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Well armed, large breasted women put people off games?

Started by Clay, July 22, 2001, 04:36:00 PM

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I don't want to make anyone angry, but how are we sure that God forbids adultery? Sure God is infallible, but the 10 commandments passed through several people's mouths (and pens) before reaching us. Maybe Moses paraphrased, or didn't understand because his limited human mind couldn't fathom God's exact intent. Maybe whomever committed the events of Moses bringing the 10 commandments down from the mountain for posterity misunderstood or misrepresented the details. How many times was the account of Moses transcribed before making it into the Bible? How many different languages did it go through? The possibilities for human error are uncountable. I've played too many games of telephone to accept God's word second hand, third hand or worse.

This is why it is impossible to institute absolutes on a debate of ethics. It's not a matter of faith in God, it's a matter of faith in historians and scribes.


Ron Edwards

And this is exactly what Seth meant by going off-topic.

Dav and Cameron, both of you have done exactly what I asked people not to: examining the fundamentals of others' starting points. Your posts are exactly the kind of thing that belongs on private e-mail to the person in question.

This is not an open forum on philosophical foundations of our various outlooks. It is a symposium regarding certain images or concepts in the context of role-playing design.

For instance, Seth and I have very different notions about what a "fact" is. It serves no purpose to play pick-pick in public and all we'd come up with would be reiterations of our fundamentals.

C'mon, how about some dignity? Could we get back to talking about bare breasts, please?



Back to bare breasts ...

I've noticed, since three women joined my game group, that the games have gotten far smuttier, and it's mostly their fault. Further, my friend Bill Stoddard (of GURPS Steampunk fame) has a mostly female group, and it's extemely x-rated.

Has anyone else noticed this effect? Are women in general -more- pornographic than men in role-playing games?

           - James


QuoteHas anyone else noticed this effect? Are women in general -more- pornographic than men in role-playing games?

Maybe. Thinking of my own game, um, insufficient data. Two of three female players' characters have gotten some, while only one of about five male players has, but one seduction for each gender was initiated by an NPC. (Which makes me the sleaze, I guess!) That's in a PBEM. Our FTF campaign has one permanent female player; while her first character had a romance, she's no">Prince Carton.

Certainly I feel that if there is anything we can do to attract more well-armed, large-breasted women to the hobby, we should do it. Short of us all leaving the hobby. Which is maybe what it would take.

But where was I! Oh yeah - coming from amber-l and the Everway list, not to mention my own PBEM, the lack of women on the Forge and GO seems very weird. And rgfa puts paid to any "women aren't very theoretical" explanation of their absence here: some of the most useful theoretical work done on that forum was done by women.

So the first question is, How can we attract more well-armed, large-breasted women to the Forge? I believe I have seen lists of usenet newsgroups devoted specifically to well-armed, large-breasted women. Perhaps we could post invitations there?



[ This Message was edited by: Supplanter on 2001-07-24 23:15 ]
Unqualified Offerings - Looking Sideways at Your World
20' x 20' Room - Because Roleplaying Games Are Interesting


C'mon, how about some dignity? Could we get back to talking about bare breasts, please?

And said with a straight face, too!  Applause!
Seth Ben-Ezra
Dark Omen Games
producing Legends of Alyria, Dirty Secrets, A Flower for Mara
coming soon: Showdown

Uncle Dark

I've both GMed and played in groups that were 50-80% female.  I think the "smut factor" is not nescesarily a gender thing.

Some of the raunchiest players I know are female.  Some of the primmest players I know are female.  Depends on the female.

The females I've played with from the bi-poly-pagan sector of my life have been pretty out there.  (Yay!!!)  Others weren't.

About the only taste (or lack thereof) in gaming that seems to me to be gender related is a narrativist vs. other GNS  positions.

Reality is what you can get away with.


Wow. Pretty nervous here. Haven't been to the forge for a while, and now I feel compelled to reply because I feel I have been "there", front row seat.

A bit about me, so that you know where I come from:

-I was an assistant-photographer a dozen years ago. I worked with furniture (commercial) but also models (fashion) and of course your everyday customer (From average workingman to athletes who wants a pic (and yes, some of those were nudes) of him/herself.

