Friday, 12 September 2014

Hale to the (feminine) Queen


In response to this:
http://www.marketplace.org/topics/tech/allegations-misogyny-gaming-community

Jennifer Hale had an interview. It's fairly innocuous.

Except this paragraph:

"I myself would love to see more equal representation of women in games, more empowered roles. Let's remove gender from casting everywhere we can and play around with it. Let's do the same with race. Let's go on and create the next level. We can't do that right now. I'm nervous about what this piece of the community is going to do to me for speaking up about anything, and that's not OK. We can't do anything until we deal with that."

Jennifer, we love you. But let's take this paragraph apart.

"I myself would love to see more equal representation of women in games, more empowered roles."

No problems so far.

"Let's remove gender from casting everywhere we can and play around with it. Let's do the same with race."

Wait.

Now, if she's just talking about voice acting, and that voice actors should be able to pull off male/female voices, okay, I can see her point on hiring the most skilled, ranged person for the job.

But if this translates to actual game characters...

...didn't you just want to see more equal representation of women in games, more empowered roles? What's wrong with having empowered women, in any role, as a gender, and a producer looking for a specific type of male or female voice actor? What's stopping a writer from writing a man or woman as either gender? (note: sex=male/female, gender=masculine/feminine.) Why would you want to make masculine and feminine roles completely ubiquitous, or, irrelevant? And then do the same with race? Why can't we just play around with these concepts, without removing them?

Shall we, too, forget our Katherina's and Tamora's, our Lady Macbeth's and Ophelia's, our Juliet's and Desdemonas?

While games like Mass Effect 2 had a series of racial issues with the mono-gendered Asari to deal with (pure bloods, xenophobia, etc.), all within a future setting, what would happen contemporary settings with no gender roles?

Why can't writers create a villain who was sex and gender specific, who may even be likable/detestable because of their pro/con attitude to gender and race?

So we shouldn't tell stories about a character who has different racial and gender qualities or issues, (i.e. a strong black female hitman)? But we can only tell stories where characters are all one generic race, or in fantasy/future/science-fiction settings where either isn't an issue? This might be the case in some examples of various Japanese games -- which, largely based on their manga culture, themes like gender-bending are present -- where it's hard to determine the sex of the character (e.g. fashion), but why eliminate the issue entirely (this is, arguably, part of their culture)? Isn't more conflict and diversity good?

What's wrong with telling the story of characters who do have issues with sex and sexuality? (See Naoto Shirogane and Kanji Tatsume of Persona 4 fame.) These concepts of fashion, high/low pitched voices, expected gender job roles, inheritance, rebellion, sexuality, and sexual attraction are key to their character, and some main plot points, and I imagine a major component to the hiring process for voice acting. Would these characters still work if (American) Valerie Arem/Mary Elizabeth McGlynn or (Japanese) Nomi Park were overlooked for being too feminine, or too masculine, for Troy Baker/Matthew Mercer and Tomokazu Seki? I imagine the producer would be looking for a specific kind of actor/actress to play such roles, with such ranges.

I'd love to see characters with a myriad of specific gender, racial qualities and issues, within a setting where those are conflicts to deal with. Even as a main theme to a story. (i.e.. Only women can use magic.) But you can't get there when you eliminate it entirely.

"Let's go on and create the next level. We can't do that right now. I'm nervous about what this piece of the community is going to do to me for speaking up about anything, and that's not OK. We can't do anything until we deal with that."

Sublime, sultan of Shepard: the next level of what, genderless, raceless stories, prithee?

What's stopping an author, game designer or developer...from telling any story they want...right now? While "Remember Me" is a telling and economic example of the current reality, if a game is good, isn't that what matters to the game developer? Planescape: Torment met with the same poor sales figures, but is a timeless classic. As for gender roles: a torch carrying lovelorn spirit-damsel, and an anti-Diablo succubus of the mind simply wouldn't exist in Hale's future.

I'd rather have a hundred (unattainable) Deionarra's and Fall-from-Graces than any of your genderless, raceless characters in a game, your Grace.

Dear, sweet Ravel Queen  Hale: Stop being nervous and scared. Stop caring what other people think. You are the person lady we want. But not at the expense of your capacity to express yourself, even if you have such ambitions, even if you think that is the future.

Gender roles and race are a very real thing (as every communist-feminist will remind us of.) I imagine such issues will always be, just like how racism is.

