The other day while surfing the net in my spare time, which is all the time I have (friends? pffft, please, I don’t have time for that lame shit), I came across this headline for an article.
Ubisoft Leader Reckons a Gay Protagonist in a Triple AAA Game is Some Way Off
You can read the article here, in it’s entirety. I have a few talking points about this issue, the first of which being how this seems to have been completely passed over by the internet. In this day and age, when the internet jumps on somebody if they even sneeze incorrectly, I’m honestly quite surprised that not even the Tumblr “activist” folks didn’t bring this up. Though, maybe it has been, and I just haven’t seen it, that’s entirely possible. I do do other things during the day than read internet hate mail. Here are my talking points, bulleted, so I remember them while writing and you know what to look forward to:
- Sound business sense logically
- Mass Effect lesbian/gay route
Now, before you call me a homophobe or close minded or a republican, be aware that I myself am a lesbian. Because of this, it would stand to reason that I’d get up on my lesbian soapbox and start shouting obscenities and catchphrases and statements about how a straight man could never understand why a gay protagonist would work, but I’m not angry in the least. Before I’m a lesbian, I’m a person, and as a person capable of critical and rational thinking, I have to say his reasoning is sound business sense, logically. He even said he “fears that it’ll impact sales” and these are businessmen before anything else. That makes sense. Homophobia is still rampant, especially in the gaming community it seems, sadly, and this makes sense to safeguard your business.
But then you go a level deeper, you’ve got the people calling this man a homophobe. Not at all. It’s like a lawyer who’s defending a serial killer who beat 8 children to death with rubber chickens. Just because he’s defending him doesn’t mean he agrees with what the man has done. He’s defending him because that’s his JOB. He is legal representation, and you are allowed a defense in this country no matter what. Doesn’t make the lawyer a pro-child killer just because he’s defending him. Same here. Just because he doesn’t want it negatively impacting his company, that doesn’t mean HE is a homophobe, it means he thinks enough people are out there who are who won’t buy the game and that’ll hurt sales. Does it suck that he’s putting sales ahead of human rights? Sure. But much like the lawyer, that’s his job. He doesn’t get paid to defend human rights. He gets paid to write video games.
Then, you take into consideration how correct he is on the statistics of Mass Effect alone. In Mass Effect you can be a gay man or a gay woman. It’s a choice, ironically. Here’s where the unfair part comes in. If you tail those statistics, I guarantee you that the majority of people who played the femshep version of the game made their girl a lesbian. I guarantee it. It’s got to be like a 90% lesbian and maybe 10% gay male split, IF that. This is stupid purely on double standard alone. While we, as a culture are accepting of lesbians-and have been for years honestly-gay men are STILL lower on the totem pole. Because we’ve sexualized women so much, we’re more ok with seeing two women fuck or kiss or be in a relationship. Hell, The L Word ran on Showtime for like 7 seasons and sure there was Will & Grace the ever ongoing hurtful gay stereotype and yes Queer As Folk, but when you bring it down to the wire, lesbians in media have been FAR more accepted than gay men. This is wrong. Neither of them should be more accepted than the other. They should both be accepted simply on the basis that they’re PEOPLE. I understand the cultural reasonings, but again much like that lawyer, I don’t agree with them.
Either way in the end, I think he’s right. A lot of people on the internet who make the argument that he isn’t will be surprised when they add a gay protagonist, release the game and it does negatively impact sales because what seems like a big deal on the internet turns into basically nothing in the real world. The entire internet was in love with Snakes on a Plane and Duke Nukem Forever. Both did terribly, and I thoroughly enjoyed both for how ridiculous they were. The internet-no matter the amount of comments you get that are positive-do NOT speak for the majority of the entire gaming population or even the world. Shit, not even a small fraction. But it’s true. You can even look at internet petitions for shows like Dollhouse, where you know, thousands or so people say they’ll watch and sign it but then the ratings for the new season are even lower than lasts. Real world and internet are NOT the same thing.
Would I like to see a gay protagonist in video games one day?
I honestly don’t care, and I know that’s weird seeing as I’m a gay woman myself but I really don’t care. It makes literally no difference to me. For everyone ELSE, sure, I guess that’d be nice to see everyone kind of respected equally, but we’ve grown up in this black and white binary and that’s hard to break and change and adapt to the new way, simply because our DNA has been encoded one way for billions of years, thanks to society and how it raises people. Yes, on the basis that I want to see everyone be equal (everyone who deserves it, that phrase is a slippery slope, I don’t want to see rapists be equal) I hope to one day see a gay protagonist in a video game, but it doesn’t ultimately affect me in the slightest because I don’t really give a shit. And if you think I give a shit because i wrote this article, you’re wrong.
I wrote this article because, much like the lawyer, I get paid to.
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