-My girlfriend is an artist. She has worked in many fields using many tools. She does 3D commercial projects, video editing. She draws and paint too. Yes, I've seen some naked women a few times at home. :smile: She has done so far one roleplaying project. A couple of illos only.

-In the last 10 years, my groups have met or exceeded a 50% female ratio. So I game with women a lot. But of course, it is but a small sample. YMMV.

-Recently, I have worked in the music industry. I've searched for talents here and there, and been a sound engineer in a studio.

So that's it. And yes, I believe all that was relevant. Now, on to my views:

I should start by saying I have mixed feelings about the whole thing. I believe roleplaying are on a tightrope right now. For a lot of reasons. Doing everything we can to bring more *people* to this hobby is *sound* thinking.

A logical starting point, once you have tapped in only one target group, is to see how you can expand this. I will suggest that some ethnical/cultural groups have been virtually ignored. It's not just women. It's a lot of people everywhere. So once we're done with breasts, may I suggest we talk about this ? (If it has been covered, I apologize).

Next, I will give a few reasons why I am concerned, and later, I'll give a few reasons why I am not (as I said mixed feelings)

Why I think there's more sex in RPG art than needed:

As far as I'm concerned (I hope I won't sound cynical or anything) ethics and business are pretty much unrelated, despite what business people claim. The goal is often to sell, and every shortcuts will be taken if necessary.

Unfortunately, it's not always necessary. And that's where I think many companies have failed. I do not remember seeing a naked woman on my original 1st edition AD&D books. Come to think of it... there were NO woman depicted. Yet, it is undeniable that the game was targetting specifically MALE customers. No women were depicted on the products at all, and the only gender mechanic was a penalty to women (on strenght) with nothing to offset this. (Those two facts are not meant to be sole evidences. They are not. Ask anyone who worked at TSR at the time. They were NOT targetting women).
Now, the fact D&D was a humongous success to a male audience kind of proves you do not absolutely *need* to put a babe on the cover to sell to male.

Here's another thing: Lessening impact. If you've ever seen wrestling, you definitly know what I mean. There are a few rules of thumb to this:

Rule number 1-If everyone does it, you're lost in the crowd.
I have lived the experience "from the front row". The first time a heavy metal band decided to proudly sing in french in my province, everybody loved the idea. Just the CONCEPT, the IDEA brought people in. More bands tried it when they saw it worked. But eventually, nobody cared. It wasn't a novel point anymore.

Even if you assume you will attract some people who want to see flesh, chances are your (poorly thought out) business plan is presently ignoring other people with other needs. Find those needs, pinpoint them. Now, be careful. When I say "poorly thought out" I speak of breasts being showed just for the sake of it. Pidge (The Last Exodus) is tring to make a statement with the cover of TLE. Yes, attracting "nudie fans" certainly HELPED in making the decision. But at least, there's an underlying reason behind it.

Rule number 2-Can you up the ante, punk ?
Basically, people get accustomed to those stunts. And sooner or later, the bar is raised (if I may say so). How far will you go ? Just watch wrestling to get the general idea. It gets lower and lower every week. Pretty soon, they will simulate full rape scenes (they're pretty close) if they keep this up. So, once you take a certain path, know that it is VERY difficult to stop.

YOU might not be willing to go past a certain point. But at that point, what do you do ? If you keep the same strategy, customers might, *might* go elsewhere.

Or suppose you decide to change strategy ? There might be no turning back.
Take Dragon magazine, for instance. Go grab issue 280, please. Have it ? Ok. Check that section on fan mail. In it, you will find out that WotC admit they have received a LOT of mail regarding depiction (or lack thereof) of attractive, sexy female in WotC's new products. (In case some people would not know, WotC's new plan was to attract more female. They decided to pretty much abolish cheesecake, and use non-derogatory gender use by splitting rules explanation between him and her, he and she, etc...).

Now, what do they do ??? They're caught, in a way. Because over the year, they have relied on unimaginative art (chainmail bikini ad nauseum) years ago, people in place now do "suffer" the consequence. The fanbase is there. They demand their monthly dose of flesh. (Why would someone whine about this instead of buying a zine such as Playboy or even Photo is beyond me, but well...)

So, apparently, they will correct this, or so they said. (I haven't picked up the zine since 280, can someone tell me if changes were indeed made ?) But the tone was not happy. I suspect they will try to please everybody (which, in the end, can sometimes be the WORST way to go).

