I got a chance to write about one of my favourite topics: Mass Effect’s FemShep.
I strongly agree that the games industry can and should do more, at a very basic level beyond recruiting, to promote gender equality in the workplace - as a first step on the road to, or concurrent with a push for, true diversity, which goes beyond men and women.
But I mislike the suggestion that the culture Hocking identifies in his piece as negative is solely the province of men. It suggests that men can’t be better than that; it suggests women are intrinsically better.
I don’t think this is what Hocking meant to imply; phrases like “better-balanced” suggest he simply wants to end one group’s dominance, rather than promoting the idea that there are two distinct cultures with different levels of value.
But there is a dangerous inference for the casual reader that men and women are fundamentally different, and that women are better.
In my report on this piece, I am guilty of editorialising. I tried to preserve the positive message I found in Hocking’s piece - that diversity and equality are things worth pushing for if we want better games - while glossing over the foregrounding of women’s role in this revolution. By doing this I’ve no doubt done us out of a number of page impressions from the flame war that would have resulted in the comments thread.
I feel bad about highlighting my own interpretation in my article, and silly for feeling bad, and I wonder if I’ll be accused of anti-feminism for not putting my own gender on a pedestal and vilifying another when I had a perfectly justifiable chance.
I’d really appreciate feedback and a discussion on this.
Part one through the link.
The objection some males have to playing female characters is completely baffling to me.
In an interview on Eurogamer, Valve’s Erik Wolpaw mentions a tester was “mad” at being forced to use a female robot.
I’m not even going to start.
Alright, let’s do this.
You don’t think discrimination is that big a deal because you are not discriminated against. You feel sexism is not really a problem because you are male. You never experience racism because you are white. You don’t believe in the negative power of herteronormativity because you are heteronomative. You think anybody can succeed in a capitalist world because you were born into a role that does so. And so on, and so on.
You have no idea that you have no idea what it is like to be on the other side, and you never will, because you find it easier to go through the world accepting - nay, actively supporting and paying good money for - the insidious replication and reinforcement of damaging, controlling, destructive, restrictive and flat out evil belief structures because it is easier than sitting up, paying attention, and living your life as something other than a fat, spoiled baby suckling on the teat of the system that benefits you.
Maybe you even go out of your way to argue against detractors of the system, content that you, as a literate, educated person, are probably equipped to understand the world as it is. But you are not. The only thing you are equipped to understand is your own ignorance, and that, you refuse to acknowledge.
When the revolution comes, well, you know what? You won’t be against the wall. Because that’s not how we want our world to be, a world of fit in or shut up. You are the only one who wants that, but you won’t be allowed to have it much longer. Watch your privileged position slip away unmourned, and the “minorities” and “interest groups” take their place alongside you in the sun. Our victory is inevitable.
The only question is … will you insist on being defeated, or will you celebrate with us? Because when we win, there is no “us” and “them” - unless you choose.