Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Female representation in wargaming

When properly armored, you should not be able to tell whether a model is male or female.

Our post about sexism in Kingdom Death prompted a reasonable amount of discussion, and made us realize that there was more that could be said about how women are represented in miniature gaming. When seeing a game which objectifies women as much as Kingdom Death does, it is easy to look at other games which don’t portray women as egregiously, and give them a pass. In reality, all of the popular miniature companies today have issues with female representation.

Because it is assumed that the default, “neutral” gender of any model is male, which is itself a problem, miniature companies bend over backwards to let you know that a model is female, using certain coded visual elements. These indicators are numerous, including 1) armor that accentuates their breasts (often called boob-plate), 2) wearing less than their male counterparts, 3) being in provocative poses, and 4) having bare/unhelmeted heads.

A representative selection of female models from Warmachine, Infinity, and Warhammer 40k, respectively.

Some of these are pretty obvious why they are a problem. Boob-plate does not make any practical sense. Having a breastplate with individual cups for each breast would likely be extremely uncomfortable, and could potentially end up deflecting a blow directly into the wearer’s sternum. A breastplate for a female should not look any different from what a male would wear, at least not on the exterior. Why then is boob-plate so prevalent? It was designed to appeal to a certain crowd, and that crowd is predominantly straight and male. It is a design that makes it immediately clear that, unlike the “normal” male models, this character exists primarily for the sexual enjoyment of that select crowd.

Much in the same vein, having scantily clad models does not make any practical sense either. Would a man want to go off to war in his boxer briefs and a pair of boots? The answer to this is obviously no, yet many female miniatures are scantily clad while their male counterparts are fully clothed. And the same is true for the model posing. Does angling your behind out suggestively make up an effective defensive stance, or is it sending a message that the character exists more as a masturbatory fantasy than as a warrior? Are your male miniatures posed similarly?

Why isn't the male Guild Guard in such an awkward shooting pose?

While something like having an unhelmeted head might seem innocuous, it continually calls attention to the fact that the model is female, as if trying to remind you that they are not like the “normal” male soldiers. Male and female warriors should not look appreciably different when donned in their battle gear. Model makers going great lengths to make sure everyone can tell the model is female is an “othering” technique to differentiate them from “regular” models. In fact, most wargame models are armored enough that you could not even tell their sex by looking at them; it is not as though they regularly come fitted with bulging codpieces to announce that they are male. The only thing needed to make them female is to say that they are.

Companies like Games Workshop might not make many models that were designed to be female, but that should not stop you from making female miniatures out of a lot of them (for example, there is no reason why a Space Marine could not be female under all of that armor). We have been making an effort to include more female characters in our projects, and have almost entirely used models designed to be male. For the Pilgrym project, Joanna Reese and Ursula Contreras were constructed using parts from Death Korps of Krieg Engineers (all of which are sufficiently armored as to be androgynous) and the Empire Flagellants kit. For faces, we used the bottom portions of Dark Eldar heads.

Joanna Reese (left) and Ursula Contreras (right) were comprised almost entirely model parts intended to represent males.

Aseneth Levedescu, Cardinal of the Church of the Red Athenæum, is another example of a model derived almost entirely from parts likely intended to be male. But with armor that thick, no one could really tell.

Similarly, for the Curse of Alabaster event, we constructed a group of Adeptus Arbites that was almost entirely female. For these, we used some Death Korps miniatures as the basis for the conversion, this time Grenadiers, due to their armored androgyny. The heads were taken from Elysian drop Troops. The only thing that we did to make them read more clearly as female was to make their chins a little less broad, but even this was not essential.

The female members of our squad of Adeptus Arbites. With the exception of the unhelmeted member (with a head from Statuesque Miniatures), the only change to make the faces appear female was to narrow the chins. 

While we should continue to give Games Workshop flack for not making many female miniatures, we should not let that prevent us from converting female models out of their current male range. A lot of models do not need to be greatly converted to function as female. Presently, the representation of women in miniature gaming stands in the way of making many feel welcome, something that I feel we can all agree is a bad thing. If we want the hobby we all love to grow and expand, we need to be conscious of any messages we are sending, intended or otherwise. And a good place to start is by including more women alongside the male-dominated range of miniatures, without resorting to embarrassing and objectifying pin-ups. So this is a call to everyone to consider how you are representing females. Are they practically attired? Is your model objectifying (would you be embarrassed to show your mother)? Would you see a male model wearing/doing that? Depending on how you answer those questions, you should work to change it. It might seem like an uphill battle to fix the problem of how women are represented in gaming, but it is something that can change if we all do our part!

- Greg Wier

120 comments:

  1. Thanks for writing on this topic. When I was first introduced to the world of miniatures, I was hesitant to engage for exactly the reasons you mentioned. Seeing that the few female models were little more than Male Gaze objects, it felt like being told directly that I was unwelcome. It felt downright hostile.

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  2. Great article. I do believe you guys are a great example of "being the change you want to get". Sometimes people just criticize and complain, while doing nothing about, and changing nothing.
    You have criticized and used your awesome models as examples of how to use a mostly male range to make female characters. I personally don't care much about the sexualised female since I don't buy them( Believe or not, I am not a basement dweller hehe). We could also let new comers to the hobby to simply ignore them. Other time, females find these representations empowering (I come from the Middle East and female opression comes in the form of covering and censoring) since they are seen as liberating.

    Anyway, sorry for rambling hehe.

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    1. Representations of women as objects owned by men, whether that comes in the form of being exposed by men for other men to masturbate to, or being covered by men so other men won't ogle, is not ever empowering. It's the same thing: women as things owned by men.

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    2. I have a hard time imagining that anyone would find a miniature empowering when it is scantily clad and in a degrading pose.

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    3. @Altheia: Do remember that buying miniatures(no matter what gender or sex they are) means you own them. They are not real people, they are plastic figures and people buy and own them. I don't know if I understand ,so correct me if I'm wrong in my interpretation of your comment, but whatever state women are in, they are own by men(covered or scantily clad)? Aren't you using the "owning" to broadly?
      And you cannot simply say that being covered or being scantily clad is never empowering to women. You can't paint women as a hive mind that thinks these ideas as true. A lot of women do not like being objectified, others do. It's wrong to simply assume that all women have a similar ideology to you, they simply don't. A lot of females disagree and you can't really do anything about that...

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    4. @Gregory: I personally don't care but if women find it empowering then, good for them. For example, in France or Austria, we see posters of nude men and women. Both sexes are being objectified in different or similar reasons and they consent to it.

      Another idea I want to put forth is one of being stoic. Whatever happened to not getting emotional about things? If a women or man doesn't like the way they are being represented in a hobby then they could gladly leave, ignore or move on to make their own change. I respect that BetweenTheBolterAndMe has made their own change about this issue through their miniatures. I greatly respect that!

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    5. Are... are you really arguing with a woman on feminism, and the underlying motivations and nuance that makes something empowering or not? And then saying that if women don't like the sexist bullshit here, they can just leave?

      Yes, I do believe you are.

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    6. Poor representation of women in media is extremely widespread in the USA  (I am not going to make claims about other places). It is in basically all media: comics, games, movies, TV shows. And then it is advertising. If a woman decides that she does not like it she can’t just opt out and decide she does not want to see it anymore. Sure they can decide not to support products that peddle in sexist imagery, but they can’t avoid seeing it. It is everywhere. There are essentially no miniatures companies around that make models that are free of at least some form of the sexism that we talk about in this article. Some are much better than others, but all have things that they could improve. I wrote this article hoping that people will read it and realize that there are things that they can do to fix the problem. In the past year, my brothers and I at BtBaM have made strives to improve how we present thing.
       
      Also, we are not just talking about this issue because we are annoyed that women are poorly represented. It goes beyond that. These poor representations contribute to an environment that actively hurts women. The imagery contributes to a subconscious notion that women are less of people than men. As a related example, men will see movies about a male hero “getting the girl” at the end of the film, and that will add to the idea that a woman is something that men deserve for doing a good job. Or that by just being a fairly good person that they deserve to have sex with women, like they are objects. The extreme oversexualization of women in gaming adds to this notion of women being perceived as things.
       
      The notion of “owning” was not in relation to owning miniatures. It was about how American culture is largely run by men who, by their actions, do not think of women as people.

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    7. @Alethia: What's so special about arguing with a woman on feminism? And yes, I still stand ground that different women have different reasons on being empowered. And yes, if a person, man or woman, doesn't like something in a hobby(especially when it isn't the biggest priority)they can gladly leave, ignore or make their own change.

      @Gregory: I am in total agreement with you and your brothers improving. It is something I respect since it doesn't show yourself as lazy complainer. You actually are doing change through making miniatures.

      The advertisement part is found across almost all cultures and areas. I am going to use France again. There are perfume and makeup products that companies are selling where the posters contain naked or half-naked women on them. There are two attitudes, etheir a person doesn't care or the advertisement works and makes people want to buy the products. I guess that is a difference between a more sex-positive culture like France and a more conservative or child-friendly attitude in the US...

      Also I don't know too much about the subject but I have noticed that miniature companies trying to "end sexism" don't go too well in this capitalist world. It's also why romance novels directed to women where the lover is a weak and pear-shaped man who listens to Taylor Swift doesn't go well financially either.

      I am pretty sure there is no institutional system that is set out to actively hurt women. If anything, nowadays politicians from the first world are harping on gender inequality within their system as if it is still an issue to worry about. Sure, there are some fringe communities that are sexist(and that can easily be dealt with) but it isn't a major problem as you make it out to be. I can guarantee that if you ask people, men and women in the West about gender equality, a crushing majority will be for it.

      Your example about men watching a movie about the archetypal 'damsel in distress' is just assuming that we believe that the movie is true. I am sorry but I have more faith that the vast majority of people can diffrentiate between reality and fantasy. The cliche stories of the 'damsel in distress' is easily crushed as people go out to the real world.

      Can you give me any legal rights and insitutional laws that politicians in the US are removing from women? I would like to know genuinely.

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    8. I'm a little late to the party but I felt I had to jump in.

      A. Saying that women (or any other group) can just leave the hobby (or other activity) if they don't feel included is not a valid argument. Sure they can leave but that doesn't remove the problem. It just makes it even worse.

      B. Claiming that ads doesn't have an impact on people is not true. It's widely documented and proved that advertisment (as well as other forms of media) have a huge impact on people. Not just regarding a certain product but also how we view our world. Humans are shaped by society and the norms and stories of the society play a large part in that. Ads that show a certain norm helps enforce that norm.

