The start for this year has been a weird one. Maybe its because of the fact I’m finally out of my teens, or due to the fact that I found myself spending the New Year – my birthday – in bed hungover with motor skills as graceful as a rhinoceros on meth. Yesterday morning I woke up at four in the morning and found myself rapidly losing weight out of both sides of my digestive tract which, I won’t lie, mixed with a few chest pains and an anxiety attack wasn’t the most enjoyable of experiences. Still, I’m ushering in the new year with a sense of optimism as I tell you all that I spent most of this morning looking at hateful, horrid and horrible tweets revolving around the whole “GamerGate” movement that’s been going on.
And then I found a post complaining about how female characters are represented in gaming, then another one wishing rape and death onto some girl just because they play videogames, and then a plethora of transphobic messages for more-or-less the same reasoning. By now most of you have probably realised that I’m being ironic about the “optimism” comment and in fact feel a deep sense of despair when I think about the next generation of uncouth, foul-mouthed activists… err, I mean extremists.
As for the whole “female rolemodels in videogames” topic? Its something I find entirely stupid. Not because of some unfounded sense of misogynistic pride but because I find that anyone looking for a rolemodel in fictional characters shouldn’t have a say in the matter. A rolemodel is a real person who you can aspire to be like, not a fictional character whose imperfections were designed by a team of people sitting around a table (and my feelings on this extend towards movies, television, books… literally just any fictional character). That said, be the characters male, female or any race and gender up to and including the infamous cisgendered attack helicopter fine, but don’t be trying to create a single set of rules for the character to adhere to. I support women in gaming and I enjoy female characters (Samus Aran, Tifa Lockhart, Chell, Lilith, Lara Croft… the list goes on) – on more than one occasion (albeit infrequently) I’ll choose to make my character female in RPGs because I can, but I can’t possibly enjoy something when the media or some extremist… err, fascist group has pushed to make the characters all the same – no two people are identical and if all female characters were the same they’d lose their appeal as interesting and empathic individuals. And if people are worrying about the over-sexualisation of women then look at the unrealistic standards set for men – Duke Nukem is one of my favourite examples for this. A videogame is a multipurpose artform designed to entertain, educate, convey a narrative or even improve someones perception of self (shout-out to Wii Fit), not something to use as a basis for ones expectations of people. Its like comparing pornography (which my definition of ‘fictional’ extends to, just so you’re aware) to actual sex.
On a contrasting yet similar note, Cameron is trying his best at helping us a lot over here in Britain by making porn more “real.” That’s right, kids, no more powertools for you!
-L.A. (Liam Morgan)