Potential offensiveness of AP covers (Please keep it friendly and polite)


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Oh and FINALLY a Black D00d on the cover of a Paizo product?!? YAY!?!

Anyone?

Bueller?

Anyone?

Okay to hell with all ya'll. I'm Happy about it...


ShinHakkaider wrote:

I look at cover #82 and see a woman in Egyptian Garb.

I look at cover #83 and I see a guy what I assume to be Egyptian armor.

I didnt even notice the "underboob" until someone pointed it out. I've seen drawings of women in clothes like that even before this so I guess my mind made the familiar association?

Overall though I think every time this topic pops up I take the detractors at face value when they say that they don't want to remove all "cheesecake" (which in as of itself is subjective) they just want more balance. But it DOES seem that they DO want to remove all "cheesecake" because every time something like this shows up people go all HAM on Paizo and I think it's really undeserved.

I think everyone on this topic has actually been pretty fair to Paizo. Quite a few of us are singing their praises actually. Lord Snow, the poster who prompted creation of this thread, has even said that he's okay with the majority of the artwork over the last few years, including the one that I'd have felt was most likely to be objectionable (Areelu Vorlesh) due to the context that they put it in. So I'm not sure what going HAM on Paizo means exactly, but I don't think we're doing it here.

Silver Crusade

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still swamped, but:

Honestly, regarding the clothing only, I'm more surprised she's covered there at all. Some common forms of dress in Ancient Egypt left the upper torso completely bare, and most of the ways to preserve that fashion as something printable in America that come to mind probably would result in "underboob" too, particularly dialing neck and shoulder ornamentation up to 11.

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GreyWolfLord wrote:
So overall, yes, I think they see it as sexualized, but they've also come to expect such stuff in gaming, and it's no more worse than what Hollywood already does.

I agree that it's not out of line with most gaming products. However, I don't think, "those other guys do it, too" is a very good defense.

I personally love sexy ladies, and if the products were only written for me they'd have a lot more scantily clad women in them. However, I do think that changing the art culture some would be good for the hobby and help get other people into gaming.

I ran a course where I used the basics of the Pathfinder RPG to teach role-playing to kids. The only two concerns I got from any adults about the course were the use of violence, which I was easily able to mitigate by focusing on problem-solving and using constructs rather than living opponents, and the depiction of women in the art. They weren't huge concerns, but there were comments such as, "It's a shame all the women are so sexualized."

I don't think that type of stuff is a huge barrier, but I don't think that making women more realistic in the art would turn existing gamers off, either. I think an evolution in art styles would be a good thing for the industry as a whole. Paizo's already worlds ahead of most publishers in this regard, but there are still ways to improve.


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I have this vague recollection of someone official saying something like "We have a hard time getting the freelance artists to dial back the sexualization as much as we'd like."

I wonder how much of this is just What fantasy artists like to draw or have internalized as what sells, even when the company doesn't ask for it.


Mikaze wrote:

still swamped, but:

Honestly, regarding the clothing only, I'm more surprised she's covered there at all. Some common forms of dress in Ancient Egypt left the upper torso completely bare, and most of the ways to preserve that fashion as something printable in America that come to mind probably would result in "underboob" too, particularly dialing neck and shoulder ornamentation up to 11.

True enough. I guess it comes back to how historically accurate they want to make it to the source material. I assume the thought process was to make it more main stream acceptable by covering up for the most part.


Charlie Brooks wrote:
GreyWolfLord wrote:
So overall, yes, I think they see it as sexualized, but they've also come to expect such stuff in gaming, and it's no more worse than what Hollywood already does.

I agree that it's not out of line with most gaming products. However, I don't think, "those other guys do it, too" is a very good defense.

I personally love sexy ladies, and if the products were only written for me they'd have a lot more scantily clad women in them. However, I do think that changing the art culture some would be good for the hobby and help get other people into gaming.

I ran a course where I used the basics of the Pathfinder RPG to teach role-playing to kids. The only two concerns I got from any adults about the course were the use of violence, which I was easily able to mitigate by focusing on problem-solving and using constructs rather than living opponents, and the depiction of women in the art. They weren't huge concerns, but there were comments such as, "It's a shame all the women are so sexualized."

I don't think that type of stuff is a huge barrier, but I don't think that making women more realistic in the art would turn existing gamers off, either. I think an evolution in art styles would be a good thing for the industry as a whole. Paizo's already worlds ahead of most publishers in this regard, but there are still ways to improve.

The teaching kids to play thing is a good point. While I like the art, there are times when I'm teaching my cousin and his friends to play (the group is evenly split between males and females) that I look at certain artwork and think that realistic representations of women would be nice. Not that I think they're going to start thinking it's what everyone should look like, they're bright enough kids to not fear on that score, but it'd just be nice to show them a more realistic spread of characters. Not always Pathfinder, other games I've run with them have run into similar problems.

Silver Crusade

thejeff wrote:

I have this vague recollection of someone official saying something like "We have a hard time getting the freelance artists to dial back the sexualization as much as we'd like."

I wonder how much of this is just What fantasy artists like to draw or have internalized as what sells, even when the company doesn't ask for it.

I have actually used the phrase "the nipples should probably be dialed back a bit" in the past during collaboration. ;)

Tinkergoth wrote:

True enough. I guess it comes back to how historically accurate they want to make it to the source material. I assume the thought process was to make it more main stream acceptable by covering up for the most part.

Yeah. Thinking about it more, if I had to pick an approach to that issue, I'd probably suggest an oversized wesekh collar.