      C. Politicans across the globe may be talking about women and minority rights but very few actively do anything for them. Unfortunately many actively work against womens rights. Quick example, Poland recently wanted to make almost all forms of abort illegal. The US has recently cut funding for organizations that provide abortions among other health services. Russia is openly working against gay rights. France recently faced outcries over proposed burkini banning. Etc etc etc. Paying lip service is not acceptable.

      D. Damsel in distress, please see my earlier answer. Stories matter and play a huge part of how we see the world.

      E. Law examples, abortion, maternity leave, equal pay, safety. There are many laws that hinder women in the US. Some states force women to undergo painful, humiliating and unnecessary exams before allowing abortions. The state doesn't provide paid maternity leave, this targets women and poor women even more.

      The laws might not forbid women from voting or working but they still exist to make lives for women more difficult.

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    9. Russia, actually made domestic abuse legal.

      Nice article, an to those saying should shut the fuck up or get the fuck out I have to say that not only it doesn't solve anything or is it particluarly helpful, but it has two major problems:

      1) You don't get to tell someone to shut up.
      2) You don't get to tell someone to get out.

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    11. @Alexander:
      A.Women can leave the hobby if they want. It's their choice. I never said it would make the problem better or worse, it's just a choice they can make.

      B.I didn't say ad don't have an impact. I said that they do. The difference between you and me is that I think that people are smart enough to distinguish reality from ads(fantasy). Going out in the real world is enough to smash people's ad-ridden views.

      C. Poland wanted to ban abortion but they failed. Now their abortion laws allow abortion if it is because it affects the woman's life, it's from rape or if the fetus is damaged. In terms of the US, I have to remind you that a majority of women supported their president to defund the organizations that provide abortions. Russia opposing gay rights doesn't have to do anything with woman representation( I condemn the action of course, I am for gay rights). I am against the burkini ban(It violates freedom of expression) but I can understand why since the burkini(like the hijabs or burqas) violate woman's rights too.

      D. Stories do matter but not in the same extent as you bring it out to be.

      E. As far as I know, there is equal pay in the western world, equal pay for equal work, that's how a meritocracy works right? Maternity leave and abortion is a state issue in the US. However, on the safety part, can you elaborate? I want to know more about what you mean. As far as the abortion exams go, I have read about them, STD, pregnancy and blood tests. I don't see what's wrong with that, please tell me what's so wrong.

      Everyone's lives is difficult, men and women. There are laws that harm women, laws that harm men and laws that harm everyone. That is the sad reality and focussing unhealthily on one gender won't balance things out, I geuss that's how my egalitarian mindset works...

      @Naecisista: I never said they should shut up. Where did you get that from? And I have been constantly clarifying that women and men are free to get out of a hobby(because a small miniature hurt their feelings no less). First World Problems at its finest....

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    12. @Ahmad,

      A. That argument is just not valid. Sure those who feel unwelcomed can leave but it will change nothing if they leave. If you look at history pioneers have always forced change upon unwilling societies. And for the better I believe. That means we have to work to make all people feel safe and welcomed in the hobby, as in everyday life. If we force certain groups to leave by our actions or inaction's we are just as guilty as the bullies. Telling women that they can leave if they don't like it is the same as telling them to shut up. Either way you silence their voices.

      B. For the impact of advertisement I can recommend you read Buy-ology by M. Lindsrtom andBranded by A. Quart. They offer a good start on how adverts shape our decisions and reinforce norms.

      C. I'll split up this section a bit to make it clearer.

      Poland, yes the law failed. The example was meant to show that politicians are working against women's rights. The fact that they still severely limits abortion is anti-women.

      USA, the fact that a majority supports a decision doesn't make it morally right. Many women are anti-feminists, the antifeminist organization CWA claims a membership of about half a million, apparently most are women. That doesn't mean they are in the right. They are wrong since their demands limit the possibilities of others.

      Russia, gay rights are women rights. LGBQT humans are of all genders. Also as Narcisista pointed out Russia recently decriminalized spousal abuse. There are many more examples when it comes to Russia.

      France, the burkini ban also violates freedom of religion. An important right that is often misused.

      D. Again I urge you to read the books I mentioned in part B. An interesting study can be found here. https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/ps-political-science-and-politics/article/div-classtitlespan-classitalicargospan-and-span-classitaliczero-dark-thirtyspan-film-government-and-audiencesdiv/889B13ED0B53B2DF7C09372D4ACCECE5
      I'm not saying people are going to see a movie about trolls and suddenly believe there are tooth fairies and trolls. But movies influence and normalize our thinking patterns. We do not question that the hero is usually male, or we make a huge deal out of it being a woman. It is a matter of what is considered the norm.

      E. When it comes to work there are large differences between male dominated work and female dominated work. No matter if it is men or women working.

      Maternity leave and abortion as well as the right to health care are huge women's issues.

      Safety, rape culture is a hugely problematic phenomena that we as a society more often than not ignore. Women are victimized and brutalized more often than men. That is not to say that it doesn't happen to men. It is just as much a issue for many men. But that doesn't make it less of a women's issue. Abuse is abuse.

      Abortion. To have a completely unnecessary vaginal exam because you want an abortion is incredibly offensive towards women. Not only is it humiliating, in many cases is it also hard for women to get an appointment. This is again something that is even more difficult for poor women and women suffering from abuse. If a woman wants to make an abortion then that is her choice, no one else has any right to have a say in the issue. To try to limit that choice or to try and sway her mind with so called tricks is anti-women.

      F. Sure life is tough. The fact that women are put at a disadvantage in many instances cannot be swept under the rug by saying men have it tough at times.


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    13. Basically what you're saying, Ahmad, is that women in the west have nothing to complain about, because look how benevolent their masters are! They don't cover them so no other man can see them (except when they do). They don't rape or murder them, except when they do, and when they do, they are punished, except usually they are not. Women in the west are paid as much as men, except that they aren't, and the law mandates that, except for all the ways to get around it. Why are they complaining? Their masters could be so much worse!

      What you're missing, of course, is that we HAVE masters, who can choose to be benevolent or not. Whether they let us pretend to own our bodies or not, or pretend our work and time is valued as much as that of a man, our male masters get to decide. Their opinions and whims are what matter; we are things they own. When they loosen the leash a little, you think we should be happy and shouldn't complain.

      And you can tell that only men's opinion matters in yourself, Ahmad. Look at you, explaining to women in the west what life is like for women in the west, as though you don't just know AS much as the people actually living it but MORE, because those people living it are women and their word isn't as good as that of a man. Even a man with zero knowledge or practical experience in the matter.

      And look at how you approach 40K, saying that if women don't like the sexism, they can just leave. The underlying, unspoken assumption is that YOU own it. Men own it; men call the shots, and women are interlopers who must either accept men's rules or leave. It's a good metaphor for living as a woman, except the only way to leave is death.

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    14. @Alexander:
      A. I'm sorry but I am not telling them they *should* leave. They can! If they don't want to leave, let them make their own change or ignore the things they don't like. And again, I am talking about both sexes, men and women. If a man doesn't like something in the hobby, they have their own option, women too. Nobody is being forced to do anything in a hobby.

      B.I will make sure to take a quick look at the book so I will hopefully come back to you later on this one.

      C. Yes, I admit, some politicians in the West work against women(especially with the rise of the right wing there) but I am pretty sure it isn't the majority of them.

      What's morally right is completely subjective, I don't find a lot of faith in people claiming to fight for women when the majority of women DISAGREE with them. It's democracy, and there is a reason why feminism is having a such a bad rep these days...

      Russia sucks, I agree. It's politicans(the majority) are homophobes and anti-woman.

      Yes, freedom of religion too. As much as I disagree with Islam, mulsims could practice their faith. Just remember that a lot of the women wearing hijabs, burqas or niqabs are FORCED to wear them.

      D. Said it earlier in the comment.

      E. Yes, I agree. I just thought that you were talking about equal pay where an individual woman and an individual man, who have the same job and put out the same effort, the woman gets paid less.

      I am for paid maternity leave and abortion.

      Wait, rape culture? Excuse me but what is that? I am having a hard time thinking about a "rape culture" outside of the West. I know of rape cultures in the East but not in the West. Inform me more, I am sure there isn't a culture hell-bent on raping women. A BIG majority knows rape is bad, sick and evil(even rapists, by the way). But I agree, rape is always an issue to be dealt with.

      I think that checking the physical health of a woman if she wants an abortion is important, espacially if it means to have an exam where they want to know if you contracted STDs or if you are pregnant or even a blood test.

      F. I just do not want people to focus unhealthily on one gender and then claim "equality!". Both, MRAs and feminists have it twisted when they claim equal rights while focusing only on one gender. What happened to equality for all? What happened to egalitarianism?

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    15. @Aletheia: Once you start your sentence with "basically", I can tell I am going to to get taken out of contect and misrepresented. I never said "women habe nothing to complain about in the west". And please, what's with this representation that everything is out to get women? Is this the Illuminati now? And yes, women do get paid the same as men for the same job and same efforts, that's just how it works in a meritocracy.

      Rape and murder investigations are hard to do, it's not as easy as people may think. And these investigations are much easier to do the closer to the event it was( Some rape cases open up years later because no one comes out and tells the police after years). That's usually why so many celeberities go unarrested for a crime they most likely committed.

      We all have masters that hurt men and women. And most of the time, we elect them. And some of our masters are women, some of our masters are men.

      Aletheia, I am not big into people trying to read my mind like that's an argument. If man came to me and said your opinion (like the others), I would disagree with them just as much. I never claimed I know more about the west, I am talking about my experiences and their history. Where did you get that damned accusation that I think a woman's word isn't as a good as a man's word? Why do you resort to these tactics of trying(and failing) to see how my mind operates? Arguments stand on their merits not gender, I just happen to be equal when listening to people.

      I don't own it, GW does. Please no assumptions about me, you might be too correct! Men don't own it, the companies do and what will you say to a female empoloyee working at one of those companies that doesn't have the same opinion as you? If the hobby was objectifying men and misrepresenting them, I would also advise people to leave, ignore or make their own change. You over generalise the two sexes and you won't go far in having people in your side if you condemn a half of the population. And I am sorry, but the only way to leave is death? Are the hobby companies out to get you?

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    17. How, exactly, do you know that women get paid the same as men for the same job? Please list your credentials here, and why you are SO SURE the US is a meritocracy, so sure that you think you know better than THE PEOPLE ACTUALLY LIVING AND WORKING HERE.

