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Author Topic: Alternative female mage art?  (Read 28810 times)

Aylin

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Re: Alternative female mage art?
« Reply #15 on: December 27, 2013, 09:50:09 AM »
I'm not trying to distract from the points made, but I'm honestly curious. What is wrong with the forcemaster's art?

It's a bit more subtle than most of the others, but from her card and the box art it's clear that she's wearing wedge-style thigh-high boots and a skin-tight leather corset (you can see the boning).

Heels, even wedge-style ones, are highly impractical for walking over any ground that isn't flat. Even running over flat ground in them isn't a good idea (one pebble has a good chance of making you twist your ankle), and they're on a mage that fights in melee over uneven ground.

And of course, corsets restrict your mobility and breathing...both of which make engaging in combat more difficult.

Some of her other clothes are also ill-suited to combat, but they're not nearly as bad (skirt, cloak, choker).

Aylin

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Re: Alternative female mage art?
« Reply #16 on: December 27, 2013, 10:06:07 AM »
Have you seen how heated many of us get about in game rules issues? Do you really think it's realistic to expect everyone to be civil when they engage in or even just see this much more significant real-life topic of discussion? No matter what one's views are on this topic, most people who read about it get upset.

What do you think most prospective players would think when they see us arguing on these forums about the finer points of politics, society, history and philosophy, instead of mage wars? They would think, "these are angry stuffy people who can't just relax and enjoy the game". Or maybe they'll think that "mage wars is too complex and stressful to get into, hence why people argue about other things." Neither of those are true of course, but that doesn't change the real possibility that people might think that and that those thoughts will influence how well mage wars sells.

We should keep this sort of discussion to private messaging, at least for now. That way only forum members will see it.

As long as the discussion is civil (and moderators can remove posts only meant to inflame or edit out insults and the like in other posts), what exactly is the problem with talking about it? Some people (who actually visit the forums) might dislike that we're talking about it in a sub-forum not devoted entirely to rules, game mechanics, spells, strategy, etc. but most wouldn't I suspect. Also you're ignoring prospective players who might see the discussion and be happy that current players want to make the game better (by reducing sexism).

Aylin

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Re: Alternative female mage art?
« Reply #17 on: December 27, 2013, 11:30:04 AM »
(Dons flameproof Elemental Cloak and ventures into this political minefield...)


Mage Wars is escapism in a Swords & Sorcery world.

Swords & Sorcery, epitomised by Frank Frazetta's "classic" Conan art, is incredibly sexist in its depictions.
Frank Frazetta sexualised both the women and the men in his art (some Conan art was very homoerotic).
If anyone has read Robert Howard's Conan books, they are incredibly sexist, a sign of the times back then.
We have Lotus Nightshade and maybe other reverential references to Conan literature within Mage Wars.
Howard wasn't a Professor of Linguistics like Tolkien who created languages, he was pure Pulp Fantasy.

Does its background Sword & Sorcery heritage make the blatant sexualisation of women in Pulp Fantasy ok?
No, it's not ok. But it's in keeping with the 70s retro tone that most of the Mage Wars art so far seems to have.

The real question is: "is it offensive?"

The answer is yes. Pointing out other instances of bigotry (against various groups) doesn't make this one more ok.

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This is very difficult because I'm normally a political correct person (belonging to at least 2 minorities).

I'm pretty surprised at you over this one, honestly. I don't even know how to respond to this right now. Just...wow.

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But gaming, especially this game which is so theme heavy like a roleplaying duel, is pure escapism.

I've therefore come to the conclusion that stereotyping in escapist literature is fine if that genre is far from reality.
This "distance from reality" check is an important criteria so as to ensure perception is not transfered to real life.
Because that's when it stops being harmless fun and becomes detrimental to the objectified societal segment.

Can't the game be escapist without the sexism?
And is the game supposed to only be escapist for men? It's fairly hard to "escape" from a world where way too many people think the value of women is solely based on their looks and cooking skill into a world where...all the women are wearing either super-skimpy or ridiculous outfits obviously designed to appeal to the aforementioned people.

And, to broaden the conversation a little bit, is it only supposed to be escapist for white people? The only non-white mage that isn't a fantasy monster is the J. Beastmaster...who is depicted as a savage fighting off white colonial invaders.

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We all (even if in denial) associate racial stereotypes, both in real life and in fantasy.

That doesn't make those racial stereotypes ok, or something that should just be ignored.

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Gender stereotyping will occur because men and women are instrinscally different.
To pretend otherwise is do a disservice to the strengths of each gender that we should celebrate.

