Female Objectification in LoL: A Rational Response

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Valcio

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Senior Member

09-06-2012

I honestly think its an attitude issue rather than sexism, everithing you say about women being objectified can be aplied to males as well in lol.


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pucakuro

Senior Member

09-06-2012

ezreal is flat


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shaitara

Senior Member

09-06-2012

Holy **** who cares?


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Ellphi

Senior Member

09-06-2012

I beg to differ.

Lee Sin's well defined muscles and tight fitting skin is actually an indicator of dehydration and malnutrition rather than a statement to his strength. A real warrior does not look like Lee Sin. Lee Sin is an oversexualized model of what a male warrior actually looks like.


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IreScal

Senior Member

09-06-2012

Quote:
Originally Posted by mogonk View Post
The purpose of this post is twofold. First, to refute a common argument made against those who object to the portrayal of women in League. Second, to provide (substitute, even) a valid argument against those same people. I ask you to actually read the post before responding rather than kneejerk post or downvote simply based on the subject matter. I know, it's really long. Thanks.



1. Why "But Lee Sin is muscular and shirtless!" isn't a valid argument.

Isn't this a double standard? Why do these critics object to scantily clad attractive women, but not scantily clad attractive men? To answer this, we need to look at two factors, what is considered "attractive" and what is meant by "scantily clad".

Attractiveness

See, attractiveness isn't objective. It's a socially defined quantity. I could provide you with all sorts of examples, but I trust this much is commonly understood. What we have defined as attractive for men is very, very close to an athletic or martial appearance. For example:

An athlete/fighter: http://i.imgur.com/Cap97.jpg
A male model: http://i.imgur.com/wvDNL.jpg

See how those two guys have quite similar body types? Certainly the fighter has an "attractive" body, but it is attractive by a social standard that prizes strength, power, physical capability....in men. So, it's no surprise that men in LoL have the same type.

Male LoL champion: http://i.imgur.com/Hn3MJ.jpg

Let's look at a similar comparison for women.

An athlete/fighter: http://i.imgur.com/RJVyy.jpg
A female model: http://i.imgur.com/GcV03.jpg

See how those two women look completely different? See how the fighter is strong, bulky, and powerful, but the model is emaciated with large breasts? Now, take a moment to think, really think, about what these attractive traits represent. What do these traits say? Well, slender equates to weak, small, childlike (note the emphasis on hairlessness). Large breasts relates to motherhood in a literal sense, and less directly to sexuality. So while men are attractive because of strength, toughness, capability, women are attractive precisely because they lack strength, toughness and capability. So which kind of woman do we find in LoL?

Female LoL champion: http://i.imgur.com/2iPVh.jpg

Idk, you tell me.

The point? Quite simply, while portraying "attractive" men is consistent with portraying male warriors, portraying "attractive" women is not consistent with portraying female warriors, simply because our socially defined ideas of attractiveness for women do not include strength and athleticism. Yes, the shirtless warriors of 300 could have been underwear models. But they could also have been Spartan warriors. There isn't that much difference. We can believe it. But how believable would it be to cast Victoria's Secret models to play amazons? It is very, very clear that the priority is not to portray female warriors, but to portray attractive women. You really can't dispute that.

Exposed Skin

There have been any number of male warriors throughout history, and very few female ones, so how men dress for battle is well known, and how women dress for battle is mostly speculative. Most information on female warriors indicates that they dressed like their male counterparts. Joan of Arc wore armor. Men's armor, with no individually formed cups to hold her breasts or metal high heels. Celtic women fought naked, just like the men. And so on. In each case, the garb chosen was chosen for practical purposes or based on existing (unisex) customs.

In other words, Lee Sin being shirtless is quite obviously not a sexualized portrayal of a man, because his default costume is based on the clothing of Shaolin monks. But why is Sona wearing a low-cut gown? Why is Janna wearing only a bustier and the world's most transparent skirt? The costumes of the female champs are quite clearly neither styled on any real-world warrior attire nor chosen for practical purposes. They are overtly decorative, and highly revealing. It is very difficult, in light of that, to make an argument that these costumes do not suggest a sexualized portrayal of women.

So when you make female champs that are built like strippers and then dress them like strippers: yes, that is sexual objectification of women. There is no way around it. And no, it is not a double standard, what goes into a shirtless muscular champ like Lee Sin is absolutely different than a stripperific* champ like Janna.