      Explain that. Explain why you know better than women in the west what they're being paid, how they're treated, and how implicit bias (which I explained in detail below, and you plainly either did not read or did not understand) does or does not affect them.

      Or, failing that, educate yourself rather than continuing to spew privileged nonsense.

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    18. I am just a teenager, I come from a business family. My father owns a company and has many ties to western countries. I see the salaries being given to the women and men and they are equal. Sometimes a man gets less and sometimes a woman gets less for many factors like not getting to work for a certain period in time, not completing tasks that they have been given etc. That's one anecdotal way on how I know that there is equity among payment.

      You don't need to be in the US to be right about it. Just how people don't need to be in the Middle East to know that there is female oppression and theocracies and sectarian biases.

      I don't know how you can prove wether a person has an implicit bias on men or women. You can't just read people's thoughts, they might have a good or bad reason why they chose not to hire a person.

      Privileged nonsense eh? What more assumptions do you have for me? So far I have not attacked or assumed anything about you but all you keep doing is assuming things about me. You don't know me personally, I am a person(like everyone here) behind a screen arguing and discussing issues about female representation in wargaming.

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    19. I think this is getting a bit too heated for me. I believe my earlier posts have made my case. So lets keep it cool and work towards a better hobby for everyone.

      If you feel like continuing the debate you can reach me on fb or by email.

      All the best.

      Alexander Winberg

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    20. @Ahmad
      Hearing some examples of business ties with some Western companies should not be enough evidence to make sweeping statements about a place or a culture. Making such statements come off as naive.

      You are refusing to acknowledge that women are treated unequally in the west. Just because things might be worse elsewhere does not make them perfect here.

      To talk about ownership of Games Workshop: Of course, you don't specifically own GW or Warhammer 40,000. The point is that the game was specifically designed by men for men, to the point of making it something that actively discourages women from taking part. There are very few women in game, and those that are present are all objectified. The Sisters of Battle all have formfitting power armor with each breast accented. As mentioned in the article, that design is not practical, and was only made for the sexual enjoyment of men. The Sisters of Silence, one of the few female kits, is made up of individuals that can’t even talk. Seems like that is what GW thinks of women. And by you saying that things are fine as they are, you are indirectly telling women that they don’t belong. Perhaps that is not what you intend to be saying (or what you want to be saying), but it is what you are saying.

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    21. It is privileged nonsense because you think that being 13 or whatever and knowing a guy who knows some people in the west means that you know more about what life is like for women in the west than literal women in the west who are living it. Someone without male privilege would listen to people who are both more versed in the topic theoretically AND have it as a lived experience, but nope. You're a kid who knows a guy; you don't need to read any books written by marginalized people, or listen to the actual lived experiences of women in the west. You're a boy; you think you know better than we do.

      I sincerely hope you will look back on this and cringe as an adult, but in the meantime, educate yourself.

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    22. @Alexander: Sure, where can I find you?
      @Gregory: I agree, I don't see anything in what you said in the comment that I would argue against.
      @Aletheia: I have spoken to women in the west, I am some sheltered person who doesn't talk to people. Believe it or not, I go out. And listening to both sides does not mean accepting one side. I am discussing, arguing, debating and listening to both sides. It just so happens I am not for both sides, I am in the center and I disagree with you, get over it. Why are you getting so worked up about it? And please attack me personally more, it doesn't add anything to your argument. I don't like working in anecdotes either...

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    23. @Ahmad
      You say that you do not have anything to argue against with what I said, yet I am not saying anything different than what Aletheia and Alexander have been saying (albeit phrasing it differently).

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    24. I think we can all agree that corporations are ruthless, amoral entities that care only about maximizing profits. If they were actually getting away with paying women less for the same work then why wouldn't they hire nothing but women to minimize labor costs?

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    25. @Elliot: Agreed on that. We are suffering with giving big corporations too much freedom but what can we do? Elect people for small businesses and people who regulate big business.(That's just me, there is probably a better solution)

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    26. You're not "in the center," Ahmad. You're on the side of male supremacy. Just own that you're a sexist little shit who has no interest in listening to any women who aren't propping up male supremacy, even if it's about their own lived experiences.

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    27. Elliot, that does happen a great deal in academia. Many labs only hire women for exactly that reason.

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    28. Oh, and Ahmad? If your father is not educating you on systemic inequality, and is telling you that women are paid less because they put in fewer hours and their work is substandard, then he's a sexist little shit, too.

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    29. @Ahmad
      To comment about why people get emotional about this topic, it is because it affects them. If you were experiencing some form of discrimination and then someone said that it did not exist, would you be happy?

      Just because the United States passed Equal Pay laws in the 60s does not mean they are fully enforced. Some companies may be better than others. But, it is myopic to think that knowing how people are paid in a handful of companies represents the entire country. Do you really have access to information showing what everyone is paid? Suggesting that you do comes off as being arrogant and flippant, regardless of your intent.

      You have made some pretty bold statements, like the following: “I am pretty sure there is no institutional system that is set out to actively hurt women. If anything, nowadays politicians from the first world are harping on gender inequality within their system as if it is still an issue to worry about. Sure, there are some fringe communities that are sexist(and that can easily be dealt with) but it isn't a major problem as you make it out to be.”

      That statement simply is not true. Why wouldn’t someone be mad when they read that, particularly if they experience that sexism daily? The statement is so strong that you are essentially saying that sexism does not exist in the United States.

      I have said many of the same things that Aletheia has said, but you have been more receptive to me. Why is that? Some might argue that it is because I am a man. Or, maybe you liked that I was not getting emotional and angry about the issue? However, it is easier for me to stay detached about the subject, because my everyday life is not nearly as affected by sexism.

      I can understand why Aletheia is angry. You have made many unsubstantiated claims while acting as if you were an arbiter of reason.

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    30. yes, Ahmad is making unsubstantiated claims, but the claim that he is a 'sexist little shit' is completely fair. He's a kid, but he didn't resort to name calling.

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    31. @Gregory: I was receptive to you more because I don't think arguing with someone that calls me names like "sexists little shit" and also my father? I don't have the time with them anymore. You are certainly more reasonable and not because you are a man(so please don't even bring that out like it's a valid argument).

      I don't understand why Aletheia is getting angry, I am disagreeing with her and that's it, I don't resort to name calling like her. What does that say about people of her stance? And if she were a man calling me a "sexist little shit" I would stop arguing too. There is no reason why I would think women are inferior and weak, I see them as equals to men.

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    32. @Gregory: In addition, I am not going to argue with a person who wants me to admit I am a "sexist little shit". I am not owning, I am not confessing to something that I am not. If you want to shove some pre-concieved notion on me then that's fine just don't expect me to submit.

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    33. @Ahmad
      You where not receptive to what Aletheia said from the start, and then discounted her own lived experiences. You do not understand why she is angry, and I have told you. You stated that problems she experienced did not exist. If women are saying that they are being turned away from the hobby because of how they are represented, we should listen.

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  3. While I dislike the oversexualized Kingdom Death animeporn esthetic, I'm equally unhappy with the realist approach. I guess that's just because I prefer fantasy to be fantastic. It's ok for grunts, but really, as a hero figure I would choose Inquisitor Greyfax over a Joanna Reese every time (no slight on your conversion skills, they are in themselves nice pieces just not my thing). It's true that "boobplate" doesn't make sense practically (as if WH40K-style power armour and pseudo-medieval weaponry does anyway...), but it works in a sort of symbolic way, to accentuate the female gender of a figure (and mixed with obviously male bits it can create nicely ambiguous figures). Just like the use of big swords and cumbersome capes can serve to emphasize heroism. Or the way GW's often exaggerated bodybuilder physiques can emphasize a certain kind of maleness.

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    1. For the sister of battle the over stylized armour and boob plate doesn't bother me as much generally they don't have ridiculous masive racks with cleavage and in the very nonsense world of 40k I can see them exaggerating their femininity to prove that they are, in fact women at arms. Even Greyfax I can allow for the look as a hint at a past a Sororitas and it makes a cool model. To be honest I could even forgive Repentia squads as a fitting background (if the models weren't so bad) as the artwork is fairly cool and there are a few legitimately good cosplay outfits using a white tabard and lots of text and purity seals.
      But the big problem is to have an exaggerated feminine 40k craziness not look like teenager smut as the sole purpose for the models you need something more realistic as the balancing point, and the simply is no baseline in the 40k imperium range for more normal females leaving the sisters of battle appearing as either tokenism or sexisum.
      And don't get me started on the raging hormones (heros) line.

      Ultimately I just don't get sexy 28mm models do people seriously get the horn from tiny 28/32mm scale boobies? I remember a GW staffer many years back that sculpted genitals on his female DE wyches and just standing there thinking why the.... shaking my head sadly at the childish pride he had.

      Over all it's another area where any one incident alone is basically ok and could be allowed if there was a normal baseline for the incident, any male hunk of beef barbarian in little more than a jock strap is fine because alongside them you have plenty of more normal choices.
      But like female leads and representation in films, women pay or any of a hundred issues the trend over large numbers of samples is that women get a rough deal.

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    2. I wouldn't call it "a rough deal". Most women I know wouldn't either. Nor is it always automatically childish or immature. It's just the stuff of fantasy, and that's what the WH40K universe is all about. Would it be better if GW scrapped Sisters of Battle and all-male Space Marine chapters and replaced them with a box of gender-balanced, nicely "realistic" soldiers in practical gear? I think something would be lost, and it wouldn't be 40K anymore.

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    3. Woman here, telling you that it IS a raw deal, and it IS a problem. You say this is the stuff of fantasy, but, whose fantasy? And what are they fantasizing?

      The obvious answer here is that it's straight men's fantasy, and where women are concerned, their fantasy is that women are an interchangeable series of objects who exist to titillate them. These models are not created in a vacuum; they are created in cultures where this male fantasy is treated as reality. In the US alone, women are subject to continuous sexual harassment and advances, and are threatened and sexually assaulted if we don't comply and allow men to use us sexually. Sometimes we're raped, or murdered. Men make laws governing the use of our bodies, as though they own us and have final say.

      To be able to shrug this off as fantasy, without examining whose fantasy it is, why, and whether reinforcing that is contributing to making the world a shittier place for a lot of people... well, it must be nice to have that kind of privilege.

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    4. @Gavroche I think that you can make high fantasy models without resorting to boob-plate and other impractical attire. Fantasy is not synonymous with objectification. I would argue there is little meaningful purpose of accentuating the gender of a figure, and that the symbolic meanings associated are almost all negative and often shallow, serving to push newcomers away from the hobby.

