For the third game in the Mass Effect series, Bioware's promised that the female version of Commander Shepard will get a boosted profile in promotional materials and a place on the Collector's Edition box art. You know what that means? Makeover! Throwing out the default FemShep that's been around for two games, Bioware wants you to "like" one of six potential new Shepards on the Mass Effect Facebook page. The one that gathers the most votes will be put into the game. You'll still be able to change her looks as much as you like, including importing your old Shepard, but the winner will end up in trailers and official artwork for the game.
To see all the choices up close, click on the Facebook link below. They all look like what someone could come up with spending 5 minutes in the character creator. You've got butch, blonde, vamp, butch with red hair, vaguely Asian, and one that looks like Victoria Beckham for some reason. That's all the different kinds of females there are in real life, right? I'm not an expert.
In the back of my mind it seems a little distasteful to put FemShep up for a vote, as it reinforces the stereotype that all women are just in competition with each other. I guess that doesn't exactly fit, since this is technically just one woman with an infinite number of different appearances. Instead, when the voters (almost inevitably) pick the blonde one, EA can get away with not taking a risk by claiming it's just what the audience wants. Three cheers for democracy!