EA’s hotly anticipated Star Wars Battlefront II is set to be released this year, and lightsaber fanatics the world over are excited to face off in yet another cluster of force fueled showdowns. Unlike its predecessor, Star Wars Battlefront II boasts a single player campaign, offering offline entertainment for those who don’t see the appeal in competing with complete strangers around the world whilst being called a string of racist and homophobic expletives over voice chat.
Said single player campaign also has a minority of far far away-ers (a significantly more creative term for Star Wars fans) upset, due to its inclusion of a female protagonist. Whilst these gamers shake angrily at the thought of wielding both a lightsaber and vagina in unison, the remainder of us non-moronic human beings can take just a few minutes to read as to why this attitude may still exist within the gaming community, and why it reeks of cringe inducing stupidity.
Amidst the YouTube comment section of Star Wars Battlefront II‘s latest trailer, I stumbled upon an all too common example of a depressingly idiotic remark in the form of “Star Wars Battlefront II isn’t a sandwich making simulator, so why does it feature a female protagonist?” Crust riddled man-babies such as these continue to give the gaming community an overwhelmingly poor representation, and will often support their blatant sexism with lazy and ill-informed arguments. I wish to discuss these below, and why they simply do not excuse or justify the poisonous ideology of gender elitism.
Argument 1: As a male, I find that playing as a female character spoils a game’s immersion for me.
When playing a game, you rarely project your own body and mind upon a character (with the exception of games allowing for character customization, including gender and voice). Does anybody play Grand Theft Auto V and remark “As a male, I heavily connected with Michael due to our shared gender, and felt that I was operating within the game world as a digital rendition of myself, as opposed to him, a fictional character”? Each and every game places you into the shoes of somebody other than yourself, and tasks you with accomplishing their goals. You are a player, along for the wild ride that a fictional character is going to whisk you away on. Claiming that you dislike playing as a female character due to you not sharing their gender, and as a result having your sense of immersion compromised, is the equivalent of claiming to dislike playing as Super Mario because you do not share his Italian nationality or plumbing profession.
Argument 2: The majority of the gaming industry’s audience is male, and this is simply an attempt to pander to the female market in a social justice warrior-esque maneuvrer.
This is true, the majority of the gaming industry’s audience is indeed male. For the longest time, developers targeted this demographic in question with stylish and exciting action games. The female demographic were, unfortunately, treated to far lesser experiences, in the form of patronizing makeup appliance and dating simulators drenched in a plethora of pinks. Due to this miserably misguided mishap, many females still to this day discredit gaming as a medium of entertainment that is unsuitable for them.
Despite the popularity of gaming amongst the female demographic growing ever so slowly in recent years, with the stigma of it being a ‘boys only club’ gradually washing away, the damage has already been done. As a result, the inclusion of a female protagonist at the forefront of Star Wars Battlefront II’s story will more than likely result in little to no difference in who decides to purchase the game, as to say that it would implies that females will only buy games featuring protagonists of their own gender. Crazy, right? Who on Earth would feel uncomfortable playing a game due to the protagonist’s gender? Oh…
Maybe EA desired to switch things up purely for the sake of variety, regardless of gender subtext?
Argument 3: I feel uncomfortable about/around women.
The only legitimate reason for holding any kind of negativity regarding Star Wars Battlefront II‘s replacement of hero with heroine is due to this belief. If you are uncomfortable with playing as a female character within a game, then perhaps you have personal issues with the ladies? Maybe you had a crush on somebody and they turned you down? Maybe you’ve been indulging in too much music and/or media that represents females negatively? Maybe you have simply never been around genuinely kindhearted people of the female gender?
Whatever your personal excuse for hatred may be, you will be far happier when you escape your mindset of negativity. I am fortunate enough to have my wonderful girlfriend and close female friends to thank for instilling me with a positive view of females, and I can only wish that we are all lucky enough to be given a positive impression of individuals from all walks of life, whoever they may be. As human beings, we subconsciously gravitate to the desire of being greater than somebody else, and this often leads us into seeking entitlement for our own achievements.
In more harmful examples however, that craved entitlement manifests in the form of elitism in gender, sexuality, nationality, religion, politics etc. Even the practice of talking down to and lecturing those holding sexist beliefs toward females is a form of entitlement for myself. As a species however, we must learn to communicate respectfully with one another (I apologize for my earlier hurling of insults), embrace and celebrate our quirks and beliefs, and try not to childishly silence each other simply for holding opinions of difference.
In summary; girls are cool, and girls with lightsabers and blasters are even cooler!