A great sample of the shameless male privilege in gaming

Privileged white boy whine is so annoying don’t you think?

Assassin's Creed cover. A man in a white hooded coat among a blue-tinted unfocused crowd of people. The hidden blade is extending from his wrist.

Browsing the Assassin’s Creed fora, I happened upon this thread and my eyes almost fell out of their sockets because I was rolling them so much. Just check out the first post:

So… I’m not being sexist…. but why does everyone want a female main character? IMO, she would be way too vulnerable and hard to relate to. (What I am saying is,almost the whole market to the AC games are males, and the only ones who would relate would be women) This is mainly the reason why I don’t think Ubi would make a female character, because the game wouldn’t sell well… But what is you guys’ opinion?

Now you know that any comment starting with “I’m not sexist but,” is going to be cringe-worthy and this guy doesn’t disappoint. In the same breath he uses to claim that he’s not a sexist, he declares women “too vulnerable” to be assassins. But anyway, picking on this poor kids’ cootie-hating is easy. What really peeved me was the shameless privilege display in your face: You should make the protagonist male because I can’t relate to non-male characters. He then of course proceeds to explain that this isn’t about him (oh no). What he’s really thinking if Ubisoft’s bottom line. Yes, he’s that concerned with the wellbeing of a gaming company that he’s willing to use his male privilege for them.

But then again, what difference does it make that a teenage boy ((I want to believe that he’s a teenage boy to maintain my faith in humanity. If this is an adult, he deserves a serious slap upside the head)) wields his privilege like a weapon? Par for the course isn’t it? Well yes, and that’s the problem. That it’s so common that people let it slide, which of course ends up with one thread full of people agreeing with the OP that female assassins make no sense/are not a good business decision.

While this just looks like some privileged douchebags whining on the fora, it does draw attention to the wider effect of male privilege, how it affects everything around us and how males react when they perceive their privilege being taken away. In this case, we see how the male privilege is implicitly acknowledged as the normal state of things (“Males are the predominant audience”, “I’m used to always being able to identify with the main character”). This perspective is so widely accepted, that even female responders have internalized its effects.

Who says everyone? :O I’m a female, I’m all for female assassin’s in games, the sisterhood and all that, but I wouldn’t want a female main character. Why? Because it would be oversexed – like Lara Croft, Bloodrayne… Just walking and talking and assassinating bog boobs on long legs. No, thanks. I focus better if there a male on screen

But we also see how male privilege defends itself. It’s not like there has been an official announcement on the subject (none that I’ve heard of at least) but even the rumours of a possible female lead to a series which already has established that such female assassins exist, is enough to make males pre-emptively request that no such thing happen. In other words, a direct reaction to the reduction of privilege which is of course based on the existing privilege (eg gamers are predominantly males and they wouldn’t identify). In another thread, people were explicitly threatening to boycott the game, if the lead was a female. And that’s pretty reactionary, no matter which way you look at it.

Personally, I love the way that Ubisoft has included females in the single player cast (even if they’re predominantly prostitutes – read too much Frank Miller perhaps?) and in the multi-player (even if there’s one female for every 3 males) and I think they should expand on this trend, not retract from it. I’d also love see homosexuals represented (male or female) and even people from different “races”, even if that would require a change in setting. They had a chance in Assassin’s Creed 1 which was set in an area with historically a lot of PoC (in fact, iirc the original Assassins of old were not Caucasians) but of course they opted for the handsome white boy looks to allow all those white teenage boys to identify better.

But there’s no reason why Assassin’s Creed cannot explore other cultural histories. In fact, the way the sci-fi tech setting is set up (people reliving memories from their ancestor’s DNA), it has a unique opportunity to explore so many diverse issues. Imagine an reliving the memories of an Black African Assassin in Egypt (Don’t object, The Legend of the Burning Sands pulled it off brilliantly) and then his progeny starting off as Slaves in a USA plantation. How about¬† a Female Lesbian assassin is Tsarist Russia during their Socialist revolution. From my perspective it would be an extremely cool setup to have her be an Anarchist (The Assassins as a group have some interesting anarchistic tendencies) during those times, exploring her sexuality in a the very traditional setting of Czarist Russia and later on fighting against the brutality of the Czar only to be overcome by the Templar Bolsheviks. It fits like a Glove. Or how about Japanese Assassins, who were named Ninja in that culture ((Historically, the order of the Assassins preceded Ninjas by a few centuries)).

Seriously, given how easily one can use the setting of Assassin’s Creed, there’s so many aspects, cultures and subjects to explore than it’s a damn shame to stick to the classic handsome white boy recipe. A damn shame, especially given how many females are already playing the game, by the crumbs of inclusion thrown their way. Personally, I hope that Ubisoft and other companies out there are smart enough to ignore the privilege whine of teenage boys and be bold enough to switch genders, sexual orientations and races.

Feminist lazy linking

A collection of links, primarily about feminism and gaming.

I’ve been kinda lax in my blogging recently. I’ve been meaning to write on a few subjects but completely useless arguments on reddit keep sucking up on my energy. I’m working on that. That said, you might have noticed that I write more about feminism and satellite subjects lately and this is because I’ve started reading a couple of excellent blogs on the subject in its intersection with gaming and geek culture.

So given that I’m not in the mood to write much today, I thought I’d just post a bunch of interesting stuff instead. Hope y’all like it. Remember that an /r/ before something, means that I’m referring to a reddit section.

A woman shares her story in /r/feminisms of how she was kicked out of an Egyptian protest because she brought up female genital mutilation. Once more a case of how women’s issues need to wait until after the “serious business” has been done.

Penny Arcade discontinued the dickwolves T-Shirt and explained the reasoning behind it in absolute douchebaggery. In my eyes, these dudes have lost serious credit. Of course the discussion that spawn in reddit because of this comment just pointed out how much geek culture is basking in privilege, not to mention rampart misogyny. I posted a link to provide some context from the other side of the dialogue and this was the result. Good going reddit.

Speaking of privilege, have I mentioned the sparkling new subreddit I created to record Reddit’s crass privilege denial? It’s inspired by the late Privilege Denying Dude (of which the tumblr page is once again gone), /r/ShitRedditSays and /r/TransphobiaProject. Join me in bitterly laughing together at some privilege denying dudes.

Mad Props to genderbitch for writing the Methods of Communication for Activists. This is one of the best and most insightful posts I’ve read in years and it gave a lot of insights into the reasons behind The Great /r/Anarchism ShitStorm of 2010. I’m already thinking of ways to combine these particular strengths each of us has rather than argue endlessly with each other.

And now for a blast from the past, check out the sheer amount of misogyny and fat-shaming that exploded from one post critical of the game “Fat Princess”. The internet once again proves to us how despicable gaming culture remains in general. The whole train-wreck of apologia that followed is an embarrassment to all gamers.

And finally, check out this stupifying misogyny from Kanye West. I have only heard of this guy from the whole “Imma let you finish” meme but what I’ve heard of him since just shows that douchebaggery sells in the USA.

And that’s all for now children. If you have have any faith in humanity left after this post, feel free to tune in next time.

A treasure trove of Privilege Denying Dudes

Concentrated privilege denial. It burnssss

Holy shit, I think I’ve hit the motherlode!

Here’s some necessary background.

Of course, one doesn’t expect much from a community of primarily male teenagers with serious behaviour issues but almost every other post seems to be a PDD waiting to happen. I couldn’t resist making a few and posting them to the privielege denying dude website. And these are just from this 1 post!¬† I could easily cook up another or two from it as well.

You can see the second one below (click for large image)

Now go forth and mine this thread for glorious PDDs!