Game critics, players, and big-budge developers sure seem to love talking about boobs. It never ends! Are they too big, are they too small, are they not covered-up enough, are the boobs believable for the character…? Oh, and jiggle physics! Jiggle physics are a big deal!
For the rest of us, though, boobs aren’t necessarily playthings for other people. They’re just something we have. We live with “jiggle physics” every day. Sometimes boobs get in the way. Sometimes we have to cut them off. Sometimes it makes walking up the street a chore (since, after all, boobs can be the most salient sex or gender marker). Some of us wish we had boobs; some of us curse the day they arrived. Boobs are actually… kinda complicated!
What if you had to watch a sexy videogame character also buy bras, cry softly when she can’t find one that fits, and go in for mammograms— Jenn Frank (@jennatar) July 30, 2013
There is an incredible range of experience invested in having (or not having, or newly having) boobs. But in most video games, boobs are this male gaze thing—they’re there for (almost always) one reason, to titillate (one type of) players. And that’s okay—lots of people like boobs!—but there are so many other ways to talk about them. Boobs mean a lot of different things to different people. They aren’t two adjustable or removable objects, even though we do culturally think about them that way. They are, in fact, a part of a human body.
What do boobs mean to a new mother, or to a new woman? To a person in actual, physical pain? What might they mean to a real superhero or armor-clad warrior? Or, if boobs really are sexual objects, who, besides straight dudes, can sexualize them?
No one is claiming that a great rack doesn’t have its place in gaming canon. But instead of having the same conversation over and over, why not try having a new discussion altogether?
Let’s demystify boobs!