away from her. I haven't seen a fat women character yet either. I could also go into support roles as well. Characters which can cast magic, support with shields, support through healing are all generally women. Soraka, lulu, sona, lux, Janna are all examples of this. However male equivalents are not their. Yes Alistar has heal but hes all moving and position rather than him keeping someone up. Yes shen has shield but this goes into my next point.

Gender roles of characters:
Tanks:Generally male-exception Sejuani
Healers:Women-exception taric, alistart both dont have amazing capabilities to keep team up.
Shilders:women-some men
Fighters:Men-exceptions Riven+Akali+Irelia
Junglers:More men than women
AD Carry:About Even

Please start breaking gender roles, create a true male support, create a new female champ that looks disgusting.


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ZombieCakes

Senior Member

10-07-2012

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lord Valinor View Post
Look, really, this is a non-issue. I'm a guy, and I don't want to play an ugly champion, male or female. My mains are actually Irelia Kux, and Ezreal, and Akali. So i'll say I don't have extremely over sexualized characters (though I did get good at Akali in part because of her nurse skin, which is amazing and anyone who complains about it can just get over it) I enjoy these champions in part because they look cool. I will never play renekton, because I don't like the way he looks, likewise Urgot and trundle. I will also never play Nidalee, or Cassiopea, for the same reason. And if Riot were to release a champion modeled after and old woman, I would probably dislike that as well. Perhaps this makes me superficial, but in a video game I like things to be pretty, and yes, sometimes sexy.
It's funny how you say this isn't an issue, and then proceed to admit that you are superficial.

In that case, you agree that there should be males for the superficial women, right?

And the fact that you don't like "ugly" or as I would say, non-conventional-looking champions doesn't mean there shouldn't be any. Theres plenty of people who find beauty in unsual or "unattractive" things. So, yes, it's an issue.

And, by the way, Trundle is a really cool and fun champion! Akali is basically faceroll...


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Empyrius

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Senior Member

10-07-2012

You could also maybe create pool boy varus for the women to solve this issue.


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Useless Kung Fu

Senior Member

10-07-2012

I hope Riot didn't actually take this person seriously. They skewed the numbers, basically made themselves the arbiter on what's sexual and what's not.

Their age estimations on the male champs are hilarious.


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ZombieCakes

Senior Member

10-07-2012

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brychanus View Post
TL;DR: If you actually care about this issue, you should read this.
This. I am encouraged by these posted designs and agree that they are mostly not sexualized.

It is concerning to me that despite the many important points of the original poster, his concerns were only generally, superficially, and dismissively addressed (if at all) by the red community.

Let us assume that the OP was somewhere remotely close on the sexualization (3.5% for males, 78% for females). Even if you add a massive error to that figure due to the OP's personal rating opinions, the difference in means is astronomical. So if we assume that this figure is even partly true, it suggests a true trend in champion design. Specifically, sexualization of females.

I appreciate that there has been red attention to this post, but the responses miss the mark. That is, if the fact is that there is a massive sexualization trend, and the fact is that the reds are in control over both the past examples of this and any future instances. The reason I want to weigh in here is that I have worked in diversity education for over 7 years, and many of the red reactions fall into prototypical rationalizing strategies that are used by those in the majority (or otherwise with power) as mechanisms for avoiding addressing the valid facts, which in this case is a fairly clear case of sexualization of females in game. Reds, I'm being hard on you, because while the community has said things far more egregious, you are actually the ones in power.

Following the OP's original argument and review of the facts, red postings can be categorized as follows. I paraphrase and summarize in order to avoid direct finger pointing at the moment and to emphasize main points. However, I encourage the posters to look at their responses critically. I anticipate that your public response (if you care to give one at all) will be largely political and recapitulate the categories I outline below. I say this deliberately both to challenge you and to continue to emphasize some obvious examples of rationalization (or at least rhetorical obfuscation):

- “I agree with you wholeheartedly. I want to remind you that we put a lot of thought into design, including breadth and depth, of champions. We attempt to modify character designs based on our intentions, and care about this issue.” Note that this does not directly address the fact that, despite “variation” in design, 78% or so are sexualized, suggesting that this was either a baffling trend of lack of oversight in champion design or an intentional goal in champion design.

- “In return for sexualized females, we make sexualized males.” The latter does not do away with the former.