I'm not really sure I can shed light on this as a general issue, but my preference is for more hot dudes (see: Empty Graves).

Even though I'm primarily attracted to women, I feel awkward enjoying media where women are sexualized and men aren't. For my part, I'd cheerfully have no sexy people in the art, but...

My female players don't mind art of attractive women, to the extent that two are building Seoni and Feiya costumes. So cutting that for their sake seems less silly and more straight-up offensive.

Because, really, the issue is about me feeling awkward and has nothing to do with what women actually feel. So I'm not being some sort of egalitarian by burying everyone's sexuality.

This is doubly true, I think, in an RPG. It's most obvious in the iconics, but all the character art in an RPG line are people you could want to be.

Just because I don't want to be a sexy woman doesn't mean I get to tell everyone else they shouldn't want to be sexy women. Way to accidentally make the environment sexist, sex-negative, and transphobic in the name of inclusion, younger Landon. Good job.

Anyway, that pretty clearly leads to the conclusion I mentioned up top: more hot dudes. I don't have to feel awkward, gender roles get balanced, people who want to be hot men get more options, and everyone attracted to men gets some eye candy to boot. Yay progress!

Cheers!
Landon

P.S.: I find the Secrets of the Sphinx cover creepy rather than attractive. I think it's probably the mask. I can't say whether the artist was intending it to be sexy or to use elements of sexiness as a spice to make the creepy creepier, but it falls in the latter category for me. If that was the intent, good job!


Mikaze wrote:
Tinkergoth wrote:

True enough. I guess it comes back to how historically accurate they want to make it to the source material. I assume the thought process was to make it more main stream acceptable by covering up for the most part.

Yeah. Thinking about it more, if I had to pick an approach to that issue, I'd probably suggest an oversized wesekh collar.

That would work pretty damn nicely actually. Would certainly throw some colour in there.


Landon Winkler wrote:

...

Anyway, that pretty clearly leads to the conclusion I mentioned up top: more hot dudes. I don't have to feel awkward, gender roles get balanced, people who want to be hot men get more options, and everyone attracted to men gets some eye candy to boot. Yay progress!

Cheers!
Landon

Just snipping the last part for your conclusion... I'd write up a response to the full thing, but I'm incredibly tired and about to hit the hay to try and get a semblance of rest before I go to work in about 6 hours... sorry, gotta take advantage of the fact that the old man in the apartment above me has decided it's time to stop walking what I can only assume is a tiny elephant around his apartment for hours...

Anyway. Yes. More sexy men. Let's balance this out, and make my dream, the Equal Opportunity Scantily Clad Heroes of Golarion calendar happen! We can do it people! Okay. We probably can't, cause you know, Paizo aren't going to let us make cheese cake calendars of their iconics... which is their right I suppose, what with them owning the IP and all... *mumble* spoilsports *mumble*...

Just kidding Paizo folks. We love ya.


I understand the body language dispute and all, and prefer clothes on my fantasy characters, however I just don't see any issue with that cover. Women and Men are different, from each other and within their genders. I like strong women, but I don't think they all need to be Seelah.

This picture actually feels like a break from Paizo's norm for me.


Lord Snow wrote:
Again I would like to stress that I think that "hot women on cover art = sex toys on cover art" is a very false dichotomy. I gave examples from Magic: The Gathering in my previous posts. I think those examples are perfect - the women in them are pretty, one is kind of under-dressed, but they don't come across as objects. They are humans busy doing something, they just happen to be pleasent to look at. Here is an even stronger example - Kiora.. Can't say she is wearing all that much, and she sure does manage to flash a lot of thigh there. Kind of hot, despite her being a fish person.

I just wanted to point out - that Kiora image you linked does not make your point.

Kiora (at least in the linked image) has the 'no spine' problem and is using a pose that is almost impossible to do in real life. The PF cover at least is anatomically possible.

The 'no-spine' is actually something that bothers many many people and is seen as a much bigger problem than just an overly sexy image, because it promotes imagery (especially in young minds) that is impossible to conform to in real life. Other examples can be found here http://eschergirls.tumblr.com/

As to being overly sexualized - I don't see her as having unattainable proportions (as some iconcs tread the line at) - there is a difference between drawing sexy and drawing to objectify.


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Tinkergoth wrote:
ShinHakkaider wrote:

I look at cover #82 and see a woman in Egyptian Garb.

I look at cover #83 and I see a guy what I assume to be Egyptian armor.

I didnt even notice the "underboob" until someone pointed it out. I've seen drawings of women in clothes like that even before this so I guess my mind made the familiar association?

Overall though I think every time this topic pops up I take the detractors at face value when they say that they don't want to remove all "cheesecake" (which in as of itself is subjective) they just want more balance. But it DOES seem that they DO want to remove all "cheesecake" because every time something like this shows up people go all HAM on Paizo and I think it's really undeserved.

I think everyone on this topic has actually been pretty fair to Paizo. Quite a few of us are singing their praises actually. Lord Snow, the poster who prompted creation of this thread, has even said that he's okay with the majority of the artwork over the last few years, including the one that I'd have felt was most likely to be objectionable (Areelu Vorlesh) due to the context that they put it in. So I'm not sure what going HAM on Paizo means exactly, but I don't think we're doing it here.

You know what youre right. The thread hasn't gone there yet. I might have just been anticipating it heading in that direction because in many of the other similar threads that have discussed this very topic it has.

My assumption wasn't fair to the people discussing the thread at present so, Apologies.

