This will be a lot shorter than my normal posts. But there is something that I have gotten to thinking about. I recently watched a film about the social justice crowd and their response to The Quiet, a character in Metal Gear Solid 5. They talk about how we are sexualizing and objectifying her. However, this led me to see an interesting contradiction in feminist logic (if such a thing exists) and how they see things.
In her video “Women as Background Decoration,” it hit me – how am I the one objectifying female characters? Some of my favorite female characters in games are ones who I like, not just because of how they look, but because of how they are interesting, evolved and fun characters, that I grow to care about. Whether it be the atheist mentality of the society that Rikku comes from in Final Fantasy X, and her interesting and somewhat bittersweet backstory, or the violent, war-like and ruthless nature of Aria T’Loak in Mass Effect 2 and 3. All of my favorite female characters are interesting and have me caring about them, even if I can see their cleavage with utter abandon. I still don’t think of these characters as objects for me to use. They are part of a larger tapestry of some of my favorite games. After all, I game for the story. Sure, if the mechanics suck, I check out, but so long as everything plays well, I am enthralled.
Which brings me back to my paradox. I, and those in my circle of gamer friends, see a female character as an interesting character with a personality and a play style that we grow to appreciate, how are we in the wrong? How are we the sexists? Meanwhile, let’s go back to the feminists like Anita Sarkeesian. She argues that we are turning these women into objects to be won, saved, fucked, or any number of things. A statement that, as I have just shown, is utterly untrue. I can’t speak for all gamers, but I can speak for at least one, and I know that I’m not the only one. Feminists are reducing these characters down to damsels in distress, “fighting fucktoys,” background decorations, or trophies. What does that say about their view of gender, when they can take a character like Cortana, who is interesting, well-acted, and dynamic to the story, and talk about how she is a “sex object?”
In other words, and this is an open challenge to any feminist who wants to come and debate this (or just tell me what a misogynist I am. I don’t mod comments, so you’ll have your inability to defend your points out for all to see), who is the real sexist here? The person who sees these female characters as unique fictional persons, or the person who sees them as a trope, ignoring everything else about them?
All ears, people.
Until next time, a quote,
“Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with important matters” – Albert Einstein