Bigger Breasts?

Are you guys excited for the Dead or Alive 5 coming out soon? As background, DoA is a video game series with multiple platforms, including PlayStation and Xbox. It is a fighting game that’s pretty popular because of its innovative fighting mechanics.

The series is well known for casting top-heavy female characters with bouncing breasts, but the designers of the 5th game attempted to decrease the breast size of their female characters in the demo. This short article explains the considerable amount of fan feedback for the demo that requested, of all things, bigger breasts.

This raises a few concerns, and because it’s gender week, I’m going to talk about them!

Corporate Responsibility?

Notwithstanding the potential that there are many lesbian gamers or heterosexual females that just like to look at big boobs, it’s safe to say that the fan feedback suggests DoA supports a large male audience. Is it acceptable, then, for the designers to cater to their primary audience’s “needs,” since this is ultimately a company seeking profit? Or, as Cassell suggests in Wednesday’s reading (p.12), should this (and all other) games be expected to take on the responsibility of “underdetermined design” to avoid reinforcing gender stereotypes?

Valid Need?

The article quotes the Team Ninja director: “If you have a solid fighting game system there, there’s nothing wrong with having beautiful characters as a layer on top of that–that’s another layer of entertainment that there’s a need for.” However, this is strictly a fighting game. Can we really consider large breasts in the background a “need” that will enhance the game and its sales, or is this demand simply juvenile fantasy that should not be encouraged?

Objectification?

Are guys carrying out their stereotypical, age-old objectification of women, or is their demand acceptable? After all, though I haven’t played the game, I watched a clip of it and noticed that although the women have large breasts and are invariably attractive, they are also impressively realistic in their design: no Barbie-sized abdomens or ankles. Furthermore, the women’s primary purpose is the same as the men’s—fighting—and they seem to be just as independent and capable in combat. Furthermore, they present a variety of gender expressions, like feminine and masculine clothing, and long and short hair. Is it really a big deal, then, if they have large breasts?

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Female gamers have sexual needs too.

Since DoA must also have a female audience with “needs”, should we then demand that the male characters have more prominent penises, in the name of fairness?

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