      @Daniel Grundy
      If you decide that you do not want oversexualized female models in your army (and I think you should), you quickly discover that such models are not available without converting. Overall, I feel such objectification is so common in the hobby and media in general, that it can be easy to be blind to it. We certainly were for a while, and have only more recently seen the harm in it, and are trying to remedy it as best we can.

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  4. Consider the Imperial Guard Cadians. This is the kind of models where it would be nice to be able to mix male and female models, but converting female cadians is not simply about narrowing chins or using female heads. Its not about boobplates either, its about a realistically slighter, slender, build. The default assumption that a helmeted Cadian looks male isn't sexist, its natural. The model looks masculine. The challenge is making beleivably feminine, non-sexualized models without cheese. At the same time, models like Greyfax, Celestine and others are great designs that fit fantasticaly into the lore and background of the 40k universe.

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    1. While not necessarily ideal due to their massive size, I think even the Cadian would work fine with female heads (ie. they do not look out of place with many of the aftermarket female heads). With this said, however, if they were to be redesigned, toning down the heroic scale a little would help to make more sensible men and women.

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    2. True, but the point I wanted to make is that in the case of mixed gender squads, there has to be a difference in body shape and size, just like in real life. I know from experience that the thing that its tricky to make models look beleivably female when placed to obviously male models without extensive conversion work. Your arbites squad works on its own, but if you added in male models, they would look out of place if they weren't bulked up. For a good example of mixed gender models done right, look at hasslefree's modern trooper line and compare Harlequin(female) to Badger and Mongrel (male).

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    3. The 5th model in the Arbites squad is male, and I don't think it looks out of place (the model to the far left in the image at the top of the post). I still think that a modern day warrior, in full battle gear, would not look appreciably different whether male or female. If you do a Google Image search of “Female US soldier” and look at the pictures that show up, I think you will see my point. In full armor, I don’t think you could tell the sex of the individual, unless you saw the face. Those Hasslefree miniatures look reasonable, but from a side view, I think Harlequin is far too thin. She almost could not be wearing any bodyarmor.

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    4. I have to point out that the difference in body size, both height and broadness, between men and women is an AVERAGE from a broad and well-overlapping Gaussian, not an absolute. For example, a good 75% of American female athletes would look like Space Marines when standing next to the Bolter brothers. If the high end of the bell curve is being chosen for male representation while the low end is chosen for female representation, well, that is a choice that says more about what the modeler thinks than anything else.

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    5. Did anyone say that? The average height difference men and women is roughly 15 cm, and weight 10-15 kg. Sure, there are large women and small men but I am not comparing high end males with low end females, as you put it, I am simply saying that the difference should be noticeable, even if it's not blatant. Google some images of mixed gender military or SWAT units and see if you can't spot the difference. Again, I'm not saying the difference is huge, and of course there is always some overlap. But, to use the exact same bodies for male and female minis is counterproductive to female inclusion, as the unfourtunate reality is that if you can't see that a model is (subtly) female, it will be assumed to be male, and not vice versa.

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    6. Why wouldn't you assume that the model is female, unless it is visibly larger than the usual, in that case? And why wouldn't you, when looking at an army of models, assume overlapping distributions of size, such that aside from the largest or smallest models, you really couldn't tell whether the model was intended to be male or female, just as one sees in real life?

      I honestly can't tell whether you're being deliberately obtuse, or whether you genuinely do not understand what is being said and why.

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    7. Looking at pictures of mixed gendered military units, I honestly cannot tell the difference. At least with the US military, the fatigues are fairly baggy, enough to hide differences. And with full body armored vests, it is even harder to tell the difference. You are right that most people will just assume the model is male if they can't blatantly tell that it is supposed to be female. But, that should not be the case (people just have it in their heads that the differences should be noticeable because of years of seeing exaggerated imagery). I think if GW made a new Cadian Guard kit where the models had more realistic proportions (smaller feet, etc), and then added some female helmeted heads, along with the male heads, things would be fine. GW could specifically state that with all that Flak armor on, you could not tell gender differences. It would help to fix people’s misconceptions.

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    8. This is annoying me so much, because it is basic math. Look at this image:

      https://terpconnect.umd.edu/~toh/spectrum/Overlapping.png

      Imagine that the x axis is body size (representing a metric that combines height and thickness), and the y axis is a count of individuals at that size. The blue curve represents males; the green curve represents females.

      You can see that on average, males are larger than females, and the difference is significant. However, for all individuals whose size falls between 3 and 7 and are covered in armor, how do you tell based on size alone whether each one is male or female? You can assign a probability based on where in that range they fall, but based on size alone, you can't tell.

      If, however, NONE of your models fall in this range, you are doing something extremely strange, and you are doing it for some reason. What is that reason?

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    9. @Gregory Excellent points, both. US uniforms seem to be quite a lot baggier than many others. For me it seems to be in shoulder width, but of course that's not even close to 100% accurate. For the hypothetical Cadians a range of slightly different body sizes would be even better, if perhaps difficult to realize.

      @Aletheia I don't understand your need of behaving rudely, especially towards the poor Statuesque sculptor posting above. Take it easy, I am not even disagreeing with your points. Most women are smaller and slighter than most men. That doesn't preclude some women being larger than some men, but standing next to each other, all other things being equal, the shorter human is more likely to be female. So say there were large, medium and small bodies provided in a set of 20 troopers, along with male and female heads. To get a realistic distribution of sizes, you would perhaps have 1 small male, 5 medium males and 4 large males, compared to 4 small, 5 medium and 1 large females. That would be a realistically proportioned squad in a fully gender integrated military, and would look subtly different when placed next to a unit of all male troopers, if you look closely. If you also had variously sized arms, legs etc. you could further differentiate it. Wouldn't that be a great option to have, rather than the blandness of everyone looking the same?

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    10. You just tone-policed me, and then told me to calm down. Are you trying to be sexist and disrespectful, or is that an accident?

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    11. While I think it would be great if they did release a kit that had a variety of different sizes to better reflect diversity, practically I do not think it will happen. After all, none of their other ranges acknowledge that individuals would be of varying heights (all space marine models are the same height, as are all eldar, etc.). With this in mind, I think the most reasonable solution is to use the same bodies for male and female models, provided they are in any manner of body armor.

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    12. @Aletheia I honestly had no idea about your gender until you mentioned it, I would have called out anyone posting like that. I can see that you are very pasionate about the topic, which I think is great. This is a very important topic, no one wants it to be derailed. I'm sorry if you're offended, but I think you can understand why someone doesn't enjoy being called obtuse, annoying etc. Let's just be all be friendly, Ok? We are both after the same thing: more non-objectified. female representation among 28 mm wargaming models.:-)

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    13. Altheia, I reckon you should step back a bit and reconsider your approach... Making men feel like shit is not exactly the best way to reach out to them and encourage them to see things from your point of view. This is an important topic, but I usually avoid it because people tend to get irrational very quickly when it is brought up.

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    14. Nope, I'm not going to be either silenced or tone-policed.

      If I sound accusatory, it's because I am accusing someone of behaving in a sexist manner. Yes, I am. I don't have any interest in investing energy in the emotional labor of making sure men don't FEEL bad when they are doing something sexist, or cajoling them into pretending to treat women as people. Dudes are being crappy, and the onus is on me not only to educate them but to manage their feelings about it? No. Hell no.

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    15. Aletheia (sorry I mispelt your name earlier), let me add something that might make my comment clearer to you... Do you actually believe everyone who does or says something you consider sexist is doing it deliberately and with a nefarious purpose in mind? From your comments it looks like you do. Well, they don't. And you seem very eager to kick them in the nads, so to speak, regardless of their motives.

      I'm not trying to silence you nor "tone-police" you. I'm trying to help you improve your tactics, since you seem to have taken it upon yourself to represent me. But it looks like I'm wasting my time.

      Good luck with your verbal crusade against our 'malicious opressors' here.

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    16. That is what tone-policing is.

      It was pointed out that much female representation in the 40k world is objectifying and reinforces real-world systemic inequality. As the hobby has been like this for a good, long while and might be unthinkingly accepted, it needed to be pointed out. But what happened when it was pointed out?

      We had, by and large, men insisting that it was fine as-is. When I politely shared that I found this Bolter entry to be terrific and a great way of expressing why I was hesitant to engage with this hobby, that was ignored in favor of a bunch of men debating theoretically why Greg is wrong and everything is great as-is.

      Fine. Maybe they didn't see an actual woman who is new to the hobby commenting on how this affects women who are new to the hobby, rather than more nefariously thinking that only men's opinions matter. So I politely responded to some, and what happened? I got factually incorrect mansplaining about feminism and empowerment, and about sex dimorphism, and they doubled down on saying that things are fine as-is.

      Do I think they tent their fingers and ask themselves daily how they can best oppress women today? No, of course not. That's not how systemic oppression works. Systemic oppression primarily works on a series of implicit biases. As an example, maybe men's opinions are just perceived as more valid, having more authority somehow. Maybe women, when they voice disagreement with men, are gut-level perceived as rude and disruptive, so you can discount what those mean harpies have to say. And maybe because of this, women feel social pressure to keep the peace by not disagreeing TOO strongly with men, so when they do disagree, they either keep their mouths shut, or they do it so mildly that their opinions don't seem to be delivered with much conviction. And maybe they feel SO much social pressure to be "nice" that they focus their energies on keeping other women "nice" rather than changing the status quo.

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    17. Naturally... If I disagree with you it must be because I'm brainwashed and frightened. Like I said, good luck to you. My energies would indeed be better spent elsewhere.

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    18. @Aletheia With all respect, for me this sounds very much like you think that it is wrong and sexist to want realistically proportioned female imperial guard, instead of having androgynous bodies, and that you are calling me either stupid or accusing me of trolling because I don't agree with this.

      I am frankly disgusted by many current attempts at making sexy, boobplated imperial guard, and I am deeply dissatisfied with using the ultra-masculine Cadians to represent females. This is a visual medium after all, what isn't apparent on the model doesn't exist. You can't really tell, ypu gave to show. In a way, this is close to what people are doing with true scale space marines, they are dissatisfied with the available minis, and trying to convert alternatives that are better proportioned. I fully agree with you that male and female sizes overlap, but given the option of having one androgyn body type, or two subtly different, realistically proportioned and non-sexualized ones, I would argue that the second option is the better and most inclusive as it will give the squad or army visual diversity, and not just implied diversity. You can argue that the other approach is better, of course, or more practical, as you, Eric and Greg have. But its unfair to imply that the other is sexist. As an analogy, look at the range of skin colours the eavy metal team has used on the bloodreavers. The ethnic diversity this shows would only be implied if they had worn full body armour.

