Quick hit: Do you wanna date my avatar?

Since The Guild’s released their new music video, Do You Wanna Date My Avatar, I’ve had the song stuck in my head.

My sister and I had this amusing conversation about what, as feminists, we “should” think of this video. I mean “hotter than reality by far” is kinda depressing from a feminist perspective (will we ever live up to our computer-generated selves?).

But it’s a really catchy song. The video is fantastic, with all those costumes, and I never knew Amy Okuda could dance like that. And really, we both want to be saying “you go girl!” to everything Felicia Day does lately, as she’s been the driving force behind creating the entire series, and how many women get credit for that kind of production? Plus, hello, more geeky gamer girls in pop culture? Good for the rest of us less-famous women who love games.

So our conclusion? We don’t care what we should think about the video. We loved it.

What did you think?

14 thoughts on “Quick hit: Do you wanna date my avatar?

  1. Skud

    Disclaimer: Not a gamer, never watched The Guild.

    I have mixed feelings about the video. Felicia Day is awesome and geeky, sure, but would everyone be so excited by her awesomeness if she wasn’t a mainstream-attractive, hot, slim, redhead? Why are the other women (the fat woman and the Asian one) backgrounded? Why is the fat woman shown surrounded with food and eating like that? To me, it evoked the ickyness of Fat Princess, while the dancers reminded me of this recent post from Sociological Images.

    In short: I felt viscerally uncomfortable while watching it both times.

    1. Terri

      As someone who’s had to hear “Oh, your a girl who games? Must be uuuugly/fat/actually a guy” I’m actually pretty thrilled to have crazy attractive gamer girls in the media. Sure, it’d be better to have everyone, but given that there’s so few, ones who bust that particular stereotype are actually a great way to start. Sometimes, I’d rather celebrate the little victories than fuss because we haven’t solved world hunger.

      As for who’s in the background and not, you’d pretty much have to watch The Guild for justification there. Basically, it mostly makes sense within the context of their characters, and the series. (Although I will concede that Clara would probably be better surrounded by booze, I think the food was just ’cause she looks sexier eating it, and the video *is* about how sexy they all are as avatars.)

    2. Dorothea Salo

      I’m with Skud. It squicked me and I will not rewatch.

      There’s the germ of a good point in there somewhere, but they didn’t seem to have the courage to pursue it.

    3. pete

      the “fat” lady (who incidentally constantly neglets her children on the show) is most likely fat because she sits around all day and eats a lot of food, so her portrayal is pretty fair. It’s a comedy about gamers; as much as we’d like to pretend, not everything is “positive” and “empowering” about it.

      1. Skud

        pete, not everyone who is fat eats a lot of food. Not everyone who eats a lot of food is fat. I’m sure you know someone who is skinny and can eat everything in sight and stay that way, for example. The constant association of fat people (especially fat women) with constantly eating is a pernicious stereotype that causes real harm. Please head over to Shapely Prose and do a little reading.

      2. Terri

        On a related note, my sister was *appalled* that this discussion immediately resulted in Clara being called “the fat woman.” The conversation went something like, “Why would that even be your first impression? She’s so darned sexy in the video!” and also “All the background people are eating at one point or another; there’s a whole banquet going on. She’s hardly stuffing herself, just eating grapes sexily. The guys (and Tink?) are ripping meat off bones; they’re the ones gorging.”

        As for empowering: the video *is* all about how these dysfunctional people in real life can be sexy music video superstars within their game. It’s supposed to be perhaps a little empowering, but also a little sad, as a bit of a mockery of both the entirely manufactured world of sexy music videos, and a slightly more gentle mockery of some gamers who build themselves these unattainable alter-egos. (The “gentle” part may not come across in the video, but in the series, the guild members are portrayed as deeply flawed, but lovable and starting to learn to adapt to being real-life friends as well as in-game allies)

    4. pete

      Skud, yes, I know all about being fat, but this is a fictional character based on the archetypes of the gaming community. As you say, not everyone who is fat eats a lot of food, but also not everyone who is fat has some sort of redeeming hormone invalance (her character arc seems to be more about her neglecting her children than being fat tho, or at least that’s the funniest part)

      In any case, I agree with Terri’s sister, which is why I used quotes for the word ‘fat’ on my original comment. I thought she looked fine on the video, because they acknowledged her body image and put it in a positive way, instead of pretending. If she had been dancing with the “hot” asian girl, it would have been a caricature.

  2. Gord Allott

    I only discovered the guild recently (a few days ago) and the first time i saw this video i was slightly taken aback, but on a second watch its obvious that most of the people in it are mearly portraying aspects of their ‘in game characters’, so its not so much pure exploitation in order to make a quick buck.

    however i would say that Felicia Day in the video is very much “out of character” which makes me think that although the rest of the video is keeping in line with the characters developed in the series (which felicia day created and wrote of course), her being center stage like that doesn’t really fit with the rest of the series and that they only did it because “sex sells”. is a catchy tune though.

  3. Teya

    I get the point about the fat woman always with the food… it’s an annoying message. At the same time, I felt like they were also bringing out the fact that she’s pretty hot herself, so I didn’t mind so much. They were playing up the avatars of the men, too, which was fun.

    I giggled all the way through, perhaps because I was a World of Warcraft gamer for quite a while and I’m tickled to see people making fun of it. I also think it was very well done. It’s crazy to see such things enter, well, the mainstream.

    As for Felicia Day being out of character, I’d have to agree to a point. I think, however, that it fits the style of the video. It’s a music video done to a tune that has one female vocalist (I’m assuming it’s her), so focussing on the main singer makes sense and over-sexualizing is exactly what music videos DO and is what the song is about, anyway.

  4. Kurt @keepercaines

    Thanks for getting this conversation going! Terri & Gord are right in that everyone is “in character” in the video. Gord goes on to say that Felicia Day is not in character but “sex sells.”

    Actually, I don’t think that’s the point. Day wrote on Twitter “Of all the critical comments I’ve read the worst was when some girl said I was objectifying women. I was MAKING FUN OF THAT!”

    The Guild gets started by Day’s character “Codex flirting (a cyberwink) ;) at Zaboo, which causes him to appear on her doorstep in “real life.” Online, Codex appears sexy & confident…but the person behind the character is anything but comfortable with relationships and anything regarding sex.

    Part of the beauty of The Guild is that these characters, behind their avatars, are completely dysfunctional…and real life interaction makes it all far apart (with hilarious consequences).

    The video plays up the “online personas,” but those who watch the show know these characters are anything but their avatars.

    I wrote a little more on my blog http://osc-religionandpopculture.blogspot.com/2009/08/guild-is-growing-now-with-virtual.html if anyoneis interested. Regardless, thanks everyone for the discussion!!!

    1. Bene

      I watched it long enough to come to the conclusion that it was very satirical, but I really couldn’t tell how FAR they took said satire.

  5. Peter Harkins

    Folks have commented on the stars but not the backup dancers. Maybe the song gets points for having the two male characters do silly dances and make homoerotic gestures to poke fun at the concept, but it seems to want to have it both ways when there’s a gaggle of semi-naked backup dancers gyrating away as eye candy.

  6. Eponymous

    I agree with Skud. The blond BBW is ALWAYS eating/drinking something just about every scene. It gets monotonous and doesn’t promote a healthy body image. I’m a 5’6″ 170 lbs. male, myself. Also, the portrayal of the geeky guy isn’t terribly kind either.

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