New Iconics Desexed


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I have read several threads somewhat lately where people have been complaining about art where some of the women display some level of sexuality. I can't help but think that contributed to the very sterile looking new iconics. If they pull up the brawler's belt a half inch, the entire female lot is ready to go for 1960's prime time television decency standards. Obviously there are some people that are very happy about this, but does anyone besides me find this a bad thing?


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

While I also do not approve of the New Puritans movement, the way I have seen most of the complaints was that characters fighting on a battlefield should not go for sexy above alive.

But, again, I also vastly disapprove of this new wave of puritanism.

Liberty's Edge

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I don't see any problem with the new Iconics - male or female. They all have interesting individual styles that show various flavors from the game. I enjoy cheesecake as much as the next male, but I don't see why lack of it is a bad thing.


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I don't think it fair to say "as much as the next male." It implies that only males are interested in attractive female portrayals.

Easily the most sexual characters I have seen were played by female players. I can think of four ladies off the top of my head which each use more innuendo and overt sexuality than the entire sum of male players that I have played with combined. Enjoyment of sex isn't just for men.

@Magnuskn I doubt the same people get so worked up by the lack of helmets or backpacks on all the characters.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Of course, an obvious question then is, why do we absolutely have to see them in their battlefield gear? Fighters don't wear plate mail 24/7. "Sexy above alive" is only a valid argument for "fight time" illustrations.

The slightly less obvious, but still pretty obvious, reply to that is, because they want to have one single look for each character, for easy identification purposes.

To which I then say, "you already deviate from the default look from time to time". Such as Space Amiri, Steampunk Harsk, Young Seelah, Mythic Kyra or Malibu Barbie.

"Yes, but those come down the line. First we establish the default look that can be used in the more prevalent combat illustrations. You'll get Off-Time Jirelle two years from now in Ultimate Taverns."

Having said all that, I don't think the new iconics are so much desexualized as they are covered up. I don't agree that the two are necessarily synonymous. Jirelle still looks awesome sexy with everything covered up but her face.

By far my bigger complaint is that iconic artwork is terribly busy. Does there really need to be so friggin' many straps and buttons and pouches and embroidery and everything. It's giving me an epilepsy attack just looking at some of them.


As far as the art is concerned, I approve of style expansion. As long as it's expansion.

Liberty's Edge

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Sitri wrote:

I don't think it fair to say "as much as the next male." It implies that only males are interested in attractive female portrayals.

It doesn't imply that at all. It implies that other males do, but that does not exclude anyone else.

You'd have had a point if you pointed out that by saying "the next male" I'm implying a predictable average of "enjoy[ment] of cheesecake," which does pretty well ignore males who *don't* enjoy it (which runs the gamut from asexual to homosexual to anti-pornography to those who just don't care for it), but I think it's reaching pretty hard to say that "the next male" is exclusionary of women.

I doubt you'd argue that my saying "I enjoy pizza as much as the next American" implies that *only* Americans enjoy pizza. Perhaps I'm wrong.

Anyhow, sex does sell, and I have no problem with the fact that it sells, but I don't see a reason to oversex every Iconic. I think we've got, over the years, a nice range. Yeah, I do like my warriors wearing more - it's just sensible. But Seoni, Alahazra, Feiya, Lem … They are characters who don't want to be near the spot where the blades are actually swinging anyhow, so why bother with that heavy and burdensome protective gear?

Samy wrote:

Having said all that, I don't think the new iconics are so much desexualized as they are covered up. I don't agree that the two are necessarily synonymous. Jirelle still looks awesome sexy with everything covered up but her face.

By far my bigger complaint is that iconic artwork is terribly busy. Does there really need to be so friggin' many straps and buttons and pouches and embroidery and everything. It's giving me an epilepsy attack just looking at some of them.

I agree 100% on both of these points, Samy.


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Count me as a fan of the epilepsy inducing gear/buckles/straps/pouches/bags/hammock sticks/javelins/headgear/knives/potion bottles/familiars.

Murder hobos gots to be prepped.


The Shining Fool wrote:

snip

I doubt you'd argue that my saying "I enjoy pizza as much as the next American" implies that *only* Americans enjoy pizza. Perhaps I'm wrong.

I would argue that you have given them some level of undeserved status in the manner.......But I have to admit that my disappointment in the threads I earlier referenced, and their seeming influence, has perhaps made me a little quick to be argumentative.


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I don't see any issue with the way the new iconics are portrayed. I would prefer more Jirelle's to Seoni's, given that Seoni's outfit might be sexy, but seems like the least practical thing ever to wear for adventuring.

Silver Crusade

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Sitri wrote:

I have read several threads somewhat lately where people have been complaining about art where some of the women display some level of sexuality. I can't help but think that contributed to the very sterile looking new iconics. If they pull up the brawler's belt a half inch, the entire female lot is ready to go for 1960's prime time television decency standards. Obviously there are some people that are very happy about this, but does anyone besides me find this a bad thing?

Sitri wrote:

I don't think it fair to say "as much as the next male." It implies that only males are interested in attractive female portrayals.

Easily the most sexual characters I have seen were played by female players. I can think of four ladies off the top of my head which each use more innuendo and overt sexuality than the entire sum of male players that I have played with combined. Enjoyment of sex isn't just for men.

It’s not at all a bad thing that the new iconics are covered up. Two things.

