Posted by Lesbian Gamers
Are you happy or feel duped by BioWares FemShep winner?

Are you happy or feel duped by BioWares FemShep winner?

Let me preface this piece by saying I love BioWare, they are one of my favorite developers and I support them by buying their games and even their merchandise, I have done so for many years. I’m however upset with the FemShep debacle. Firstly it being touted as a ‘beauty contest’ (by some) demeans what the female Commander Shepard (FemShep) is all about, it belittles her as nothing but an object of beauty, a woman to be judged on her appearance rather than action and that angers me. Somehow this “vote for your preferred FemShep” thing went from “cool they’re finally using FemShep on some marketing” to “oh shit FemShep was voted on and now she’s a young blond bimbo”. I don’t understand why BioWare put it to the vote. I don’t understand why BioWare didn’t take control and make a decision to make the marketing material feature the base model FemShep, with her bobbed hair and non-pouting lips.

mass effect female shepard femshep winner

Turning FemShep into this young looking blond Samus Aran type just irks and it irks a lot. This isn’t a ‘lesbian thing’, though I’m sure there will be those closed minded fools who assume as a lesbian of course I would prefer the short-haired ‘more-masculine’ female Commander Shepard. To them I say, give me a break, I just prefer the female Shepard who looks like you’d listen to her if the galaxy were in peril and frankly if some jumped up 18 year old blond pouting kid needed me on the front lines, I’d be questioning things big time.

The standard female Shepard looks like she can tote a gun, she looks like she’s a leader and most importantly she looks severe and old enough to have lived through battle. The new FemShep we’re now stuck with for marketing and merchandise just doesn’t cut it. I was so excited to purchase a “Mass Effect” game with female Shepard I’ve ranted it to all my gamer friends, now I’ll be buying the male version because frankly I just can’t take blonde kiddy Shepard seriously.

femshep mass effect female shepard standard

I realize the result of this ‘beauty contest’ was never going to please everyone, after all, we all have our own FemShep versions and the chance of seeing your exact version on packaging or as an action-figure was never going to happen, but come on BioWare, Seriously?!!! Shepard number 5 is bland, bland, bland, bland and worse than bland, she panders to an audience that don’t and possibly never will ‘get’ what FemShep is all about. Thanks for that Bioware, thanks for placing the decision of iconic female leader in the realm of what statistics suggest is the mostly male voting audience, rather than clasping your testicles and saying fuck it let’s make her the Shep most people know from the game. To those male gamers who did vote for a different FemShep (and judging from the comments I’ve read and received since the announcement), thank you, clearly all our votes just didn’t amount to enough. Sadly the “Gentlemen Prefer Blonds” thing is already doing the rounds on the various male run gaming sites, along with ‘Miss Universe’, ‘Pageant Queen’ and other demeaning headlines. It just makes me want to shed a tear because it feels like gaming has once more taken one step forward, two steps back.

Oh and for the record, none of the choices were all that great.

female shepard choices mass effect 3

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24 Responses to “Are you happy or feel duped by BioWares FemShep winner?”

  1. raychoa says:

    Duped, so VERY duped :(((((((

  2. ThatGirl says:

    You know what, it is not even her blonde hair that annoys me, it is her apparent age. The writer touches on this throughout. Her age is clearly younger to the initial model of Shepard we see (the one referenced in the image).

    This feels like the new Metroid Samus all over again. Why on Earth do these developers reach for the youngest faces when designing these characters? Shepard is a Commander, which suggests some years of work in the forces.

    I just do not understand Bioware’s thoughts with this at all. I can only assume some marketing idiot got to them and made them think younger and sexier was a good idea, it wasn’t.

  3. Kevin says:

    Hi Lesbian Gamers, just saw your tweet go out and thought I’d paste my comment from Thumb Bandits that I wrote there earlier today, since it too is relevant.

    Thought you gals might like to know I was reading an article this morning about this subject and the first commenter (gal gamer) had so many dislikes of her comment it was closed and needed a click through to read. Wondering what could be so bad and curiosity with me firmly it his grasp I clicked.

