Note: Next Thursday is Thanksgiving in America, so I'm not sure how much news there will be. If I had to guess, I'd say early in the week will be fairly normal, with it tapering off around Wednesday. Either way, I'll be sure to post whatever I find.
The Paris Games Week ended a few weeks ago, but a discussion arose from the event that I felt was worth talking about. Because in addition to the exciting announcements that came from Sony’s press conference, a little bit of controversy came out of it too. Welcome to Lgndary Thoughts.
For those that haven’t guessed, the controversy that I am referring to is the fuss that came from the latest trailer for The Last of Us Part II. As you may have seen, It features someone being hung from a noose, arms being broken from multiple hammer blows, someone being shot in the head with an arrow, and two people being killed by way of an axe to the head. By all means, it is an incredibly violent trailer, to the point that some people may even have a hard time watching. Nobody is arguing otherwise, and more importantly, nobody is forcing anyone to play these games.
But general violence in video games is a topic for another day. For now, I’m going to tackle an ideal that came out of a Polygon article written in response to the trailer. Here is the exact quote that I take particular issue with:
The violence is particularly upsetting as it features the assault of women.
This is, without a doubt, the most absurd statement to come out of this discussion.
This statement is suggesting one of two things. That women are incapable of playing video games like The Last of Us because it portrays violence against their own gender. Or that violence against women in video games is somehow worse than violence against men, and shouldn’t be portrayed at all. Either way, it’s a stupid thing to say.
Many people from many walks of life believe in, and fight for equality every single day. It may not seem like it, but equality in video games is an important part of that to many, including myself. I don’t want every woman in every video game to be a damsel in distress. And while there is nothing wrong with being a damsel in distress, people often want more out of these characters.
If we limited women characters to games without violence or conflict, we would never experience an interesting female character. And that is because awesome characters, no matter the gender, come from hardship, and they fight through conflict. It is what builds their character, and it is part of why we love them.
Zelda would just be a princess in a castle instead of a badass ninja if Ganondorf hadn’t taken over. Meryl Silverburgh would have sat at home if the Shadow Moses event never occurred. Samus Aran would never have become an awesome bounty hunter if she wasn’t orphaned. And Chun-li might never have entered the World Warrior tournament if her father wasn’t murdered. I could go on and on, but my point is that these characters, that so many people love, would not exist if their lives were perfect.
To remove women from conflict in video games is to remove women characters from video games all together. And that is exactly the opposite of what we should be fighting for. Equality does not mean putting women into bubbles where they can never be harmed. Equality is portraying women in the same, sometimes hopeless situations as men because they can fight back just as hard.