(1) Covered up in the iconic portrait still leaves plenty of room for more revealing sexiness elsewhere. And that’s a better way to do it. These characters’ primary characteristic is not “to look sexy for the players.” But more importantly …

(2) There are some problematic cultural dynamics at play here, and it’s important to lean against them. Whether you realize it or not, your posts play into those problematic dynamics. I’m not saying this to accuse you of being a bad person or anything. But observe how these posts might read to others. It’s a *great* thing that the game’s iconics do not follow a “practical and dangerous men, sultry and seductive women” rule.

You recognize, in a follow-up post, that women are sometimes interested in artwork of sexy females. But in both posts, you restrict “sexy” strictly to female characters. But of course there are a great many people—and I’m one of them—that are much more interested in sexy men.

I'm reminded of a thread that was knocking around for a while about why there aren't male gods of love and beauty in the setting. Most of the initial responses were something like, "because females are obviously more attractive, duh!”. Speak for yourself!

What your complaint reads as is the thought that the way things ought to be is that women in the game’s artwork should be depicted sexily for the enjoyment of the players, who are assumed to be straight men.

But of course, women aren't for the purpose of looking sexy for your pleasure. And some of us want sexy men too. Given the problematic dynamics (historical and unfortunately ongoing) surrounding the participation of women and gay men in gaming (and more broadly nerd) culture, this is a bad thing. It sends all the wrong messages. So I conclude that it’s a *great* thing that the game’s iconics do not follow a “practical and dangerous men, sultry and seductive women” rule—Paizo gets major credit for their commitment to diversity in gaming.

Again. This is *not* to say you’re a bad person, or that you intended any of this. But whether you intended it or not, it illuminates the problem here, and helps show why it’s a good thing that the new iconics are covered up.

:-)


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I think they are appropriate for what they are supposed to be--
the halfling woman is a scholarly sort so she's dressed in mage's robes, the dwarf woman shaman is dwarfish dour, the swashbuckler is going with the whole Spanish bullfighter costume-look including red cape, and the gladiator woman looks like a fist-fighter in the ring.

Likewise the older skimpy ones are fitting - sorceresses are traditionally alluring (e.g. Circe, Morgan le Fey), and the West-African-like oracle is wearing the light clothing of the tropics.

Dark Archive

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The existence of new Iconics who don't dress like they are about to give a lap-dance does not take away from those that already exist.

Seoni isn't being replaced, after all, by a new conservative nun iconic. She's just got company, and they don't all dress like her and Sajan.

That said, I am always surprised to flip through my old Monster Manual or Dieties and Demigods and see all those free-range boobies flopping about, on the lamia, succubus, type V demon, Bast, etc.

Perhaps if we ever meet Sajni, Sajan's sister, we'll discover that she dresses *exactly* like her brother, only always seems to have her arm in the way, or some sort of Scenery Censorship going on as a gag.


the Core Iconics where great designs, each one looked Iconic, with it's own style and very recognicable
the new lot as well as the APG Iconics somehow all have the same design style, with clunky headgear ugly weapons and to much clutter

Enora and Quinn are the only ones I like, they look like adventurers and unique


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aeglos wrote:
the new lot as well as the APG Iconics somehow all have the same design style, with clunky headgear ugly weapons and to much clutter

I think we need a whole host of new magic items based on belt-buckles and dangly metal things, to explain all these outfits.

Perhaps all the straps and buckles are just elaborate chastity belts? Requires a DC30 Disable Device check to undress.


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Set wrote:

The existence of new Iconics who don't dress like they are about to give a lap-dance does not take away from those that already exist.

Seoni isn't being replaced, after all, by a new conservative nun iconic. She's just got company, and they don't all dress like her and Sajan.

That said, I am always surprised to flip through my old Monster Manual or Dieties and Demigods and see all those free-range boobies flopping about, on the lamia, succubus, type V demon, Bast, etc.

Perhaps if we ever meet Sajni, Sajan's sister, we'll discover that she dresses *exactly* like her brother, only always seems to have her arm in the way, or some sort of Scenery Censorship going on as a gag.

Not quite, but she's still dressed lightly.

On another note, I'd like to point out that the problem of the Chainmail Bikini isn't of sexiness, but of sexiness over survivability. It's one thing for Seoni or Feiya to be wearing sexy outfits, they're spellcasters who don't wear armor and so can wear whatever the hell they want; and Seelah or Kyra, who wear armor that is supposed to protect them in combat. And to Paizo's credit (or rather, the artist's), their armor is fairly practical. The worst they've done is Imrijka's cleavage window, and that's not that bad, all things considered.


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Joe M. wrote:


It’s not at all a bad thing that the new iconics are covered up. Two things.

(1) Covered up in the iconic portrait still leaves plenty of room for more revealing sexiness elsewhere. And that’s a better way to do it. These characters’ primary characteristic is not “to look sexy for the players.” But more importantly …

This is utterly subjective and I firmly disagree. Since there isn't an objective way to determine the truth of this statement, and since people obviously have different opinions, wouldn't a mix in the new lineup be more appropriate?

Joe M. wrote:


(2) There are some problematic cultural dynamics at play here, and it’s important to lean against them. Whether you realize it or not, your posts play into those problematic dynamics. I’m not saying this to accuse you of being a bad person or anything. But observe how these posts might read to others. It’s a *great* thing that the game’s iconics do not follow a “practical and dangerous men, sultry and seductive women” rule.

I would agree with your first sentence, but from the opposing side of the fence. I think it is problematic that people claim that women, or men for that matter, should be covered up, and that is the appropriate direction to move.