    So what was so awful the majority of the other readers had disliked her comment for, a balanced opinion. Here is the gal gamers comment:

    This upsets me very much! Why couldn’t original FemShep from games 1 and 2 been the model for the art work? To me she is the real Shepard not this Barbie looking chick. She looks like she is too worried about her hair and nails than saving the galaxy. Why did Bioware have to start from scratch to make FemShep? They didn’t do that when they made the art work of MaleShep why are they discriminating? People like me that have been with the game since day one want to see the same FemShep as they played in the game instead of this new FemShep! What’s next they are going to get rid of original FemShep in the game and you can only play this one?! **** no!! They will lose a customer if they do that!

    I am not linking to the website because frankly the other comments were fairly substandard and why give them a better rating by linking.

    As a male gamer I can say I agree with this article which tends to suggest it is new FemShep’s age that is the real issue and thoroughly agree. Blonde bimbo issues aside, this new female Shepard is far too young to be taken seriously and that is both a surprise from bioware and a disappointment.

  4. Jake says:

    Being a heterosexual male myself I just wanted to state that I was none to happy with the buzzcut douchebag date rapist they put on the cover of the first two Mass Effect games. it’s a two way street but doesn’t matter that much considering other than a pic on some promotional materials the game will still feature your femshep. I was turned off by ME until I found out I didn’t have to play as the asshat they promote it with. FYI I often prefer to play a female character whenever possible anyways and often model custom characters off my daughter because she likes to game with me. this would have resulted in a young(albeit brunette) pretty femshep anyway. I do completely understand what you are saying though but men are what we are so you can’t blame a cat for killing a mouse, it’s more a cheap move from bioware to reduce this to a beauty contest in the first place,but, to be fair the point of marketing is to attract interest and make money and sex is the cheapest most proven way to do this.

  5. Chayse says:

    On the bright side, I’m just glad Bioware is giving Hale’s great character the time of day in marketing, finally. Only took til the 3rd/final(?) game. I have friends who didn’t even know you could play a female Shepard. I didn’t even expect any FemShep love, really.

    An imperfect model, yeah it is that, but she fits a kind of media image I didn’t expect them to stray too far from. I do wish the fans hadn’t gone with the blonde, but oh well, Samus Shepard can have her 15 minutes. Yay for character customization.

  6. Techni says:


    I’m more annoyed at the people annoyed she won cause she’s blonde/white.

  7. qewr says:

    wtf is this i’m gonna d fucking ahhh ahhh ahh

  8. qewr says:

    I’m gonna make a website called people who pick their nose when they are in their room and then fling it to the wall gamers because you know.. we need a website too

  9. Sheppy says:

    Wait you say “Shepard number 5 is bland, bland, bland, bland” yet if you replace the hair colour of the one you included to blonde and they will be almost clones. Yet you prefer the brunette one you included…

    Additionally its one low resolution picture and people are pathetic enough to judge her saying she looks too young. Again the picture of the brunette femshep you included and she looks the same age.

  10. W says:

    Nope, I’m happy. Happy that we got a Femshep on the cover of the collectors’ edition, but really wish it would have made it on to the normal boxes as well.

    And, of the choices, I did like this one the best … I’m not a fan of blondes in general, (personal taste) but I thought she carried the image better than the other choices.

    As for having us vote: OF COURSE it was a marketing strategy to draw attention to the presence of Femshep on the collectors’ edition … if the version you voted for got elected you are far more invested in the game and far more likely to order the more expensive version to see “your” Shep on the box. From a marketing perspective, it was brilliant.

    That said, while I might play an alternate runthrough with this Shep – I already have my Femshep designed and I’m happy with the result, so I’m not likely to change it now.

  11. Tasha says:

    I quite like blonde Shep. The blonde hair colour for custom Shep was awful but this is a nice shade of blonde. I like the kind of messy style and I don’t think it makes her look like a bimbo. I think Shep makes a good blonde because she doesn’t fit the typical blonde stereotype.

    I agree that she does look a bit too baby faced (as do all the other options). Shep is supposed to be about 30 but she looks closer to 20 there. Maybe we can use the future excuse or the cybernetics excuse?

    As for looking too cute to be taken seriously, I’d say some nice shiny (literally) renegade scars would solve that problem. When I was making my renegade Shep she ended up looking too cute to be intimidating so I gave her a gnarly scar right across her face and problem solved.

    I really have no problem with blonde Shep. But if I put in ME3 next year and find Shep is wearing a catsuit and walks like LadyHawke (a cute walk but wouldn’t suit Shep) then I’ll have a problem with it.

