Images

Was poking around and found an interesting article on images of women in game materials.  So I decided to do a little data collection of my own, using roughly the same guidelines that the person who wrote the article used.

A few changes and notes: Where the image was a picture of an example character with stats, I checked the text for gender if it wasn’t glaringly obvious; the original checks did not allow this.  There were a couple of examples (e.g. the dervish) in which female characters were wearing basically bikinis, but were engaged in combat; I listed this as active dress if the class was one that did not depend on armor for defense (didn’t provide armor proficiency, had Evasion, etc).  By analogy, men in fur loincloths were also described as being in active dress.  There were a bunch of pictures of things like trolls, where I felt unable to guess gender despite an overall masculine feel; I listed these as unknown, which led to instances–again, the dervish–in which figures that probably should have been counted as male were in passive poses, but weren’t counted.  Bahamut, Tiamat and Lolth were listed (and coded as being in neutral dress) , as they all have definitive genders though none is strictly humanoid.  The picture of the knight protector includes a figure who is pointing in a way that implies “the trouble is over there”; I listed it as passive since it didn’t seem to be intending to help.  The Red Wizard being guarded by the Thayan knight was likewise called passive, along with all characters worshipping Tiamat.  There was one character noted as female because it appeared to be Lidda, the iconic rogue. 

Complete Warrior (Dec 2003): 

female male unknown female dress passive female dress neutral female dress active female stance passive female stance neutral female stance active male dress passive male dress neutral male dress active male stance passive male stance neutral male stance active
39 78 58 0 2 36 3 13 22 0 8 67 12 29 35
22.3% 44.6% 33.1% 0% 5.3% 94.7% 7.9% 34.2% 57.9% 0% 10.7% 89.3% 15.8% 38.2% 46.1%

 

 Complete Divine (May 2004):  

female male unknown female dress passive female dress neutral female dress active female stance passive female stance neutral female stance active male dress passive male dress neutral male dress active male stance passive male stance neutral male stance active
39 43 30 1 10 28 4 10 25 1 6 32 8 15 21
34.8% 38.4% 26.8% 2.6% 25.6% 71.8% 10.3% 25.6% 64.1% 2.6% 15.4% 82.1% 18.2% 34.1% 47.7%

All in all, this is not bad.  The two instances of passive dress, for example, are a succubus and a man in a straitjacket, though one might argue that the rainbow servant should also count.  The overwhelming preponderance of active dress and stance are easily ascribed to the nature of the pictures; they are designed to showcase classes and actions.  Most passive pictures were chapter headings or the opponents of the main character, such as the drunken master’s bar brawl and Hennet’s webbed ghosts.  There are still more men than women, but the women are in general doing things–though, oddly, the only people shown casting healing spells are male.

I have other D&D books I’d like to check, including the PHB, the Epic Level Handbook, Manual of the Planes, Heroes of Battle, Complete Arcane and Complete Adventurer.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: