Does Infinity Need Sex to Sell?
Like the rest of the internet1 I am all aflame with Corvus Belli’s announcement of Operation: Icestorm; the first Infinity starter set. I have vacillated between wanting to buy the set and remaining committed to painting my current miniatures. Right now I’m on “no” but I am tempted afresh each time I watch a Beasts of War video. The miniatures look great but there are so many cool Infinity miniatures that the idea of re-buying some, even though they’re amazing sculpts, doesn’t sit right. I’m sure I’ll repaint my Aguaciles sooner than later but I don’t see a point to buying a boxed set only to not touch it for months while I paint other models.
But I digress, this was supposed to be an ill-conceived emotional rant. As I was watching Carlos Llauger show off the new designs in the Beasts of War videos I was struck by how different the female models look compared to the men. I know, this has been covered before by better2 bloggers than I. For some reasons I thought this was a thing of the past. I think because Infinity had fallen so far off my radar that I forgot about it.
The thing is, Corvus Belli, I don’t need my female troopers to be sexy. I know I used to be cool with it but like bad typesetting once it’s pointed out it can’t be unseen. I’m not even against sexual depictions of women. I just don’t want it to be the default representation, especially in a wargame.
I think projects like the Hawkeye Initiative are good to help people see what the problem is. If you haven’t go ahead and check it out. Warning, it may cause strange feelings. Those are normal, just accept them and keep going. I mean, even before Jeremy Renner played him in The Avengers he was a guy that men wanted to be, women wanted to be with, and gay men wanted to be while simultaneously being with. Obviously they are the clear winners here.
Where’s the Beef… Cake?
I can picture people reading this and agreeing that female miniatures follow a different aesthetic than the male miniatures. Not only are the females posing is if in a photo-shoot instead of fighting in a war but they’ve been given female-specific uniforms. The female Fusilier clearly has a tighter cut of pants than the men plus the always practical combat heels. It’s not realistic, but then this is fantasy. Why not make the women beautiful and the men rugged and manly?
The reason this isn’t a good thing is because it’s casually sexist. I don’t necessarily agree that sexy depictions of women are sexist. It is the context that makes this kind of depiction sexist. If the men were also posed similarly it wouldn’t be a problem. A game where all depictions of women are sexy is one which is less attractive to women. So, it excludes women in a way that is completely unnecessary. Can anyone point to a game or movie which was hurt by realistic instead of sexy depictions.
I wouldn’t mind if there was a line of miniatures, much like the Bootleg line Corvus Belli currently produces, which featured these miniatures in all their glory. The female Fusilier looks great, especially painted by someone like Tom Shadle or Ángel Giráldez, but by avoiding this type of pinup miniature within the main game line Corvus Belli can avoid alienating 50% of the population. Wargaming isn’t considered a “female” pursuit but then Lego thought that girls weren’t interested in building until 2011 when they released their Lego Friends line and even that caught flak for conforming too strongly to gender-roles. Apparently the girls wanted to go on adventures instead of sitting at home and shopping. Maybe Charlotte would like to play Infinity when she’s a little older.
What do you think? Is this a valid concern or am I just white-knighting for feminism? Would you be sad if the sexy female miniature was reduced to 3 in every 4 female sculpts? Let me know if the comments or hit me on on Google+ or Twitter. I have more Infinity stuff coming so subscribe to keep informed.
(1) By "rest of the internet" I mean the portion which would read my blog and not the parts that enjoy Haul Videos.
Infinity the Game is a skirmish miniature game produced by Corvus Belli. You can find the rules online making it an easy game to grab a couple of miniatures and start playing. Male Fusilier image ©Corvus Belli and is used without permission.
Tom Shadle is a painter and podcaster. The more people that visit his blog and ask him for step-by-step detailed painting tutorials the better. Female Fusilier image ©Tom Shadle and is used without permission.