As you can see, the laws of "lessening impact" may be cruel. You should not take them too lightly. On the bright side, a small business is under the radar, and often, the fanbase are more "rational". The "angry mob" of D&D fans are more formidable than all other fans combined. It is still something to think about.

Will your views change ? Think about it. If the answer is "no, I am perfectly comfortable with this" then good for you ! :smile: I am not Madonna, I respect her freedom of choice. I just would not like raise kids after having done what she has done. (Please, PLEASE... I beg of you to take this as my FEELINGS on the matter. Take it in context :smile: ). Basically, you need to be comfortable and proud of what you do, if only for your general happiness.

Here's the most important issue. I don't even remember if it's been discussed on this (lloooonggg) thread: These are games. Games, by definition, whether we like it or not.... should be targetted at kids first. Now, hang on here. I'm not about to make a judgment here. I'm not going to tell you how you should feel, how appropriate selling stuff to kids using sexual content is.

But have you thought about *their parents*. I understand this is not as big a concern here. Because many designers here are not trying to appeal to the masses. Many don't even target children at all. But if the inside of your book has been designed to be "acceptable" to the average parent... make sure the cover is too. (While we're at it... why not make sure the cover is always representative of what the book is about ? :smile: )

I'd say at *least* 25% of the purchase at the main shop in montreal is made by parents, relatives... people who have nothing to do with gaming, and who might have second thoughts if they find a book "distasteful".

I could add to that, that a small percentage out of the remaining 75% may come from girlfriends. I know a few girls who gladly offer RPG gifts to their loved one. But I garantee a few of them will NEVER offer "The Last Exodus" :smile:

My last argument (but it's been said often in this thread) is that yes, I believe strongly that this DOES perpetuate myths, stereotypes. The cult to the perfect body (a body that has all the APPEARANCE of being perfect... but not always is). Plastic surgery, marginalization. You've heard it all before. Yadda yadda. On that point, I do not claim to have EVEN anecdotal informations. I'm at a loss. I haven't studied beyond the required basic psychology courses in college.

oh, here's a bonus one: the fascination for bigger and bigger breasts is VERY unhealthy. It creates irrealistic expectations in males and females. Cheesecake is one thing. Buying your girlfriend sexy lingerie is one thing. Buying her a new pair of boobs is pretty moronic. (I realize the last paragraph was a personnal comment. Sorry, but couldn't help it).

That's it. Now...

Why I do not mind cheesecake:

Well, basically, I like women :smile: I appreciate beauty. I *try* to paint myself. I love nature, I love animals. I also love the human body. And being Heterosexual... the female body does please me a lot. :smile: (I can say I don't particularly like big breasts, though :smile: )

But here's a more interesting thing: Does the use of suggestive art REALLY bother females ? A few of you have asked, and with good reason.

Apparently, that strategy DOES work in pop culture and entertainment. And roleplaying is DEFINITLY an entertainment form. The Spice Girls, Britney Spears, Madonna, Charlie's Angels.

It worked for guys and gals alike, it seems. Not only does it appeal to women and girls... it appeals to children... and their parents don't seem to mind. Grown women apparently had fun watching the silliness in "Charlie's Angels". (The question is, did they tolerate it because it was silly ON PURPOSE ?). Britney is this super mega young bomb. Basically everything that seems unnacceptable. A very very young girl with unbelievable raw sexual vibe. As much as some people *complain*, it sure seems to be a viable marketing path. It works. It sells.

Another aspect: female empowerment through sexual affirmation. The whole girl power thing. Some feel that yes, there is a return to sexuality (after the "grundge years") in pop culture. And that more than ever, woman need to show beauty, as long as it's not a submissive gimmick. Again, I'm way out of my league here. But I DO think women, as depicted by Royo, look very powerful to me. Matter of fact all gamers at my table have to either draw a pic, or find a pic somewhere for their characters. It has not been uncommon for them to choose sexy women... including Royo's works.

Here's a weaker one: The ratio between *female GMs* and *male GMs* is even MORE unequal than the ratio of *female players* and  *male players*. If this one is indeed true (it seem to be based on every anecdotical sources I have come across), then an argument could be made that "you appeal to a male audience" and IN TURN, it's THEIR job to appeal to females. (Basically, the argument is that women won't even "experiment" the marketing aspect.

