Fake Women Have Curves

Videogames have a deservedly poor reputation when it comes to diversity. If you are a white guy, you have plenty of representation. If you are a woman or a person of color, your options dwindle dramatically. If you are a black woman, finding representation in a videogame can be nearly impossible.

That’s why Blizzard Entertainment’s new game Overwatch was such a breath of fresh air when it was announced last November. Not only did the game have a fairly even split between men and women, but gamers were given ethnic and nationality choices that rarely come up in mainstream games. Female characters included a time-traveling Brit, a reality manipulating Indian technomage, and a flying, armored Egyptian.

Original Overwatch Characters

Original Overwatch Characters

But while the game featured amazing diversity in terms of ethnicity and gender, it lacked diversity in body type — at least for the women. The male characters had a huge diversity in body types, from dwarfs and overmuscled hulking figures to lithe, ninja-like acrobats. There was even a gorilla. On the other hand, feminist gaming critic Anita Sarkeesian pointed out that all of the female characters looked like they stepped from the pages of a Victoria Secret’s catalog.

Then something strange happened. Blizzard heard that criticism and introduced a new Overwatch character: Zarya — a female bodybuilder with a massive particle cannon and the ability to create shields. In gaming parlance she is a tank — a character designed to take massive damage while protecting weaker party members. While female characters are often thieves, assassins or magic users, they are almost never “tanks.”

Until now.




John Marcotte

John Marcotte

Secret identity of a father raising two super-heroic young girls

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