<rabid rant warning>
I was over at my favorite gaming blog last night - Rock, Paper, Shotgun - where I (glutton for punishment) read the linked article. Now, RPS generally has an older audience than, say, Kotaku, and the comments were a cut or two better. I read a few that upset me, though, including one particular variation, which I am going to blather on about now. The particular thread was about games and sexism, but I'm sure it could change the names to comics, or science fiction, and racism, or ageism, and it'd still work. The 'arguments' (I use the term loosely) gets trotted out for any of these things.
The particular ones I'm talking about here are the variations of "It's not for you, it doesn't have to be inclusive of you, and if you don't like it, go away." I hate these arguments. They make me livid with anger. Incandescent with rage. I want to yell at my monitor: "Why do you get to say so? Why am I the one that has to go away?" But yelling at my monitor rarely gets one anything but hoarse, so I decided to rant on G+ instead.
The conversation (another loose term) usually goes something like this:(Seeming Rational Male)
"The big thing for me when talking about say “sexism” in video games is to always keep in mind the consumers who drive the market. Young men. As an older man (in my 30s with a family), I am constantly frustrated with the immaturity and childishness of a lot of the topics themes and gameplay of the core titles.
But are those titles “ageist”? No. That just isn't a helpful or productive framework for understanding what is going on. The sad truth is that the medium I choose to get my entertainment from have most of its products aimed at someone different from me. That isn't a tragedy, or injustice, it just is."(Me)
Yes, actually, most of them are
ageist, sexist, and/or racist. Just because that's how it is doesn't make it not
"a tragedy, or injustice," but makes it moreso. "That's just the way it is." <- this is not some sort of carte-blanche, a get-out-of-responsibility-free card...(SRM)
"If it becomes too frustrating I can spend my money elsewhere. “videogames” or “hockey” or “rock-climbing” or whatever don't have any “responsibility” to reach out to as broad a market as possible."(Me)
<increasingly agitated> Ignoring your one of these things is not like the others examples... Yes, you have a point that creators do not have to create something "for" other people. They can, and have, historically, write, paint, or create whatever they want, even if it is for as small an audience as themselves. However, entire mediums of entertainment may well, arguably, have a responsibility. I would argue that there is a social responsibility to be more
and not less
inclusive. That a medium basically saying "This is not for
you, go do something else," is an allowance that excuses "-isms." If it's not for anyone except young white males, then the failure to address anyone except them is just good sense, right?
One of my long standing complaints is this: why is it that, since childhood, I, as a female, have been expected to identify with the male protagonist - in my adventures, in my coming of age stories, in my tragedies, my comedies, my dramas - to the point where I don't even notice anymore, if I don't concentrate on it, as I slip once more into my male skin... Why is that normal, but expecting a "dude like the player to kiss another dude" (while playing a female protagonist, http://penny-arcade.com/report/article/remember-mes-surprising-connection-to-facebook-and-why-its-protagonist-had
) is just crazy.
It shouldn't work this way! This is broken, this is exclusionary, this is not right, and the fact that otherwise reasonable men - perhaps men with daughters, even - try to justify it, to create an explanation for it's rightness
just makes me blind with anger.
"You," I want to say, "you are a fan, right? You really
want to explain to your daughter, your niece, your grand daughter, your best-friends'-kid, when she asks why there aren't girl space marines, 'Sorry, dear, that's just the way is is. It's not for you.'"