It’s an unfortunate fact that sexist character design is not restricted to videogames. It’s a problem in most forms of mainstream media, including but not limited to, comics and tabletop gaming. Tabletop gaming is one that’s flagged up much less than the others but all it takes is a glance at some of the female miniature figures to see that it’s no less prevalent.
Female miniatures in tabletop roleplaying games have an irritating tendency to be sculpted wearing skimpy clothing, armour that looks more like chainmail bikini, standing in poses that are less “I’m going on a difficult and arduous adventure” and more “I’ve been impossibly contorted for your strange enjoyment.” It’s a problem that’s only highlighted further when they’re placed alongside their aggressively posed male counterparts. You can’t help but feel that many of the female figures have been created as sexual objects first and a means of offering female players a feeling of agency dead last.
UK-based company Oathsworn Miniatures have seen this problem, and they’re setting out to change it by creating a range of pewter “no-nonsense, low level female dungeoneers; armed and equipped so they can head down a kobold-infested tunnel without chafing their thighs.” The range has twelve different figures in total; human Rogue, Fighter, Cleric, Magic-user, and Bard, as well as Elf, Dwarf, Halfling, Dragonborn, half-Orc, and Gnome.
Oathsworn have created a Kickstarter called Heroines in Sensible Shoes to get the money required for the moulding and casting of the miniatures but they’ve already smashed their £1500 target, having raised £26,000 at time of writing. Clearly there’s a need. If you’d like to pledge some money yourself, £35 plus £3 shipping will secure you all 12 figures which should be shipping in May 2016. Oathsworn are a company run by husband and wife team Michael and Jo Lovejoy and they have a very positive and reliable Kickstarter history.
It’s about time we had some damsels in outfits that don’t make us feel distress.