Men and women aren't that different. Many of the gender stereotypes are untrue, exaggerated to the extreme, or culturally enforced. They're also extremely harmful to both genders, like the idea the men are providers and women are nurturers hurts both genders a lot, since this makes it harder for men to reach a fair custody arrangement during a divorce and causes discrimination against women with children in the workplace.

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It is no coincidence that Star Trek Voyager's ratings went up after Seven of Nine was introduced.
And that's crucial here: this game is trying to appeal to the broadest segment of its target market.
It needs to appeal because it needs to sell; that's the bottom line here, not a political statement.

I think the game is strong enough to not need to resort to blatant sexism to sell copies. Several of the mechanics are unique and fun, most of the rules are intuitive, the fights feel pretty epic, etc. I would honestly be surprised if there was anyone who would not have purchased this game if the female mages and creatures were actually wearing something more appropriate for combat.

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Elves are effete, drink wine (or elderberry juice), often vegetarian, maybe eco-warriors, maybe logical (Vulcan)
Dwarves are gruff, quaff ale, sharpen axes, wear piercings and tattoos, honour death in battle (Viking, Klingon)
Goblins are short, cunning, back-stabbing, avaricious, hatch plots that backfire hence often comedic (Ferengi)

I cut out most of the above, since it just seemed to be more-or-less the same argument repeated a few times, but you're comparing stereotyping women and fantasy races here??? Stereotyping Elves, fantasy Dwarves, or Goblins doesn't hurt anyone in real life because none of those races are real.

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I advise MW to appeal to more than Middle America's White Male Heterosexuals if they are to break new markets.

The first thing in your post I agree with.

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The occasional humourous subversion of these cliche stereotypes would be great.
Everything is po-faced, even flavour text, that this lack of poking fun at itself makes depictions more dangerous.
We see this role-reversal in Pixar animation where the beautiful damsel rescues the prince (it's become cliche).
There is absolutely no such subversion in Mage Wars: it's so straightforwardly stereotypical, it's embarrassing.
Geeks are blessed with intelligence and frankly, some of it may condescend them.

...

Add humour so that any perceived sexism can be deflected as lacking a sense of humour.
Make it work both ways - yes, that does mean an armoured Xena and a Tarzan-like himbo.
Subvert stereotypes (carnivorous plants was a lost opportunity for humourous vegetarian diet flavour text).
Don't patronise fans: it's a complex game and its fans are proud of their intelligence so pander to it instead.

And...we're back to disagreeing again. That was unfortunately short-lived.

The "oh, this obviously sexist/racist/hetero-normative/etc thing is supposed to a joke!" argument is pretty bad. It doesn't change the fact that it's still sexist/racist/etc. and that still hurts people. Pretending something is supposed to be a joke doesn't give someone license to be bigoted. I'm frankly quite appalled that you would suggest that, especially after you've said that you belong to two minority groups.



To Arcane Wonders:

Please stop sexualizing the female mages and creatures, and please add more mages and creatures into the game that aren't white. Your game is a good one, but the (probably unintended) white male mage/creature is the default thing is pretty bad and makes it harder to appeal to women or racial minorities. You've already got an almost equal number of male and female mages, and if you continue that trend (adding in more racially diverse mages, some more [dressed!] female creatures, and some fan-service male mages you could probably make the gender and racial diversity a selling point. Some of the people I've recommended this game to have told me they don't want to give money to yet another company that treats female characters as fan-service for all the male players.

DeckBuilder

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Re: Alternative female mage art?
« Reply #18 on: December 27, 2013, 11:58:53 AM »
Oh Lord, save us from militant liberal do-gooders...

Aylin, as you keep highlighting my minorities, a card that I usually refuse play (my mistake for off-hand mentioning it), I can speak from personal experience that I cringe when I get defended by do-gooders who have no first hand experience, who believe in divisive policies like positive discrimination (why not pay compensation for slavery?) and celebrate ghetto-ising society, be it physically or within society, rather than integration. This constant highlighting of difference is the last thing that minorities want, acceptance not marginalisation.

It is laudable you feel so strongly about the objectification of women in our media (games is just another medium). I suspect measured advocates of a more balanced view (because men are shamelessly stripped naked in media far more than women) will not thank you for your half-read and carefully edited rant.

So if you wish to alienate more undecideds and do your cause more disservice, please continue to rant away. :)

It's all fun and games until someone loses an eye. And then it's just fun.

