GDC Narrative Summit: Male Sexualization in Games

Oh, the joys of relaunching a website days before a major conference… flushing out ancient untouched blogposts in favor of new stuff is always fun!

For those who have found themselves here for the first time, greetings! This is the blog section of my website where I’ll report on my latest news in events, projects, and plans; I may even sneak a little bit of *gasp* commentary and opinion in here from time to time! But first, the current update:


On Tuesday, March 18th at 3 PM, I will be giving my very first GDC talk at the GDC Narrative Summit. My topic is Fewer Tifas, or More Sephiroths? Male Sexualization in Gaming.

Despite what the name might suggest, this talk not only covers overt sexualization but also touches on subtle attraction, appealing character traits, and elements all over the desire spectrum. It questions why most core indie and AAA games fail to offer attractive male characters, despite a growing number of gamers of all genders being Into That Sort Of Thing, and how other cultures such as those of China, Korea, and Japan are offering appealing alternatives to the common Stubble McBadass archetype. I’ll also offer my two cents on how to increase the sexual attraction of male characters in games.

Male sexualization (or lack thereof) has always been a subject near and dear to my heart. As a straight-ish female gamer who loves Final Fantasy VII, Kingdom Hearts, and Mass Effect (and their fandoms!), I have always appreciated having male characters who are not only interesting but appealing on a sexual level. It’s a surprisingly simple way to get people like me intrigued, engaged, and appreciative of the developers… after all, it’s an easy way to acknowledge your straight female or gay male fanbase! And while this is not to take away from the larger debate about sexy and sexualized women in games, there is fertile ground for exploration here. With this talk, I’m hoping to spark a bit of conversation about sexy men, their roles in games, their appeal to non-straight-male audiences, and how we can use them to greater advantage.

That, and I may have wanted an excuse to cram a slideshow full of Sephiroth pictures.

sephiroth crisis core 2

While male sexualization in games and geek culture is a subject I could talk about for ages with varying levels of academic insight and fangirlish squee, I’ll leave that for future blog posts about the presentation and about gaming in general. For now, come see my Tuesday talk or stay tuned to GDC via Twitter and social media.

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