A female power fantasy?

Yeah, I know, it's gonna be another one of those topics, but hear me out.

A while ago, my roommate and I were discussing the appearance of the Dragon's Crown females when he got the game. He is generally a bit of a prude in the sense that he doesn't immediately think of those characters as sexual objects and tends to dislike people that immediately jump to such conclusions so quickly, because he thinks such behavior is shallow.

He was arguing that the Sorceress' appearance isn't so surprising because Vanillaware has a trend of making all their necromancers busty women. He, being of a semi-traditional Chinese upbringing, generally has different opinions on how the dead are used in media, rather than more common Western opinions. In this case, he looks at the ability to resurrect through necromancy to be a form of new birth, then he points out the skull she holds in her main character image in the opening cinematic, and says she holds it the way one would hold an infants head when carrying said infant. He then suggested that the large breasts could seen as 'filled with milk' for 'her children'. He considers the Sorceress to be a rather 'motherly' character.

Whether or not you agree with him, I thought it was a unique viewpoint that I hadn't heard anywhere else at all. And while he can't defend NPC busty ladies in game, he thinks the reactions to the Sorceress have been over-presumptuous and ignorant of what the character signifies.

He then went on a small rant about how he thinks the playable females from the game are all powerful and capable of independence in single-player (save the little lockpick guy), and how the Wizard is a female appeal character because of the popularity of trim, emo-like guys in anime and games (Sasuke Uchiha and Sephiroth come to my mind), and how the Fighter, under the helmet, has a very feminine and pretty face, also popular among female anime fans. Not 'all'. Never 'all'. But several.

He then brought up a question that I haven't heard a discussion about: What do women consider to be 'female power fantasies'?

If a female player character in-game is depicted as very physically attractive, does that immediately negate any depicted strength, independence, or intelligence that she may have? Is she just piece of eye candy for the men despite what she can do because fetishes exist for everything? She's hot, and because some like it hot, does that just put her in the sea of cheesecake that companies produce to entice the main target audience? Is there no way such a character can be a female power fantasy?

I kinda thought the 'male power fantasy' characters like Kratos were supposed to be some sort of exaggerated Western masculine ideal: Strong, well-built, virile, unrestrained, masters of their domain. Contrary-wise, most countries didn't really have those traits when they thought of 'feminine ideals', and for a long time, the woman's 'ideal' place was basically just being well-domesticated and pretty. I would guess that trying to re-translate 'feminine ideals' into playable female action game characters would be a 'damned if you do, damned if you don't' scenario, not just in the fact that you can never please everyone, but because nearly any physical flaw or perfection in the character's appearance can be seen as just as stereotypical as the other.

So, I ask: What do women consider to be 'female power fantasies'?

I am well aware that threads like this can easily devolve into flame wars, and even my topic can be considered flame bait by now with all the controversy of how women are portrayed in games these days. But still, it's a question I haven't heard any discussion of yet, and I would like to hear some female perspectives on what the answer(s) could be.

By "He" and "roomate", do you mean "I" and "me"? lol

I'd actually like to hear a few female views myself. I'd imagine that sex appeal is as much a part of a female power fantasy as it is a male's.

But being male I wouldn't know and wouldn't want to jump to conclusions either.

Klagnut:
By "He" do you mean "I"? lol

I can see how it might look like I'm trying to hide behind the 'it's not even my problem, it's my friend's' angle. But no, my roommate inspired these questions after his rant, because I had never considered anything that he mentioned before we talked it.

ShogunGino:

Klagnut:
By "He" do you mean "I"? lol

I can see how it might look like I'm trying to hide behind the 'it's not even my problem, it's my friend's' angle. But no, my roommate inspired these questions after his rant, because I had never considered anything that he mentioned before we talked it.

No problem chap :) It just reads a bit like that, that's all lol

My favorite "power fantasy" in a game ever was Gears of War MP, as me and my bff Melissa had the best summer fun ever in 2007 tearing shit up as Marcus and Dom.

As for actual female characters? Can't really think of anything in a video game that's suitable, but the closest for me would probably be Agent Scully from the X-Files. She's an intelligent badass with a cool job, and she don't take no shit from no flukeman. She's also pretty and has a unique look and that's secondary to her actually being awesome (if not usually wrong). I totally wanted to "be like her when I grew" up as a young teenager, and she was my only fictional female role model besides maybe Nancy Drew when I was even younger.

ShogunGino:
But still, it's a question I haven't heard any discussion of yet, and I would like to hear some female perspectives on what the answer(s) could be.

While we haven't had many threads on it, it is a subject that tends to be brought up in the midst of the other flame wars.

Of course, one of the potential issues with asking here is that the majority of the people seeing this thread are liable to be male... all of my input on the subject would just be based on things I've seen said in other instances. Which brings up the issue with taking small samples for data; There's not really a single, unified answer. It's more true to the personal identities that way, but really, the fact that Kratos or Marcus Fenix are pretty much synonymous with "male power fantasy" just points to how silly and stereotypical everything is in the first place.

