There's a great line from the film Mean Girls that I wish more people would listen to:
“And that’s when I realized making fun of Caroline Krafft wouldn’t stop her from beating me in this contest. Calling somebody else fat won’t make you any skinnier. Calling someone stupid doesn’t make you any smarter. And ruining Regina George’s life definitely didn’t make me any happier. All you can do in life is try to solve the problem in front of you.”
That being said, an eating disorder support website, Bulimia.com, took it upon themselves to put some meat on the bones of popular female video game characters to make them more closely resemble an average woman. (Never mind that there's nary a dadbod to be found in the likes of Call of Duty or Mortal Kombat, but I digress.)
For example, plus-sized women are a rarity in video games, and when one does show up, she’s typically unusual looking. More often it seems video games are home to ultra-slim waistlines only.
If video game creators are going to pride themselves on accurate digital representations, then it’s time for them to get real about women.
With realism in mind, we altered some of the most beloved female video game characters with Adobe Photoshop, shaping their bodies into images that represent the average American woman’s measurements. Check out the results below!
Oh, bravo. Bravo.
With the exception of Lara Croft, whose design literally came about as an error that the game engineers found humorous, and Nabooru, who, um, isn't entirely human, I know plenty of "average" women who have the body types depicted in the "before" shots of the article. I also know plenty of "average" women who look like the "after" images as well. Some women are petite with large breasts. Some women are thicker than others. Some women have thigh gaps. Others don't. These are all fine. The amount of space between a woman's thighs is not indicative of her overall health.
Furthermore, bulimia and other eating disorders are mental illnesses, and have a much, much deeper cause than breasty video game characters in games that are predominantly played by men. The women in video games aren't supposed to be average. Hell, they (literally and figuratively) kick ass. The same is also true of the male characters of video games. If video games caused eating disorders due to the portrayal of "unrealistic" body image, one would expect men between 13 and 25 would be the deepest affected due to the fact that literally nobody looks like this. It's taking the easy way out to blame Lara Croft's bra size and the video game industry as a whole for this deeply complicated issue, nor does it do anything except effectively shame slim women.
Which brings me back to Cady Heron from Mean Girls: making Cortana thicker isn't going to make a bulimic stop binging and purging, nor is it likely going to convince someone with an eating disorder to stop purging or restricting what they eat. That's not how this works. Video games aren't the problem--and it's pointless to blame them.