Lots of great chewing on this topic, which makes me happy. That was, after all, the whole point of throwing it up there. There are some clarifications I want to make, though.
First, I’m talking less about making something appealing than I am about making it allowed.
The world is full of invisible boundaries we respect all the time. We don’t go into the other gender’s bathrooms even if there isn’t even so much as a door to keep us out. We don’t step into the kitchen at restaurants, we don’t walk across our neighbor’s grass, we don’t wander into “that part of town” after sunset.
And, for the most part, people avoid things that are not marketed as for them. Usually, this is simply practical; people living out in the country have no use for an electric car with a range of only 35 miles. But mostly, these are social distinctions. Grown adult men, for instance, do not play with dolls. When they do, they will hide this behavior.
Except when the marketing says it’s ok.
And this, really, is all I’m getting at here. It’s much less about making these games appealing to women and simply making it socially acceptable for them to even pick up the materials and look at them. Because yes, women really do need that level of invitation to get involved in any considerable numbers in areas that have traditionally been proscribed to them. Yes, some brave or simply curious enough women will be exceptions, and White Wolf did open the door a crack, but there’s still a lot to do.
Now, it’s entirely possible, even rational, for you to not want women as part of your target audience. It’s not politic to say so blatantly most of the time, but it can be part of a viable marketing strategy. In which case, yes, make your marketing say this as clearly and blatantly as you can.
And yes, the issues I’m talking about are not enough to draw women to your game. You’ll need to get a bit more focused on what your game’s about and how it’s played before you can decide if, and how much, you want to appeal to what sorts of people. But simply slapping a woman on the cover, or banishing cleavage from your game’s art, isn’t going to invite women to take a closer look.