Joe M. wrote:


You recognize, in a follow-up post, that women are sometimes interested in artwork of sexy females. But in both posts, you restrict “sexy” strictly to female characters. But of course there are a great many people—and I’m one of them—that are much more interested in sexy men.

I'm reminded of a thread that was knocking around for a while about why there aren't male gods of love and beauty in the setting. Most of the initial responses were something like, "because females are obviously more attractive, duh!”. Speak for yourself!

What your complaint reads as is the thought that the way things ought to be is that women in the game’s artwork should be depicted sexily for the enjoyment of the players, who are assumed to be straight men.

I restricted the statement to the females because they are the new iconics who seem to be censored. The men as a whole are far more exposed. Whether their art fits "sexy men" or not I really can't say. By reading the thread you referenced it is clear I am not a good judge of that. All I can say is I can see people b~#+~ about sexy looking female art and then in the new release of the Iconic art, it looks like there is a conscious effort to hide bodies of the females.

Joe M. wrote:


But of course, women aren't for the purpose of looking sexy for your pleasure. And some of us want sexy men too. Given the problematic dynamics (historical and unfortunately ongoing) surrounding the participation of women and gay men in gaming (and more broadly nerd) culture, this is a bad thing. It sends all the wrong messages. So I conclude that it’s a *great* thing that the game’s iconics do not follow a “practical and dangerous men, sultry and seductive women” rule—Paizo gets major credit for their commitment to diversity in gaming.

If I would say people are for anything, I would absolutely say they are for sex. More specifically, we are gene replicators that are programmed to want to engage in the act which replicates more genes.

Do you feel you were not marketed to in the sexy factor of the new males. Perhaps this is a problem I can't see, but as far as I can tell this is the opposite of the truth. If you can say this is a true statement, I would not fault you for saying you want a little more fantasy in your fantasy game.

It sends the wrong message according to whom? An ex girlfriend of mine, head of the pediatrics and asthma wings of a major hospital, was forced to wear a hijab while vacationing in Egypt because the locals thought the slightly exposed cleavage of her B-cups was sending the wrong message. She likened the experience to having to wear a scarlet letter.

I had another girlfriend, who when talking about why women are more prudish than they would like to be, told me it is because they fear what other women will think of them.

This argument often gets painted in the light of the "majority" or "strait men" putting pressure on women to be how the men want them. But I argue that an across the board opposition to this extremely natural pleasure is putting undue pressure on many of the same people who are claimed to be protected.

Joe M. wrote:


Again. This is *not* to say you’re a bad person, or that you intended any of this. But whether you intended it or not, it illuminates the problem here, -snip-

:-)

Likewise


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SAMAS wrote:
On another note, I'd like to point out that the problem of the Chainmail Bikini isn't of sexiness, but of sexiness over survivability. It's one thing for Seoni or Feiya to be wearing sexy outfits, they're spellcasters who don't wear armor and so can wear whatever the hell they want;

Honestly, I'd say Seoni's outfit runs into survivability problems anyway. Sure, she can't wear armor and it doesn't need to fill that roll, but I'd worry about running in that outfit or even hiking through the woods.


thejeff wrote:
SAMAS wrote:
On another note, I'd like to point out that the problem of the Chainmail Bikini isn't of sexiness, but of sexiness over survivability. It's one thing for Seoni or Feiya to be wearing sexy outfits, they're spellcasters who don't wear armor and so can wear whatever the hell they want;
Honestly, I'd say Seoni's outfit runs into survivability problems anyway. Sure, she can't wear armor and it doesn't need to fill that roll, but I'd worry about running in that outfit or even hiking through the woods.

Depending on the woods, I wouldn't wanna be hiking through them in full plate, either.


SAMAS wrote:
thejeff wrote:
SAMAS wrote:
On another note, I'd like to point out that the problem of the Chainmail Bikini isn't of sexiness, but of sexiness over survivability. It's one thing for Seoni or Feiya to be wearing sexy outfits, they're spellcasters who don't wear armor and so can wear whatever the hell they want;
Honestly, I'd say Seoni's outfit runs into survivability problems anyway. Sure, she can't wear armor and it doesn't need to fill that roll, but I'd worry about running in that outfit or even hiking through the woods.
Depending on the woods, I wouldn't wanna be hiking through them in full plate, either.

If they're full of things that want to stab me, I might make that trade.

Dark Archive

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Not really seeing the censored thing maybe people are seeing intent in the artwork thats not actually there?

If memory serves Paizo tend to be fairly hands off with fine details about the iconics (They provide race/ethnicity/gender and basic armour/weapon but thats about it) letting wayne have a pretty free reign with the art and since he dosent seem to frequent these forums all that much I doubt any of his desicions were based on any threads on them.


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Sitri wrote:
I restricted the statement to the females because they are the new iconics who seem to be censored.

Women being fully clothed = censorship? I'm wearing jeans, a tee and a light running jacket right now. I'm more or less covered up. Have I been censored?

Sitri wrote:
But I argue that an across the board opposition to this extremely natural pleasure is putting undue pressure on many of the same people who are claimed to be protected.

Speaking for myself, I'm not feeling any under pressure as a result of the designs of the new female iconics. I'm quite happy with how they look and what they're wearing.

If Paizo suddenly started removing and deleting old pieces of Iconic art and replacing them with more covered up versions, your censorship analogy might make more sense. But they haven't, so it doesn't.


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In a survival situation, sexy mostly equals stupid, since lingerie has a pretty poor armor class.

