Bulimia.com, a charity focused on bringing attention to as well as treating eating disorders, has re-touched several prominent video game heroines, to showcase how far off the "average" they are.
However, though well-intentioned, these picks make very little sense in some regards. Instead of moving towards realistic depictions of women, they go too much in the other direction, without really heeding the source material.
I think it is important to acknowledge differences in body types, but some of these are just ineffective at doing so.
First, we have Lara Croft and her re-imagining. This one is weirdly problematic for the same reason a bunch of the others are, too. Lara is an active woman, living a fairly rigorous lifestyle. For her to have this weight gain around her stomach just doesn't make sense.
More than that, the website took an already-outdated version of Lara to remake. In the newest addition to the franchise scheduled for next year, the newly-remodeled Lara has been re-imagined with a smaller bust and a more realistic waist, espeically for an active woman. So these beauty standards are already being addressed.
Cortana is one of the most unnecessarily sexualized women in all of video games. I know that, and I get that. However, though, I think her makeover does a disservice to a character that was already one of the curvier figures in the industry.
Cortana was already at the forefront of women in games who were fairly accurately depicted, and you can actually measure the growth of that realism as the franchise progresses.
Cards on the table, I don't know much about Rikku fron FFX. I know she's a machina user and she's an upbeat, happy-go-lucky type. She also received one of the most dramatic re-imaginings on Bulimia.com's list. I think they're going in the right way, but perhaps a little over-much.
The thing for me with this is that Rikku, and most other ladies in the Final Fantasy universe, is not based on American standards, or indeed any western standards. They are drawn from a Japanese source material, and the Japanese average sizes are already much smaller than our own. This is basically imposing a western influence on Japanese standards, whether or not it's the American standard or not.
Now this one I really don't get. I honestly can't see anything being all that wrong in the first image, aside from the ridiculously over-sexualized outfit. Maybe she could use a little more meat in the thigh, considering that is obviously where a lot of her power comes from.
With her re-imagining, the extra belly makes no sense. This woman is a fighter, and so her core strength is super high, and super important. It wouldn't make sense for her to carry that much weight around her stomach. For a fighter, an athletic woman, to look like she does in the right-side picture doesn't add up.
This one I think was done well, really fleshing out an otherwise emaciated character. In the first picture, her waist is only slightly thicker than her arm, and that's just not how bodies work, fictional or not. In the re-imagining, this woman is made fuller in figure without sacrificng any of the character underneath.
In general, posts like these are well-intentioned, aimed at representation. I think it's an important discourse to have and be a part of, but I also think there's an inclination to thin-shame when trying to do away with fat shaming.
Insulting one group so as to boost another does nothing for the community. It does no good to put someone down in order to raise someone up. We have to stop thinking about bodies (and indeed everything) as part of one or another diametrically opposed brackets. Bodies exist on a scale, and as long as you keep clear of the extremes on either side, that's progress. Real progress.