Liberty's Edge

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Leaving aside the potential anatomic issues with the one illustration, let's see the AP Cover count for scantily clad (and attractive) men and women respectively. Because without a count, this is all just empty talk:

Saving Space:
Among the Corebook Iconics (who were also the covers for RotRL and CotCT):

2 women (Amiri, Seoni)
2 men (Sajan, Seltiyel)

So, looking good so far. Looking at the other Iconics (which is slightly off-topic, but seems relevant tangentially), we have two additional women (Alahara, Feiya) and no additional men...but perhaps the ACG will change that balance (the Bloodrager seems to have his chest bared...)

Now, on to the other APs:

Second Darkness:

2 women (both Drow)
0 men

This is understandable given, well, Drow...but perhaps unfortunate.

Legacy of Fire:

2 women (Genies)
0 men

There are actually two scantily clad male genies....but neither is attractive. Unfortunate.

Council of Thieves:

1 woman
0 men

Oooh, this is developing into a bad pattern.

Serpent's Skull:

1 woman (Not actually scantily clad per se...but skin-tight clothing and a contortion so we can look at her butt make me count it)
1 man

Slightly better...still not that good.

Kingmaker:

1 woman
0-2 men (depending on one's standards for 'attractive'...they don't meet mine)

Not getting much better. Maybe worse.

Carrion Crown:

1 woman
0 men

Yeah, this isn't getting better.

Jade Regent:

0 women
0 men

No overtly sexualized pictures. Huh. Cool.

Skull and Shackles:

2 women
0-1 men (again, depending on standards)

That's not so good again.

Shattered Star:

0 women
0 men

Again, that's nice.

Reign of Winter:

0 women (there's a little cleavage...but that's it)
0 men

Must be the cold. ;)

Wrath of the Righteous:

1 woman
0 men

The aforementioned half-succubus (the actual succubus is dressed rather modestly, amusingly enough)

Mummy's Mask:

1 woman
1 man

As discussed here.

So, total, on AP covers we have 14 scantily clad, attractive, women, and 4-7 men who meet the same criteria, depending on your standards of attractiveness (plus two unambiguously unattractive, but scantily clad, male genies). Even counting all scantily clad men, that's 14 to 9 and a clear imbalance.

And among the Iconics, we have 4 women and 2 men (2 of each of which are also included in the above count)...but with 10 new Iconics coming, that could easily change soon.

Clearly, we need more half naked men on our AP covers. Which is a slightly surreal thing to be saying as a straight guy...but remains true.

On the bright side, only the recent female illustration from Mummy's Mask and the Red Mantis woman from Serpent's Skull seem contorted for the viewer's titillation. Which is a pretty solid improvement over, say, comic book illustrations...


Tinkergoth wrote:

I think the cover of The Half Dead City is effective in that regard. I look at that NPC (who's name I sadly can't recall right this second) and get a sense of someone who's arrogant, used to getting her own way, and ready to stab anyone who gets in her way.

I was going to bring her up, but you beat me to it. My first thought on her was "Those aren't practical adventuring clothes", which surprised me, because the art is usually good about that (Huge gorgeous hat, in a tomb, really? It's gonna get covered in cobwebs!). Then I got the adventure and read about her and it completely makes sense for her character to be dressed like that. (For the record that cover made me sadder than this one on the "what women on RPG covers should dress like" scale, until I read her backstory)

Spoiler:
She's described basically described as a foppish dilettante from Taldor, and she's drawn as dressed as such.

So my first reaction to this is: "Yes, she's a drawn a little more sexual than other covers, but Paizo has such a great track record that I'm pretty confident that it was a conscious decision about how to portray the character. For all we know at this point she's also part succubus, or something.

Also, as has been pointed out: she's a bit too covered up for "ancient Egypt", so if anything the cover is a bit Puritanical in my eyes (but I get the reasons why).

And Mikaze's right, a wesekh collar would do wonders for the outfit, lady need some accessories. Assuming she can find one that goes with her headdress. :)


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You all have kept this thread civil and open-minded. Nice job! I never thought I'd see the day.

As for my opinion, my players and I play this game to fight monsters and villains, uncover secrets and evil plots, and roleplay interesting and amusing encounters. I've never seen the reason to include sex or strong innuendo in our games. So it's very strange for me to see it cropping up in the art at times. I mean, is that even remotely what the game is about, as written? (Except for romance scores in Jade regent and one side plot in the first book of RotRL.)

But I know I'm just one person and many of you may include sexy situations in your games. It just doesn't jive with anything we do in my group.


Dustin Ashe wrote:

You all have kept this thread civil and open-minded. Nice job! I never thought I'd see the day.

As for my opinion, my players and I play this game to fight monsters and villains, uncover secrets and evil plots, and roleplay interesting and amusing encounters. I've never seen the reason to include sex or strong innuendo in our games. So it's very strange for me to see it cropping up in the art at times. I mean, is that even remotely what the game is about, as written? (Except for romance scores in Jade regent and one side plot in the first book of RotRL.)

But I know I'm just one person and many of you may include sexy situations in your games. It just doesn't jive with anything we do in my group.

It's been in fantasy, including gaming, from day one.


thejeff wrote:
It's been in fantasy, including gaming, from day one.

I doubt it. Maybe in fantasy, but gaming from "day one"? Probably not.


Tinkergoth wrote:
Anyway. Yes. More sexy men. Let's balance this out, and make my dream, the Equal Opportunity Scantily Clad Heroes of Golarion calendar happen! We can do it people! Okay. We probably can't, cause you know, Paizo aren't going to let us make cheese cake calendars of their iconics... which is their right I suppose, what with them owning the IP and all... *mumble* spoilsports *mumble*...