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    19. Sure it would be great if there was a way to make two subtly different body types, one for male and one for female, that were not sexualized. However, I do not know how this would be done. What subtle changes would be made? We are not talking about making miniatures of people wearing t-shirts and tight jeans. We are talking about making warriors in battle fatigues and body armor. I have been through lots of images, and I do not think you can tell the differences between male and female in their battle gear. And if they already look the same, making any changes to make them look different would just be to slightly exaggerate something. Would you make the hips a little wider? And if you are exaggerating something to show whether it is male or female, I can certainly see how someone would say that it is sexist.

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    20. What I've personally done with OOP Bretonnian men-at-arms is to sligtly shave down the shoulders and slightly shave down the lower body tunic, plus repositioning the lower legs/feet to get rid of the broad-legged marine look. It works well, without wide hips or breasts visible beneath the armour. I can't consider that approach sexist, at least no more than your approach (which worked beautifully) for rounding the chin of your otherwiss fully armoured arbites and red atheneum troops. Facial features are also affected by gender and at the tiny scale we as hobbyists work with, you are certainly exagerrating a sexual characteristic if you round the chin, whether by remodelling it or using more delicate dark eldar parts. But that tiny detail does make quite a lot of difference.

      Anyway, armoured females aren't the big issue here. The real challenge is desinging unarmoured or even nearly naked female (and male) models that aren't over-sexualized. What would a realisic female bloodreaver look like? That's the kind of thing I would like a talented miniature design team sink their teeth into.

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    21. I do not think that every attempt to differentiate a female model from a male model is going to be sexist. But, if it is not done with care and some thought, you could end up with someone sculpting models based on preconceived notions of what men and women should look like, rather than what they actually look like.

      As for making female Bloodreavers, I am not sure what to say in that regard. I just went back and looked at the Bloodreaver models, and it is clear that the sculptors did not look at any references for what a muscular man looks like. And the result looks pretty juvenile. It gives me little hope that they could sculpt a realistically muscled female.

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    22. Since bloodreaver male figures look like an exaggerated version of steroid-filled male bodybuilders, femald bloodreavers would look like an exaggerated version of steroid-filled female bodybuilders.

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    23. Yeah, your both quite right on that one. Bad example. Though steroid-filled female bodybuilders sounds kind of fun, if done right. But I still think you got my idea, i.e. that it would be nice to have well-proportioned, nicely designed male and female miniatures that wear little clothes in the classic barbarian style, without either the exagerated masculinity of bloodreavers (Tom of Finland style) or the ditto hyper-sexualized femininity of say Raging Heroes. This will also touch on the different way nudity is perceived in the US compared to the rest of the western world. One example: If you remember the old pc game Giants: Citizen Kabuto it had a strong mermaid character who just happened to wear no clothes. In the US version she had a sexy bra, so that it could avoid an R-rating. Which was the more sexualized? In Sweden, Germany and other European countries, nudity can just be nudity, it doesn't have to be sexualized. This pondering to American hypersensitivity to skin, and nipples in particular, has really hurt the design of some models that would not have otherwise been sexualized, such as the otherwise excellent wardancers where the females must be marked by wearing bras, or the odd Barbie doll anatomy of the new Drycha, but also male models such as the C'Tan deceiver for example, who is clearly inspired by Greek and Roman nude statues, and also actually the fyreslayers, who would probably have looked better without their ridiculous loin cloths.

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    24. While the sprite in the Drycha Hamadreth is not overly sexualized, I wonder why a tree creature would have a naked humanoid female as part of it to begin with? And why her fleshy human part is easily exposed to attacks? She might not have nipples sculpted on those breasts, but why does she even have breasts? Are we to suspect that she uses them to feed young tree-sprites? It seems more likely that they put a naked humanoid on the model for the same reason that they like to use boob plate armor designs.

      But if they are going to be making muscular, largely naked male warriors, one would hope that they could get someone to sculpt a similar thing for females, something that does not resort to a swimsuit model body and pose.

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    25. Excellent point about nudity, Shenordak. I look forward to seeing a lot of exposed, well-endowed dick on your upcoming models.

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    26. @Greg I see your point, but on the other hand why should a tree spirit be wearing clothes at all? And especially, why would they have a built in PG-13 censorship blur? They seem to be manifesting the forms of long-dead elves, so it's not like any part of them has a biological function. No, in this case I think nipples are warranted.

      @Aletheia Had I been a better sculptor... Seriously, I don't mean this fits for many models, but pehaps a few. But why would they need to be well-endowed?😉 Normally endowed without exagerations is enough for me, same as with breasts on female models. Mind you, genitalia, male and female, are one privacy-level above nipples.

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    27. The hobby would be a better place without people (men and women) like you in it Aletheia. I could go through all your posts on this thread and tear into your blatant rudeness and bigoted views but like Ana said, my energies are better spent elsewhere.

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    28. @Shenordak
      I agree that a tree spirit probably would not be wearing clothes. But, in the same vein, I also don’t think they be mimicking human anatomy down to the smallest detail. I just don’t think that it is necessary for a tree sprite to be a naked elf. I do understand the point that if you are making a nude model, you should make a nude model.

      @Zeuso
      When talking about an issue as important as this one, it is discouraging to see that the only contribution you had to this discussion was to tell a woman to be nice.

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    29. @Aletheia "Since bloodreaver male figures look like an exaggerated version of steroid-filled male bodybuilders, femald bloodreavers would look like an exaggerated version of steroid-filled female bodybuilders."

      I was just talking to one of my hobby friends about this the other day. I wanted to build some women Bloodreavers but build them out like warrior bodybuilders rather than lithe sexy berserkers. I basically got stuck on the naked upper torso ideas. Trying to decide how to roll on that part. Most likely an armor plate, sans-boob plate. Considered the new woman Stormcast but I am not sure if the mono-boob is any better. Any thoughts?

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    30. @amaximus
      Making good female Blood Reaver models is complicated by there being a dearth of muscular female models. I honestly cannot think of any examples of good models to base a female Blood Reaver around. But, if you did have a female model to use to build one, I think you would want to have her breasts wrapped and hugged close to her body. There is a reason why women wear sports bras when exercising.

      I feel that you could have a single armor plate to cover her breasts. It have mixed feelings about the female stormcast model. I am pleased that she is large and imposing like the other stormcast. It is nice that she does not have the standard boobplate with each breast individually cupped. However, it strikes me that she still has an extremely large bosom. Have all smaller breasted women been bred out of the population in Age of Sigmar (and 40k, for that matter)? That stormcast would have to be extremely well endowed to fill that armor.

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    31. @Gregory Wier
      I was also thinking of sports bras. I was told female archers wear a binder, I may look at that.

      Right. I am on the fence about the mono-boobplate myself. I also agree about the size of all the breasts, if all those models were blown up to 1:1 scale they would be much larger than average when compared to real life.

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  5. Thank you for continuing to talk about a very important subject! I could not agree more.

    On a related topic a well known female radio host was the stunt reporter for a music awarf show in Norway. She asked the male part questions that women typically get. It was both hilarious and disturbing and you could see their baffled faces that they didn't understand anything of what was going on.

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    1. Every so often someone in the US does something like this, like the Hawkeye Initiative of interviews, and it's always great.

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    2. It certainly is an important topic, and if it is not discussed things will not change. Hopefully that radio host’s skit got some men to consider how things are not as equal as they might like to think.

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  6. One issue that gets in the way of the 'everyone looks the same under body armour' argument is that all miniatures ranges (even those amusingly described as 'more realistic') feature extreme levels of sexual dimorphism. Therefore you either totally redesign you 'standard' body design and proportions, or accept that an 'average'* female figure will always be distinguishable from an 'average'* male figure. However, in either case they should be allowed the same level of protection and warmth.

    The thing is, however noble the idea, I don't think I'd ever want to design a figure range where male and female bodies were largely the same bar minor skeletal and subcutaneous fat differences. This is not because I want all male figures to be muscular and powerful and all females to be lithe and sexy (I don't) but because I want what I guess would be called extreme 'polymorphism'; I want the freedom to exaggerate all aspects of a figure, male or female, and in different directions depending on the character in question. Basically I want to do the Incredibles rather than Polar Express.

    Whether as yet I've produced the same variety of female figure as I have male is open to question. I've done short and tall, athletic and curvy, young and old, but I doubt the variety is as pronounced as my male figures. I'm certainly yet to do an overtly muscular female figure, nor any properly heavier figures. It's all something to work on in the future.

    *Of course, 'average' in this context is likely to mean tall, thin and sensual and tall, muscular and powerful...

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    1. You say you want exaggerated differences between men and women, but the statistical differences you choose to exaggerate are chosen for a reason, to send a message. If you wanted to make an exaggerated male form, for example, you could just as easily have chosen to exaggerate belly fat, back hair, nose hair, and a receding hairline. Instead, you chose to exaggerate musculature, presumably because you wanted to send the visual message that men are powerful and strong, and that power and strength are what is ideal in a man.

      I have seen your miniatures on your website, and have seen what attributes you chose to exaggerate on women, and with those, too, I have heard your message loud and clear. It is not one that is respectful of women, or makes them welcome.

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    2. I think the entire idea of this article is stating we should totally redesign body design and proportions

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    3. @ Aletheia Atzinger: I'm sorry to hear you think my range of figures isn't respectful to women and makes them feel unwelcome. I have had feedback to the contrary but I guess it's a subjective thing.

      I feel I should point out that I have exaggerated belly fat and receding hairlines on my male figures; back and nose hair are hard to portray at 3cm tall. I'm not sure it's fair to extrapolate from my range any statement about masculinity, but it certainly does play on established genre tropes - I'd hoped with a bit of irony but I guess that doesn't always come across.

      I also didn't say I wanted to exaggerate the differences between men and women, but between each individual character. I don't want to be limited in what I can and cannot do. I want to use the proportions and exaggerations to express something about the character: basically caricatures. I acknowledged that the variety in the female figure was too limited in comparison to that of the male figure. However, while they can never have agency and will always be the product of a male mind, I hope I have provided a variety of characters at least, from femme fatale to intrepid young woman. Again, I've certainly had feedback that they're not all disrespectful and unwelcoming; indeed one figure was sculpted to the instructions of a teenage girl gamer to be her on-table avatar.

      Finally, despite the accusatory tone of your comment, I would sincerely like to know what you think I should be making. I commented on this post because I found it thought provoking and made me realise I hadn't been as broad in my approach as I would have liked.

