magic the gathering cheesecake sexist art

For decades, popular trading card game Magic the Gathering has been releasing new cards on a regular basis, and a decent number of those cards feature sexist images of scantily clad women, elves, and other female characters. Now, it looks like MtG publisher Wizards of the Cost is moving away from that style of art, and, somewhat predictably, not all of the company’s fans are taking the news very well.

In a Tumblr post, MtG’s Head Designer Mark Rosewater responded to a question asking why the popular card game seems to feature less “cheesecake” art (scantily clad women) than it used to. The questioner also suggested that publisher Wizards of the Cost bring back cheesecake art along with “beefcake art of the ladies.” Rosewater did not agree.

In response, Rosewater explained that MtG has made a conscious decision to move away from this sort of imagery, which he explains “would make a subset of players feel uncomfortable.”

magic the gathering art sexist cheesecake
'Magic the Gathering' art from 1996 (left) and 2011 (right).

On Tumblr, the response was pretty mixed, with some fans saying felt more at ease playing MtG because of the change. One player explained that they felt uncomfortable with the old pinup-style art and appreciate the more recent “better treatment of female characters by the franchise.” Another fan with the username feedbackismyfriend simple wrote, “I very much appreciate this change in direction.”

However, there were just as many angry commenters arguing that the company is overreacting.

“Jesus! What the hell is wrong with people?” asked Tumblr user mastr-of-cubes. “Elvish Ranger‘s illustration is somehow harmful for 7-year-olds? Are you crazy? This is truly delusional and being ingorant [sic] of this bullshit seems like exactly the right way to go.”

Over on Reddit, the discourse was even more unhinged.

“Let’s not beat around the bush,” wrote Reddit user CasualSien](https://www.reddit.com/r/magicTCG/comments/8wzhcl/maro_weve_made_a_conscious_effort_to_move_away/e1zr9dk/). “It’s a fucking fantasy card game. The art isn’t supposed to depict IRL, its [sic] supposed to depict mythological beings, hero’s [sic] and magic!

“Nope. Only the female body has ever been censored because it made people uncomfortable,” wrote DarkenCroix. “Male bodies are absolutely fine to objectify though. There’s been a few in the last few years.”

Of course, the simple truth is that Wizards of the Coast isn’t just doing this to right a decades-old wrong. There’s also a clear financial incentive to no longer alienating half of the world’s population.

“50% of the world is women,” Reddit user JamesObscura wrote. “Ostracizing 50% of a user base is so mind boggling stupid it’s hilarious.”

Assuming Wizard of the Coast can bring in a more female players it will certainly make up for any fans who refuse to keep playing if the cheesecake art doesn’t come back. And to be honest, losing those angry players is probably better for the Magic the Gathering community anway.