Bulimia.com Calls Out Video Game Creators

This is an article reprinted from the website Bulimia.com

These days, there’s rarely a media type that isn’t criticized for its body image depictions, and video games are no exception.

Video games have grown increasingly realistic over time. New, immersive gaming styles are now somewhat true to life and even cinematic; the environments are richer and more detailed, and PC and console graphics processors are becoming more capable of handling the high-definition imagery.

Some gaming studios boast their hyper-realistic lighting techniques, touting natural cloud movements as the latest features of their games. And with that kind of attention to detail, it makes us wonder, why can’t they accurately portray the female body?

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!

Lara-Croft-Tomb-Raider Nabooru-Legend-of-Zelda Helena-Douglas-Dead-Or-Alive-5 Bikini-Girl-Grand-Theft-Auto-V Cortana-Halo-4


The difference between the original video game heroines and their more realistic interpretations is hardly subtle. In these images, unfeasible waistlines expand and arms and legs grow wider. Perhaps the changes are especially noticeable since most of these characters are so scarcely dressed.

Video game designers and their companies have complete control over the female bodies in their games. So why is it they so often opt to make these characters into unrealistically idealized versions of their human counterparts?

What are the consequences of such interpretations? The perpetuation of unrealistic body imagery in the media can have decidedly negative repercussions. One could argue that the social pressures to obtain perfection are reinforced even through the depiction of video game characters. Girl gamers – especially young ones – could develop a skewed image of how the female body should look. This might mark the beginning of obsessive thoughts about their own bodies, and self-questioning as to why they don’t align with their perceived ideal. When dangerous, compulsive eating behaviors develop alongside of these negative obsessions, young women can quickly find themselves struggling with an eating disorder. Whether it’s the drastic restrictions in food intake seen in anorexia, or the relentless purge behaviors of bulimia, all types of eating disorder are tragic end-points potentially exacerbated by body image issues.

The incidence of eating disorders is markedly higher in females. Furthermore, the average age of onset for various eating disorders spans from the late teenage years through the mid-twenties. The health repercussions of eating disorders are among the most severe of any mental health condition, with alarmingly high mortality rates if left untreated. If you are concerned that compulsive and maladaptive eating behaviors are negatively impacting your life, or know someone close to you who might be struggling with an eating disorder, help is available. Call Bulimia.com’s toll-free line, at 1-888-994-4036 for more information on eating disorder treatment – get started on the path to recovery and reclaimed health.


We’ve scoured the Internet for fan-favorite video game females, selecting 10 women that are either iconic video game characters from critically acclaimed games or those who we think are particularly egregious examples of unrealistic standards for female video game characters. These characters were then Photoshopped to reflect the average American female body.

Seeking Help

What begins as negative body image can quickly become much more devastating. Specialized eating disorder treatment can help those experiencing the debilitating effects of a distorted body image, as well as a preoccupation with food, exercise, and/or weight. If your life, or that of someone close to you, is being negatively impacted by these or other signs of a potential eating disorder, call our 24-hour, confidential, and toll-free hotline at (888) 920-1501. Our treatment support specialists can provide more information about available treatment options.


The edited images shown above are parody. Trademark rights and copyrights relating to the video game characters featured on this page belong to their respective owner(s), which are not associated of affiliated with Bulimia.com and did not license rights or authorize or sponsor this article.



Michele R. Berman, M.D. was Clinical Director of The Pediatric Center, a private practice on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. from 1988-2000, and was named Outstanding Washington Physician by Washingtonian Magazine in 1999. She was a medical internet pioneer having established one of the first medical practice websites in 1997. Dr. Berman also authored a monthly column for Washington Parent Magazine.

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