What artists are saying with a "sexy" depiction of an adventuring character is that this person is useless, stupid, powerless, ineffective and good only for showing off their body at the expense of being effective. They are ornamental, passive, the end reward and not the hero, the decorative scenery rather than a character with competence and decision making agency.

There is a very large difference between not wanting to be portrayed as purely ornamental and stupid, and puritanism. Sex and porn is great, and consenting adults should be able to have all of that they like in their preferred flavor. The specific issues that emerge when one gender gets sexualized in a general-audience game by default have a lot more to do with equality than sex negativity.

Works in the porn and erotica genre by their nature typically cater to a specific sexual orientation. This is not a problem at all, since no one has to use porn that is obviously not inclusive of them. I don't think it is at all reasonable to be annoyed at the existence of porn that caters to an orientation that is not yours. Being annoyed that het male porn exists for other people to enjoy would qualify as puritanism. Adults of orientations other than yours have every right to their personal entertainments, the same as you have to yours.

There are however very legitimate reasons to be annoyed when a game that is not supposed to be just for one gender or orientation sexualizes female characters by default, so that every time you try to play, you get hit in the face with stuff that is explicitly not for you, and people of your gender are depicted as passive, ornamental objects of gaze for the other gender. The end result is not very much fun for people of that gender, any more than a gay fanfiction game with Tom of Finland art would be much fun for hetero guys who thought they had only signed up for the regular kind of "dungeon" crawl rather than a flavor of porn that does not personally appeal to them.

If that was the only kind of gaming around, maybe those guys would sigh and put up with it despite the constant reminders that this game was catering to an audience that was definitely not them. But most likely a lot of them would give up or never buy any books at all. Even if you wish people of that other orientation well and are glad they get to enjoy their thing, it's still not your thing, and you'd personally prefer to play a game that didn't smack you in the face with other people's things on a regular basis.

Presumably the people playing Pathfinder are legitimately more interested in what the iconics can do *as adventurers*, what effective powers and abilities they have and how kickass they can be in combat and survival situations. That does generally mean they should actually have normal adventuring clothes and gear on, not cutsey peek-a-boo versions that exist to be more ornamental than effective.


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Kevin Mack wrote:

Not really seeing the censored thing maybe people are seeing intent in the artwork thats not actually there?

If memory serves Paizo tend to be fairly hands off with fine details about the iconics (They provide race/ethnicity/gender and basic armour/weapon but thats about it) letting wayne have a pretty free reign with the art and since he dosent seem to frequent these forums all that much I doubt any of his desicions were based on any threads on them.

I saw a similar post, but I wouldn't expect them to openly say they made a request to sterilize female art after the recent outcry against sexy women on the boards. It is a very poor marketing decision that couldn't be defended objectively.

Of course it is possible that this was all a coincidence and the artist(s) just happened to take this route at this time, but I don't think it likely.

KSF wrote:
Sitri wrote:
I restricted the statement to the females because they are the new iconics who seem to be censored.

Women being fully clothed = censorship? I'm wearing jeans, a tee and a light running jacket right now. I'm more or less covered up. Have I been censored?

Strawman

Marketing explicitly uses sex to sell. Fantasy and sex have extreme overlaps.

People complain about one aspect of sex and that aspect disappears from future marketing and fantasy. That looks a lot like censorship to me. This is especially true when they are pushing borders in new avenues of sexuality for other demographics that are on the party line.

KSF wrote:
Sitri wrote:
But I argue that an across the board opposition to this extremely natural pleasure is putting undue pressure on many of the same people who are claimed to be protected.

Speaking for myself, I'm not feeling any under pressure as a result of the designs of the new female iconics. I'm quite happy with how they look and what they're wearing.

If Paizo suddenly started removing and deleting old pieces of Iconic art and replacing them with more covered up versions, your censorship analogy might make more sense. But they haven't, so it doesn't.

Composition fallacy.

You don't speak for all women. If Paizo is truly the inclusive, progressive company they are made out to be (in fairness I do think they mostly do this well) the shouldn't say that an effort should be made to restrict the sexuality of one group.

And following your logic, if NBC decided that in all future recorded shows women must wear burkas, it would still be censorship. It wouldn't change anything if normal reruns could still be seen.

Dark Archive

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Yep pretty sure you are seeing something that is not there.

Also define recent since I'm pretty sure the art for this book would have been orderd over a year ago if not later.

Liberty's Edge

Hey Sitri, the word you are looking for is bowdlerization, not censorship. It might be easier to have the conversation if you use the right terminology, especially if you are going to try to couch your discussion in "objectivity."

No offense meant - it's just muddying the water by using the objectively wrong word.


Shining Fool. I think either would work in this context. I can do a copy and paste from a dictionary if you like, but in my experience most people don't.

Kevin Mack. I know this is the desire of several board members and at least some Paizo Staff. One staff member was pretty hostile about the subject a few months back. Again, the art could be a coincidence, but I doubt it. There are a lot of things pointing in that direction.


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I didn't even notice anything of the sort until the thread was brought up. I've enjoyed the art thus far and have felt the clothing has worked out for the characters, but I haven't felt like anything was being overly restricted in anyway. Overall all the iconics are pretty well covered with the exception of Crowe, but none have really made me feel like they should be wearing less.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

KSF wrote:
Sitri wrote:
I restricted the statement to the females because they are the new iconics who seem to be censored.
Women being fully clothed = censorship? I'm wearing jeans, a tee and a light running jacket right now. I'm more or less covered up. Have I been censored?