Yeah, I'm not sure cheesecake falls under the Community Use Policy :)

Deadmanwalking wrote:
So, total, on AP covers we have 14 scantily clad, attractive, women, and 4-7 men who meet the same criteria, depending on your standards of attractiveness (plus two unambiguously unattractive, but scantily clad, male genies). Even counting all scantily clad men, that's 14 to 9 and a clear imbalance.

Thanks for grabbing those numbers. That's actually pretty good in the grand scheme of things.

For what it's worth, the attractiveness can cut down the female side of things a lot too. It's probably best to go for a strict count barring comments from the artist/staff that certain pieces weren't intended to be attractive.

Caveats aside, even your baseline numbers are promising. Good job Paizo! Keep up the good work!

Cheers!
Landon


jeff wrote:
Dustin Ashe wrote:

You all have kept this thread civil and open-minded. Nice job! I never thought I'd see the day.

As for my opinion, my players and I play this game to fight monsters and villains, uncover secrets and evil plots, and roleplay interesting and amusing encounters. I've never seen the reason to include sex or strong innuendo in our games. So it's very strange for me to see it cropping up in the art at times. I mean, is that even remotely what the game is about, as written? (Except for romance scores in Jade regent and one side plot in the first book of RotRL.)

But I know I'm just one person and many of you may include sexy situations in your games. It just doesn't jive with anything we do in my group.

It's been in fantasy, including gaming, from day one.

If you mean fantasy literature, I totally agree with you. Take Lancelot and Guinevere. Chaucer's assorted tales.

But If you meant Pathfinder specifically, you probably know way better than I do. I'm relatively new to gaming and even newer to Pathfinder. I've only read half a dozen modules and two APs. So I'll just have to take your word for it. Is sex and seduction a big element in this game and I just haven't found it yet?


Tinkergoth wrote:
Charlie Brooks wrote:
GreyWolfLord wrote:
So overall, yes, I think they see it as sexualized, but they've also come to expect such stuff in gaming, and it's no more worse than what Hollywood already does.

I agree that it's not out of line with most gaming products. However, I don't think, "those other guys do it, too" is a very good defense.

I personally love sexy ladies, and if the products were only written for me they'd have a lot more scantily clad women in them. However, I do think that changing the art culture some would be good for the hobby and help get other people into gaming.

I ran a course where I used the basics of the Pathfinder RPG to teach role-playing to kids. The only two concerns I got from any adults about the course were the use of violence, which I was easily able to mitigate by focusing on problem-solving and using constructs rather than living opponents, and the depiction of women in the art. They weren't huge concerns, but there were comments such as, "It's a shame all the women are so sexualized."

I don't think that type of stuff is a huge barrier, but I don't think that making women more realistic in the art would turn existing gamers off, either. I think an evolution in art styles would be a good thing for the industry as a whole. Paizo's already worlds ahead of most publishers in this regard, but there are still ways to improve.

The teaching kids to play thing is a good point. While I like the art, there are times when I'm teaching my cousin and his friends to play (the group is evenly split between males and females) that I look at certain artwork and think that realistic representations of women would be nice. Not that I think they're going to start thinking it's what everyone should look like, they're bright enough kids to not fear on that score, but it'd just be nice to show them a more realistic spread of characters. Not always Pathfinder, other games I've run with them have run into similar problems.

Well, this IS for an AP, and looking at what PAIZO puts into it's AP's, I'd firmly say most of their stuff is for ages 15+ (17+ in the US).

It's ironic that we'll rate movies and keep kids from movies with certain types of material, but have less caution when it comes to games (even video games).

For kids I'll use C&C stuff before I'd use PAIZO stuff. I may be liberal in some areas, but when it comes to kids...the stuff in the APs tend to be too adult in their presentation anyways.

So, if one's okay with their kids seeing PG-15 or worse movies, more power to them in the APs and some of the other material put out by PAIZO.

But if they aren't comfortable with that type of stuff...they probably shouldn't be worried about certain types of presentations in regards to their children in regards to what Paizo puts out because they probably should be applying an even application of their principles to all products...hence probably should be using something else for RPGs for their kids rather then Paizo's in these instances.

PS: And before anyone thinks this is just about sexualization in APs and such, it's far more than that. The graphic violence depicted at times in the illustrations, in monsters and such, is FAR more than I'd be comfortable with young kids dealing with. Maybe I'm overprotective, but they can have all that stuff when they get older...


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Landon Winkler wrote:


Deadmanwalking wrote:
we have 14 scantily clad, attractive, women, and 4-7 men who meet the same criteria, depending on your standards of attractiveness
Thanks for grabbing those numbers. That's actually pretty good in the grand scheme of things.

I respectfully disagree. 4-7 to 14 is a far cry from equal.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
ShinHakkaider wrote:

Oh and FINALLY a Black D00d on the cover of a Paizo product?!? YAY!?!

Anyone?

Bueller?

Anyone?

Okay to hell with all ya'll. I'm Happy about it...

Off topic:
Are you referring to him? Because he's black alright. So black, in fact, that if I had to guess I'd say he took the Living Monolith prestige class. But even if his skin wasn't now made of onyx/jet, I'd guess he was born black, so that still counts.

Also, the first black person to appear on the cover of a Paizo product was the paladin Seelah all the way back in Edge of Anarchy. Barnabus Harrigan was the second that I can recall, from the Wormwood Mutiny.


