Shield of Faith presents eleven characters, all of which are sexy women. I always feel a tad chagrinned [sic] when discussing artwork which consists mostly (if not entirely) of sexy ladies, because it seems to confirm a slightly-embarrassing stereotype(s) about gamers; that said, there’s a reason why such stereotypes come into being to begin with; art of hot babes tends to sell well, after all. In this case, however, there’s an added layer of subtext to be found. It’s not too hard to figure out what it is, since the title basically admits it: these women can handle themselves in a fight while still showing so much skin – their faith is their shield.-- DriveThruRPG review of "Shield of Faith" by Shane O'Connor
Shane at least admits a level of discomfort in discussing fantasy pin-up work, which is a step in the right direction. The stupid fig leaf of "but she doesn't need armor because she's that badassed" or in this case "her faith is her shield" is just weak, people.
Gentlemen of the Gaming Industry:
Power fantasies are a key component of many RPGs, as the players enjoy playing characters who can do things which are heroic or even superheroic. For your male buyers, this may include attracting gorgeous imaginary females who will dote upon them.
However, when you continually dwell upon this - when the only role that we see the female playing is the 'hot babe,' the decoration, the seduction bait or seductress - you lose your female buyers.
We have power fantasies, too. We want to swing swords, climb mountains, ride dragons, pilot starships, explore the Hollow Earth and go mad trying to save the world from eldritch horrors, just like your male buyers. Sometimes, we do want to be the femme fatale or the sultry spy, because sex appeal is a power, too. But it's not the only role we want. We want them all. And we want to be dressed to kick ass when we have them.
We do not want to be the 'sexy explorer,' the 'sexy barbarian,' or the 'sexy mecha pilot.' We want to be the explorer, the barbarian, and the mecha pilot. Only, you know, women.
You know how the guys sometimes want character pics of the whip-thin rapier fighter, the muscle-bound Superman, the fluff-haired crazy inventor, the debonair spy or the rough but manly cowboy? There are as many kinds of femininity. We do not always want to see ourselves as 5'10" with DD breasts and long, glossy hair. We want tomboy and butch and debutante and athlete and geek and mother. Just like your male buyers, we want options - options to be the heroes we like to imagine ourselves as.
Not as your goddamn accessories.
Do you get it? How you want to see us is not how we want to be. You will continue to lose this mysterious female demographic until you get a freaking clue and learn this extremely simple lesson.