I'll start off by saying that as I sit here typing out this blog I have no clear vision of the direction in which I want to take it, nor do I intend, in any way, to offend anyone I should mention from this point on. Last week was one heck of a week here on Destructoid. Top that off with the fact that I've been limited on what I could view because of the crappy tablet I had to use while up north visiting family and friends. I can say, however, that there's never been so many instances in which I wanted to jump up, fling my hands in the air and voice my opinions. I suppose I could use the saying here that opinions are like a******s, everyone has one, but nobody wants to see the other guy's. I don't feel that's a correct statement to use regarding this community though, and the fact that so many of our members are willing to not only voice their opinions freely, but also disagree in a respectful and considerate manner is one of the many reasons I love being here.
So where am I going with this blog? Well I've been asking myself over the weekend what do we, as female gamers, want? That seems like it should be an easy question to answer, right? Yet here I sit in front of my computer and I haven't a clue what answer to give you. See it all started with the stupid little poll that BioWare came up with for picking the image of female Shepard. (Stop moaning. It's a brief recap, no need to get your jocks in an uproar.) My feelings about it were like a wave washing back and forth over the shore. Initially I was upset. Then I realized it was silly and I calmed down. Then another member would complain and I'd be nodding my head in agreement like a bobblehead, upset yet again. Ultimately, I concluded it was because of my sign being Gemini, because hey - never have my two sides agreed on anything my entire lifetime.
Unfortunately, it didn't stop there. There was the front page
article by Sophie Prell, followed by Lori Navarro's blog
, and then in a complete change of direction (but not) we had Beverly Noelle write up a blog about the Frag Dolls
. So 3 blogs (maybe more by now) and 494 comments in, and I'm beginning to believe being a female gamer is more complicated now then it ever was. And while I agree with the majority of what these ladies have said, I can't be the bobblehead sitting back and nodding in complete agreement.
Do a Google search for female gamer and this is what you'll find. It's not just BioWare and Ubisoft. It's the entire industry. Beautiful people get our attention.
Now I'm not going to get back into the whole female Shepard thing at any great length. I think we can all agree it's been beat to death. I am, however, going to touch briefly on a comment made in which it was stated the anyone who's not upset with the poll because we can customize to our liking, is missing the whole point of Sophie's article. I am a female gamer. I fully understood the article. BioWare did absolve themselves, and I can see how some female gamers see it as nothing more than a beauty pageant. But I'm not mad. I do not feel they have wronged me in any way, in fact I love the strong female characters provided to us by BioWare in their games. When I weigh what BioWare's done in the past vs. the existence of the poll, I don't feel the poll is anything to be fighting against. Am I alone in my view? Absolutely not, and there's a good counter argument by Sevre here
So let's just wipe our hands of that whole mess, shall we? Let's move on to the Frag Dolls. When I tell you about disagreeing with my other female peers, this is the blog that brought out the most frustration in me. I want to make it very clear here that I respect Beverly Noelle's opinion. I even went back and read her older blogs and found myself doing that bobblehead imitation several times. In no way do I mean to attack her on a personal level or insult her, and I agree slightly in what she's trying to say - I just don't agree with the way she did it.
Now her blog basically states that Ubisoft and their Frag Doll group is a marketing tool, and I quote, "based along the lines of the Playboy Bunnies and Spice Girls."
So simply put, they don't represent me, the average female gamer because......they're good looking? Beverly also stated, "The problem is not that a team of attractive female gamers exists; the problem is that Ubisoft has led a frighteningly successful campaign to have this group of carefully-selected spokesmodels represent all female gamers to the outside world."
Alright, so it's not a problem that they're good looking.
But reading over her blog again I can't help but notice these other statements that she makes. "The cutesy pink website with its script font and stylized graphics broadcasts Ubisoft's message loud and clear: Women play games, and this is what they look like. (Hot and into the color pink, in case you were curious.)" and "if you're one of the lucky ladies chosen for the real team, you get...uhh..exposure? Validation for being a hot lady who plays games? A gig getting paid to be pretty and pose with a controller while a corporation signs your paychecks?"
Good looking is in the eye of the beholder.
Umm.....alright..... While I get what your message is, Beverly, I can't help but sit here, an average female gamer, and think I'm being told the Frag Dolls do not represent me by a community representative of BioWare, who would look perfectly comfortable sitting on that couch right alongside them! I can't relate to your
argument over the Frag Dolls being attractive and how it's a bad thing, when I feel you fit right in with the image they portray - an attractive female that plays games.
I have another question. When did pink become a bad thing? Now I personally don't own a pink controller, but you're going to tell me that there's no female gamer out there that would dare own one, or if she does then she's not a serious gamer? Come on. If you were to be going to a baby shower tomorrow and you knew the baby was going to be a girl, what are the odds you'd buy something pink? What if you were to go on a walk for the recognition of breast cancer? Would you wear something pink like the majority of the participants do? So for as long as I can remember, girls have been associated with the color pink, and boys with the color blue. Mention pink associated with a female gamer and all hell breaks loose. Why? It's just another color, another option for those who want it. Personally, when I see it, it reminds me of my aunt who passed away last month from stage 4 breast cancer.
So here I am at the end of my blog and where does it leave me? What is my point? Simple. Although we may all be female
gamers, our views of what's considered average, what's acceptable, how things should be approached; they all vary
. As you can see from the above, I do not always agree with my peers. We are a potpourri of mixed opinions. But, this is where I do
agree with Beverly - the entire industry needs to stop trying to group us. Period. We already have a group. Our group consists of the voices of women like Elsa, Beverly, Caiters, Sophie, and all the other female members of our society that play games. Again, we don't always agree, but we try to respect each other, and the industry needs to start showing us a little respect. Instead of telling us what you think we want, how about asking us? Instead of trying to represent us why don't you let us represent ourselves? When developers like BioWare and Ubisoft make up our mind for us, we notice. And while all of us may not agree with an individual's argument, we do understand.
We are not alike. We are a potpourri of mixed opinions.