Considering that the prime buying source of products are GMs, and that male GMs by far outnumber females... why not market it to them ? After all, many of my players have NEVER seen the covers of the products I use. They aren't disturb by the Unknown Armies cover... they've never seen it :smile: I'm the one who use these systems. In many games not involving book flipping, they never read a word.

I've used The Story Engine and they didn't even know WHAT IT WAS CALLED. I just asked them to throw dice, that's all.

(Of course, this beg the question. Is it true that there are even less female GMs, and why ? But it has nothing to do with cheesecake IMO. It STILL need to be adressed, the sooner the better.)

Last but not least: May people just don't mind. Male and female. They just have no issue with cheesecake. There is a vocal minority out there. And some kind of overreaction. To say the truth, there are many products without cheesecake at all. It's not some kind of disease. And yes... it IS a fantasy. Women are very social creature. In many games, female players INSIST in playing romantic moments, intense relationship. Our look is a powerful instrument of interaction.

That "body" language *is* a tool used in real life. Many women DO want to play beautiful and/or sexy women. Because in real life they also WANT to be beautiful and sexy (for good or bad reasons... I think getting deeper would turn this in a full-blown social commentary).

If you forget the REALISTIC aspects of ridiculous protection offered by chainmail bikini... well you get an outfit that would certainly have been weared in a world such as Forgotten Realms. It happens that the Realms are mostly played with D&D. A game that is not too concerned with accuracy, and all about heroism. So, there's an argument there that cheesecake can be an accurate depiction of this (and many others) fantasy world.

That's it. I'm done with my pros and cons.

Cheesecake is everywhere around us. It's in every form of entertainment. Even those who target VERY young audiences. This is a valid subject, but let's keep in mind this is much bigger than RPGs. And as it's been demonstrated here, it's also a touchy subject for many.

When my girlfriend illustrated some parts from "Apocalypse" (a CORPS supplement), she had to take her first RPG decision on the subject. One picture depicts a giant crocodile (a MONSTER, really). We discussed several concepts. To illustrate the size of that critter, she decided for the classic use of a human figure nearby.

And yes, after much thoughts, she went for a woman, half naked (the other half in the water). The only thing that hides her breast is her arms (she's washing her hair, if I remember right, and an elbow hides a minimum of flesh).

Since CORPS was using VERY small illos, the impact is MUCH less provocative than the full-size drawing we still have at home :smile:

That was also taken into account. And those will be my last words. You can decide whatever you will. You can say whatever you want to yourself and/or to everybody else. But every decision you make DOES make a small impact in a large scale, worldwide culture. Just don't pretend it means nothing. It does. It already has through the decades. Culture has changed the mindsets of millions of people. It does every day. Be responsible.

Hope I didn't bore you all :smile:

Take care !




I agree that this should go to personal mail, but I'd like to do more flag-setting, so everyone interested can be aware of which drivers are informing my analyses.

I'm a Marxist (well a Trotskyist actually) and I do not accept the equivalence model as applied by Nike etc.; IMO this is merely western rationalisation of oppression.  And given their attendence at the anti-capitalist demos (frex Genoa recently), its pretty clear those Nike workers don't agree with the rationalisation either.  As Naomi Klein pointed out, it is conspicuous that the few buildings in the Nike stable which do not bear the swoosh are the buildings in which their products are actually manufactured.

If you'd like, I would be happy to provide you with a detailed analysis of the flaws in the capitalist theory of value, and an outline of its prime competitor, the labour theory of value, as outlined by Marx and later authors.
Impeach the bomber boys:

"He who loves practice without theory is like the sailor who boards ship without a rudder and compass and never knows where he may cast."
- Leonardo da Vinci


On 2001-07-24 23:13, Supplanter wrote:

But where was I! Oh yeah - coming from amber-l and the Everway list, not to mention my own PBEM, the lack of women on the Forge and GO seems very weird. And rgfa puts paid to any "women aren't very theoretical" explanation of their absence here: some of the most useful theoretical work done on that forum was done by women.

I've heard that both Amber and Everway are actually known for having an above average number of female players. Assuming that's true, it would be interesting to know. Everway certainly makes a conscious effort to be inclusive, but there may be other factors at work.
It would be interesting if there was any actual hard data on this. Does anyone if this has ever been examined?