Yes. :P

Dark Archive

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SAMAS wrote:
Set wrote:
Perhaps if we ever meet Sajni, Sajan's sister, we'll discover that she dresses *exactly* like her brother, only always seems to have her arm in the way, or some sort of Scenery Censorship going on as a gag.
Not quite, but she's still dressed lightly.

Gah! Asymmetry! <Set flails around blindly.>

Quote:
On another note, I'd like to point out that the problem of the Chainmail Bikini isn't of sexiness, but of sexiness over survivability. It's one thing for Seoni or Feiya to be wearing sexy outfits, they're spellcasters who don't wear armor and so can wear whatever the hell they want; and Seelah or Kyra, who wear armor that is supposed to protect them in combat. And to Paizo's credit (or rather, the artist's), their armor is fairly practical. The worst they've done is Imrijka's cleavage window, and that's not that bad, all things considered.

While Alhazra, as I've said before, dresses fabulously for a blind woman, she is a member of a class that can wear light or medium armor, or waste one of her precious Revelations on an ability that gives her armor for, at 1st level, a not-terribly-helpful hour / day...

She should totally be rocking a chain shirt, even if it's a sexy fantasy chain shirt that looks like it is made out of little loops of sparkly wire and covers 40% of her torso.

Still, there's some sexy stuff, and then there's stuff like the Fighter on Ultimate Combat p 46, who has dressed for success in the great game of stabbing people for fun and profit (and even has some *scarring*, unlike other improbably super-hot female fantasy warriors). A decent mix is good.

Liberty's Edge

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I don't feel like the female Iconics have been 'desexed' at all. The only three really sexualized female Iconics (in terms of outfit anyway) are Seoni, Feiya, and Alahazra. That's one or two per book. Zero just isn't notably less than that (and is the number found in Ultimate Combat, as well as the ACG). Now, if you include others like Amiri in the list of sexualized women among the Iconics, you get higher numbers, certainly, but in that case, well, Kess is about as scantily clad as Amiri is.

In short, I don't think this problem (ie: there being less scantily clad women among the Iconics as some sort of censorship thing) actually exists in a meaningful fashion. The varying numbers are all close enough to be more or less coincidental.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

Deadmanwalking wrote:
"In short, I don't think this problem (ie: there being less scantily clad women among the Iconics" ...

Disagree! :D

This is a VERY SERIOUS problem that needs to be dealt with ASAP!


Blazej wrote:
I didn't even notice anything of the sort until the thread was brought up. I've enjoyed the art thus far and have felt the clothing has worked out for the characters, but I haven't felt like anything was being overly restricted in anyway. Overall all the iconics are pretty well covered with the exception of Crowe, but none have really made me feel like they should be wearing less.

I will admit that I have become hyper-vigilant on the matter after reading some of the threads here lately. Had I not read them, I likely wouldn't have thought there was a conscious effort for this change. I also probably wouldn't have realized that the three other games I have bought since that time all have heightened sexuality in their art.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

Sitri wrote:
Blazej wrote:
I didn't even notice anything of the sort until the thread was brought up. I've enjoyed the art thus far and have felt the clothing has worked out for the characters, but I haven't felt like anything was being overly restricted in anyway. Overall all the iconics are pretty well covered with the exception of Crowe, but none have really made me feel like they should be wearing less.
I will admit that I have become hyper-vigilant on the matter after reading some of the threads here lately. Had I not read them, I likely wouldn't have thought there was a conscious effort for this change. I also probably wouldn't have realized that the three other games I have bought since that time all have heightened sexuality in their art.

What are those games? ... so I can start following them.


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Sitri wrote:
KSF wrote:
Sitri wrote:
I restricted the statement to the females because they are the new iconics who seem to be censored.

Women being fully clothed = censorship? I'm wearing jeans, a tee and a light running jacket right now. I'm more or less covered up. Have I been censored?

Strawman

It's not actually a straw man. I was pointing out that you seem to be making quite a leap from the outfits that the new female iconics are wearing, and only the female iconics, to censorship.

I'm saying a woman simply wearing more clothes is not inherently censorship. And, going along with that, depicting women fully clothed is not inherently censorship.

Was it censorship when the earlier male Iconics were fully clothed? Are the new male Iconics being censored?

Sitri wrote:
Marketing explicitly uses sex to sell. Fantasy and sex have extreme overlaps.

Marketing uses other things to sell besides sex. Marketing is about reaching out to customers and indicating to them that you offer something that they want to spend money on. This includes providing imagery in artwork and advertisements that indicate to members of a demographic that the product offers a welcoming environment.

Providing an inclusive environment is one of Paizo's selling points for a number of their customers. The artwork for the new female Iconics is in line with that.

Sitri wrote:
People complain about one aspect of sex and that aspect disappears from future marketing and fantasy. That looks a lot like censorship to me.

If a company chooses to pursue a different path, it's not censorship. Who is doing the censoring here? What is the censoring agency? What authority do they have over Paizo to force them to censor their artwork?

Sitri wrote:
This is especially true when they are pushing borders in new avenues of sexuality for other demographics that are on the party line.

These are not new avenues for Paizo. They've been LGBT-inclusive since the beginning. Well, okay, LGB inclusive, and they've been getting to the T more recently. (Transgender is not a sexuality, by the way.)

Further, from the beginning, from the choice they made as to who was going to be their first Iconic, Seelah, Paizo has made it clear that they are a company interested in welcoming to the table people were have not traditionally been made welcome at the table.

Sitri wrote:
KSF wrote:
Sitri wrote:
But I argue that an across the board opposition to this extremely natural pleasure is putting undue pressure on many of the same people who are claimed to be protected.