DarthDadaD20

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Re: Alternative female mage art?
« Reply #19 on: December 27, 2013, 12:12:36 PM »
In the words of my wife: I told you so.  :-X

(I wounder how many other games have to deal with this......I honestly have never seen it before in all my 18 years of gamming. Cant we just go back to complaining that these games are evil???? Im starting to almost miss that. *No I am not...you see a pile of magic cards being burnt once in your life and you never look at society the same way again)
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Within Shad0w.

Laddinfance

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Re: Alternative female mage art?
« Reply #20 on: December 27, 2013, 12:15:27 PM »
Everybody, we need to keep this as rant free as possible. I think this has been a good discussion, just keep everything civil. This is just a friendly reminder.

Also, I am reading this post  ;) and Arcane Wonders is listening. Hopefully we'll be able to make something out of this.

Trotsky

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Re: Alternative female mage art?
« Reply #21 on: December 27, 2013, 12:54:43 PM »
Good to hear the team are listening, it would be great to have some downloadable alternative artwork to keep the game inclusive...

Trotsky

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Re: Alternative female mage art?
« Reply #22 on: December 27, 2013, 12:59:07 PM »
Thanks Darthdada for your ideas.

DarthDadaD20

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Re: Alternative female mage art?
« Reply #23 on: December 27, 2013, 01:41:37 PM »
Yeah!  ;D Your welcome!

I really do hope that some simple aesthetic changes might help you in getting them to play: and even tell them that its something that AW is taking very seriously. Because they are. It has been talked about-trust me.

And I can understand their feelings, but I hope that 4-8 cards wouldn't stop them from playing an amazing game such as magewars.

You really could use just about anything to represent your mage. That could be part of the fun for them to get into it. Just tell them that their allowed to do so. (Which, technically they are for home games)
Where does my greatest enemy lie?
It has been around since the dawn of time,
it follows your loved ones as well as mine,
takes the form of a mountain as well as a flower,
it cannot be outrun by the greatest of power.
Where does my greatest enemy lie?
Within Shad0w.

ringkichard

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Re: Alternative female mage art?
« Reply #24 on: December 27, 2013, 02:41:29 PM »
Oh Lord, save us from militant liberal do-gooders...

As much as I'd love to make this discussion about me -- I admit to an unflattering vanity -- this is an important subject, and I think it's important not to make this kind of ad hominem argument. I am who I am, but it is my ideas you should be concerned with. They are right or wrong on their own merits, and are not any more right or wrong because of who I am or why I hold them.

But if we have to talk about people, I'd like to talk about my wife for a moment, because it is her ideas on this that have informed mine. Her degree is in art history, with an emphasis on costume and society. My degree is in graphic design and marketing, so we both took plenty of art history and critical theory, though she's far more equipped than I for any sort of rough-and-ready discussion of the history of gender, sexuality, attire, and illustration. We're both geeks, though her taste runs more to Jane Austin fanfic than high rules engagement board games.

Can you imagine what her reaction was to seeing the Joctari Beastmaster? I had difficulty convincing her that it was real. I can't imagine she'll ever be willing to give Mage Wars a try, and I can't really blame her. The embodied colonialism in that illustration is kind of staggering. Similarly, she loves the idea of Plants vs. Zombies, but any chance of hooking her interest with the Druid vs. Necromancer expansion was completely shot, as she recently reminded me, by the depiction of the Druid as a naked lady.

Now, understand that my wife is no prude. You can't be an art historian without confronting the vast history of naked ladies in Great Masters portraiture and sculpture. The so-called Venus of Willendorf is one of the oldest extant sculptures, and it's of a nude woman. And the Druid could have tied into that ancient tradition of earth-mother and been a fine archetypical spellcaster.

So by herself, the Druid might have been ok. Just like Fellella, by herself, could have been fine: she looks like Tinkerbell. And the Priestess, by herself, could have been fine (though with an outfit like that... worship of Asyra is probably not pg-13). Any one character, man or woman, can be ridiculous and porny, just like the Grey Angel is kinda doing a Fabio thing, and that's just fine. There's in-game, or in-world, or in-genre reasons for each of these characters individually to be sexy.

But when taken as a whole, my wife isn't interested in the in fiction justification, she wants to know why the art director on Earth chose this costume direction for all the women. Why did the chief of marketing define this product's target demographic in such a way that all this flesh and sex was a good idea?

In media criticism there is sometimes a distinction drawn between Watsonian and Doylist reasoning(warning, TVtropes). The name comes from Sherlock Holmes. Why did Holmes do something dumb? Watson will say it was because Holmes was preoccupied with his broken violin; Sir Arthur Conan Doyle will say that perhaps it was because the Author wrote himself into a corner and needed to break out somehow, and main-character error is more believable than any other sort of plot saving coincidence.