Here are some opinions, and observations, not strictly on topic I am afraid, but quite related, at least written in direct reply to previous mails posted here;

Observation  No. 1:
In Saudi Arabia, Mr. Ben-Ezra's point of view is the state policy. Customs officers confiscate (or tear out of magazines) pictures and illustrations of women when one enters the country. Please note that I do not doubt that Mr. Ben-Ezra is a distinguished gentleman, and would not advocate such policies.

Opinion No. 1:
Why females tend to play high charisma characters and also try to be sexy in real life, whereas men dump lowest scores to that score?
As comrade Contracycle correctly observes, this is the most important aspect of their gender role. A man need not be handsome, he can be strong, smart, talented, whatever, but for a woman the most important single virtue is sexual appeal. This is what we (the society) value in a woman. There is owerwhelming scientific evidence on this, I remember numerous very interesting psychological experiments, but won't go into detail.
Women (and men) react differently to this attitude. Some are frustrated by it, yet others (most, I'd say) consciously or unconsciously use it for their own ends. This is one of few weapons that they can employ in a male-dominated society. (This is also why they are not all pro- or anti-cheesecake or don't play similar characters.)
We think that a good-loking woman is valuable, difficult to obtain, so it is easy for them to seem powerful, or rich or anything, with the addition of a suitable prop, i.e. a gun.
When thinking beyond my gut reactions, big breasted women with guns don't seem powerful and commanding, they seem pathetic (if doing it unconsciously), or at best cunning (if conscious about it). I remember someone has written something about how embarassing these models in chain mail bikinis seemed in a gaming convention. For the male role, having to use one's sexual appeal to obtain power is somewhat embarassing (I called it pathetic). With all the talk of emancipation of women, and equality of sexes going around, I suspect that this is why he felt that way.

Observation No. 2:
I remember seeing this plain-looking olympic medallist (or similar decoration) female shooter from the Turkish Army. She did not have her breasts bursting out from her officer's uniform. I admit that she did not seem so dangerous or powerful. So this 'power' in depiction is illusionary, real 'power' lies in talent, skill or similar less obvious things.

Opinion No. 2:
Finally I think this gender role division is natural. My perspective is similar to that of evolutionary psychology, if anyone is familiar with this. This is also why I see no point writing things like 'yes I like women'.
But, on the other hand, I also believe that this is unethical. For me 'ethical' is not equal
to 'natural', 'religious', or 'profitable'. So I dislike cheescake art in RPGs. What I can do about this is to be  sceptical about games with this kind of depiction of women. And maybe to discuss the issue in forums...

This is how I see the issue, and I hope I did not sound too good. Thank you for your valuable attention,

Gizem Forta
- third world is watching you

John Wick

I'm not sure if anyone's addressed the points I'd like to make (there are a LOT of replies to this thread), but I'll give it a try.

I have no problem with cheesecake. I don't see why exaggerated sexual organs should give anyone a problem.


Yeah, sure. It's an exaggeration. Sue me. But there it is.

And I'll stick by my guns on a previous quote: "Ain't nothing sexier than a woman who can kill you."

Take care,
Carpe Deum,


When thinking beyond my gut reactions, big breasted women with guns don't seem powerful and commanding, they seem pathetic (if doing it unconsciously), or at best cunning (if conscious about it).

I suspect that if the woman has any familiarity with the weapon, you'll find she has a good deal of power over the immediate situation.  Her boobs are unlikely to interfere. As someone once wrote in a song, "I've got the pistol so I'll keep the pesos.  That seems fair."
Clay Dowling - Online Campaign Planning and Management


in my youth, when I knew people who read Soldier of Fortune magazine, I came across ads for videos of large-breasted women firing automatic weapons on a beach.  I find this really bizarre.
Impeach the bomber boys:

"He who loves practice without theory is like the sailor who boards ship without a rudder and compass and never knows where he may cast."
- Leonardo da Vinci


in my youth, when I knew people who read Soldier of Fortune magazine, I
                          came across ads for videos of large-breasted women firing automatic
                          weapons on a beach. I find this really bizarre.

Wow. This is off-topic. But wasn't there something similar too in "Jackie Brown" IIRC ? I think it was Samuel L. Jackson and DeNiro watching a video.