Sexist game advertising now sponsored by UK government?

// 29 March 2008

“God didn’t create the perfect woman – the UK’s gaming industry did”

This advert is elevated from the ranks of standard sexist advertising on, because it was payed for by our taxes, commissioned by our government, and given the A.OK as suitable to promote British business by someone at UK Trade and Investment.

The ad is aimed at recruiting Indian partners for UK gaming companies:

God didn’t create the perfect woman.

The UK’s gaming industry did.

A UK company created Tomb Raider, a global success story in gaming. With amazing graphics, inventive game play and involving story lines, it virtually redefined the rules of the game. Home to 150 development studios that have created iconic products like Grand Theft Auto, the UK is the European base of international giants like Sony and Sega. UK companies are now looking for Indian partners. With the UK having a 12% share of global sales, it’s the perfect opportunity for you.

Comments From You

Catherine Redfern // Posted 29 March 2008 at 11:57 am

My jaw has hit the floor. Words fail me…

Lucy // Posted 29 March 2008 at 12:14 pm

Lara Croft’s physical appearance aside, it’s quite nice that the “perfect woman” kicks some butt frequently isn’t it?

Jess McCabe // Posted 29 March 2008 at 1:00 pm

Lucy, the issue I have here isn’t even particularly with the way Lara Croft looks (although there’s plenty to be said about the choices made by the game designers, no doubt).

The issue is with the way that this ad frames the game – the subtext of (presumably) male game designers, piecing together a “perfect woman” character to be literally played with by an audience that is presumed to be male, straight, etc…

That’s not to say that Lara Croft isn’t a good thing in terms of providing a rare opportunity to play a butt-kicking female character, as you put it, etc.

It all gets a bit complex here – the interaction between the player and the character, how much the player identifies with the character, sees Lara as a tool/something sexy to look at/a character in a story, and how that evolves as the game goes on.

But the real issue is that the government is giving their stamp of approval to this idea, as a way to boast about UK business.

Steph Jones // Posted 29 March 2008 at 1:35 pm

I think we can safely say that most games developers are males.. after all, its extremely practical for Lara Croft to run, fight and shoot all the baddies in a pair of skin tight ‘batty riders’ and her breasts falling out of a tiny top, non?!

Li // Posted 29 March 2008 at 2:29 pm

Oh, Cod. What century are we in again? I’m just speechless.

K // Posted 29 March 2008 at 9:33 pm

Why are the “perfect women” always so disproportionate? Look at her head. It’s HUGE! And she has little tiny T-Rex arms. Which is to say nothing about the proportions of the rest of her body.

The gaming industry will always be advertised for straight, usually white, males, no matter how loud we girl gamers holler for representation.

rose_hasty // Posted 30 March 2008 at 2:25 pm

Yeah how’s about the UK cuts a little hole in that glass ceiling and we could have a picture of an actual female CEO with an improved catchphrase about REAL awesome British women.

Lucy // Posted 30 March 2008 at 9:34 pm

Jess, i understand exactly what you’re saying, too much power in this world is given to men ‘creating’ the woman they think will satisfy them best. Or have been told will satisfy them. However, if we don’t laugh.. we’ll cry eh?


Seph // Posted 30 March 2008 at 9:59 pm

Grrr, it’s statements like this that make me want to throw my consoles out of the window.

What’s even worse is how it’s seen as perfectly acceptable for guys to drool over Lara Croft or Taxi from Soul Calibur or any other bazillion females, but female gamers get accused of being “wierd” when we talk about Dante’s butt ¬_¬

Jennifer // Posted 31 March 2008 at 10:31 am

Seph – the most recent Games TM actually has an article written from a female perspective on the appeal of Dante! Mmm…Dante.

Steph Jones – out of curiosity, what is a “batty rider”?

As for Lara Croft, it is fair to say that she was created with the “male gaze” or whatever, in mind. But she *does* kick ass and she does it on her own. It ain’t perfect but it is one of the few games that actually allows you to play a female lead character. I appreciate that.

However, I am not inclined to believe that the advert above is saying that Lara is the perfect woman because she is independant and kicks ass. It probably has more to do with her pixilated ass, which is sad.

Jeromy Clarkson // Posted 20 October 2008 at 6:48 pm

Why the hell did they do that?!?!?

That shouldn’t been published!?!?!

-I am gob smacked

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