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Bogus argument. You assume that the 'idealized male form' represented here is actually what women find sexy. Nuh-uh. The reason that avengers example looks ridiculous to you is because the female examples it is modeled on looks equally ridiculous to women.

If you want to construct an actual counter example, draw your imagery from porn aimed at women (or gay men), Yaoi, or perhaps just skip to this:
I agree with your article, and in the end, sex sells. Not sure why women are treated badly in the gaming industry? I'm in software development and it's the developers who are the courteous ones. It's more likely the sales people or vendors outside of the industry that seem to have the rude jokes, more drama, gossip.
It comes down to the same concepts as porn. Men are more visually stimulated then women (in general). Super hulking buff characters are also not that attractive to women (in general), otherwise bodybuilding would be a much more popular sport with women. Comics were originally drawn for men, so the character proportions reflect that. Women are all hot with great bodies and the men are hulking beasts because that's what the target audience of young males wants, hot woman and to be super buff so they can beat up the jocks that make fun of them. Those images became standard even once the audience changed from socially awkward teens to a broader scope of both men and women.

I don't think that the sexual insults to women necessarily is caused or reflected in the characters. Anything that is or was a male dominated area, which suddenly finds women encroaching on, has the exact same problems. Guys want to keep it a guys only thing and drama free, since they don't feel like they are able to just flat out tell the women to go away, they consciously or subconsciously make the environment uncomfortable for her hoping she'll choose to go away and tell all her friends not to bother. You see it in sports, mechanics, computer tech, video games, etc.
I agree with the characters not being the root of the problem. I was in a Counter-Strike clan back in 2000 and we had 3 women on the team who would regularly catch shit from one of the male members all the time.

He'd spray decals of porn on the walls and ask them if they liked it and basically turned any practice session or regular game play with someone he knew was a woman into a frustrating show of a dork not getting why women didn't like him and didn't react to his love of porn the way women in porn did.
+David Dietle Exactly - it was not tolerated in your guild. We don't make sexist remarks. One guy being a jackass does not equal an entire industry treating women badly. A guild is usually R rated and has a lot of military style "gay sex humor" - but it's far from threatening. The women in a guild are usually elevated to an embarrassingly high if not annoying social status.
>What is an immediate, actual problem is that there are not enough women leading games. 

That's the one point I can really agree with you on.For the others, women are more sexualized - consider  that with Misturugi and Ivy. Both are sexualized up top, but then look who's wearing pants and who's just slapped their underwear on?

And then you try to defened that with the avengers picture, saying sexualized men is just comedy; but that picture you're using is clearly meant to be a comedic spoof instead of a sexualized picture. I should think this is fairly obvious if by nothing else, then by the fack that the hulk is doing a goatse pose.

Look at what Lara Croft wears. Now, to pick another character at random in a game that wouldn't be a stretch to sacrifice, look at Niko Bellic. Which one wears a tight t-shirt, and which one wears a lumpy jacket? I'm not comparing two characters from a fighting roster mind you, I'm comparing leading characters. Even Samus Aran, who you mentioned, has been wearing progressively less and less (ignoring the bikini shot rewards you get for completing her games fast enough; any game where you get bonus pictures as guys in bathing suits?) And if you really think male sexuality can't be done in an appealing-non comedic fashion, try another comic example; look at the marvel swimsuit issues. Or heck, look at Captain Kirk, who always got his scars in just the right place and sometimes tore his shirt.

Yes, there definitely needs to be more female leads, but no, the argument that females are more sexualized is sadly not yet outdated.

EDIT: Samus wearing less and less isn't a trend for every character either; Link has been given pants in his most recent appearance  Only time will tell if those stay around, but I sincerely doubt he'll ever wear less than his green tunic and hat. There won't be a zero-suit Link.
+Jason Honingford I think you may have misunderstood, and I might have not been completely clear; the guy in question was tolerated by the admins and the clan leaders because he was good. He was number 2 as far as accuracy in the clan, so his bullshit was tolerated. My point was that the simple fact that he knew these players were women, he harassed them mercilessly, despite the fact that all of the player models in Counter Strike are generic male models.

I usually dedicated my time when he was on the server to humiliating him until he got pissed off and left.

On the topic of the article, comparing pec size to breast size is kind of an apples and oranges comparison. Pectoral muscles are not considered a sexual organ while breasts absolutely are. The "sexualization" of the female characters is there, basically because you can't give a female character a big chest without automatically triggering a response in most of the straight male culture on earth.

Look at how cartoons typically show women (kid's cartoons, that is). Usually they have kind of a big butt, small waist and maybe some roundness in the chest, but that's it. Effort is made to NOT sexualize them. And clear effort was made in the case of Alyx Vance. Kudos to Valve for making her look like a woman but not a porn star.

