If you’re a gamer, you’ve surely heard of Overwatch at this point. And if you know anything about Overwatch, you know that not only has the internet community taken hold of this game, but it might just be THE game that artists have ran with the most. And while it hasn’t been solely on one gender, as there is quite a lot of art with all the male characters, including yaoi art because again, it’s the internet, the focus on this post is going to be geared towards the currently ten female characters the game has players choosing from.
Now this choice has nothing to do with the 100% true fact that I am a heterosexual male and I’m attracted to each and every single one of these female characters to varying degrees. As much as I’d love to spend 1,000 words gushing about how unbelievably perfect every one of these girls are (and I might still do it anyways in this article), the primary reason for this focus is simply because that when it comes to this game and the various pieces of art, animations and much more that have spawned from it, let’s be honest, any controversy that has come from this game is squarely on the shoulders of the women in the game.
I can semi-understand how the average person can look at this game and think that there is quite the sexual connotation being applied to all the women in this game. I mean, I’ll say it straight up, there isn’t a single female character in this game that I totally wouldn’t have sex with, so in the back of my mind, I understand why some people could think that the game is maybe leaning a bit too far down the sexy path with these girls. I mean take a look at the four girls in the picture at the start of the article (because you don’t exactly get a good look at Sombra in this picture), you’ve got Widowmaker, Mercy, Symmetra and D’va. They’re all goddesses, they’re thin women with essentially perfect bodies. Despite having their own gimmicks, Mercy being more beautiful, Symmetra being more elegant, D’va being more cute and adorable and then of course, Widowmaker is specifically designed to be drop dead sexy. At first glance, it really does feel like the characters are designed to just be beautiful women.
Then this half of the picture comes up and it’s such a perfect pairing of four women here. Let’s start with Mei, shall we? Now from some early concept art, it appears that while she’s not fat by how we traditionally view fat as being in society, she does have some weight to her. Not only that, but the internet has really adopted her as a character who can show that you don’t have to be thin as a stick to look beautiful, she’s essentially become the video game equivalent of a plus-sized model. What has been a major complaint from feminists? Every girl is designed to be a skinny supermodel with large breasts. While again, from the early concept art she looks to have the large bust, she’s certainly not the archetypal supermodel.
Then there’s Pharah, who while is very much designed with the body type of a usual female video game character that would piss off feminists, there are two major things about her that deflect a large amount of the complaints. For one, she’s Egyptian, a nationality that I cannot think of a single character being from aside from games that actually take place in Egypt. How often does anyone from an African country appear in a game without being super black and usually a villain? Instead, Pharah’s tanned and very much a hero. The second part is the more obvious fact that she at no point can be seen in a compromising way, since her battle attire is power armor, similar in style to Samus Aran from the Metroid series. So you’ve got a very rare nationality appointed to this character and she’s also wearing armor that in no way shows how large her breasts are and how nice her butt is.
After that, there’s Ana who guess what? She’s also Egyptian AND she’s Pharah’s mother! She’s 60 years old in the game! Anita Sarkeesian in her many videos has talked about the lack of older female characters in video games, here’s a big one right now! 60 years old! Granted, there’s the skin you can get through loot boxes that has her playing in her younger form, since she was an original member of Overwatch, but her default form is the 60 year-old badass sniper with long white hair and an eyepatch. Far from being a female character designed by misogynists and sexists, wouldn’t you agree?
And lastly, there’s of course Zarya. Now granted, I think it was a little too cliche to make the bodybuilder girl Russian, but hey you gotta make a mistake somewhere, no one’s perfect. But how often do we ever see a girl of her body type in anything, let alone a video game? There’s the muscle girls like Atsuko in the currently simulcasted anime Keijo!!!!!!!!, which I’ve also been fighting for, but honestly the bodybuilder body type is not a common sight in any form of fictional media. Now does it have anything to do with sexist designers not including this body type? I don’t think so, in fact I think it just honestly has to do with how rare it is to see girls of that stature. There are tons of girls who have a very fit body, abs and all, but as muscular as Zarya is, that’s still a rarity. In fact I’ve never seen a girl remotely near the level of Zarya in my 28 years of life thus far. But again, Blizzard went out of their way to include as many girls of different types and backgrounds as possible.
So once again, that half of the picture alone, you have an arguably chubby girl, two Egyptian women, one who’s 60 years old and an extremely muscular girl. You can try to complain about the Widowmakers and the Mercys, but there’s clearly been a lot of work done to be inclusive instead of just being a game full of hot women, a la the Dead or Alive series.
And then there’s Tracer. If you’ve paid any sort of attention to Overwatch, you know how “controversial” she’s been, with her “sexist” over-the-shoulder pose and the sheer madness that came out of that entire situation. I covered this issue when it happened on the site (you can check the brief post here) and my position still doesn’t change. People way overreacted to the pose and the pose it was replaced with wasn’t any better, people just wanted to think they changed something. Hell, all the poses are about the same. Why? BECAUSE SHE WEARS TIGHT PANTS! Which to all the girls out there, I’ll let you in on a little secret: When girls have more developed butts than men and they wear tight pants, their butts are much more defined than when wearing something like baggy pants instead.
I loved it when people said the pose “wasn’t representative of her personality”. How the fuck would you know what her personality is?! Did you design Tracer? Actually better yet, do you know Tracer personally? No one does, so who are you to decide how she would act? She is whoever she wants to be, an outside viewer shouldn’t have any control over that. But the best part to me is that after the pose was switched (and still showed off her butt), all the Tracer poses show off her butt anyway, including the one where she’s sitting! Tight pants do that, folks!
So as we reach the end of this article, what I’ve really just been wanting to say this whole time is that I love all the characters in Overwatch. Not just the girls, but the guys as well, every character is so unique and lovable in their own way. But in the case of the girls, yes the vast majority of them are drop dead gorgeous, but at the end of the day this is fictional media which lives in fantasy and in case you folks have forgotten, when it comes to women, the average person attracted to them prefer thinner, healthier girls. But Overwatch goes above and beyond that and includes women of different sizes, colours and nationalities. And if you still have a problem with the game after all this, then clearly you’re not the target audience, because clearly you don’t actually care about the content, you only care about your own voice and just want everyone to cave to every single demand you have.
The game is incredible and its female cast are even more incredible.
…OH! And because I’m sure someone’s wondering, I love the game thus far! As of posting this, I’m only level 10 on my PS4, my main heroes have been Lucio as a healer and then Reinhardt, Widowmaker and Junkrat when I’m not.