Newsflash: Forcing Ubisoft to Use Females is Sexism
The recent fracas concerning Ubisoft and many apparently offended gamers continues: The publisher’s comments as to why there aren’t any female characters in the upcoming Assassin’s Creed: Unity has sparked more debate.
Now, before we speak our piece, let’s make one thing clear: Ubisoft could’ve done a better job addressing these concerns. That much is obvious, especially when you’ve got developers calling out the publisher’s comments. When you say it’d be too much extra work to implement a female avatar, and then an accomplished designer says that’s kinda bogus, it doesn’t reflect well on Ubisoft.
That all being said, let’s get one thing straight: Sexism is sexism. It is not gender-specific, although it’s certainly true that women are more often victims.
Firstly, let’s not forget that men have been stereotyped, over-sexualized and objectified since the dawn of gaming. We all grew up playing as impossibly muscular, impossibly confident, impossibly strong (in every possible way) protagonists. Is it not equally wrong? Do I have a right to be offended when I assume the role of B.J. Blazkowicz, and he’s obviously stronger and – based on the content – a sexual dynamo? What am I to infer from such a stereotypical male presentation?
We at VGRHQ have no issue with women in games. We love to see strong roles in narratives, regardless of gender, ethnicity, or sexual orientation. The proper approach is that none of that should matter. Hence, when essentially forcing a developer to implement a certain type of character, you are being biased. You are reinforcing the very tenets against which you claim to fight.
If it makes sense to have a female character, fine. Shoehorning a female into a narrative simply to appease the politically correct-obsessed masses isn’t doing anyone any favors. Same goes for minorities or homosexual individuals; if it fits the story the artists are trying to tell, no problem. If the creators are forced to build a story around a certain type of person, that’s sexism, racism, etc.
Equality is not about continually trying to reinforce one sex, ethnicity or orientation over another. It’s about acceptance without question…and without bullying. You don’t want us to see gender, color, or religious or political affiliations? Don’t give us a reason to see it. Let the character in any piece of fiction stand on its own merits as a fictional character, and that’s that.
By the way, the industry has taken great strides in recent years when it comes to the female issue. I’m not so sure it has taken equally great strides when it comes to portraying males. Perhaps that’s worthy of a more interesting editorial, but then again, we maintain that such an issue shouldn’t even be an issue.