At one point in all of our lives there had to be someone we looked up to. There had to be some celebrity or internet personality that we all wanted to be like. The point is, we like to emulate someone we can relate to.
On the silver screen and on the digital screen I find that there is a lack of colorful and diverse characters. The lack of minority protagonists in First Person Shooters bewilders me to this day. The lack of LGBTQ lead roles in movies and video games is depressing too. It’s as if developers and film people just don’t want to take a risk or have something against it. I’m not sure which one it is, but it’s completely bullshit as far as I’m concerned.
Women, too, have gotten the short end of the stick. While researching situations where female characters could have been more than what they turned out to be I stumbled upon an episode of The Jimquisition dealing with Remember Me. Jim Sterling, a games critic and what many would refer to as a SJW, told the story of how Remember Me originally was supposed to have a relationship in the story. It would have been from the female point-of-view, but ultimately the creative force behind the idea was told that it wouldn’t be conducive toward selling the game to males. You can watch the episode here: THE CREEPY CULL OF FEMALE PROTAGONISTS
Now, I won’t bang on anymore and echo everything in that episode, but I will point out that this video got me wondering more and more about how non-white/non-male characters are handled. From my observations I’ve come to realize that many female characters and minority characters are walking cookie-cutter stereotypes. If a female exists in the game I’m sure there will be something to draw attention toward their breasts or their ass. Yet….we don’t see much of that happen when we have male-led games. Why? I’m not here to provide some sort of explanation. Instead, I’m here to raise a question for gamers to ask. Now…I will bang on about this question: Why does representation matter?
The recent Ghostbusters movie featured a predominantly female cast and a male character that was stupid as shit. I find myself watching movies that have it the other way around. I see a lot of films that have predominantly male casts with a token female character that is just plain dumb. I’ve noticed the dumb blonde stereotype last through movies for years. I’ve seen the dumb females in horror movies do the same. When will that end? Women aren’t like that. That’s the reason for Hemsworth’s dumbass character in Ghostbusters. He represents that role that we’ve grown use to seeing a woman in. Hell, I could draw the conclusion that people got really upset when they saw women as the lead-roles in Ghostbusters because they were no longer stupid as shit. It’s as if patriarchy still…..fuck, let’s not go down that rabbit hole. We’ll save that for another time. Let’s get back to my answer, the Ghostbusters film brought out little girls to the film’s premiere dressed as the heroes. That’s awesome! These children were actually looking up to the characters. These children had nothing stopping them from emulating these characters in looks and personality. I’d be willing to bet money that if the characters were all male the little girls would not have showed up. Instead, we’d have a bunch of neck-beards showing up with Hi-C Ectocooler in hand. There is nothing inherently wrong with that, but there is something wrong with saying “boys only.” The new Ghostbusters worked in a way where both men and women could watch and enjoy it.
Representation matters because it shows those who are different that they can be their own person and still be recognized. It’s why there is an uproar over representation in DC too. Our population is not all white. Not all sandwiches contain the same white bread, so why keep using the same type of people over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over in roles in movies and games? If that sentence came across as lazy, redundant, and boring then I think you get my point. Representation doesn’t only inspire people and make them feel acknowledged, it spices things up.
Alright, that’s a wrap!