      @ Eli Parsons: I understand that (that's why I mentioned it!), but as well as being a massive undertaking for any existing figure range, it is not necessarily something I find interesting for the reasons I've stated both above and in my original comment.

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    4. Thanks for being so receptive. I have had a similar conversation a couple of years ago with these Bolter guys, about their female models.

      http://www.statuesqueminiatures.co.uk/c/4513058/1/pulp-alley.html

      I will use the female models on this page as an example. Notice how they all have very similar American porn style body types, small-waisted and large-breasted, and that their clothes are almost all vastly more revealing than those of the men next to them, whether by being skimpy, tight, or surplice-draping. Notice how most of them are posed with an arched lower back to accentuate breasts and buttocks, whereas the men in similar stances stand straighter.

      I think a good thing to ask yourself when you are making a female model is whether you are making the equivalent male model the same way. Are the secondary sex characteristics of the male models as apparent at a glance as they are on the female models? If your female models magically came to life and would not look out of place in a Maxim magazine or something similar, would a real life version of your male models look equally appropriate in a magazine made for gay men?

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    5. Thanks for the notes and things to consider and ask myself. They will be kept in mind, I can assure you.

      I'll certainly hold my hands up to the arched back issue. It's something I'm trying to modify with each iteration of the basic figure. I think this exaggerates the differences between the male and female poses. I always use contrapposto and consider s curves (successfully or not!) regardless of gender, but the error introduced into the basic female figure makes it appear I'm putting more emphasis on breast and buttocks than I necessarily intend (though in some cases it is entirely deliberate). But the pose is always intended to express something about the character beyond 'hey look at my tits and ass'.

      Breast size does actually vary a fair bit, though waists and body shape much less so. Again, I acknowledge this is a weakness in the range. One of the major downsides of exaggeration is that extremes come to the fore. I can't claim full ownership over the sartorial choices on those particular figures as they were a collaboration, but I'm not sure any of the outfits are that outlandish. Catsuits excepted perhaps. My preference is always to sculpt real clothing as opposed to something revealing for the sake of being revealing.

      That said, my thinking has evolved over the 7 years I've been working on the Statuesque range, and perhaps in some cases I'd do things differently now. Zip up a bit more; not sculpt a range of B-movie, model freedom fighters, just because the idea amused me; think about lower back pain in later life. That kinda thing.

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    6. Andrew Rae, you were the one who did some Perry Foot Knight Conversions with Female Heads about a year ago, correct? That was some great work.

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    7. That was me. You can see them here (https://goo.gl/awJtMo) along with some tests using GW Cadians and Frostgrave plastics. There's also this great thread on my Facebook page showing customers' conversions (https://goo.gl/uBhYL2). I think it shows that Greg Wier is absolutely right to say you can make some really great and convincing female figures using ostensibly male bodies (I think the GW Scion conversions look amazing), and it's certainly not something I was arguing against.

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    8. @Andrew Rae
      Learning how to better represent women in our miniatures has certainly been a learning process. Just looking at some older posts on this website will show that we did not always do the best job of it. But, by being willing to listen to others about the matter and working to educate ourselves, I think we have made substantial improvements. So, I am glad to see that you are so receptive to working to improve your own craft. Your line of female heads has already been a boon to hobbyists wishing to create female soldiers with existing models. We certainly have used them to good effect on one of our Adeptus Arbites models. The heads do look great on the Scions and on Genestealer cultist models.

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  7. I have very strong feelings about this topic and voiced my opinion when Kingdom Death was being discussed. Reading the comments of others definitely brings mixed emotions. Surprisingly, I can completely understand the statement Ahmed makes about the idea of female empowerment and to some extent I am sure there is some of this for some female gamers. In relation to this the typical heroic male figure is bulging with muscle a la Heman style typically and for some people maybe thats good? Regardless that is a point I have not yet considered a possible/the only positive outcome of sexualized models so is refreshing to hear something not just repeated over and over like the typical "At that scale its too hard to differentiate while sculpting". Then of course the other side of my thoughts pretty much make me feel like an elitist asshole so I will simply just say that I think you all do an excellent job trying to display REALISM or trying to bring the concept of REALISM to the world of wargaming.

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    1. I can understand the notion of women taking pride in their bodies, and having the freedom to express themselves by presenting their bodies as they see fit. This, however, is different from tailoring images of women specifically for the male gaze. Models of women in degrading poses with revealing outfits are not about women expressing themselves, they are about appealing to male fantasies.

      Thanks for the comment about our attempts to bring realism to the medium. While some might scoff at trying to add realism to a game set in the far future, I think there is importance in trying to add a sense of believably to fantastic and out-of-this-world concepts. It is about trying to take the setting seriously. Presenting women as objects to ogle is not taking them seriously; it is just there for the gratification of men.

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    2. @Eli I think when going in the 'taking pride,' direction we need to look at a lot of different things. Are all the women in the range 'taking pride,' or just a couple select models where it makes sense for them? Are the women 'taking pride,' in order to display body sovereignty or to please male gaze? Does the range generally do a good job of representing women that would like usable armor instead of exposed flesh? Are then males as armored in the same way? Like Aletheia said above about the Bloodreavers, are the women lithe and 'sexy' while the males are huge and muscular? In the context of the Bloodreavers it would make sense for a woman Bloodreaver to have some exposed skin, like the males however, it would make no sense for her to be lithe and have her ass sticking out. She should be ripped, pissed and in an athletic pose. None of that knocknee'd 'oops, did I do that,' cheescake BS like Confrontation was notorious for.

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  8. Good article guys and great to see it sparking such an interesting discussion.

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  10. Cool article! IMO it's also quite boring to have every female character look like a pinup. Same as so many male Characters in Age of Sigmar look like clones because of their perfect superbodys. Those Tzeentch cultists for example. Not very much diversity here either, but particularly they don't feel like real people.

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    1. They don't feel like real people because they are not real people. They are fantasy rank and file men and women. We can give them character but it isn't really necessary.

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    2. What a constructive commentary. Thank you for breaking through our delusions. We are all feeling so much more enlightened. Anything else you feel the need to mansplain?

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    3. I agree that it seems fairly stupid that all of the Tzeentch acolytes are amazingly muscled and toned. It doesn’t make too much sense that everyone in the cult would fit that profile. Mind you, I think they are good models for what they are trying to be, but by them all being exactly the same, it limits the scope of what Tzeentch cultists can be (or what GW says that can be).

      And as Narcisista sarcastically pointed out, we all know that our plastic models are not actually real people or characters. That does not mean that we can’t ask for some diversity in the models GW makes, and hope that the models seem interesting, rising beyond tropes.

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  11. A good read and an uncharacteristicaly constructive commentary field. I have been trying to find good models for mixed infantry as well and the Cadians are simply to heroic in their proportions to represent anything mixed at all.

    But I have found that Forgeworld and their sculpts have a more realistic proportions and then the simple head swap works really well. I'm experimenting with the Solar Auxilia range at the moment for good female models with nice result.

    With Cadia gone now would be a great time for GW to do a new Imperial guard kit with more variety but, as many has pointed out, the chance of them going for a more gender neutral look is slim to none.

    It's sad because I want more gender neutral bitz when I dream about conversions I want to do. Cheers guys for tackling an important subject like this and cheers for all the commenters that kept the debate on a great level.

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    1. We have found that the Forge World guard models are more realistically proportioned, as well, making them the perfect for making female warriors. I hope the Solar Auxilia work out to your satisfaction. We have considered using them, as well, but Forge World models are not cheap (though, I guess nothing GW makes is). If you have any desire to share your work, we would love to see it (Our email address is listed at the top right of the blog. No pressure though).

      We can all hope that a new Imperial Guard kit is on the horizon, one which allows for male and female soldiers to be constructed. And if they do such a thing, we can only hope that it is not stupidly sexualized.

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    2. Check out Victoria Miniatures 'Arcadian Guard'. Male and female versions are only slightly distinguishable, plus they look like 2nd edition Cadians!

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    3. Thanks for the suggestion, BrotherPink. I feel that is a good example of the sort of thing that GW could work towards doing when they release new Imperial Guard models.

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  12. Great analysis of the topic; I absolutely agree that wargamers should model their own female figures to make up for the lack of non-sexist alternatives.

    I recently took up my Warhammer 40k-gaming again, and decided to create a fully female imperial guard army (there is a background story justifying their being all female - they are all clones of a prominent scientist founding their homeworld). I went for Statuesque's heroic scale female heads, and combined them with cadian (and some catachan) parts and high elf archer legs.

    I've got a project site, which I regretfully haven't updated in some time. But it includes some WIP-pictures of my army. It might help for inspiration - see below:

    http://www.bolterandchainsword.com/topic/303708-new-project-adeptus-ministorum-regiment/?p=4180899

    Best,
    Simon

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    1. This is a really nice looking army! I feel that it does a good job of showing that the Cadian kit can be used to good effect when building female soldiers. The archer legs fit well and really help give the force their own feel, one that is distinct from the Cadians. I like how you made sure all of them have a bunch of equipment at their waists: canteens, pouches and grenades. They should be well equipped if they are heading off to war. Great work.

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  13. Hey guys!

    Great discussion of the male-centrist leaning of the hobby and the (mis)representation of females in it. I think it is an extremely important topic to discuss and debate and I am glad you brought it up; I care deeply about it.

    I'd like to take a moment to go one step further, because really, you've addressed misogyny in the hobby at such a low level- in the models themselves- when really the problem is on a much more pervasive and comprehensive scale. I for one can only really talk about the Warhammer 40,000 universe with any degree of expertise, but from what I can tell, GW is not special or unique in this regard. When you stop and really think of the storyline of the universe, you can see all of the ways that the universe gravitates towards male dominance. The Emperor, a male, has twenty sons, all male, to create the superhuman Space Marines, the heroes of the game, and yes you guessed it, all male. The trend even continues into some of the Black Library books- those that I have read (by guess what- male authors) tend to categorize women in the same manner as other popular male-centrist tropes- a princess needing to be rescued (Eisenhorn Trilogy), or an object to be desired and acquired (various), etc. I mean, that's just off the top- there's plenty other stuff you could talk about to illustrate the point.