Speaking for myself, I'm not feeling any under pressure as a result of the designs of the new female iconics. I'm quite happy with how they look and what they're wearing.

If Paizo suddenly started removing and deleting old pieces of Iconic art and replacing them with more covered up versions, your censorship analogy might make more sense. But they haven't, so it doesn't.

Composition fallacy.

You don't speak for all women.

Did you note the part where I said "Speaking for myself"? I don't claim to speak for all women. I am sure that other women here on the boards are able to chime in on this with their own views, as TanithT did.

I was simply saying that, as a part of the group of Paizo customers you seem to be worried about in terms of receiving "undue pressure," I, as a female customer of Paizo's, feel no such pressure as a result of the clothing worn by the new female Iconics.

Sitri wrote:
If Paizo is truly the inclusive, progressive company they are made out to be (in fairness I do think they mostly do this well) the shouldn't say that an effort should be made to restrict the sexuality of one group.

How does women being dressed reasonably restrict anyone's sexuality? There still seem to be plenty of attractive women showing up in Paizo's art.

Sitri wrote:
And following your logic, if NBC decided that in all future recorded shows women must wear burkas, it would still be censorship. It wouldn't change anything if normal reruns could still be seen.

Not a good analogy. The already existing Iconics will continue to appear in Paizo new artwork and advertising. They are not ditching them in favor of the new crew.

Further, the new Iconics are not wearing burkas, to use the example you seem fond of. And they're not covered up from head to toe.

Did you complain when Reiko was introduced? She's more covered than any of the new Iconics.

Edit to add: Women should be depicted as being dressed appropriately for what they are doing, where they are, and who they are. Sometimes, that means they'll be "ready to go for 1960's prime time television decency standards," to use your term. This is the way it is with actual, living breathing women. Swing by Wisconsin in the middle of winter some time if you want to see what I mean.

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16, Contributor

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I'm not sure what the particular issue is because the vague nature of the complaint. That said, I'm a firm believer that characters that are going to be engaged in a** kicking should be dressed like they are ready to kick a**.

I don't think Kess is "Desexed"

Enora is not devoid of curves

Jirelle is properly clothed for a swashbuckler, but is distinctly female.

What exactly are we complaining about? The fact that they aren't half naked?

I guess I haven't seen this "New Puritanism" in action so don't get the context. It would be helpful if someone posted examples of these sexless characters rather than vague comments.

Liberty's Edge

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Censorship must be done to others. Bowdlerization or self censorship can be done to oneself. If Mr. Reynolds' art was already existing and they insisted that in their product it must be covered up, it would be censorship. If they order new products fitting their desires, it is at best self-censorship (bowdlerization).

The dictionary is not the end all of language - it tells you the absolute basic of definition, not the rest of the cultural meaning. This is why dictionary based automated translation software gets things so badly wrong.

***

Sitri said wrote:

Joe M. wrote: It’s not at all a bad thing that the new iconics are covered up. Two things. (1) Covered up in the iconic portrait still leaves plenty of room for more revealing sexiness elsewhere. And that’s a better way to do it. These characters’ primary characteristic is not “to look sexy for the players.” But more importantly …

This is utterly subjective and I firmly disagree. Since there isn't an objective way to determine the truth of this statement, and since people obviously have different opinions, wouldn't a mix in the new lineup be more appropriate?

Which of Joe' three statements are you disagreeing with here?

1) That covering the iconics in their iconic portrait leaves room to be more revealing elsewhere
2) That "that" (1) is a better way to do it - or
3) That the characters' primary characteristic is not "to look sexy for the players"

One seems pretty objective. Two is, I agree, completely subjective. Three could be determined by asking Paizo what the intent of the existence of the iconics is. (I assume that Joe is misusing the word "characteristic" and means "purpose," otherwise, I'm not entirely sure what is meant by his statement)

Later in that post you said

Sitri Said wrote:
I think it is problematic that people claim that women, or men for that matter, should be covered up, and that is the appropriate direction to move.

I think that this might be the crux of the disagreement here.

I think that there is a distinct difference and definite middle-ground between "non-sexual materials don't need to be sexualized at all times even though homo-sapiens are sexual creatures and therefore respond well to sexual stimuli" and "women, or men for that matter, should be covered up." Do you disagree with this statement?

Again, I am perfectly happy to see pictures of pretty and or sexualized women. I'm sure that there are people who identify differently with their sexuality that enjoy pictures of attractive and sexualized males. *hit tip to Joe M.*

But if the purpose of the iconics is to convince me it would be awesome to role-play a badass brawler like Kess and not to promote sales through sexual tittillation (even if said tittillation is so low-key as to be subconscious), then I don't see what the problem is of not having Kess show more skin.

Your later arguments got bad, which is why I started with the bowdlerization/censorship line. For instance, your assertion that KSF had committed the composition fallacy when her statement clearly started with the phrase "speaking for myself."

Your argument that KSF had committed the straw man fallacy was just as bad. Your actual statements were

Sitri said wrote:
If they pull up the brawler's belt a half inch, the entire female lot is ready to go for 1960's prime time television decency standards.

and

Sitri said wrote:
I restricted the statement to the females because they are the new iconics who seem to be censored. The men as a whole are far more exposed. Whether their art fits "sexy men" or not I really can't say. By reading the thread you referenced it is clear I am not a good judge of that. All I can say is I can see people b&**~ about sexy looking female art and then in the new release of the Iconic art, it looks like there is a conscious effort to hide bodies of the females.

which seem to imply that women being fully covered up, like Jirelle, is what you would count as censorship (I still disagree with how you are using this word). Is that not your point?