*I am very fond of strippers, so if you happen to be one please do not misconstrue this as an insult. <3



2. Why "But Lee Sin is muscular and shirtless!" doesn't have to be a valid argument, or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the League.

Jesus wept, people. LoL is a video game. A free video game that you play online. Do I need to go over the history of our silly little medium for you? Do I need to show you pictures of Lara Croft? Or Dead or Alive? DO I??? Yes, women in LoL are objectified. Why would you expect LoL to be any different than...uhm...every video game, tv show and movie ever made? I'm just baffled by your expectations here.

And you know what? LoL isn't very important. It's fun. That's why we play it. But in the words of our friend P.G. "Oh my God, who the hell cares?". If you're going to rail against sexism (and you should, I heartily endorse railing against things in general), why on Earth would you choose some online game of which the player base is 90% adolescent boys? What could possibly be less significant to the cause of fair and equal gender norms than this? That is not a rhetorical question. I really can't think of anything that matters less.

Anyway. That's what I think.
I like your post, OP. Seems well thought out and I like the points you made to reference your conclusions.

I do have one small disagreement with you: Janna being nearly nude, as it were, I think helps her maintain control of her air-power. Nothing measures better than the skin's touch to air. Now, had you argued Sivir... i mean seriously, she needs some armor.


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DeusExLamina

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Senior Member

09-06-2012

I don't know about you, but Sejuani is really athletic looking. I'll bet most female gamers would just look at a specific part of her splash art and say it's objectification rather than her being a barbarian-type of character, though. Diana and Leona (especially Leona) aren't sexualized at all, but good examples of a female assassin and paladin-type character respectively done right. Lux is also not objectified in any way, but a magical girl type character.

Similar things could be said for most female champions released in the past two or so years. MF and Leblanc are the only real two pieces of eye candy (Ahri's debatable), while women have tons of idealized guys to look at in this game.


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Maestro Kenteko

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09-06-2012

It's very likely that many of the traits that people see in athletic women as well as models are combined into the current on going design of female champions. The clothing choice given to females as opposed to men within League comes down to societal norms as well as how women tend to dress when compared to men, as well.

Remember that, in general, guys can just get away with a polo shirt and/or a suit and be considered attractive. Women on the other hand have a very large diversity in clothes and styles which they can utilize to be attractive, nevermind the issue of skirts/pants and sheer tops or the like. Most of modern society would fidget at the sight of a guy in a kilt, whether we want to admit it or not, but some people prefer women in skirts over pants, and so on. That's not to say that men cannot have diverse clothing styles, it just tends to be more narrow on a macro level simply due to the inherent standards we set.

In addition, the big difference that tends to get shown between female fighters and female models is that of muscle mass, which itself may not be that far apart depending on the type of model you're talking about. Looking at the pictures of models and fighters in this thread, the marked difference is very likely the visible muscle the fighter has, which makes sense (setting aside the issue of bust size). Interestingly enough, Valkyrie Leona in game actually has defined abs (even if the splash doesn't) and Sejuani is definitely more muscular in her splash then most other female champions.

There is no inherent problem with female body types as much as there is a problem with the idealized female figure being seen to be one or two specific things. The funny part is that people go out of their way to claim that all women are sexualized and over the top, but seem to adamantly ignore the yordles, Anivia, and Annie (last I checked, there's no male child. zomg Riot), thus creating a double standard in and of itself.


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YUSONAMES

Senior Member

09-06-2012

Quote:
Originally Posted by mogonk View Post
-Snip-
Get out of here feminist.
Also
Trinstana
Lulu
Leona
Blitzcrank
Anivia
last i check irelia wears full body armor.
Kayle
Poppy

Come up with a better argument next time.


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OH NO ITS LU BU

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Senior Member

09-06-2012

Anytime I see someone start an argument with "A Rational Response" I know their argument is going to end not with continued debate or fact, or even the understanding of generalization and exceptions to the rule, but with an appeal to a person's *very particular in this case)sense of taste or opinion. At the end of the day, people are passionate about League, whether you are or aren't, so saying "It's just a game" is insulting and pandering to their passion.


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Light LaserTower

Senior Member

09-06-2012

OP how new are you to earth?

200 years ago until the birth of humans man has been the dominate ***. Men would do hard labour and defend the lands. Thus being a wall of muscle is attractive as it hits on these instincts.

Tank women are not attractive because they come off as not very nurturing and not very well built to bear children.

The reason hips drive men nuts is because of instincts you can not change instincts.


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