Female video game characters tend to look very similar: Huge breasts, tiny waists and curvy hips. Oh, and of course, little-to-no clothing.
Bulimia.com, an educational website that provides information and support to people struggling with eating disorders, has reimagined a few of these female video game characters by photoshopping their bodies to more closely resemble the average woman. The organization is trying to highlight more realistic bodies in order to combat the negative impact these portrayals may have the way women feel about their own bodies.
"Some gaming studios boast their hyper-realistic lighting techniques, touting natural cloud movements as the latest features of their games," reads a Bulimia.com article. "And with that kind of attention to detail, it makes us wonder, why can’t they accurately portray the female body?"
In partnership with a creative team, Bulimia.com is trying to do just that -- portray the female body a bit more realistically than so many video games do.
Bulimia.com chose 10 female characters that are iconic in the gaming industry, or that the organization found to be "egregious examples of unrealistic standards."
A spokesperson for Bulimia.com told The Huffington Post that the portrayal of women in video games is really just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to body image issues.
"The scope of impact goes way beyond the people playing the games," the spokesperson said. "Every doll-like character they design is harming cultural perception of the female body, and in turn the women they care about."
While all of the characters are still conventionally beautiful (and are still wearing next to nothing), the difference between the original and photoshopped characters is undeniable.
An article on Bulimia.com explains how being surrounded by images of "aspirational" -- but unrealistic for most -- bodies, can slowly encourage disordered eating and warped self-image:
Girl gamers -- especially young ones -- could develop a skewed image of how the female body should look. This might mark the beginning of obsessive thoughts about their own bodies, and self-questioning as to why they don’t align with their perceived ideal. When dangerous, compulsive eating behaviors develop alongside of these negative obsessions, young women can quickly find themselves struggling with an eating disorder.
Check out the rest of Bulimia.com's images below.
Head over to Bulimia.com to learn more about the dangers of eating disorders.
If you're struggling with an eating disorder, call the National Eating Disorder Association hotline at 1-800-931-2237.
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