    I really didn't realize that misogyny was so prevalent in the hobby until the first time you three brought it up to me. I think it is a real shame because the hobby has made such a profound impact on my life for the better, and I would want that kind of experience to be open to all- but it clearly isn't. I am surprised and saddened by some of the research I did into females' experiences in gaming stores. Let's face it- the hobby tends to gravitate towards the fringes of what could be accepted as "normal" behavior in our society (in the United States anyway); why we as a gaming community would take steps to humiliate and alienate, well, anybody away from something that we ourselves hold dear is unfathomable. And if you want an illustration of what kind of mindset exists in the hobby, google "female tau" or any kind of "sisters of battle". Or go to your local game store and listen to the local Slaanesh player brag about his "anatomically correct marines" (I haven't had the courage or desire to google that yet). Yeah, way to go gaming community.

    I'd love to hear something about this on Dragged Into Turbolasers sometime, maybe a panel discussion or something like that. I personally disagree that wargamers should model their own models to be female; or really I should say that I disagree that that is a good answer to the problem. I don't really know how you can effect change without hitting GW or any other company where it hurts- their bottom line- and let's face it, the gaming community as a whole is unlikely to suddenly stop making models or fluff because of the effort (look at the response GW recently gave PETA). But, spreading awareness about the problem I feel is a great first step. Well done.

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    1. While I agree with you in principal, I must point out that to expect a dystopian hell-hole such as the nightmarish, bigoted, narrowminded, xenophobic Imperium of Man to be a paragon of gender equality is a bit... odd😀. But, jokes aside, I guess your point is that even if the setting is sexist, the storylines shouldn't be, and that I agree full heartedly with. For an example of a surprisingly non-sexist portrayal of a woman in 40k, check out Mira from the Space Marine pc game.

      Sidenote: The PETA attack (publicity stunt) on GW was absurd for basically the same reasons. Its a textbook example of why you can't just export modern morality to just any fictional setting. Like a vegan hobbyist friend of mine pointed out, even the "good" guys of 40k are cruel and brutal. They should be wearing fur, it underscores their evil.

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    2. One positive thing about the Eisenhorn books was the barely coded queerness of it. I mean, Chaos is always strongly femme and queer-coded, but this was something else; I was delighted.

      Our hero Eisenhorn spends the whole trilogy dreaming of his nemesis/soulmate Cherubael, while being too physically repulsed by the woman he idealizes to ever consummate that relationship. I read that thinking it was the most marvelously, unconsciously gay thing I had ever encountered, and I shipped them SO damn hard.

      Then in the end Cherubael picks up an injured Eisenhorn like a bridegroom and they go off into the sunset together, and queer subtext becomes almost text. It could only have been better with a for-real wedding.

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    3. But, I absolutely LOVE your point that buying sexism and then making it not sexist is still, at its core, buying sexism. It is a great and true point. I'm not sure what the solution is there.

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    4. @Shenordak- first, LOL on the joke. Honestly though, I feel like in the 41st Millenium, there WOULD be sexism (and for that matter, racism) in the storylines somewhere. I mean, as you point out, the Imperium is not necessarily a hub of enlightenment. My point is that there shouldn't be sexism in the PORTRAYAL of the storyline's characters. This is the difference between the story inherently having characters with inherent quirks and flaws and what have you, and the medium's creators subtly imposing their own biases and opinions into the medium. Does that make sense?

      And yes, while I agree in principle that Mira in SM was not herself a sexist portrayal... what the hell, there's only one single female guardsman in the game???

      As for the PETA attack, I thought about your point a lot, and here's why I think that PETA's petition to GW is different from petitioning GW to remove the overtones of sexism (which by the way I feel made it into the universe in the first place from modern codes of morality): based on my perceptions, I don't believe that the portrayal of characters in the game walking around in animal furs (or for that matter, human skins) is suggesting in any way that people in real life should do the same. Again, this is my perception and I haven't done my homework; if I were presented evidence to the contrary (I'm looking at you, cosplay community) I would have to seriously rethink my position on this. I DO think that having sexist undertones in the universe either encourages or reinforces the notions we've been discussing all along (women as objects, women as inferior to men, etc etc). THAT is what I take issue with. So I am not sure whether that point agrees with you or not, but you definitely challenged me to seriously consider my positions. Thank you for that.

      Which, that is an interesting notion in and of itself. Is the setting sexist because the society that created it is sexist? Or was the game made by a group of sexist individuals who then encouraged others to become sexist? Either way we're now stuck in a positive feedback loop.

      @Athelia: So, I haven't read the Eisenhorn trilogy for over a decade, and I TOTALLY missed your whole point on the homosexual undertones of the whole thing. That is awesome. I have a vacation coming up in June, and for the most part I enjoyed the read, So I think I might pick the book back up and consider this new point of view. Thanks! On the other hand, I do remember Eisenhorn, pretty early in the book, recruiting the other woman whose name I don't remember at the moment. I just remember thinking that gee, this kind of sounds like a classic "rescue the princess" scenario, as she would not have been able to live her life if Eisenhorn hadn't swooped in and rescued her!

      Thanks for the support on the point about buying sexism and changing it is still buying sexism. I don't know what the solution is either- its a tough problem! In theory, I am claiming that everybody who's ever paid money to experience GW's universe(s) are part of the problem (i.e. almost everybody on this blog), and I don't know if I would go that far. I certainly like wargaming, and want to support it even with its flaws. But I'd also want to do what I can to change it for the better. I feel like either way, having the discussion with as many people as possible- awareness- is a great first step. The question for me is similar to another point somebody already made about showing their mother their models: As a father, would I introduce my children to wargaming and why/why not? I am beginning to seriously consider what was once a very sure answer in my mind.

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    5. Also, Aletheia- I misspelled your name in the passion of replying last night and never corrected it before I published. Sorry about that!

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  14. GW did start out at a time when miniature war-games were male dominated and as such the hobby began as a male dominated domain.

    Everyone’s got their own preference with mini war-games. I feel showing realistic human faces on miniatures is a slap in the face for anyone whose lived through armed conflict. Models outside the realm of realism, may appeal to people who don’t wish to be reminded of the realities of war.

    If you make male and female models indistinguishable from each other, (like Tau) you may have a little girl walk into a store, ask for the girl armies, be directed towards something that doesn’t represent her (possibly culturally enforced) idea of what a “girl army” should look like, and the be turned off from the hobby.

    Times have changed, but GW may be hesitant to take a gamble producing miniatures to add diversity. The army composition of 40k prevents GW from investing in diversity. A new army requires about 4 or 5 different model sets. If a new army attempts to appeal to demographics outside the “status quo” and is a flop, then all that shelf space, time and money that is just lost on a product that’s gathering dust.

    The old Imperial Guard are a prime example of an army with way too many options. Cadians, Catachans, Valhallans, Tallarn, Mordian, Vostroyan, Pratorian, Kasrkin, Attilan, Death Korps, these versions of the same army drew GW resources to make multiple versions of the same unit in each flavour, but this divided the purchases within people playing Guard. If GW immediately dropped 9 of these armies when 3rd ed began, we might have had a female regiment of Cadians by now.

    The Small, highly customizable Warbands in Necromunda and Mordheim had a lot of diversity. Different body types, some bands were all women, some were mixed. With the whispers that GW may bring them back, there is hope that they can champion diversity lacking in wargaming minis.

    There may be another reason that GW does not want to propagate their games with female models. Warhammer denotes a level of imaginary violence. Violence towards women is a sensitive subject, and to see young people getting enjoyment from a situation where a woman is being hurt can be very off-putting. Perhaps GW worries that their demographic simply lacks the grace to handle such issues with maturity.

    As always, Between the Bolter and Me encouraging us to think deeper about the hobby. Great Job!

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    1. I feel like there are quite a few things I disagree on in this post. Let me list them out corresponding to your entry above:

      1) GW started out when miniature games were dominated by males, sure. It still is dominated by males. I'm not sure what point you're trying to make.

      2. What do you mean by representing "realistic human faces on miniatures"? Aren't they realistic now? And, most models that I have been exposed to anyway are indeed outside the realm of realism. I don't think you can argue about realism in 40K- its a fictional universe.

      I can't really to every individual who has lived through armed conflict, but I do have friends who have served in combat roles in the US military who also play the game. So no, using realistic human faces is not a slap in the face to everybody who has been in armed combat.
      3. Again, not sure what point you are trying to make. Are you saying that the current aesthetic (such as boob armor and unrealistic posing for instance) is appealing to a little girl? Because I am not taking my little girl or boy for that matter to said store! And, how little are we talking here? I don't know as if wargames were really meant for children in the first place, especially in a game store.
      4. GW doesn't want to take a gamble producing miniatures for diversity? What about the entire Age of Sigmar range? Like the Dwarf stuff that was JUST announced? I disagree that as a company they're not willing to take risks, though I would concede to you that I feel there is somewhat less desire on GW's to take risks with their 40K product line. But then again, nobody was talking about creating new armies, just adding more realistic representations to current lines.
      5. I disagree with your analysis that Guard have too many options- in fact I would argue that they need more options. The only versions of IG that you can go out and buy today from GW are Cadians, Catachan, and Vostroyan. Kasrkin are Cadian Stormtroopers, and can be used in both roles, and aren't produced anymore besides, just like every other regiment you listed. So yeah, most of those are pretty much not supported right now anyway, and guess what, no female Guardsmen. I personally love my Cadians even knowing some of the aging issues they face- they were an incredible kit at the time- but I just feel like the Vostroyans were uninspired, and the Catachans are, well, look at them. They have charm to them but ugh.
      6. Can't speak to Mordheim, but I have a sizeable Orlock gang and assorted other minis from Necromunda. There is most certainly not a high degree of customizability or diversity in the range. I will totally agree with you though that I'd like to see them bring the game back (and they appear to be doing a half measure of the sort with one of their new releases). But, I can't see them really redoing the whole range, giving plastic kits, a range of options, etc. I think we're in for at best a Bloodbowl treatment, which is revamping the same older models into modern updates, with all the delightful sexism that that entails.
      7. Wait, when did GW get shy about putting women in harm's way? Inquisitor Greyfax and Celestine? Sisters of Battle/Silence? Gaunt's Ghosts or Tanith First and Only? Howling Banshees? I don't think GW is worried about their demographic handling social issues. I think they're worried about their bottom line, and guess what, boob armor sells, unfortunately. Also, domestic abuse in modern day society towards women is a sensitive subject. I doubt very much that seeing women in militaristic combat roles in the 40K universe is the same (offensive to women), seeing as though most women seem to be proud that serving in current-day military combat roles in the US is finally an option. But hey, I'm not the spokesperson for women, so I could be wrong.

      I hope I don't come off as arrogant or disrespectful in this, as it isn't my intent to do so.

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    2. It is true that GW started at a time when miniature wargaming was male dominated and it isn’t particularly surprising that portrayal of women was poor. However, it is not the 80s anymore and it should be better.