But there's nothing wrong with having positive gender and racial roles, just like the negative ones you might consider to the flames. Frankly, I like my women (and very talented voice acting male manly masculine-men) to have lots of layers, much like your talent.

Please, Lady Hale: don't diminish it. Be as masculine and feminine as you like. Just take it easy on "mixing up" the baritone. Such roles might not work out in your favor.

"I believe there is a truth to the multiverse... even if that truth is that there is no truth at all. I believe that the Planes are meant to be experienced, and the more one experiences, in traveling, in joy, in pain, in merriment or in suffering, the more the multiverse reveals itself to you... And the more you are revealed to yourself."

4 comments:

  1. I don't think androgyny was the point, just reiterating the lack of equality in gender and race. And no, we can't do that right now, not w/ game protagonists because of ... demographics I guess? It's safer I suppose? Yeah, if the game is good then it shouldn't matter what gender or race the PC is. But if it shouldn't matter then it REALLY shouldn't matter. When you can pick your race and gender in COD SP then I'll concede the point.

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    1. "And no, we can't do that right now, not w/ game protagonists because of ... demographics I guess? It's safer I suppose"

      Bullshit? The only people claiming that the majority of gamers (in this case , males) NEEDS someone of the same race/gender/age/whatever are the executives and publishers (and Social Justice Warriors). If such condition was even remotely true then how can games where you play as a fucking Dolphin pilot (Aero Fighters), an abstract representation of tank as a protagonist (Space Invaders), a black man trying to regain control of his neighborhood (GTA San Andreas), and a fat and short Italian plumber (Super Mario Bros) could even remotely make tons of money? Could it be that the Japanese and American audiences from Super Mario Bros are actually Italians that work as plumbers ALL ALONG? or, you know, it could be the gameplay is cool enough to hold the game?

      Anyone who remotely played a game knows that. Gameplay will always be a mayor factor. That is why a game that would "appeal" to the "demographic" of straight white males (who are clearly misogynists, duh) like Duke Nukem Forever falls flat on its ass because the gameplay is dull as fuck. Then only reason that made more money than another mediocre game it gets compared to ("Remember Me") is because of the pre-orders and the hype the game had before release (as well its infamous history).

      Then again, try to explain that to a person who never played a game in their lives (SJWs and Executives). As long those are in power, they will always assume something stupid as gender/race being relevant to the massive sales. Making an industry that made gender either irrelevant or cosmetic into the ONLY reason that people buy these things.

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    2. Its ironic how the Social Justice Warriors claim the need for equality while simultaneously feeling repulsed for playing a 2D-3D representation of a man (because apparently if you look like a man then it MUST be a man, right? Trans people will like to have a word with these SJWs). For those who dont get the twist, if you claim that both sexes or races are equal, then logic dictates that playing one or the other should feel the same because they are equal. But apparently, a Feminist claiming such thing is oblivious to the fact that it is shitting on its whole ideology, because they are saying they are equal while claiming they are not at the same time.
      http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/Doublethink

      These people also fail to realize that details matter:
      http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/TheLawOfConservationOfDetail

      If the author doesn't care to illustrate why the protagonist is from an specific race/gender or whatever, then that means he/she is either:

      1)Too lazy to care and just put a man/woman/whatever because its cool/its guts told the author this feels right

      2)That gender/race is irrelevant, which is why there is nothing preventing the audience from just replacing the protagonist as long it does the same things as before without producing plot holes as a result of this change. Its helps if the protagonist is a piece of wood disguised as human so the audience can project.

      For these people, option 1 & 2 (and more) do not exist. Its always the conspiracy theory of "Da Patriarchy™" the ONE AND TRUE REASON and nothing more.

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    3. "But if it shouldn't matter then it REALLY shouldn't matter."
      It never mattered. All over the history of the industry, games failed to demonstrate that gender or race mattered at all except in old Western RPGs where being a woman, man, human or whatever, would affect your stats (you know, that videogamey thing that you pay attention to since its a deciding factor in wining the game?) and that is about it.

      "When you can pick your race and gender in COD SP then I'll concede the point."

      You expect COD to invest money on making the game better, when no one plays the single player campaign since COD 4, and multiplayer is the way to go? You also expect a game that tries (and fails) to shit on American Military by making them the bad guys in most titles, to have the ability to choose to play as a Muslim as a protagonist and actually make a statement like that?

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