Dustin Ashe wrote:

If you mean fantasy literature, I totally agree with you. Take Lancelot and Guinevere. Chaucer's assorted tales.

But If you meant Pathfinder specifically, you probably know way better than I do. I'm relatively new to gaming and even newer to Pathfinder. I've only read half a dozen modules and two APs. So I'll just have to take your word for it. Is sex and seduction a big element in this game and I just haven't found it yet?

It varies a lot from table to table and probably always will.

But, as far as "from the start" Gygax included a Random Harlot Table in the 1st Edition DMG, so... I mean, there's that. Obviously it at least came up, although it didn't necessarily play a major role.

A fair number of breasts were displayed. One adventure was recalled due to a picture that... wasn't pornographic, but had some unfortunate implications.

The Satanic Panic largely cleared that out. There was still plenty of objectifying art, but it was within US norms and everyone avoided talking about sex, romance, and sexuality. Not that anyone who was panicking noticed or cared, but I digress.

That's unlikely to change at this point, between the residual fear of that and the fact D&D's owned by Hasbro these days.

Paizo tends to talk about human sexuality a lot more in general. Characters in the APs have desires that are acknowledged in the text and not-infrequently motivate their actions. It's not usually something that involves the PCs, unless they're into that, but it's actually there.

For my part, I used to never consider romantic motivations for my NPCs as a GM. That... was me completely dropping the ball on one of the most important human motivators. And a large part of that was because I grew up GMing the staunchly asexual D&D.

As you point out, you can't really have the Athurian tales without sex. You don't need sex scenes, but without sex and romance in the background... the whole thing falls flat. That's the same level of involvement you'll generally see in Paizo stuff.

So, when us old-timers are talking about Pathfinder being much more open about sex and romance, keep in mind that a lot of us are referring to a baseline (post-Satanic Panic D&D) that straight-up pretended those things did not exist.

Cheers!
Landon

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GreyWolfLord wrote:
For kids I'll use C&C stuff before I'd use PAIZO stuff. I may be liberal in some areas, but when it comes to kids...the stuff in the APs tend to be too adult in their presentation anyways.

While I agree that Pathfinder tends to skew older, I don't think there's a ton of stuff out there that I wouldn't run for somebody in their teens. I'd probably avoid stuff like Hook Mountain Massacre, but most of the adventure path line seems mature but not over the top.

But the whole "Is this for kids?" discussion distracts from my main point anyway, which is that this kind of art is a turnoff for a potential adult audience. RPGs often get categorized as a hobby that caters toward sexually frustrated teens, and certain pieces of art feed that perception. A sexy lady can still be sexy without looking like she's about to give a lap dance.


Dustin Ashe wrote:
Landon Winkler wrote:
Thanks for grabbing those numbers. That's actually pretty good in the grand scheme of things.
I respectfully disagree. 4-7 to 14 is a far cry from equal.

"Pretty good in the grand scheme of things" and "perfect" are also far from equal.

Cheers!
Landon


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Landon Winkler wrote:
Dustin Ashe wrote:
Landon Winkler wrote:
Thanks for grabbing those numbers. That's actually pretty good in the grand scheme of things.
I respectfully disagree. 4-7 to 14 is a far cry from equal.

"Pretty good in the grand scheme of things" and "perfect" are also far from equal.

Cheers!
Landon

As I stated above, I guess I just don't have the grand scheme to look at. Thanks for giving me the earliest days of D&D perspective.

Still, I wouldn't mind shocking, well-before-its-time equality. Today.


Arnwyn wrote:
thejeff wrote:
It's been in fantasy, including gaming, from day one.
I doubt it. Maybe in fantasy, but gaming from "day one"? Probably not.

Fair enough. Early on TSR couldn't afford art. There's plenty of cheesecake on early Dragon magazine covers. And a good deal on/in the 1E books & modules.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

i have never (and i stress never) heard someone say about an RPG book at a store "Gee, i sure would like this adventure/sourcebook but i find the scantily clad woman/man/other too offensive, i'll buy something else"

when people buy RPG books they are looking for high quality artwork/writing that evokes the setting/people, Paizo does this in spades!

get over the issues and appreciate the artwork, it used to be waaaaay worse, trust me!


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Could someone explain what's so contorted about the woman's pose? Because I sincerely, respectfully, do not see it. She is not twisting at the waist in that ubiquitous "butt + boobs" pose; her shoulders are pretty much inline with her hips; one hip is cocked up at, what, about 15 degrees? Which is normal, because she is clearly in the act of taking a step forward.

It's not a combat pose, but it's not a stripper pose or even anything like typical comic book cheesecake. It's hardly contorted at all. It's almost the exact same pose (minus the staff) as this.


Honestly I do not see the issue with the cover. Have you never gone to the beach? Or a swimming pool? People are far more skimpy dressed there then a women in a dress.

Although, my views might be tinted from my years of high school swimming. I guess when you spend 4+ hours with people in swimsuits, your views on skimpy-ness might get a little skewed.


Dustin Ashe wrote:
As I stated above, I guess I just don't have the grand scheme to look at. Thanks for giving me the earliest days of D&D perspective.

You're welcome!

Dustin Ashe wrote:
Still, I wouldn't mind shocking, well-before-its-time equality. Today.

And in that, we are in perfect agreement :)

The other piece of this puzzle that may not be clear up front is that gender representation is an issue Paizo takes very seriously. So, while we absolutely do need to help them fill in blind spots, it's something they want to be perfect even more than we do.

