This sketch from Livreilustrado makes an excellent example of a problem that can be observed in animation and which can be also be found in video games too.
It would seem that men are typically given a wide variety of body types ranging from tall and lanky, to short and fat, to lean and muscular, to average, to whatever.
But the women seem to all be thin, pretty, and kind of “waif-ish” in a way. This is most definitely not true for all animation, but try identifying “Plus-Sized” or “Non-Pretty” women that aren’t the villain of the story in your everyday animation. Same applies for video games.
So my question is why is that? If guys think that women “don’t want to be drawn ugly or else they start getting on our cases”, then I think they are dead wrong. Women come in all kinds of body types just like men do, so there’s no reason to exclude them from having different body types in animation and video games.
A really good example of body type diversification can be found in Eiichiro Oda’s “One Piece”
When Eiichiro Oda first began “One Piece”, a common complaint he received was that all the female characters looked EXACTLY the same.
So later, to try and break the mold, he came up with the Kuja Pirates which was an all-female pirate crew from an island of Amazons. To make them stand out from each other, Oda successfully gave unique designs to the characters, using the typical exaggerations he uses for his male characters.
Some would still look like his usual way of drawing women from before, like Marguerite:
But you also had Sweet Pea:
And the Boa Sisters - Marigold and Sandersonia:
While the Kuja Pirates aren’t part of the main cast of One Piece, they were still a unique and welcome change to the typical “Skinny attractive” women that seemed to always be present in comics and animation. Oda was able to break away from his usual style and he never lost readers or popularity for doing it.
More female characters have appeared since then in varying body types, whether they have uniquely shaped heads, or are taller, shorter, fatter, skinnier, etc. The female characters didn’t have to be “visions of beauty” for them to be interesting.
His story was strong, his plot was strong, and everything worked just fine no matter what the characters looked like. It wasn’t the outward appearances that mattered, but their actions and personalities.
So I don’t see why game developers can’t do the same thing with women in their games. Not all women need to have Lara Croft or Chun-Li body proportions. They can be tall, small, curvier, skinnier, etc.
The technology exists to put some variety in character models and designs, so why not expand on female characters and their representations? If a game is relying on the sex appeal of its female characters to sell it more so than the game play or in-game narrative, then that just makes for a very shallow game with no substance to it.
Games with more realistic depictions of women, who are also main characters in the story if not the primary leading character, is something I would really like to see.
And no, villain characters do not count. I want to see plus sized women be part of regular supporting cast, in a lead role, and given better representation in video games as well as animation.
I can’t think of any reason why not to.