- The green-skinned space babe trope is a recognizable sight in science-fiction; a scantily-clad, green- or blue-skinned, hyper-feminized and hyper-sexualized woman who is depicted as sexually insatiable but almost infantile in her ignorance of human love.
- Mass Effect begins in the year 2183, and the player’s character Commander Shepard (either gender) is fighting the mechanical Reapers to save all organic life in the galaxy.
- The Asari are a matriarchal monogender (though typically feminine) alien race who live to be more than 2000 years old in the Mass Effect franchise. They are graceful, skilled in diplomacy, and can utilize incredible biotic powers. They value individual self-actualization, pacifism, and community, and are presented as a sex-positive culture.
Alexandra’s deconstruction of the Asari’s empowerment is dependent on a comparison of the Asari to the classic triple goddess.
Maidens include Dr. Liara T’Soni and the Asari nightclub dancers
- While the dancers embrace consensual sexuality and experimentation, while also demonstrating financial independence, they are typically cloaked in shadow to appear naked, share the same body type, are typically nameless, are not prominently featured in quests in any meaningful way, and have minimal lines or character development. They are presented as objects of the male gaze rather than characters with their own agency.
Matrons include Aria T’Loak and Morinth
- While both Aria and Morinth may seem to conform to some stereotypes, context for their actions and variety in female Asari representation prevents either character from being tokenized or stereotyped and protects the illusion of the characters’ agency.
Matriarchs include Samara
- While Samara wears revealing clothing, it is evident that her outfit was a sex-positive decision made by the character and combats de-sexualization of older women.
- Vary character metrics such as age, race, ethnicity, body type, sex, gender, gender identity, sexual/romantic orientation, and ableness.
- Experiment with the societies represented in games, not just the people! Consider experimenting with pronouns, extremes and absolutes, reversals, and alternative norms and customs (e.g. if homosexuality were the norm in a society)
- Prominently feature consent and agency correctly. This could be done through core mechanics, as a facet of character development, or as a societal feature.
- Seek inspiration and themes from media outside of games.
- Consult and pay (or hire!) experts. Avoid tokenism or stereotypes, and eliminate the excuse that inclusivity is “extra work” by incorporating it from the beginning of the design process.