So, thanks to some great friends, I got into the Diablo 3 Beta. And I have to say, I have two complaints about it, and the first is that it isn’t long enough. I want more game! I’m a huge Diablo fangirl and this game is atmospheric, has a ton of wonderful lore, and I feel AMAZINGLY badass. A group of 40 minions? A few strategic clicks and I have never felt more hardcore in a video game. It is so lovely and so epic.
There is one major problem with Diablo 3, and guess what? It’s sexism. Sexism in a video game? I know, I know, I’m shocked. But I wanted to believe we’d moved slightly past it. Now, I’ve only played through two of the characters, and while the combat poses are pretty awesome (the monk moves in a light-on-her-feet movie fighter pose, the Barbarian looks pants shittingly terrifying barrelling toward her enemies), the non-combat poses are a parade of straight backed, chest out, elbows together, hips swayed, unnatural, uncomfortable poses to enhance the chestal region. Now, at first, I thought, well, if everyone starts naked, it’s a little annoying but more or less okay.
As you can see, this is not the case. Every male character has more base fabric than the female characters. The male Barbarian and male Monk start out with only loincloths, and that’s.. better.. but this whole wizard thing is horrible. Look at the tilt of her head, the curve of her body, compared to his. OBSCENE.
It gets worse. Labels for equipment across genders remains consistent. But on men, a “tunic” covers the chest, and is more than just a single yellow sash. The lowest level “pants” on a female monk are hotpants, boyshorts, and do very little more than cover her ass. At least for the monk female, when I upgraded her top she covered her bare midriff, but the next armor upgrade “pants” consisted of leather feetless thigh highs and another part of boyshorts. Her “shoulder” armor mantle added spikes to her mid-arm length gloves. Unreal.
I mean, for some of these characters, it makes sense. Barbarian men and women don’t seem to want to cover up (though “pants” are not a short skirt, Blizzard), and yeah, a monk isn’t going to wear heavy armor. But surely she would cover up a little more. Wear pants. A skirt that covered the front of her thighs. Maybe some stomach protection? Considering you start the game as a trained warrior, would it be so implausible that a trained wizard lady would WEAR A GODDAMN SHIRT?
So far, I have loved Diablo 3. It is immersive, fun to play, and so full of goodies for an old fan like me. I am having a ton of fun, and just.. really, loving every minute of gameplay. But it’s amazingly sexist. I’m glad the women are as ass-kicky as the men, and we actually get to choose a gender, but this? This is disheartening to the max. I’m tired of the “but this is how women in video games are portrayed hur hur” arguments. I’m tired of the male gaze in all these video games I’ve been playing for over a decade. So upsetting. An excellent game way less enjoyable with this bit of hugely insulting infantile garbage in it.
More on Diablo 3 as I play more.