A straw man is intentionally mischaracterizing your opponents argument to make it easy to defeat. If your argument is not that women without a certain amount of skin showing are being censored, then what, precisely, is it?

As you should know, since you are couching the discussion now in logical argumentation "Marketing explicitly uses sex to sell" ≠ "All marketing must use sex to sell." Paizo has the choice of how to market its product. And not all market has to involve sex.

Edit - KSF beat me to most of my points. *hat-tip*


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I'm seriously boggled that a trend to give female adventurers normal, practical and effective adventuring gear is being referred to as 'censorship'.

Gee, it's like some folks don't want women to be depicted in any way except posed in a sexualized way for their pleasure. Because that's just not fair. We're totally entitled to enjoy what we look at, and women must all be sexually decorative even if it's at the expense of being an effective character. Or of being able to survive in the adventuring situations they are depicted in. /sarcasm

There is absolutely nothing wrong with heterosexual male oriented porn, but Pathfinder isn't only for heterosexual males, and it is about stuff like adventuring and fighting monsters and exploring the untamed wilderness. Does it really make sense to be drawing people doing the kind of stuff the game is actually about in their underwear? Seriously?

Doing that basically gimps all the characters that are drawn that way and makes them look stupid and ineffective, passive and ornamental, not to mention unrealistic. That's not cool. Not because porn isn't cool, but because making your characters look stupid and ineffective isn't cool. Also because Pathfinder is meant to be enjoyed by people of all orientations and not just one.

It sucks a lot that this has been and in many places still is the default. I'm glad to see that there is a trend towards dressing female characters in normal and effective ways for the heroic adventuring situations they are being depicted in, showing that they can be the actual heroes with competence and agency, not just eye candy.

If there is some legitimate plot reason for showing a character in their skimpies, that's fine. But the whole chainmail bikini on a glacier in a hail of Orc arrows thing, that is seriously stupid and needs to be over.


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Why is it that blatant sexism so often comes under the guise of "that's puritanism". Are people really this myopic or is it just straight up lying because they want one sided porn in pop culture?

Silver Crusade

I'll get back to this thread in the next couple days for a more thorough follow-up. But two easy things that came up.

Dennis Baker wrote:

I don't think Kess is "Desexed"

Enora is not devoid of curves

Jirelle is properly clothed for a swashbuckler, but is distinctly female.

Shardra's got that hip-stance and thigh-reveal going on, too!

The Shining Fool wrote:

Joe M. wrote: It’s not at all a bad thing that the new iconics are covered up. Two things. (1) Covered up in the iconic portrait still leaves plenty of room for more revealing sexiness elsewhere. And that’s a better way to do it. These characters’ primary characteristic is not “to look sexy for the players.”

[...] 3) That the characters' primary characteristic is not "to look sexy for the players"

[...] Three could be determined by asking Paizo what the intent of the existence of the iconics is. (I assume that Joe is misusing the word "characteristic" and means "purpose," otherwise, I'm not entirely sure what is meant by his statement)

Sure, "purpose" works. I'd defend "characteristic" as passable here, but as much as I enjoy discussions of words, that would take us off topic.

:-)

Silver Crusade

TanithT wrote:

I'm seriously boggled that a trend to give female adventurers normal, practical and effective adventuring gear is being referred to as 'censorship'.

Gee, it's like some folks don't want women to be depicted in any way except posed in a sexualized way for their pleasure. Because that's just not fair. We're totally entitled to enjoy what we look at, and women must all be sexually decorative even if it's at the expense of being an effective character. Or of being able to survive in the adventuring situations they are depicted in. /sarcasm

There is absolutely nothing wrong with heterosexual male oriented porn, but Pathfinder isn't only for heterosexual males, and it is about stuff like adventuring and fighting monsters and exploring the untamed wilderness. Does it really make sense to be drawing people doing the kind of stuff the game is actually about in their underwear? Seriously?

Doing that basically gimps all the characters that are drawn that way and makes them look stupid and ineffective, passive and ornamental, not to mention unrealistic. That's not cool. Not because porn isn't cool, but because making your characters look stupid and ineffective isn't cool. Also because Pathfinder is meant to be enjoyed by people of all orientations and not just one.

It sucks a lot that this has been and in many places still is the default. I'm glad to see that there is a trend towards dressing female characters in normal and effective ways for the heroic adventuring situations they are being depicted in, showing that they can be the actual heroes with competence and agency, not just eye candy.

If there is some legitimate plot reason for showing a character in their skimpies, that's fine. But the whole chainmail bikini on a glacier in a hail of Orc arrows thing, that is seriously stupid and needs to be over.

Hah! Also, all of this. Well said, TanithT!

(What bothers me about it isn't necessarily the impracticality itself, but that that always seems to work out as what Alex Smith tags as "one sided porn"—and that that reinforces problematic cultural dynamics regarding women broadly, and the participation of women and gay men in gaming culture more narrowly.)

:-)

Dark Archive

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Joe M. wrote:

(What bothers me about it isn't necessarily the impracticality itself, but that that always seems to work out as what Alex Smith tags as "one sided porn"—and that that reinforces problematic cultural dynamics regarding women broadly, and the participation of women and gay men in gaming culture more narrowly.)

Back in the days when Conan and John Carter were often as scantily clad as Sonja and Dejah Thoris, it seemed like both sides where showing a lot of skin, and so, felt kind of 'equal opportunity exploitive,' if that makes any sense.

