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Student Guest Blog: Alexander Greene on gender-bending Overwatch.

I hope everyone is enjoying voting and bringing about the downfall of American democracy today. And if you’re not doing so, then you should totally go out and do so because voting is important. In the meantime, why not take a break from it and check into my continued series of “what Mav’s students are talking about in his Sex, Violence and Comics class.” This is the second in the series of the student guest blogs on my gender bending assignment. Once again, I (and I’m sure the students) would really appreciate any feedback you can give on their thoughts, what you liked and didn’t. Where you agree and don’t. Whatever you have to say.

Today’s post is by Alexander Green, a sophomore psychology major. I’ve never played the game Overwatch, but apparently I should be. I didn’t actually mention the game in the assignment (and in fact, I expected everyone to use comic book characters), but Alex chose to talk about the game just like Dana did in yesterday’s blog post. However he chose two different characters, Genji and Hanzo. Once again, they are male characters that the internet has reimagined as female because… Rule 63! And, boobies are hot, I guess…

Here is what Alex had to say:

So I’ve selected a gender bend of the brothers Hanzo and Genji from Overwatch. While the costumes retain their same make up how they are presented become drastically different.

Starting with the more apparently changed, Genji the white and green ninja with a katana. The artist decided to unmask Genji and give her long flowing hair, in the canon content Genji has been horribly wounded and is more machine than man and unmasked he is fairly disfigured. Both genders of Genji have sleek curvy frames but male Genji gives a stronger feel of a more agile fighter while female Genji uses the same body type for sex appeal. In my opinion no statement is being made, the characters don’t seem to be made overtly sexy enough to convey a statement about how the female counter parts are portrayed, especially due to the variety of female body types showcased throughout Overwatch. I feel like this is just making sexualized characters for personal pleasure. The male gaze is definitely at play female Genji’s pose is never performed by male Genji and showcases her ass, back arch and her face is a sexualized light. I would still consider it art, if someone gets pleasure from something its art to them and everyone’s entitled to their opinions. I’m not sure I’d go so far as to call it a pornographic fantasy I think it’s a sexualized take on the characters but would not say it’s done in the pursuit of fantasy generation.

Next is Hanzo, this one is much closer to the male in terms of costume and pose. The only change to costume I can identify is the addition of a bandage wrap across her chest to conceal the character’s nipples. However, where the genders differ here is in body type male Hanzo is bulky and muscular while the female Hanzo has been changed into a sleek and soft woman. The male gaze is definitely at play here, she is clearly sexualized but it is in more subtle body language and facial expression than the clear presentation of female Genji.

In both characters the gender bend has been used to turn two unsexualized characters into very sexualized characters. With no inclusion into a story or something the only reasoning or use of these changes is to present visually pleasing sexualized women.

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