To stop rambling, I've seen a bunch of different women in video games cited before. Ones that I might consider to be, though I don't have the proper perspective of being female, are Jade from Beyond Good & Evil or Faith from Mirror's Edge. Aveline from Dragon Age II is slightly shakier ground, but I think it could be justified easier than some characters (such as Morrigan, whom I've also seen cited).

Obviously I could just be totally wrong and make an ass of myself, which wouldn't surprise me at all, but I've done that plenty on the internet before anyway so what's another post to add to it.

agent scully is a good choice. buffy and willow from buffy the vampire slayer are another good pair

not a chick so I wouldn't know how to answer the question BUT, from a lot of friends and videos I've seen of girl gamers on YouTube there seems to be a consensus that Samus pre OtherM and Lara Croft pre reboot were perfect examples of the female power fantasy
so taking the words of my gf

Samus was the lone bounty hunter and a silent death machine, she didn't need to point out her sex or rely on any type of authority whether it was male, female, or alien. Samus would simply commit to the mission at hand and most the time would blow up a planet in the process. She is the female counterpart of what you'd get if you blended together Han Solo and Master Chief

Lara Croft was smart, beautiful, and deadly. She wasn't a helpless cry baby that was always complaining and to top it off she was unpractical to a fault, which made her even more badass. The only redeeming quality of the new Lara is her relationship with Sam, but even then SE fucked it up by not going with their original plan

People need to stop thinking women like and dislike BECAUSE they're women. There's more criteria to life than cocks and vaginas.

I really don't know about female power fantasies. My girlfriend isn't particularly attached to female characters. She's into the male-in-touch-with-his-feminine-side in games. So she loves Leon S. Kennedy and the Prince from Prince of Persia, but hates Kratos. Then again Batman's a "walking fridge" to her, but she'll still play the hell out of Arkham Asylum. And one of her favorite games is Haunting Ground, in which you play the DIAMETRICAL OPPOSITE of a female power fantasy, since you spend the game controlling a boobalicious skirted jailbait running away from rapists. Why did she like the game? Same reasons I did: huge free-roaming areas, no loading times between rooms, awesome processing power on the PS2, flowy and immersive pace, gorgeous set design, cool villains, cool soundtrack, eerie alchemical subject matter. And so on.

I think people have it all wrong, trying to deduce what women like and don't like hinged solely around their gender. They don't like or dislike stuff BECAUSE they're women, just as I don't like and dislike games BECAUSE I'm a guy.

I don't know, I personally love Amazon, and find her very powerful under the hands of capable artists.

Also, Barbarian in Diablo 3. (I just like muscle I guess)

Most female fighters in video games, my favourite is Juri Han. She's fierce, wicked and powerful.

Other than that you have characters like Lyn, Lucina, Kjelle... (Fire emblem), Tifa, Fang (Final fantasy)... you can find most of them in RPGs I suppose.

I am not so sure these power fantasy things have to be gender specific I mean wrecking shit in Dynasty warriors with a man dosent make me more or less happy than wrecking shit with a woman I still feel powerful either way.

Valkyria Chronicles had a great power scene where Alicia awakens to the Valkyrie within her and defeats the until then unstoppable Selvaria and later she minces an entire enemy position being totally invincible this made me feel pretty damn powerful even though I am not female, actually now I think about it the woman in that game were on the whole stronger than the men and much cooler at least in my eyes.

I think a strong male character can fulfill power fantasies of both men and woman and vice versa. Its not like most want to be that character they just enjoy playing them.

Johnny Novgorod:

I think people have it all wrong, trying to deduce what women like and don't like hinged solely around their gender. They don't like or dislike stuff BECAUSE they're women, just as I don't like and dislike games BECAUSE I'm a guy.

Exactly. I for example can't really identify with what many consider to be male power fantasies. I see little appeal to overly muscular characters like Kratos.

I don't think "power fantasies" are as universal as people make them out to be

wombat_of_war:
agent scully is a good choice. buffy and willow from buffy the vampire slayer are another good pair

These examples. I'd also add Ripley from Alien and Aliens, seeing as how she's pretty much the defining character for all movie heroines coming after her.

ShogunGino:

He was arguing that the Sorceress' appearance isn't so surprising because Vanillaware has a trend of making all their necromancers busty women. He, being of a semi-traditional Chinese upbringing, generally has different opinions on how the dead are used in media, rather than more common Western opinions. In this case, he looks at the ability to resurrect through necromancy to be a form of new birth, then he points out the skull she holds in her main character image in the opening cinematic, and says she holds it the way one would hold an infants head when carrying said infant. He then suggested that the large breasts could seen as 'filled with milk' for 'her children'. He considers the Sorceress to be a rather 'motherly' character.

Whether or not you agree with him, I thought it was a unique viewpoint that I hadn't heard anywhere else at all. And while he can't defend NPC busty ladies in game, he thinks the reactions to the Sorceress have been over-presumptuous and ignorant of what the character signifies.

If memory serves, I think that's more or less exactly what the creator of the game said when he had that tussle with the game journalist. XD

Or maybe it was someone else championing for him at that time...though I hadn't seen the point about the skull.

 

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