16 December 2018

Battlefield V - When Inclusivity Goes Wrong

Photo Credit
I am not a gamer.  I think that the last game I played was Mortal Kombat back in the 90s which mainly consisted of hitting a lot of buttons with no idea what I was doing.  (Worked for me though, I had a good success rate!)

The guy I am dating is a gamer.  I was interested to see how games have progressed over the years, in terms of graphics, how realistic etc etc.  My first introduction was the new Spiderman game and I was amazed at how far games have come along.  You could literally learn your way around New York just playing the game.

My next viewing was Battlefield V.   I wasn't sure a first person shooter game was going to be something that interested me, so he showed me the promo video as a taster and I was shocked to see that one of the first people I saw was a woman.  On the front line, in a WW2 game.

Women were not on the front line in WW2.

The Russians, I agree, had women in active duty, such as Lyudmila Pavlichenko, the famous Soviet  sniper.  But were there American and British women on the front lines of battle in hand to hand combat against the Nazis?  No.  

Featuring women on the promo posters and showing them predominantly in the game for me, is an insult to both the men who actually served on the front, but also, the women who contributed to the war effort, many dying in the process.

Have we reached a place where inclusivity prevails over historical accuracy? 

Now in 2018 women can serve in any branch of the military as a man.   If you can pass the same physical tests that men undergo, there is no reason to stop a woman who wishes to serve her country and be at the front line of battle.  Women are already doing this now and have died doing so.

But in WW2 this was not on the case.  Not in battle.  This is where EA DICE have fundamentally screwed up.  Including women in this game is completely historically incorrect and to me, is so wrong.

While women were not subject to the draft and were not called to the front, women did contribute to the war effort, some sacrificing their lives in the process.  They worked in munition factories.  They drove ambulances.  Ferried planes.  Nurses joined the war effort in their thousands, stationed close to the front and helping wounded soldiers.  Some died in the process.

Women were recruited for and joined the resistance, became spies and operatives; risking their lives to share information and derail the Nazis.  They fought.  They shot and just like the men who they fought along side, some were captured, tortured and died.  

Women like Irena Sendler, a Polish social worker who saved over 2500 Jewish children from the Nazis in Warsaw.  She was captured, tortured to the extent that her legs and feet were broken, yet she refused to provide information.

American Virginia Hall, called "the most dangerous of the Allied spies" by the Nazis.  Despite only having one leg, she helped to train the French resistance and caused chaos for the Nazis with cutting supply lines and gathering vital information, all the while being hunted by the SS/

New Zealander Nancy Wake aka "the white mouse" as she was called by the Germans who on occasion, killed Nazis with her bare hands.

Violette Szabo, who worked as a British operative and resistance fighter and fought against the Nazis.  She was ultimately captured and despite several escape attempts from the concentration camp, was ultimately executed.  She was the second woman to ever be awarded posthumously the George Cross. 

There are so many more.

My point?   EA DICE did not need to pander to inclusivity by including women in the game, featured in places where they did not fight.  Because although not at the front lines, women served their countries in many ways, dying in the process.

You want to include women in WW2 in a game?  Make a game about the resistance, about spies in WW2, where women served alongside men.  Don't just include them in a game to appease gender equality.  Women played their own, active and vital part too.

11 December 2018

The Snowflake Generation

What is a snowflake? 

A snowflake is a unique.  No snowflake is ever alike.   Depending on the temperature it can either melt on impact; or join other snowflakes and create snow.   Snow that can be moved and coerced into a different shape, or frozen so hard that it can sink the Titanic. 

Why am I talking about snowflakes today?  Someone posed a question recently that has been whirling around in my head.  

Why is this generation called "Generation Snowflake" when in fact, it is the older generations that just can't handle confrontation and question of their thoughts?  

But the thing is, it isn't just the older generation that uses the term.

Where is the age line drawn and is it an age line at all?  I am 39 and am regularly called a snowflake; usually for calling out a behaviour or rhetoric that I didn't believe in or found offensive.  Yet I have been called a snowflake by both people in their 50s and 60s and by people in their early 20s.

So the line isn't an age thing.  It is a believe system, borne as a result of how and what you educate yourself in, the family you are born into and what they believe, the circles you move in and your own moral code and beliefs.

For me, it comes down to fear and insecurity.  

In terms of misogyny and sexism, it also comes down to entitlement.  In the 50s and 60s you could get away with slapping the bottom of your secretary or paying women less than men for the same job.  Men grew up for centuries believing that women were (in decreasing terms over the years, slowly) property, second class citizens, objects.   The fact that women now can demand the same wages, control of their own bodies and the right to touch them is something that generations of men are not used to, whether in lived experience or what they have grown up to expect.

I see many articles now after the #metoo movement of men saying that you cannot brush past a woman without being accused of sexual assault and that rape accusations are mostly "regret of actions".  Yet we have rape trials in 2018 where what type of underwear a woman was wearing is called into question.  Where her past sexual experiences is somehow relevant.   Where a man can be given 90 days house arrest for the rape of a child, yet a woman killing someone she was "given to" at 16 to rape at will, in order to escape, is given a 51 year sentence.

If you are truly scared that a woman is going to accuse you of sexual assault for brushing past her, then I am truly scared of you, because it reveals what you truly think you are entitled to.

When it comes to racism, transphobia, homophobia, xenophobia; this is when it turns to fear and insecurity.  

Not that long ago you could listen to that man, or woman, in the pub spouting off about how they thought that being gay should still be illegal, that black people were (somehow, I don't understand it, will never understand it) worth less than white people, how transgender people were "looking for attention".  

People would nod, smile and agree with this person in public, while at home, completely disagree with their views.  No one would question the rhetoric.  Thinking that their views are disgusting but showing support/compliance in public but disagreeing in private.  So who is scared exactly?

The so called "Generation Snowflake", which actually compromises all ages, is not afraid to call people out on antiquated beliefs and thoughts.  They question, argue, reason, debate.  Yet we are called the weak generation for daring to rock the boat that believes that Christian straight, white men (and the women who follow them) should and do rule the world.

I truly believe that people should be able to say what they want, with the exception of inciting violence.  Let them stand on their pulpits and shout their views to the world, let us see just how small, how scared and insecure they really are.

If I call you out for something that you have said, asking you to defend your statement and all you retort back is "snowflake" and "are you triggered?" then you have no platform based on anything other than lack of education, hate and bigotry.  

If you are so scared of being argued with, are you the true snowflake?