So, when they fall short of their own goals, I try very hard to keep that in mind. They don't need a hard push, just to know if they missed something and to know that we're behind them if they push that envelope a little harder.

Honestly, between the positive response to the Empty Graves cover and a few threads like this one, I already wouldn't be surprised to see some more sexy dudes. Admittedly, I think Paizo's deep in work on Iron Gods, so it'll be a while before we see either way.

Cheers!
Landon


Gorbacz wrote:
Lord Snow, have you ever actually seen a woman, or is this pure theorycraft?

I've seen strippers, and I can honestly say that's not how they handle a pole.

Plus, from what can be seen of the so-called "underboob" it at least looks as if the artist knows how real women's bodies are shaped, which is a good thing.

(The latter comment is serious, the former tongue-in-cheek. I mention the latter in particular as it is something that I has recently been a topic of discussion- or at least a lead-in to a topic of discussion- on some comicboards recently.)


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Y'know, just responding to the thread title rather than any specific point in the last 84 posts, I'm don't think anyone should worry about potential offensivensess. That there kills your creative impulse before you've even had a chance to create anything.

If something I create offends you, feel free to tell me so. I'll listen and either take your point of view into account in the future or (more likely, cause I'm a lazy jerk) decide it's not a reasonable complaint about my work. But we can't have that conversation about work I haven't actually done yet.

The Exchange

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Michael Gentry wrote:

Could someone explain what's so contorted about the woman's pose? Because I sincerely, respectfully, do not see it. She is not twisting at the waist in that ubiquitous "butt + boobs" pose; her shoulders are pretty much inline with her hips; one hip is cocked up at, what, about 15 degrees? Which is normal, because she is clearly in the act of taking a step forward.

It's not a combat pose, but it's not a stripper pose or even anything like typical comic book cheesecake. It's hardly contorted at all. It's almost the exact same pose (minus the staff) as this.

It looks to me like she is leaning on the staff a little. I stand in a pose like that at work frequently enough to take the weight off my bad leg

The Exchange

Michael Gentry wrote:

Could someone explain what's so contorted about the woman's pose? Because I sincerely, respectfully, do not see it. She is not twisting at the waist in that ubiquitous "butt + boobs" pose; her shoulders are pretty much inline with her hips; one hip is cocked up at, what, about 15 degrees? Which is normal, because she is clearly in the act of taking a step forward.

It's not a combat pose, but it's not a stripper pose or even anything like typical comic book cheesecake. It's hardly contorted at all. It's almost the exact same pose (minus the staff) as this.

Sure, I'll try to explain. The easiest way to understand my problem with it would be for you to try to imitate the pose (I tried it myself and couldn't really manage it). Just try standing like that. Look at the way her hip is twisted sideways and to the back, while the lag on the other side is forward.

The second thing I'd do to understand is to try and imagine her standing like that in a room with other people, and ask myself "what situation is this?" Will someone stand like that while talking to friends? perhaps while in combat? or while casting a spell? I think you'll find the answer to all of these potential questions to be "no" - this is simply no way for a human to stand. What it is is a way for a sex toy to be posed. Which is the problem, as far as I'm concerned.

The Exchange

Ckorik wrote:
Lord Snow wrote:
Again I would like to stress that I think that "hot women on cover art = sex toys on cover art" is a very false dichotomy. I gave examples from Magic: The Gathering in my previous posts. I think those examples are perfect - the women in them are pretty, one is kind of under-dressed, but they don't come across as objects. They are humans busy doing something, they just happen to be pleasent to look at. Here is an even stronger example - Kiora.. Can't say she is wearing all that much, and she sure does manage to flash a lot of thigh there. Kind of hot, despite her being a fish person.

I just wanted to point out - that Kiora image you linked does not make your point.

Kiora (at least in the linked image) has the 'no spine' problem and is using a pose that is almost impossible to do in real life. The PF cover at least is anatomically possible.

The 'no-spine' is actually something that bothers many many people and is seen as a much bigger problem than just an overly sexy image, because it promotes imagery (especially in young minds) that is impossible to conform to in real life. Other examples can be found here http://eschergirls.tumblr.com/

As to being overly sexualized - I don't see her as having unattainable proportions (as some iconcs tread the line at) - there is a difference between drawing sexy and drawing to objectify.

I get what you are saying, and I agree. I intentionally picked another scantly clad woman in an anatomically improbable pose. The difference between the two being that Kiora's art depicts her in a way that demonstrates her character, and the situation is clear - she is casting some sort of spell while levitating above the waves.

However, try to imagine what situation the lady from Secrets of the Shpinx is standing it. I know I can't imagine a believable scenario where she is standing like that (except if she's modeling for a playboy magazine cover). Which is why I think that pose strips her of her humanity and what remains is an object for males to salivate about. Which is why I have a problem with this art piece.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Wait, LS, you're from Israel? Ah, that explains *everything* - people coming from a country where a woman can get stones thrown at her for wearing a skirt and short sleeves sure obviously are at loss as how to handle sexuality.


Gorb, if you're just being mouthy for the fun of it, that's fine, but you know that Lord Snow didn't start this thread, right?

Silver Crusade

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Hitdice wrote:
Gorb, if you're just being mouthy for the fun of it, that's fine, but you know that Lord Snow didn't start this thread, right?

I hate threads which are about what person X said but were not started by person X for just this precise reason.

I've read LS' initial posts in both product threads - it's a shame that they got deleted, because the tone they set was something very different from what we're getting here. Oh well.


