Hmmm. For some reason, I've been thinking a lot about this lately.... So I decided I'll go and rant about it here. I think the responses I get will be interesting, to say the least. (^_^ Anyways, there's a site called "womengamers.com". I am a woman. I am a gamer. I have very, very serious issues with this site. But that's almost another topic entirely. What has me baffled is this: <a target="_blank" href=http://www.womengamers.com/dw/>http://www.womengamers.com/dw/</a> It's reviews. Not of games mind you, no. Of WOMEN CHARACTERS in games and the supposed "positive female image" they project. (o_o The way they rate the women is absolutely silly. Voice and stance? Who cares?! And the way they talk about marketing efforts towards women... they complain if there's no females on the box or the ads, but then when one IS, they complain she looks like a slut. Hirm. Not to mention some of the comments are absolutely insipid. I love this one from a Soul Calibur character review: <blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr> Taki has two outfits in the game: one is mostly red; her other outfit is mostly blue. These outfits are lightly armored in places and appear to be made of spandex-type material and basically look like a unitard. The unitard style of Taki's outfits is not in character for the 16 century time period. <hr></blockquote> ...Once again...who CARES?! But what really leaves me scratching my head is the inconsistency in all these scores. Some women are derided as bimbos while others are hailed as "strong women portrayals." While some of the "bimbos" are blatantly obvious, the reasoning behind some scores leaves me puzzled. The best example... the Dead or Alive 2 girls get high scores. Huh? Am I missing something? I always thought the Dead or Alive girls were just nothing but T&A with shallow "personality" attached to them. Look at the way Tecmo advertises with them, the outfits they make for them, the whole breast jiggling stuff... it's like the programmers just thought, "Hey, let's make special effort to cater to the fanboys who want to draw nasty pr0n featuring our characters!" (and indeed, look at what's a popular subject on the hentai scene...) I even asked a bunch of guy friends about this and they basically confirmed what I thought: "Those girls don't have much character to them. They're just T&A." Why is it that GUYS seem to realize this yet GIRLS are seeing these designs as "strong fighting females"? I don't get it! Not to mention they complain about how other female characters "are scantily clad" but seem to be completely ignroing the blatantly obvious with these women... But I don't have anything against "sexy" characters... I think it's possible for a female character design to be sexy and male fanservice-y, and yet interesting as a character too. Probably my favorite example of this would be Faye from Cowboy Bebop. (Yeah, it's not a game, but still...) She wears revealing outfits and bounces around a bit, but she knows how to play her sex appeal to her advantage, and she has an interesting backstory as well. Being a "bimbo" or "slut" isn't just looks... it's personality too. That being said, I like all the VF4 girls and their designs. There's a lot of style and personality to them that comes through in their appearances and in their fighting. Aoi is cute, but has that look in her eyes like she could turn vicious at any minute. It's also interesting that despite how cute and young she is, she has some of the most painful-looking techiniques in the game. (^^) Pai is very pretty and is extremely impressive in her fighting movements. Sarah is probably the most "sexy"-looking of the bunch, but doesn't come off like a total slut. (If you want to see her looking like a crack whore though, check out her VF3 outfits... aieeeee.) Vanessa is undeniably one of the coolest female character designs ever though... I love the fact that she is visibly physically powerful and intimidating, yet still very attractive and stylish. Anyways, I guess the point of this post is... for all of you guys, what do you all think constitutes a "positive female character design"? Can a female character design be sexy and appealing without being offensive or over-the-top?