Today's post is brought to you by Facebook. A most excellent male friend often posts a question of the day, and they are generally geektastic opportunities for all of us on his friend list to riff and crack witticisms as we answer. Today's question was focused on sexy alien races, and which were the most appealing. It led to predictable hilarity, but, as these things so often do, it got me thinking.
Now, when I say 'sexy alien', you probably thought of the Asari race from Bioware's Mass Effect immediately. If you didn't, shame on you. And I'm about to show you why.Source. Warning: contains shrill feminism.
You probably also thought of Twi'leks, from Star Wars. Here is the famous Oola, the chick who refuses to give Jabba sexual favours and is then eaten by a Rancor in Return of the Jedi.Source. Warning: contains Wookiepedia's writing style and the beautiful Femi Taylor.
There are other examples, of course, but given that I had to turn Safesearch on just to find images that weren't pornographic, especially for Oola, I'm going to skip ahead. Point is, there are a lot of Sexy Alien Girls, from races named and unnamed, and Captain Kirk has slept with most of them.
This may surprise you (unless you actually read my blog regularly), but I'm not going to complain about the proliferation of hypersexual female aliens everywhere. Exaggeratedly large breasts, slim waists, full hips, juicy lips and wide eyes, long legs, elegant hands and feet--chances are, if you have a sexy alien race, they will be female and they will have all of these traits. The eyes sometimes change, and hair is usually the first thing to be modified or lost--along with skin tone, which is almost always blue for some reason--but the rest remain. And, again, in addition to finding these girls attractive myself, I don't have a problem with their designs. Blatant fanservice is fine, because males in zap-gun, zoom-pow sci-fi are inevitably pretty attractive and virile. Also, I fail to see how sex, and sexualization are a) new in human history, and/or b)OMG SO EVIL U GUYS!!!1!11
So, what's the big deal, again? If you like the sexy, why did you mention cons, SciFiMagpie?
So, sexy content is fine. It would be nice if it wasn't in every single bit of fiction ever, as that gets repetitive. In a general way, it would also be nice if the universes that include a Sexy Fanservice Female Race would compensate more by averaging some hideous and 'normal'-looking females into those races as well. There's also the issue of having one unrealistically attractive race making everyone else seem ugly, and therefore imposing a higher standard of physical beauty on every race/species involved in the universe, just to compensate. For example, Bioware allows players to create a muscular fat male player character in the Star Wars: The Old Republic MMORPG while withholding that option from female player builds. And, sure, ugly alien females exist in Star Wars, but when was the last time you saw an ugly female Twi'lek outside a convention? Didn't think so. In fact, just the fact that my joke was funny shows that Twi'lek beauty standards are annoyingly unrealistic. The boyfriend, who actually plays the MMO, claims that some do exist, but I haven't seen them myself, and you'd probably have to look pretty hard.
And, sure, it annoys me that all sexy alien girls are sexy in the same, somewhat Americanized way, but that's something that may improve with time. I can't blame the various science fiction authors and creators for giving us pretty, exotic girls: exoticism is always interesting, due to our biological imperative to mix genes.
(This is why foreigners are "always" sexy, if you were wondering: you're attracted to their hardy immune system and varied genetic stock. Doing the horizontal tango with someone from a different region or country means that your offspring will, in theory, be hardier and more genetically diverse. This is also why I have to beat away chicks with a club from my Russian boyfriend. I digress, here's the link to back it up.)
So, exotic girls with idealised beauty: all good, gives you something nice to look at while you're cruising around the galaxy. But...where are the sexy male characters? This is the crux of my problem. Having defended the reasons for feminine eye-candy, I find myself utterly unable to explain why the 21st century hasn't brought a bunch of equally delicious male species. Apart from various iterations of elves with a science fiction-flavoured twist, and, depending on what you're into, tentacled species, there aren't really a lot of sexualized male species out there. There are a few with outstanding charisma, sure, but even Bioware's Turians and Drell in Mass Effect are respectively a) really hard to sleep with and likely to cause an allergic reaction in humans and b)amphibious. There's a tendency to modify 'male' races more, give them more peculiar traits that are less attractive or more dangerous. Women are exactly as shallow as men when it comes to reactions to visual sexual stimuli, and it would be nice to see that reflected in character design. For example, broad shoulders, full lips, and well-shaped legs and chests are easy ways to keep our eyes on the guys. Then take that and add some creativity. Come on, visual designers, I know you can do this. And you can't say you're afraid of being called 'gay'. Gay guys play games too, and I'm pretty damn sure they'd love a little fan service. It's pretty damn sad when Googling 'sexy male aliens' yields nothing but...human males. And this.Source. Warning: contains awesome. This chick has a good sense of humour.
I'm well aware that it's highly unlikely that Hollywood or the big game studios will give a crap about a few feminist blog posts asking them to a)tone down the exaggerated attractiveness of their female characters or b)scale up the physical attractivenss of their non-human male characters, but for the sake of argument, let's follow this through. Games are starting to show less hyper-sexualized chicks--compared to, say, Grand Theft Auto (different genre, I know, shut up) games such as Dark Souls, Skyrim, and films such as--oh wait, there weren't any science fiction movies last year that involved aliens. Never mind--are making a conscientious turn away from forcing all alien/exotic females to be sex toys. This is good, but we need more. Literature, of course, is fine, because authors can do whatever the hell they want, and there are enough books out there about alternate gender issues and that sort of thing that we don't need to worry. Visual media, however, are slow to catch up.
And the point is...?
Sex is okay. Being sexy is okay. Sexy girls are great. We just need a little more variety and more balanced representation of eye candy between the genders. Failing to do this not only bores us, it addes to that repetitive message about the unacceptability of physical flaws in this or any other universe. Also, boobs are great.
Well, that's our show for today. For more gamer jokes, analysis, and adorably witty insights, follow me on Twitter at SciFiMagpie. Don't forget to share this page and come back for more!If you don't, Oola will be very, very sad. And you don't want that, do you?
This is the SciFiMagpie, peacing out!