GreyWolfLord wrote:

Well, this IS for an AP, and looking at what PAIZO puts into it's AP's, I'd firmly say most of their stuff is for ages 15+ (17+ in the US).

It's ironic that we'll rate movies and keep kids from movies with certain types of material, but have less caution when it comes to games (even video games).

For kids I'll use C&C stuff before I'd use PAIZO stuff. I may be liberal in some areas, but when it comes to kids...the stuff in the APs tend to be too adult in their presentation anyways.

So, if one's okay with their kids seeing PG-15 or worse movies, more power to them in the APs and some of the other material put out by PAIZO.

But if they aren't comfortable with that type of stuff...they probably shouldn't be worried about certain types of presentations in regards to their children in regards to what Paizo puts out because they probably should be applying an even application of their principles to all products...hence probably should be using something else for RPGs for their kids rather then Paizo's in these instances.

PS: And before anyone thinks this is just about sexualization in APs and such, it's far more than that. The graphic violence depicted at times in the illustrations, in monsters and such, is FAR more than I'd be comfortable with young kids dealing with. Maybe I'm overprotective, but they can have all that stuff when they get older...

Sorry, I should explain. When I say younger kids, I mean they're younger in comparison to me. Average age gap between me and my younger cousins is probably around 12 - 13 years (I'm ignoring outliers like the small army of daughters my uncle appears to be raising over the last few years, since I've never met them, and don't consider them family).

Spoiler for length and off the main topic:
The cousin that I'm specifically talking about is 14, as are his friends. So it's less of an "I don't think they can handle the violence", and more of a "man, I'm going to have to deal with a lot of sniggering here, and I'd rather not have them get the idea that this kind of artwork is a good representation of women..." coupled with "man, this sets a really bad standard for the girls". In this regard, Pathfinder isn't really the game I've had problems with for the most part, it's usually been pretty good. The Oracle iconic got some comments from the boys, so did Seoni, but it was kind of momentary thing.

Where I found a massive problem was when my cousin asked if I could run a CthulhuTech game for him... I had all the books, because I'd seen the covers and thought "huh, this looks pretty cool", but hadn't really read them yet. Yeah. 20 minutes going through each one put paid to that plan. Artwork isn't ALWAYS bad, but the actual content. That's an example of a kid-unfriendly game. Core book and the first couple of supplements walk the line, but later on it's like they ran out of ideas and thought "How do we make this darker? I know! Let's make all our sample adventures involve rape or some other form of sexual assault!"

Likewise, I won't run WoD for them for at least a couple of years, because even though the artwork is fine, the actual themes aren't ones I'd be happy trying to convey to them. 14 year old kids don't need to be playing angst-y games about whether or not you can maintain your humanity when you're one of the monsters. There's plenty of time for angst when they hit 16 or 17 :P

Strangely enough, one of the best games I've found to run with them is actually The Laundry RPG, which uses a slightly modified version of the Basic Role Playing system, the system that Call of Cthulhu runs on. Once I got them past the "Kill things and take their stuff" attitude they picked up in early Pathfinder sessions (I tried to encourage roleplaying, but one of the girls just straight up murdered any NPCs I put in the game... I've been wondering if I should have a chat to her parents...) it went really well. They seemed to enjoy the deadpan humour (even if a lot of the bureaucracy jokes won't really make sense to them unless they get a job in the public service years down the track) and the juxtaposition of light horror (I kept things from getting too squicky). They really enjoyed investigating a nursing home that was experimenting with curing dementia by summoning demons, letting them eat the brains of the patients, and then binding them into the bodies to act as the patients.

Shadowrun is the next experiment... really need to prep for that one...


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
Lord Snow wrote:
Ckorik wrote:
Lord Snow wrote:
Again I would like to stress that I think that "hot women on cover art = sex toys on cover art" is a very false dichotomy. I gave examples from Magic: The Gathering in my previous posts. I think those examples are perfect - the women in them are pretty, one is kind of under-dressed, but they don't come across as objects. They are humans busy doing something, they just happen to be pleasent to look at. Here is an even stronger example - Kiora.. Can't say she is wearing all that much, and she sure does manage to flash a lot of thigh there. Kind of hot, despite her being a fish person.

I just wanted to point out - that Kiora image you linked does not make your point.

Kiora (at least in the linked image) has the 'no spine' problem and is using a pose that is almost impossible to do in real life. The PF cover at least is anatomically possible.

The 'no-spine' is actually something that bothers many many people and is seen as a much bigger problem than just an overly sexy image, because it promotes imagery (especially in young minds) that is impossible to conform to in real life. Other examples can be found here http://eschergirls.tumblr.com/

As to being overly sexualized - I don't see her as having unattainable proportions (as some iconcs tread the line at) - there is a difference between drawing sexy and drawing to objectify.

I get what you are saying, and I agree. I intentionally picked another scantly clad woman in an anatomically improbable pose. The difference between the two being that Kiora's art depicts her in a way that demonstrates her character, and the situation is clear - she is casting some sort of spell while levitating above the waves.

However, try to imagine what situation the lady from Secrets of the Shpinx is standing it. I know I can't imagine a believable scenario where she is standing like that (except if she's modeling for a playboy magazine cover). Which is why I think...

she could also be posing for any number of women's fashion magazines (same with the dude on book 2) so i don't see why its so offensive


Michael Gentry wrote:

Could someone explain what's so contorted about the woman's pose? Because I sincerely, respectfully, do not see it. She is not twisting at the waist in that ubiquitous "butt + boobs" pose; her shoulders are pretty much inline with her hips; one hip is cocked up at, what, about 15 degrees? Which is normal, because she is clearly in the act of taking a step forward.

