Matt Reynolds returns with another Hate-Box; and it’s a thought provoking one. Sexism, equality, double-standards and Call of Duty: Ghosts are on the agenda this time. Does the industry need to grow up? Read on for Matt’s views…
This past week saw the reveal of Call of Duty: Ghosts multiplayer. Amongst the usual new game modes and perks came the reveal that for the first time in the series’ history you will be able to play as a woman. Now this will come as a welcome move to countless female gamers the world over; they’ve been asking for it for years. But an interesting thing has been occurring this week – I’ve heard several people on different podcasts expressing their discomfort over this, and read a few articles stating the same. And without exception the proponents of this surprising opinion are men.
The general feeling here seems to be that these men feel uncomfortable shooting, stabbing and blowing up these female avatars. One guy in particular seemed to think it might be a residual, primitive genetic marker wanting him to subconsciously ‘protect’ women. I put it to you that this is actually an abhorrent; not to mention slightly pathetic viewpoint that belongs in the past. I have no doubt that these esteemed gentlemen mean well but the fact of the matter is that their opinion is rife with the exact same sexism they are usually so keen to reject.
The women portrayed in CoD: Ghosts are soldiers. They are highly trained, dangerous killing machines. Indeed; in the reveal trailer we see the player commit murder several times over before the camera reveals we’ve been a woman all along. In the real world women serve in the military; there are female boxers, martial artists, prison guards, assassins and women in countless other professions that come face to face with violence every day by choice. There are many women out there who could kick the living shit out me; and certainly these weedy journalists who want to ‘protect’ them. There have been numerous high profile female serial killers.
We are living in the 21st century, in a world almost a hundred years after women were given the vote. Of course sexism is still prevalent, but luckily it is frowned upon and indeed illegal in most cases. Women expect, and deserve, equality. The issue becomes more thorny when we look at the true meaning of equality as it equates to violence. If women want to be the true equal of men, and men want to give that equality to them, men must be willing to engage violently with women WITHIN VIOLENT PROFESSIONS. If I was serving in a foreign country and a female soldier on the opposing side was trying to kill me, I would be expected to kill her first. It would be my job.
Now it is important to understand that I do not condone unwarranted violence against women, but only because I don’t condone unwarranted violence against anybody. The issue of whether any violence is warranted or not is a topic for another day – keeping to the subject at hand; this game isn’t ‘Domestic Abuse Simulator 2014’, although doubtless rags like the Daily Mail will attempt to portray it so. You are not being asked to batter a defenseless housewife. These are male and female soldiers in the business of killing; doing just that.
These journalists who balk so readily at killing female avatars seriously need to rethink their views. It is more insulting to cry ‘protector’ and refuse to participate than it is to do female gamers the courtesy of letting them be fairly represented and to engage with them on an even playing field – as equals.
Time to grow up, boys.
– Matt Reynolds. Tell him your views on Twitter @thelostmoment
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