- “Sexy comes in many forms. Don’t assume to know what I find sexy.” In addition to becoming personally defensive to prove a point, this is also directing attention away from the main point with another valid point. While “Sexy comes in many forms,” there are many probabilistic studies in psychology suggesting that there are consistent features that are rated as “more sexy” in males as well as females. It is unlikely to be coincidental that many of the features of the 78% sexualized female champions, they tend to have features such as angular faces with well-defined, large eyes that conform to features known to be attractive in female celebrities (e.g., Angelina Jolie), waist-to-hip ratios somewhere around .6-.8 (eyeball test, since I don’t have access to model data), exposed skin, “flirtatious” poses, and stripper outfits as the OP suggests. These features are probablistically known to be sexually attractive, and are instrumental for profit in a game that stands to profit based on the purchase of female champions and sexualized skins by a largely young male fan base. As an aside, the red that made this argument proceeded to state that he/she finds at least some proportion of the females in the game attractive, so unless they are the 22%, we may assume that this poster finds at least some of these features appealing. Finally, if you know that female champions don’t need to be sexy, why are they so in approximately 78% of cases? Also, “I believe this is sexy, but other people think other things... Sexy is part of what we choose for design.” Even though this could be argued to be different than “sexualization,” it happens up to 78% of the time for one gender, as low as 3.5% for the other.

- “We played with parameters and the models all scaled to look similar.” It’s not just about model parameters, but outfits, postures, facial expressions and features, phrases, etc. Additionally, model parameters will present with a large range of options, and the current rate of 78% for females suggests that these have historically only been modified within a narrow band.

- “Wait and see, we’re gonna change a lot in the future.” But you’re not going to change much about the past? We might expect responses to this to be something like “it’s too much work, people (males) like sexy so it would ruin our income (you may not say this in public), etc.”

Again, I expect that the response (if any) will be political or at least somewhat defensive. It was simply my main purpose to highlight the issues in red posts in terms of their evasion of addressing the true issues. I respect the reds that have posted in the spirit of what I believe was their best effort to be honest and helpful, but it does not point to the fact that there is a true issue of female sexualization here, and the arguments and follow-ups have fallen short of closing the loop on the topic. I know you want to sell a product, Riot, but you sound (and have historically behaved) pretty obviously similar to many other organizations when confronted with clear examples of sexism, regardless of your reasons and rationalizations. And to reiterate posts from before, I do truly love otherwise what you do as a game organization.
This is amazing, it needs way more than just 2 thumbs up.


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ZombieCakes

Senior Member

10-07-2012

Quote:
Originally Posted by Useless Kung Fu View Post
I hope Riot didn't actually take this person seriously. They skewed the numbers, basically made themselves the arbiter on what's sexual and what's not.

Their age estimations on the male champs are hilarious.
True, to me some of the male champs don't look as old as he says, but there is the fact that basically all female champions are under 30 years old (maybe Poppy and Anivia aren't..)


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SoBeNirvana

Adjudicator

10-07-2012

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kushad Shiba Lee View Post
Money-money-moneyyyy!

All this time and effort you put into writing out this essay which you state you simply don't understand why 3.5% of guys are sexualized vs the 78% of girls. While these statistics are entirely subjective and based on your PoV alone, the fact of the matter iiisssss......... SE.X SELLS! Surprise surprise!

Also, let me give you some insight on how a male's brain works. Yea, we see MF's, Sona's, Ahri's, and 78% of the female human's bodies and think, "wow that's se.xy". We then proceed to buy these champs and their skins because we like it. However, when Riot releases a champion like Kayle, Riven, Leona, or Shyvana, we not only think "oh wow, she looks cool", we think "she would look so much more attractive in this pose, or this outfit". Hence the Bunny Girl Riven, Officer Caitlyn, Frostblade Irelia, etc..

This might not be the case with all men, but when I see a cool and strong female human champion, I think about how they would look in a "se.xy" (I'll get to that) outfit. The persona is already there. We know Riven, Irelia, Shyvana, and Leona are badasses, they are strong women. But the thing with men is we love vulnerability in women. We love to see what's behind the armor, what's beneath that helmet, and what's underneath those clothes.

This is how we, as men, are programmed. We love seeing the more vulnerable side of women. Unfortunately for you, vulnerability is what men find se.xy. For me it's more attractive in stronger women than anything else - seeing a tough girl that can whoop my ass in a bunny girl outfit is showing me vulnerability, and that is f*cking SE.XY, and that is what makes Riot MONEY!

No matter how covered up a female champion is, we would only love it more to see them sexualized (vulnerable). Take Sejuani for example. If she was fully clothed, say with Mordekaiser's armor, she would be a pretty cool looking champion. But if Riot releases a "Pool Side Sejuani" or "Beach Party Sejuani" with Sejuani in a bikini, lying down on the sand or a beach chair under an umbrella while her boar is diving into water, I would buy that skin in a heart beat.

This skin will sell pretty well, even though Sejuani is one of the most underplayed champions.

Hope this helped clear things up.
Actually, it doesn't. Significant sociological studies have determined that oversexualized females turn away both male and female consumers. It keeps happening because of institutional sexism as well as advertisers and artists not updating with the times.


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ZombieCakes

Senior Member

10-07-2012

Quote:
Originally Posted by ZombieCakes View Post
True, to me some of the male champs don't look as old as he says, but there is the fact that basically all female champions are under 30 years old (maybe Poppy and Anivia aren't..)
Why did I even get a thumbs down for that? xD