Recently, there has been a lot of bitching from the usual suspects about games not having enough female or non-white characters, with games that actually do feature non-white male characters it then becomes a hysterical critique of how they were portrayed. Try as they might, game creators just cant win in the eyes of these self-righteous crusaders.
Mad Max was hailed by many as a feminist movie. It featured a bald-headed Charlize Theron kicking male ass in true feminist fantasy tough-girl fashion. Yet, even with the laughable, over-the-top, “women are equal,” bad ass chick shit shoved down the audience’s throats, and even a feminist icon consulting on the project, some feminists weren’t fully pleased.
I’m not one to shy away from expressing unpopular opinions. So here goes. I saw Fury Road. I get why people like it. But it isn’t feminist.
— Feminist Frequency (@femfreq) May 19, 2015
(By “unpopular opinions” she certainly doesn’t mean opinions that will get you fired from your job and hounded into oblivion should you choose to express them, since she traffics in officially sponsored opinions for a living.)
A Mad Max game is on the horizon and there has already been some trepidation about the game not living up to the badass women standard set by the movie. The same types of people who enjoy relishing over beloved white male characters being changed to the point they are unrecognizable now lament a game possibly deviating from the movie by not including any badass chicks.
The Witcher 3 has come under fire for having the audacity to not include any non-white characters. Apparently, a game that is based on Slavic mythology has no right to exist if it doesn’t include a sufficient number of characters of color. The fact that no non-white people would actually be present in this particular setting is no excuse to the purveyors of “tolerance.” A major game without any of the right kind of virtual color signifies a major problem in the gaming community, they say.
A Polygon article decried the injustice:
Many players have responded to concerns about the lack of people of color in the game by saying it’s because the world is based on Slavic mythology.
Because Slavic people are predominantly white, it therefore is in keeping with nods to that mythology to only feature white people in the game’s world. Just as you would feature Indian people if you were making a game based on Indian mythology, so you would do the same for Slavic.
But this misses a crucial point: Things are not equal. We are not in a medium that features predominantly Indian men, Chinese women, or focuses on stories from Africa. We’re part of an industry that frequently tells the stories of white people and stars white people.
So, until they determine that all people are represented equally enough to meet their standard of approval, games based on white culture have no right to exist without sufficient tweaking to incorporate other cultures. Whether they actually belong in the virtual universe or not is irrelevant. It might be a while before they are satisfied enough to allow this.
Keep in mind, we are not talking about a gaming industry with products created in Africa, by Africans, for a largely African consumer base. If we were, something tells me these same people would have no problem with the amount of diversity contained in those games.
Further, the defense of excluding people of color from a fantasy game is nonsensical. We are talking about being comfortable with the inclusion of wraiths and magic, but not the mere existence of people of color. Accuracy and realism flew out the window with the harpies.
Not this argument again. Just because a game has fantasy elements does not mean that loyalty to source material or any attempt at believability and authenticity should be abandoned. Justifying the presence of black guys in a medieval European setting like in The Witcher by pointing out the game features magic as well is like saying half of the hobbits in the LOTR movies should have been black, because it’s just fantasy, after all.
Again: This is literal dehumanising of people of color. We are relegated to non-human species, their treatment is supposed to mimic real-world racist policies. This sci-fi/fantasy trope of dealing with racism by showing inter-species treatment could work — if all the humans weren’t all white.
Like Skyrim, the creators of The Witcher 3 went out of their way to include storylines of racist injustices committed by bigoted white men even when it was hardly required. But because they didn’t include actual humans of color as the designated victims, opting instead to stay true to the universe in which the game was set, they receive condemnation instead of approval. Just can’t win.
It’s “What about me?” when everything is already about you
It’s “That’s racist!” even when no non-whites are present. I’m quite confident that had the game actually included non-white characters, cries of racism over how they were portrayed would be heard from the same camp. Oh wait…
Found the ONLY women of color in The Witcher 3. Hypersexual animal hybrids with tails, horns and "tribal" body paint. pic.twitter.com/ILPoVZuMOb
— Feminist Frequency (@femfreq) June 5, 2015
Portraying women of color as exotic, hypersexual and animalistic like the succubi in The Witcher 3 is part of a very long racist tradition.
— Feminist Frequency (@femfreq) June 5, 2015
Turns out that while he was complaining about the lack of characters of color, Anita was bitching about the way women of color were portrayed.
The double standard is rarely addressed. Being white is apolitical, being a person of color, even simply by existing, is threatening to some players.
Allow me to address a completely different double standard: being white is apolitical, in that white men can be portrayed in any way imaginable without fear of backlash while, on the other hand, non-white male characters damn sure better be crafted with the utmost care so as to not offend those who live to be offended.
It’s not about changing bigots’ minds — it’s about all of us wanting to improve. And we can start by listening, and ignoring those who claim that simply existing as someone who is non-male and non-white is somehow political.
There it is in plain English: the gaming industry/community can “improve” by listening to us and ignoring those who oppose us. I’d love to hear how demanding that all games, even those based on strictly white culture, include out-of-place diversity because “things are not equal” is not political. Only under the Social Justice umbrella could an aspiring Minister of Propaganda claim to be apolitical with a straight face.
These people are feverishly trying to make the gaming community just another toxic environment where only certain politically correct opinions can be heard. Gamers should be able to freely say that they enjoy playing as a white male character, want to play some games that feature female characters that actually resemble biological females in their appearance, capabilities and actions, and that diversity is not something they deem essential for every game they play. Developers should be able to accommodate these gamers should they choose without fear of reprisal from those who would surely outlaw such games if given the power.
Developers who pander to Social Justice infiltrators in an attempt to stay in their good graces are often only delaying the inevitable. They can’t win with these people regardless of how much effort they expend. Some will surely compromise their vision by catering to the Social Justice crowd so they can delight in that sweet feeling of moral superiority or stay out of the crosshairs of the perpetually offended, probably losing money in the process. But others can still deliver a game that doesn’t include any PC nonsense, or even a game that runs counter to their narrative, and be supported by a vast fan base.
If certain developers are intent on bending to the will of Social Justice types, then so be it. But hopefully, more and more each day will agree that its a fool’s errand designing games with an objective of appeasing them. Nor should they want to.