      Since I am not a veteran, I cannot say how seeing realistic faces on wargame miniatures would affect them. If they thought it might remind them of horrors of war, I imagine they would avoid the game to begin with, considering that war is the theme of warhammer 40k. Furthermore, I feel the models currently have fairly realistic faces; the inclusion of women will not change this fact. As for it being a slap in the face to veterans, could you not argue that a game that does not take war seriously would also be a slap in the face?

      The way things are currently, I think any female interested in the hobby would be turned away due to the complete lack of female representation. Increasing representation will help alleviate this. I do not think that most young women would be going to buy oversexualized represnetations of people like themselves.

      While I agree that Games Workshop spread themselves thin by designing a plethora of Imperial Guard regiments, that was in the 2nd edition of the game. By the time the 3rd edition was released, they largely ignored all the other ranges, focusing only on newer plastic miniatures, first with the Catachans, but even they were largely ignored when the Cadians were released. Sure they released the Vostroyans, but they were never serious about them. So they basically did drop all of the other armies when 3rd began, and it didn’t result in female Imperial Guard. Additionally, we are suggesting that GW adds a few additional heads to some of the newer kits. With the advent of digital sculpting, I do not think this is a big risk.

      I do not really think the Necromunda and Mordheim warbands were very diverse. Each game had a single warband that was entirely female (Escher and Sisters of Sigmar, respectively); none of the warbands were mixed gendered. Maybe there was a female bounty hunter, or a female elf or two, but nothing that I would classify as diverse.

      Thanks for taking the time to read this post and the comments, and for sharing some of your thoughts. Without discussion, the problem of female representation in gaming will never improve.

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    3. I wanted to say that it's hard for GW to take risks appealing to groups beyond the demographics that helped them rise to popularity. But we are entering an era where GW is allowing itself to branch out. Perhaps we are ahead of the curve and ask "why doesn't GW get with the times?" But for them it's still a financial gamble. And the old dudes at GW may resist newer employees trying to push them to get with the times.

      I know many military service members worldwide are big into the hobby, but I was taking about civilians affected by war. It's hard if you're a Serian kid and you're playing a game, where the board looks like your parents hometown, then tell your folks 'it's just a game'. Someone with a disability like a spinal cord injury could be really receptive to table top war gaming, but if the miniatures reflect back at them, visually, the trauma they suffered it could dissuade from getting into the hobby.

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    4. While I agree that taking a firm stand against sexism in miniatures is a certain risk, we are not talking about them changing all of their ranges overnight, just starting to with new kits if applicable. GW takes risks all of the time as is, like constantly changing the format of White Dwarf, or destroying the Old World and introducing Age of Sigmar. Adding a few female heads to a new Imperial Guard kit seems like much less of a risk than either of those, and one that needs to be taken.

      I agree that Warhammer could be difficult for a child who grew up in a war-torn country and has seen the horrors of war first hand. But, I feel that is an issue that all of wargaming must grapple with. GMT Games publishes a bunch of historical wargames exploring topics like the War on Terror, and I can understand why these games could make some people uncomfortable. But, I think that is a different issue than removing sexism from wargaming.

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  15. Aletheia calls everything she disagrees with sexist, mysogynistic, patriarchal, and bigoted because quite simply she has no argument and is threatened by the biological fact that men and women are different. She also believes there is a "wage gap" there isn't. She is threatened by inch-tall figures depicting fantastic heroes (and heroines). Women have breasts, longer hair, and a pronounced hip-to-waist ratio. She and her SJW snowflake warriors want humans to be an androgynous, mentally dulled, species on the verge of existence.

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    1. Jp Gotrokkits calls everything he disagrees with SJW snowflakes because quite simply he has no argument and is threatened by the biological fact that men and women are not extremely or hyperbolically different. He also believes there is not a 'wage gap,' there is. He is threatened by people wanting accurate representation in inch-tall figures depicting fantastic heroines (and heroes). Women do not wear boob plate in battle, all genders have long hair and differing hip-to-waist ratio. He and his sexist, mysogynistic, patriarchal and bigoted warriors want to be protected from anything that challenges their narrow and shallow view of existence.

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  16. Great article, which is quite relevant in my opinion.

    I have recently had a similar talk with people working in the video game industry, and to some extent the representation of women is problematic there as well. Take the Street Fighter franchise for instance where most female characters are oversexualized while male bodies span on a wider range, featuring (relatively) aged or fat men (still in quite perfect physical shape). There is a serious issue here, as there is only one archetype for the female body (young, large breasts, and narrow waist) and a bit more for the male one.

    Back to 40k, I'd like to talk just a bit about the Space Marine/Sororitas. Both body archetypes are obviously completly exagerated, and I believe, are quite equally so. I realized recently that I quite enjoyed the SM models, as it would make some sort of sense that space warriors would have their bodies enhanced to a ridiculous point. So this exageration is fine for me, but I cannot understand the reason why a female fighter in a similar battle formation would have its features overly sexualized. My point is that, 40k isn't realistic so our existing differences make little sense in this universe, sure, but then if Sororita's bodies are not buffy and muscular then it shows some form of polarization between female and male in the hobby universe, and I find it troublesome.

    Another issue raises for less exagerated models: the relative absence of "average" female bodies. For instance, look at dwarves. They are not particularly in shape, with a little bit of belly and they like drinking. Even though it's not realistic (you don't say) in any way, I don't feel like they're the pinacle of dwarven bodybuilding. What's frustrating for me is that why are there so few female miniatures then? Why is it so hard to find a fat, ugly, and alcoholic she-dwarf model?

    I feel like we (the hobbyist) are stuck in some form of vicious circle though. The tabletop wargaming originally designed its miniatures in a quite sexist context letting us with only hyper-sexual female models. But this leads to to things: on the one hand, it narrows the imagination of some of us and on the other hand doesn't attract people who feel odd about these models (more women than men I imagine) to the hobby. Both of these factors create a low demand for non-sexualized models and the industry keeps producing sexist miniatures as a result. Therefore, I find it really great that such a topic is discussed from the inside because I strongly believe that this is one way to break the circle we're in. So thanks again for the article Greg!

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    1. I'd like to add to my comment that there is a real demand for such models, and this blogs shows it quite well with interesting and charismatic female characters. Offer is appearing to meet this demand nonetheless, with Privateer Press for example to some extent. Take the Old Witch of Khador for instance:

      http://privateerpress.com/warmachine/gallery/khador/warcasters/old-witch-of-khador-scrapjack

      This model is, in my opinion, one of the most charismatic characters of the faction, while not being young, in shape or even beautiful. So props to PP for starting to create this sort of models.

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    2. The problem of female representation isn’t solely confined to wargaming. It is a problem that the video game industry faces, along with most media. As you mention, Street Fighter is a prime example, as are most fighting games in general (Dead or Alive, Soul Calibur, and Mortal Kombat to give a few examples). Video games have been embraced by a larger margin of people than wargaming, and I think that has helped push that industry towards trying to improve. But, as you know, there is still a long way to go.

      It is nice to see an older women in Privateer Press’ model range. More ranges should look towards doing that. Malifaux is not a game known for anatomically reasonable models, but they have an old woman named Zoraida that does a nice job of showing that not every woman needs to be young and attractive (https://www.wyrd-games.net/zoraida).

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  17. I think that men in the this hobby need to understand that just because there are women miniatures, does not mean that women are represented. Yes the hobby has done a better job at making female minis, but, when women come out and say, 'thanks, but how about minis that are realistic and not cheesecake sexbombs,' we need to listen. And before you say, 'right Andrew, but some women want minis that are obviously female and others want androgyny, they'll never be happy,' I have this to say. We can have sexed (notice I didn't say sexual) minis as well as more androgynous/neutral minis AT THE SAME TIME! Don't faint! I know it is hard to conceive. Let's put it this way. If the context of the mini/squad (both female and male) is that they are super stealthy soldiers that wear body suits rather than suits of armor, it would make some sense to have models that tend to represent more of the physical nature of the sex of the model. What doesn't make sense, is if the males are all kitted up and in fight poses and the women are barely clothed and in sex poses. I feel like GW was headed in the correct direction with the Dark Eldar Wytchs. The males and females all look fairly similar in pose, details and kit with just a few hints via body type in the torsos and heads that some are women and some aren't. In the context, it makes sense. What doesn't make a whole lot of sense is scantly clad rail thin female warriors, wearing boob plate (deadly to the wearer,) and in the case of some mini companies, standing in a cheesecake sexual pose while the males are buff, ready to fight and fully armored. Put those ladies in the same armor and get their butts out of the air! "But some models have sex in their context, like demonettes!" True. But Demonettes are a huge problem all around. First of all, their name heavily implies women with the 'ettes' part. Second, despite being called androgynous in the fluff and only having one breast, they are clearly modeled in a female form. They are all lithe and feminine. Which brings up several questions. Why do female sexed models have to always be the seducers? How are Demonettes supposed to seduce a-sexual people, gay men and hetero women? Wouldn't it be fluffier if the Demonettes, like the Wyches, had multiple builds? 3 torso types, one with 2 breasts, one with 1 breast and one with none? Perhaps some slight facial adjustments? "Bu-bu-bu-but it's fantasy, it doesn't have to be realistic!' Fantasy does not = sexual fantasy nor should it. This is Warhammer, not Pornhub. There is no good reason to say that women warriors in a fantasy setting should be lithe boobplate wearing sexbombs just because it's a fantasy setting. It is still stupidly dangerous to wear armor in that style whether in a fantasy world or the real world. Women warriors should look just as athletic as their male counterparts. If the dude models don't have their ass in the air, then why do women? Most importantly, if the majority of the women gamers and hobbiests are saying they don't feel represented by these models, we have to ask ourselves who the models are for and why are we fighting to keep them.

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    1. Thanks for presenting a whole host of excellent points. Just because it is fantasy does not demand that female models wear boobplate. "Fantasy" is not an excuse to continue to peddle in sexist and harmful tropes and imagery.

      As you pointed out, we are not saying that all female models should be indistinguishable from male models. It is all based on context. A fully armored female Imperial Guard trooper would not be readily distinguishable from a male counterpart, something you can see when looking at images of service members of the military today. But if the characters you wish to portray are not armored, it makes more sense that differences would be discernible.

      Excellent point about the demonettes, as well. They were not designed to appeal to asexual individuals, gay men, or heterosexual women. The existing designs were pointed squarely at appealing to straight men.

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    2. Even the demonette artwork is as straight man horror-fantasy as can be.

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