Mark Long, CEO of Hawken publisher Meteor Entertainment, loved a piece of comic art from the game so much he blew up a print to frame and hang on the out-facing wall of his office. It’s the first thing workers and visitors see when they enter the building, and the last thing they see when they leave.
The art features a voluptuous mechanic in a tiny top and tiny denim shorts, flexing a welding iron and flashing midriff and underboob. She’s in fact referred to as Ruby Underboob.
“I loathe this picture,” shared an otherwise very content female employee of Meteor on The Hawkeye Initiative, a website dedicated to illustrating “how contorted and hyper-sexualised women are commonly drawn in comics”.
“Why do I loathe it? How, you ask, can I stay mad at a sweet young belle who has so obviously taken a break from her important welding to offer me a piping hot cup of coffee and/or a vigorous hand job?”
The answer, she hopes, is obvious.
Perpetually peeved, she decided to do something about it. With the help of artist Sam Kirk, the pair designed a new poster to rival the old, and Bro-sie The Riveter was born.
In his picture he has forgotten all of his clothes apart from his tiny pants, somehow, although thankfully he remembered his wrench and helmet. Luckily he has the body to pull the look off, plus a beard to hide his blushes.
Bro-sie was blown up to poster-size and framed, and early one morning our female heroine did what you probably now expect: switched Ruby Underboob for Bro-sie The Riveter.
“I stood in the entryway, dizzy with joy. It was glorious,” she wrote. “There Bro-sie stood, proud, nipples testing the air like young gophers in springtime, the post-apocalyptic breeze gently swaying his banana hammock. Bro-sie said, loud and proud: ‘Get ready, world! I am here to lubricate your joints and tighten your socket.'”
Co-workers arrived for work, took pictures, giggled, raised eyebrows, blushed or even asked for prints. Then, CEO Mark Long showed up.
“We hear a loud: ‘What the hell is this?!’ And then all goes quiet. Ten minutes pass. We panic.
“We are both suddenly and painfully aware that we have, in fact, just punked the CEO of our company,” a late-50s ex-army guy in control of their jobs.
“Twenty more minutes pass,” she continued, “and then our CEO comes up to my desk, taps me on the shoulder, and says this:
‘That was a brilliant prank. You called me on exactly the bulls*** I need to be called on. I put up pictures of half-naked girls around the office all the time and I never think about it. I’m taking you and Sam to lunch. And after that, we’re going to hang both prints, side by side.'”
This taught our heroine two things: that there are guys as fed-up as girls, and that there are “totally decent, open-minded human beings” who don’t realise they’re doing what they are.
“We just haven’t been around enough for them to notice.”
She signed off by encouraging the women in games to “turn this damn industry into the environment we want it to be”.