  12. Hyphen says:

    I’m more bothered by her eyes than her hair. She seems to be wearing several layers of eyeliner and mascara, so presumably she’s not going to end up in a situation where she might have to exercise or be sressed enough to sweat… My computer will need to be replaced before I can play most new games; her on box art isn’t convincing me that I’m missing much.

  13. Sam says:

    Gaming always takes one step forward two back, I can’t believe you sound surprised by that? I also can’t believe people aren’t more upset by this because of the bigger picture you touched up. As we gamers get older, our gaming icons get younger, surely they should age along with us? The next Lara Croft is a child and now that have turned Commander Shepard into a girl. How utterly ridiculous.

    I am surprised by the lack of outrage here as a female gaming website, this is probably the reason developers do this, you girls just don’t care that your gender is being belittled time and time again like this. Clearly the writer did, but that aside, where’s your bigger picture response ladies.

    Act like a doormat and people will just continue to treat you so.

  14. W says:

    I don’t think making the character young and attractive is belittling her so much as it is creating a female character that will appeal to the most people. Perhaps you are in your thirties and have been playing computer games for over 20 years, but the vast majority of those buying this game will fall into the 18-24 age bracket and they’ll want to see someone they can relate to; not to mention find attractive.

    And claiming we’re taking one forward and two back … where? If we took two backward, well we’d have no female protagonist at all. There aren’t, yet, enough steps on that path for us to be taking too many backward at a time.

  15. Sam says:

    I cannot speak for the author of this article however I took the one step forward two back in a non literal sense and that is how I wrote it, I am not a retard and am well aware video gaming has made moves away from the days of 1983, however in my opinion not near enough and this latest event is just another clear example.

    Where do you get your sales demographic data from? Just out of interest, given the average age of gamers is 37 and the average age of the purchaser is 41, this is according to ESA statistical date for the last year.

  16. jose says:

    “The standard female Shepard looks like she can tote a gun, she looks like she’s a leader and most importantly she looks severe and old enough to have lived through battle.”

    And then we see a picture of someone who is not the standard female Shepard, but some random custom Shepard.

  17. Lollerdur says:

    She’s a damn military commander, she looks to young and too unprofessional (though Shepard isn’t known for taking the “professional” path)

  18. mel says:

    I think the new Shepard looks like she can hold her own in battle. I’ll probably just import my character from ME2 but think that the blonde hair and youth don’t shadow that look of unstoppable determination. I can understand that people don’t like her looks but I don’t think that there is anything politically suspicious about the choice.

  19. ShadowTiger says:

    The silly thing is they don’t even need to put a main character on the box for marketing. They could just put the face on an NPC.

  20. Romeo says:

    I voted for the Rihanna looking one under the logic that, not only are strong women protectionists lacking from games, but so are strong black leads, male or female so a black FemShep seemed like an ideal way to address ethnic diversity in the Mass Effect marketing. Alas even as I cast my vote I know that it would ultimately fall to the blond cheerleader Shep, but at least I could make a stand for ethnic diversity as well as gender. As much as I miss like how they have gone about this whole FemShep thing, I still rather they include her. I guess it’s a mater of, two steps forward, one step backwards.

  21. Kathryn says:

    Just so long as I get to play my FemShep from the previous two games and they use the new FemShep (pictured above) for promotional material. Then I’m fine.

  22. Jpersons says:

    I am actily pretty mad about this(I dont have a facebook so i couldnt even vote) i know they made a few changes to it since this but i agree with anyone who says that they dont have to put ANY sheparad for the box art
    also most of the people who voted are the guys who dont care about how shepard looks as long as its attractive………I dont even know how that became a good idea “Let’s have are fans vote for the main look for shepard”

    Well I sure hope bioware had a good party

  23. dthbysnusnu says:

    On Bioware’s Fan Site, they were asking what fans would want in an ultimate edition of Mass Effect 3 if they were to offer one. One of the number one things that was constantly said was put a female Shepard in the marketing. I applaud Bioware for giving the fans a choice in who that Shepard may be though I wish they had more choices. This is something that not everyone is going to be happy with because you can’t please everyone all the time and regardless of which female Shepard won, why are we griping about them trying to give the fans exactly what they asked for? In the end it’s just box art, yours, mine, and everyone else’s Shepards will look different, it’s not like they are forcing us to use that Shepard in our version of the game.

  24. WoS says:

    This is like how in Japanese anime we all have 13-year-olds saving the world(s).


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