And yet, the impracticality does sometimes go both ways. Seltyiel, for instance, despite being written up as wearing leather armor, is wearing an open shirt instead. Like Alhazra, the dude should be wearing a chain shirt, at least, if not a breastplate.

There was a missed opportunity in the Girdle of Reverse Gender picture of Ezren turning into a woman to show how silly a reverse-gendered Seoni would look in her classic outfit. :)

Perhaps Rule 63 Seoni could be a Jadwiga Boreal Sorcerer, who likes to dress 'breezily' to show off how immune he is to cold (and therefore superior to Irriseni who aren't)?


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I think this is more just an art-is-art thing - I dont think there's been any great change in approach recently, I think you just dont like some of the new illustrations.

From my perspective, I've always been somewhat embarassed buying fantasy books because of the ludicrous way women are drawn. In paizo's case I've been generally spared that embarassment - some women are depicted as sexy and some arent but they generally manage to convey that without reverting to "sexy woman = slutty".

There have been one or two exceptions that havent been to my taste but I think that's inevitable with art - it's not necessarily some overarching political ideology, just a difference in taste.

Liberty's Edge

Joe M. wrote:

Hah! Also, all of this. Well said, TanithT!

(What bothers me about it isn't necessarily the impracticality itself, but that that always seems to work out as what Alex Smith tags as "one sided porn"—and that that reinforces problematic cultural dynamics regarding women broadly, and the participation of women and gay men in gaming culture more narrowly.)

:-)

Agreed, though Paizo isn't doing too badly on the Iconic front. We've got Crowe, Sajan, and the pretty thoroughly sexualized Seltyiel among the men, and only a few more than that (Seoni, Feiya, Alahazra, Amiri, and Kess) among the women. A few more scantily clad men to balance the scales certainly seems reasonable to hope for, though.


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Apparently almost every woman I come into contact with during a typical day is "desexed". Interesting.


To me the ones that are really stupid design-wise are Alahazra's everything and Kess's crotchless pants.

Seltyiel, Seoni, and Feiya all fall into the category of obviously trying to be sexy but not necessarily sexist. Though this means their art can be problematic and needs to be handled with care.

The rest of the iconics are still impractical due to how cluttered they are but don't really pose any sort of sexist implications that I know of. Like Crowe and Amiri both show a lot of skin but are almost always in empowering poses. They show skin to show how tough they are and that they're going to mess you up.


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If you were stuck in Bad RPG Art Hell in the real world, your life might look a little bit like this.

"Honey, let's go camping. We'll be roughing it in the wilderness, crawling through dank caves, hiking up rugged mountainsides, wrestling a couple of bears and rafting back down some dangerous river rapids. I'm going to be wearing really good hiking shoes and durable expedition clothes, plus some Kevlar for when we have to deal with the bears."

"Sure, I'm pretty good at doing that all stuff, so that sounds like fun. I'm up for this adventure."

"Except you have to do it in your underwear and high heeled shoes. No Kevlar for you."

"What??? Why not? That does not make any sense. It gets cold at night and we'll be walking through thorny brush and poison ivy. And BEARS."

"Because it just doesn't look good. You have to look sexy for me when you go on adventures. And especially when you wrestle bears."

"Wait. You get to wear your good camping clothes and have Kevlar, because you need that stuff to stay alive, but I always have to look sexy even if it means I freeze to death and then get eaten by bears?"

"Yep."

"o.O I AM NEVER GOING CAMPING WITH YOU."


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TanithT wrote:

If you were stuck in Bad RPG Art Hell in the real world, your life might look a little bit like this.

"Honey, let's go camping. We'll be roughing it in the wilderness, crawling through dank caves, hiking up rugged mountainsides, wrestling a couple of bears and rafting back down some dangerous river rapids. I'm going to be wearing really good hiking shoes and durable expedition clothes, plus some Kevlar for when we have to deal with the bears."

"Sure, I'm pretty good at doing that all stuff, so that sounds like fun. I'm up for this adventure."

"Except you have to do it in your underwear and high heeled shoes. No Kevlar for you."

"What??? Why not? That does not make any sense. It gets cold at night and we'll be walking through thorny brush and poison ivy. And BEARS."

"Because it just doesn't look good. You have to look sexy for me when you go on adventures. And especially when you wrestle bears."

"Wait. You get to wear your good camping clothes and have Kevlar, because you need that stuff to stay alive, but I always have to look sexy even if it means I freeze to death and then get eaten by bears?"

"Yep."

"o.O I AM NEVER GOING CAMPING WITH YOU."

Very nice.

With Seoni, who's the worst offender here I think, the lack of Kevlar is a class feature, but you'd think a pair of jeans and some sensible shoes at least. And a sports bra.


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Shouldn't this thread be under Paizo Publishing General Discussion, rather than the Campaign Setting General Discussion?

(Actually, it should be in under Do We Really Need to Have This Discussion Again, but that's neither here nor there.)


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I came into this thinking that it would be an interesting discussion about the iconics being, in essence, changed from beings with two at-least-semi-distinct sexes (male/female) into sexless, humanoid-shaped characters. I'd actually be interested in seeing that, removing any semblance of masculinity or femininity from the features, and just make them look... "generic". See how it changes the perception of the average person. Names for most of them would probably have to change as well, since a name can be a good indicator of a person's sex and/or gender.

And instead I come in here and it's talk about the "sexiness" vs. "non-sexiness" of their clothes. Somehow, I feel disappointed.

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