So the Doylist explanation for this sexist pattern is really what she'd like to know. And since my degree is in Marketing, and she's moderately anti-capitalist, she's happy to rib me about it. Because, of course, the art direction in this kind of fantasy game drives away women. That may not be Arcane Wonders' specific intention, but the broader cultural "game geek" market is gender segregated on purpose, as discussed in this great summary by Anjin Anhut.

Geeks, generally, are a marketer's dream demographic. They have disposable income because they generally have more money, they're neophiles, so they'll naturally be drawn to whatever new product is being sold, and most importantly, they're (we're) clannish, and like to associate their identities with things like media properties (Star Trek vs Star Wars) and technology standards (Xbox vs PS). Geeks will dress up as your mascot and go to conventions. They will get tattoos of your logo. And when you have them all together in neatly defined categories (this is the important part) it is exceptionally easy to target them with effective advertising.

And, unfortunately, the gamer geek market has been shaped into an overwhelmingly male one, as described by Anhut above. When your market is defined as men, you can target their (assumed, stereotypical) libido, and this has two effects. It wins over some portion of the men in your market, and it drives off some portion of the women. This is, in fact, desirable, because it means that in the future your libidinous marketing will be even more effective, because you've increased the proportion of susceptible consumers in your marketing tranche. Your cake is smaller, but that's fine, you've excluded inefficient targets.

And this is one way to run your brand, either accidentally, or intentionally. It does work. It just has other problems. Aside from gnawing on your soul, it will turn your market base into a monoculture. Your product's customers will all become more and more similar, and if something bad happens that strikes a chord with some of them, you may lose them all. Like the Irish trying to live on Potatoes alone, a plague can spread through your entire market and obliterate your entire customer base. You can Jar-Jar your brand.

Corporate brands hedge against this catastrophe by diversifying their brand lines. Pepsi is for children, Diet Pepsi is for women, Caffeine free diet Pepsi is for old people. Mountain Dew is for teen boys. Diet Mountain Dew is for men who wish they were still teen boys. Etc.

Arcane Wonders doesn't have this option, yet. Partially that's ok. They (we) make a niche product anyway, and expanding into another niche is difficult, even if its an adjacent niche. But remember that gamers are neophiles. We love shiny new things. As the game matures, AW releases updates to keep the experience fresh and expand the line, but sooner or later, I propose, the game may regret driving away all those women. And liberal do-gooders.
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Wildhorn

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Re: Alternative female mage art?
« Reply #25 on: December 27, 2013, 03:53:55 PM »
I won't talk with complex words to try to make my statement look likes better or more important (when people talk about religion, politic or sexism they tend to do that).

But personally, I like my women fat (big boobs, big ass and big belly). So... When will we see a female mage having these caracteristiques?

Also, I do not see people complaining about the all very muscular-testosteroneful male mages that Beastmaster, Warlord, Warlock and Priest are. I want more ugly, nerdish male mage... Why it is always about the females and never about the males that people complain?

To finish, I think that all the goblins look like way too muh goblinish. They should be less stereotyped in my opinion.

Laddinfance

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Re: Alternative female mage art?
« Reply #26 on: December 27, 2013, 04:47:05 PM »
Like the Irish trying to live on Potatoes alone, a plague can spread through your entire market and obliterate your entire customer base. You can Jar-Jar your brand.

+1 Banana Sticker for a Potato Famine Reference.

Shad0w

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Re: Alternative female mage art?
« Reply #27 on: December 27, 2013, 06:58:46 PM »
This has been talked about in thread form several times. The reason you can not find the threads is when when switched servers 2 or 3 times last year about 300 topics got lost in the move. I personaly lost about 175 posts.

I have spoke on this very topic at great length and had made stated my view clearly. I do not intend to reply on this further.

Like Laddin said as long as this continues in a civil manner I have no issues with allowing the discussion to happen but if it turns into a flame war or somebody tries to use it as a soapbox to force an idea onto others then we will no choice but to lock this thread.
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Shad0w

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Re: Alternative female mage art?
« Reply #28 on: December 27, 2013, 07:11:24 PM »
Oh Lord, save us from militant liberal do-gooders...

That is uncalled for. Please keep it civil
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Shad0w

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Re: Alternative female mage art?
« Reply #29 on: December 27, 2013, 08:48:45 PM »
I just did a huge search for the other threads and after looking over 136 pages of my personal posts all public threads on this topic are gone.  :-\

I also could not find the evolution of the Banana sticker.  :'(
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