It's not a combat pose, but it's not a stripper pose or even anything like typical comic book cheesecake. It's hardly contorted at all. It's almost the exact same pose (minus the staff) as this.

Sorry. The stripper comments are most likely still coming because of my initial take on it. As I said earlier, I have friends who dance, and having seen them practice their routines (often containing similar poses at the start and/or finish), it was the automatic connection my mind made. Apparently I'm in the minority on that particular thought, which is fine, it was just how my brain processed the image.

It certainly seems to have thrown some people off, which wasn't my intention at all.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

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Easy Gorb.

This started because Lord Snow made a dry remark about the cover in another thread. I asked L.S. if the cover offended him. So, if anybody is responsible for this thread, its me.

You see, I find it very easy to be passive aggressive and sarcastic. Rather than confronting L.S. in an unpleasant and confrontational manner, I just asked him straight out. "Do you find it offensive?"

Note: I did not mean to accuse of L.S. of being passive aggressive, but I wanted to raise the level of discourse.

But.. Lord Snow replied in a very clear, reasoned, and mature way. The cover did offend him. At that point, its no longer my place to judge him. I asked him to explain and he did, honestly and forthrightly.

Plus, he asked me a question. Which I started to answer but Customer Service pulled the plug on the thread. I replied in Private Message and we came to a point of mutual respect.

Tinkergoth wanted to facilitate the conversation but I found that I was satisfied. That's why I didn't really want to post any more.

I don't find this particular cover to be too much for my taste. However, having listened to Lord Snow, I don't think he's coming out of left field either.

I like you Gorbie, but I think the nationality bit was a cheap shot, but maybe we can just overlook it before the Powers That Be intervene.


Gorbacz wrote:
Hitdice wrote:
Gorb, if you're just being mouthy for the fun of it, that's fine, but you know that Lord Snow didn't start this thread, right?

I hate threads which are about what person X said but were not started by person X for just this precise reason.

I've read LS' initial posts in both product threads - it's a shame that they got deleted, because the tone they set was something very different from what we're getting here. Oh well.

To be fair, it wasn't just about what Lord Snow said. His comments prompted it, but I wanted to see what other posters thoughts were as well.

For the most part, people have actually remained pretty polite and calm about it as well, which is a really nice surprise from my point of view, I had kind of feared that it was going to degrade into flaming and a threadlock very quickly.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Jim Groves wrote:

Easy Gorb.

This started because Lord Snow made a dry remark about the cover in another thread. I asked L.S. if the cover offended him. So, if anybody is responsible for this thread, its me.

You see, I find it very easy to be passive aggressive and sarcastic. Rather than confronting L.S. in an unpleasant and confrontational manner, I just asked him straight out. "Do you find it offensive?"

Note: I did not mean to accuse of L.S. of being passive aggressive, but I wanted to raise the level of discourse.

But.. Lord Snow replied in a very clear, reasoned, and mature way. The cover did offend him. At that point, its no longer my place to judge him. I asked him to explain and he did, honestly and forthrightly.

Plus, he asked me a question. Which I started to answer but Customer Service pulled the plug on the thread. I replied in Private Message and we came to a point of mutual respect.

Tinkergoth wanted to facilitate the conversation but I found that I was satisfied. That's why I didn't really want to post any more.

I don't find this particular cover to be too much for my taste. However, having listened to Lord Snow, I don't think he's coming out of left field either.

I like you Gorbie, but I think the nationality bit was a cheap shot, but maybe we can just overlook it before the Powers That Be intervene.

The shot wasn't meant to be a nationality shot. It's not "You're Israeli, therefore you're a prude psycho". It's "You're coming from a place where there is a massive sexuality problem in the public sphere, perhaps the determinism acts out here and you're flipping out about something that I (and not just I, judging from thread) don't find offensive just because your perception of the issue is skewed? Because, you're living next to people who scream that human body is a sin or whatanot? And who are actually taken seriously, unlike being relegated to obscurity?".

Because actually that's one of few legitimate explanations for the reason somebody is raising hellfire over a mostly clothed woman who isn't pictured in a "please shag me" pose. And yes, I have seen women in a "please shag me" pose in my days. Heck, I even ... well maybe let's not go down that tunnel.

And yeah, I know, somebody could turn that table on me re: LGBT issues. But thankfully, this forum is mostly populated by Americans, and they aren't exactly fond of Marxism :P

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

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Gorbacz wrote:
And yeah, I know, somebody could turn that table on me re: LGBT issues. But thankfully, this...

I hear ya, and I am not your father so I won't say any more after this..

I just think when you suggest that someone might be reacting because of their background or some other factor, you're implying that you know something personal about them. That can be a very charged statement to make in a conversation. It depicts the other party as very reactionary and not self-determined. That takes their personal power away and kinda predisposes them to a negative reaction.

I'm saying let's take them at face value.

Anyway, lecture mode off. I am thinking I might duck back out of this thread anyway. Cause the whole internet and my bosses are watching me right now. ;)

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Jim Groves wrote:


I just think when you suggest that someone might be reacting because of their background or some other factor, you're implying that you know something personal about them.

It's like you didn't know what I do for living. :)

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

LOL! I don't!

Honestly I never dug into your background on FB. I know the country you live in, but other than that, you're just a loveable cursed bag with teeth!

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