I think a lot of this may come back to porn. Not only is there a direct link in a lot of minds between small waist and big chest = sex, but porn had exaggerated that link, and let's face it, how many male gamers do you know that never look at porn? I'm not saying it's to blame, I'm just saying too many idiots base their idea of what a woman should be on what they see in it.

Those women do it because they make bank doing it.
You take a risky stance and I respect you for it.

I also tend to basically agree with most of your premises...

Really interesting article.
My opinion...this is missing the point. It is simply propagating the worship of all things sex only at a younget age. Pretty much destroying any guy's chance at a normal perspective of women. Look what its gotten us...destroyed families and relationship in the name of....what? Entertainment? Big price to pay for a "game". Calling all men: "Grow up. Be a man. Defend women." You (general) may be 30 or whatever....but that doesnt mean youre not a boy still.
Women don't need to be defended. They need to be seen as people and not attacked in the first place. Don't defend me, respect me as a person.
+Jess Nut There's a glitch in your thinking there; women ARE attacked by their consistent portrayal in entertainment mediums, so while they do need to not be attacked in the first place, defense is necessary until that dream becomes reality. The very goal of that defense is to convince the vast majority to respect you as a person instead of writing you off as a woman.
+Jess Nut Exactly, we need less damsels in distress and more characters (and girls) like Merida in Brave. Stop teaching girls that they need men; that is directed at mothers, fathers, and pop culture.

Half-Life 2 Episode 2 did it right. Alyx winds up needing your (Gordon's, a man) help, but she could have literally been anyone in that position. They did it with her because the game was set up with a man as the hero and a woman as the sidekick (although she qualifies as an NPC lead, really) and in order to properly convey the story, she needed help.

Valve is a great template for running a company in many aspects, and women just being people in their software is one of their best.
By encouraging people to defend us rather than respect us you are objectifying us even more. We are not people, we are helpless things that need a big strong man to keep us safe, and in return for that protection of course we will swoon all over you. I've seen many an issue arise because a guy was 'taking care' of a woman who didn't show enough appreciation for his efforts, whether or not she agreed to the help.
+David Dietle Even when women are the strong main characters, the story still centers around men. In Brave she was trying to get away from men to be able to choose her own path. In many other stories the strong, successful business woman meets a man who shows her that she was missing out so much on life by focusing on her career instead of love (how often do you see that plot with a male character?). Honestly female villains are some of the strongest role models in media often. They wield power of some kind, are leaders to large groups of men (either mobs or corporations), and usually can kick some ass. They don't end up with the hero and they don't spend the whole time wishing they could. That's a strong mark of society's view...
The people who are defending women because they think they're helpless are the people who are attacking women and their autonomy without realizing it and thus further people to defend from.

Women are people, and so are the illegal immigrant mexicans who cross the border looking for a better life, and so are the jews who faced persecution at the hands of nazis, and so are the africans who were brought here in the bondage of slavery when the colonies were in their growing pains, and so forth. Defending any human does not mean they automatically become objectified, and usually it's objectification they need to be defended from.

Someone who considers defending a woman to be not allowing her to take on tough jobs or insisting on defending her honor is no more defending women than someone who chooses to defend immigrants by exploiting their labor at a slightly higher salary than their neighbor.
But then you aren't defending women, you are attacking the sterotypes, which is different. Hiring someone because they are the most qualified even if they are a woman or black, that's not defending that person, it's treating them with respect as a human being. Not joking along with your peers when they say something crude is being respectful of them even if they aren't there to hear it. Perhaps we mean the same thing but are using different words.
Defense means you're an ally. Reality is that men need women and women need men. Can life be lived alone? (Men apart from women) Yeah...but it sucks and is lonely. So we need to learn to love and respect each other. Reality #2: men and women are different...but equally valuable. I know this flies in the face of popular feminism. But i really think that was an over-reaction to some issues we needed to deal with as a culture.
Loving a woman is allowing her to do anything, while at the same time saying she doesn't have to. Dysfunction happens when you have a bunch of lazy guys not doing anything, or leaving the home without a dad or any male figure.

What's a girl to do then ..of course survive. But surviving is not thriving. Women can survive but they shouldn't have to ... alone.
Unless the person is homosexual of course. 
Well...this is where we would differ in opinion, if we haven't already.
Interesting. Although I find most female video game characters practically comical already.
+Michael Bernstein I agree. Although a lot of women are more attracted to strength and power, it is still not sexual objectification. Power fantasy in case of men actually gives them 'worth' and implies that they're 'capable', but sexual fantasy in case of women just implies that they're good for nothing but looking pretty and 'sexy'. The men do look sexy (because a lot of women dig huge muscles) but it's a result of being strong and powerful first. While the women look sexy not because they work out or are powerful (because your boobs don't grow if you work out, neither do your clothes shrink), but because they need to attract a male audience. So to sum it up Misturugi looks sexy because he's powerful, but Ivy looks sexy for the sake of looking sexy. There's the difference.
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