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Twitter vs Female Protagonists in Video Games
— Feminist Frequency (@femfreq)
Above is a tweet I made this afternoon in reaction to the fact that none of the games presented at Microsoft’s Xbox One E3 press conference featured female protagonists. Below are some of the Twitter replies to that observation which exemplify the male privilege and male entitlement endemic in the gaming community today. This is also a window into what it’s like to be a female video game critic on twitter.
Who gets to be heroes, who gets to be human?
Right now we’re seeing geek culture across a lot of spaces fight the same battles- misogyny, racism, heterosexism, in videogames, Sci-fi/Fantasy books, movies, etc.
I saw a specific question - “What is gamers problems with women protagonists in games?” - which, you can broaden out to all of those issues.
Idealized characters. Characters with power. Characters with agency. Characters who matter. The fictional examples help us see the potential for real people.
But kyriarchy sits heavy on making sure we never see people HAVING potential. Widening the view of people makes them into full people, and not the roles kyriarchy needs. Which is why the marginalized are best set up as sidekicks, supporting characters, sacrificial characters, caretakers, anyone who demonstrates the “proper place” for such people.
When we see women primary protagonists? They’re sexualized, because even if they’re the “main character”, they’re really there to remind the (assumed, het male) reader/watcher/gamer, who they’re there to serve.
It’s also why we see a lot less POC, non-straight male, non-femme women, women who don’t fit male gaze, characters - because they don’t serve the role of serving the presumed white male consumer, they in fact, displace him by not putting his desires at the center of the universe.
So what the backlash is, is the fact that anyone else might get heroes too. The idea anyone else might… save the world, free the kingdom, destroy the demon lord, whatever. The megalomania of kyriarchy is so deep that even mattering in an imaginary world is too much of a threat to these folks.
Because they have to work so hard everyday to keep those blinders up because reality doesn’t always match their fiction - all of us ARE people, not just worthy of respect, not just demanding it, but also, a lot of us are a lot more fucking competent than you, because we actually had to work for it instead of imagining it. And because that’s too hard to face, even as you have all the institutions serving you, communities working to protect you even when you fail, and taking from our labor to benefit you, you create imaginary worlds where everyone knows their place.
And that’s it. You’re afraid of losing your perfect world in your head. Your ultimate delusion.
Strangely, just because some movies/tv shows/comics/books/videogames exist where you are not the worshipped center of the world - doesn’t magically reach into your head and rip out whatever media you ARE enjoying that puts you at the center.
You’re just so narcissistic that you can’t let anyone else imagine a world where they matter too.
And we see hundreds and thousands of dudebros willing to show up, organize DDOS attacks, get people fired, toss rape and death threats - because they’re afraid of not being the center of the universe.
Willing to spontaneously organize to make rape and death threats because they may not be the center of imaginary worlds.
And society doesn’t see exactly how damaged and dangerous that mentality is? Where a fiction > than someone’s life?
But that’s what it’s always been. The fiction that men are better > women’s lives. The fiction that white people are better > POC lives. The fiction that straight people are the only way > LGBT lives. etc. etc. Anything that challenges that narrative must be silenced.
You maintain your delusions in our blood.
And that’s why anything, no matter how small, “It’s just a game/book/movie”, must be protected.
Because your superiority only exists in delusion.