Depends. Generally, I see nude or light-armor as heroic. See:
Heroic characters have heroic traits. Low reliance on armor signifies natural toughness, which is a desirable physical state. Sexiness and fit/form are also desirable physical states.
Your question and source are more scoped around cultural context. Some cultures-- specifically in America-- it's only really taboo if the female shows skin. If you need an example to prove that, just go to any book store and count the number of super-built-super-sexy men on the covers of the Romance novels. Stores of equal display of topless women here are 'adult only'. Be mindful, that's just America! Think of countries where women are forced to wear clothes head-to-toe. In these, such as the one linked above, it's a no brainer that more needs to be covered.
As long as both genders fit under the same rules in a game, I like it either way. In fact, when I see a powerful character (male or female) messing up hordes of creatures or people wearing bearly anything, I usually think "Damn, he/she is bad ass". On the flip side, I love a good highly ornate heavy armor design as well. In the end, I care more about form rather than function in most fantasy games unless it's a "Super Serious" game with no magic or dragons and stuff.
In the example you linked, however, I like the more covered armor style of the female for sure.
A lot of the other ideas I recall being argued were pretty flimsy. "Women are just naturally better at service work, which is where the economy is headed", while incredibly broad, also sounds a lot like "girls are just naturally not as smart as boys and so not as good in school. We should discourage higher education for them and pigeonhole them into Home Ec". That one didn't really hold up, and the author's observation about current trends in service work isn't any better founded. Women are inherently and insurmountably better at ervice work only if you have a cartoonish view of what men are and how they interact with others.
Women performing better at service-based work actually has little/nothing to do with the personal aptitude, but rather the social trust issues between genders. Women are seen as comforting 'mothers' and men are 'villains' in western society ('bad guy', 'the Man', etc). This is why women get higher tips than men in the service industry, why a womans voice is preferred over a mans in automated systems, and so on. Until it's no longer popular to attack men in media, this will simply be the case.
I don't think the author understands the core reasons, but the reality does match.
I'm not sure that you do. The article is on an LGBT blog, yet is diverse enough to encorporate discussion of a number of other groups. The fact is, diversity applies to any given group - I speak of the ones I identify as being particularly talked about in the article, as being particularly large demographics to be dealing with. To speak of absolutely every group that exists in the world would be a monumental undertaking and would rather kill the object of the discussion.
While "Fl4sh" was quite a bit inelegant about his point, I can see where he (she?) is coming from. The topic header and summary here doesn't specifically call out sexual orientation as the scope of equality/diversity. You're right though, the link is clearly LGBT.
To the points you made, I completely see where you're coming from. Though I think I disagree on different issues than you do. I'd rather state that having norm (and gravitating to it) is fundamentally a problem. It's this homogenization within each game genera in order to facilitate a streamlined production-line of games that I disagree with. There are types of games that I think you're 100% right about on all accounts. An example would be, say, Dragon Age series. This is a game series in a 'choose-your-own' adventure series type story set-up western-style RPG that would lend well to such diversity in creation and aim. The players personal life is fairly unimportant compared to the world crisis. It's the push to make all, or rather, most games into the mould that I have exclaim with. Sometimes I like a sandbox story, but sometimes I like the story simply told (more asian-style RPG). My opinion above is that 'cover all the bases' style of game development with high diversity (this 'norm' you have pointed out, which is quite true), is becoming the safe standard in which game companies are willing to default to in order to maximise sales and exposure. The 'safe road' if you will.
I guess another way to put it, I'm worried that if we get comfortable in a norm- more provocative storytelling or game-play becomes too risky and less commonplace. And to an even stronger degree, author expression gets squelched in order to accommodate a repeating 'choose-your-own-adventure' experience. For example, prejudice is a powerful factor in almost everyone's life to the point of it's a base character building element; such as the woman in a patriarchy that rose up to save the world, the man that escapes the clutches of a life-dictating religion to expose the true intentions, or some other story of oppression and perseverance that would be considered 'too expensive' to do in high detail in an open-story style game or too provocative for the 'core audience'. For a character challenge to be optional or dynamic, is for it to not be meaningful to the grand scope.
I value storytelling in a game a bit too much. I wish to experience the game play, but be told the story. I do realise that I may be in a minority here.
I'm going to respond here since you posted it here-- because otherwise this topic would get mod-locked and deleted as Spam. I do believe it's a good enough topic to discuss though.
To sum up my general opinion about the article and issue as a whole comes from a dichotomy of the "creative vision" and "capitalistic model": A game company that functions as a means to provide goods for consumption with the goal of maximized profit, employment and target audience diversity should be (near) paramount. A game company that functions as a creative expression outlet, diversity should not need to be a consideration.
I think there are game companies of varied types / sizes / and goals, and that needs to be considered. In its infancy, games were developed by smaller teams and more of dream-realization by the creators to build worlds, objectives, experiences, (so on) that they want to craft and send out for experience. Similar to a painting, or book. When it's just creative expression, considerations of diversity likely don't play too large, if any, in that process unless it just happens to fit under the vision of the creator. Throughout history, these types of considerations are either naturally present or specifically addressed in order to illustrate some sort of grand ideal.
However, the game industry is 'growing up' and becoming more commercial driven rather than expression driven. There are more people employed, more creative inputs, and greater risk and requirement of sales. Aside from small indie studios, a game is/will get funded if it fills a need rather than if it creates an experience. With this mentality, modern game development DOES need better diversity in both the construction makeup and targeting of material. While I think having so many artificial modifiers to the creative expression in order to appeal to a wider audience dilutes the idea, it's simply better commercially to do so. Mainstream Games are truly becoming more of a product and less of a creation. This is pretty evident in almost every new game that has only one gender or race for the lead character, simply scan review sites. The creator(s) are chastised for their choices with the projected idea that "You're not making what I want, you're making what you want. Stop it!".
I wouldn't classify a male (or small group of males) creating a story/game/experience from the perspective of a male and with a males goals in mind as anything negative, just as I wouldn't with a female writer who writes stories intended for a female audience. I wouldn't even go so far as to brush them with the "they lack enlightment" brush that Ernest Adams does. People generally wish to create stories that they like and can (quite possibly) identify with, and create because they want to create. The only "enlightenment" they may need would be that games are now an industry, and unbridled creativity should remain at the door.
Personally, I think diversity in the games industry should come from a different direction. I prefer a single person (or very small group of people) creates a more cohesive and directed story than created-by-committee. With that, to me it would make more sense to have different pillars of likewise development communities to fill these niche groups desires by effect rather than by design. So for example, if over half of gamers are women, then it makes sense that the games for women should be developed by women as they'd likely know best what to create and what they'd like. I do think that studio makeup should reflect audience makeup, but I don't think that all studios should try and market to everyone. Specilization is a powerful thing. Just look at Clamp for an example. I dare say that what may be hurting the industry is a lack of all-female development studios. In fact, I think that studios should vary wildly in their diversity (all male, part male part female, all female, race mixes and religion mixes similar) based on the types of games they like to make and who they like to target. This line of thinking is rather taboo and/or illegal-- and I'll likely get flamed for it. _____
In short, I'm not a fan of rules around creativity or over-generalization in more modern games. Nor am I a fan of the vilification of some for creating worlds that don't appeal to everyone. I like a concise idea expressed with as few external modifying forces as possible in a game. I don't mind playing as a Female or Male character (Valkyrie Profile being my favorite game of all time, actually), as long as the games execution and perspectives are clear.