I posted this elsewhere, but a while back I picked up on the story via reddit about Blizzard having to cut out a particular pose for one of its characters, Tracer, due to a complaint.
The complaint was from a particularly concerned parent who felt like the pose didn’t “fit” with Tracer’s personality. He was worried about his daughter who is a big fan of Tracer; as if his daughter would be negatively affected in some way by this pose.
Well, somehow, this one little complaint blew up quite a bit, and Blizzard decided to cut the pose out completely, because, yes, they agreed, this pose didn’t match Tracer’s personality.
Funny, because in the original complaint post, the concerned parent describes Tracer as, “fast, silly, kind, and a good friend.” And really, I don’t see anything about this pose and the general vibe she is giving off that doesn’t have those qualities. As someone who only has a vague familiarity with the game, I see a girl who is quirky, fun, and most importantly, confident.
Besides, her butt isn’t even sexualized in the slightest. In fact, in comparison to other overtly sexualized characters, this is nothing. I’d say it’s even on the smallish side. And in that sense, doesn’t it just make it a butt? And then – doesn’t that just make this a pose, in which so happens that her butt is facing the camera?
So, if the problem isn’t the pose, does that mean it’s the outfit? Shouldn’t, in theory, Blizzard redesign Tracer so that she isn’t wearing such revealing clothing? Cause hey, let’s be honest, if the concerned parent doesn’t think that Tracer would ever stand in a pose that shows off her butt, why, then, would she even bother to wear something that does?
Ah-ha. So, now that we’ve got that out of the way, allow me to step in as a female who has played video games since I was a toddler.
This whole situation makes me angry.
Why? Because this is shaming. And sure, Tracer isn’t a real person, but what does this say to young females who are interested and influenced by the gaming community? It tells them that unless you want negative attention, you better not show off your body in any way that might make people judge your character. Hell, don’t even face your rear to the camera because then you’re suddenly a sex symbol who loses face.
I mean, come on.
And sure let’s talk about the outfit. It is tight, but honestly, who cares? Her outfit looks cool. Simple as that. Why can’t it be that simple? I wear tight pants. I like the outfits I put together with those tight pants. Should I suddenly be careful about who and what direction I’m facing? No, I want to feel confident in the way I look. I don’t wan’t to be questioning what other people may be thinking about my choice to wear tight jeans.
And, I’m going to say, I have way more curves than Tracer. And this type of attitude – that girls are defined by their bodies – really messes with my confidence. I’ve always been a tom boy. I’ve always tried to hide behind baggy clothes. But honestly, I want to look good – is there a way to do that without conveying a negative image? Even now in my twenties, I still struggle with what I wear, often hesitating to put on an item of clothing that may draw too much attention me.
If I had to define myself, I would say that I am like Tracer – kind, friendly, silly – but if I put on tight jeans and stand in a playful pose, does that suddenly change?
I think not.
Now, I know people do judge by appearances, but who is at fault for that? Why should I (or, Tracer and her creators, for that matter) apologize for what I’m wearing? Or be at fault because someone else sees my body as something sexual?
Hey Blizzard – take it from a girl. I think the female characters you’ve created for Overwatch are awesome. I think you’ve went above and beyond to make them unique, and not just sexual objects to be looked at. I understand that you had girls in mind like me when you designed them. And hey, I like them.
So sorry, overly-concerned-dad, that you were upset over the poses of one of these fantastic characters. But you know what it sounds like to me? It seems like you are trying to control your daughter and her sexuality. I don’t know how old she is, but here’s a news flash – one day she’ll be wearing tight jeans and tank tops. One day she’ll be giggling with her female friends and making duck faces into their cameras. (Well, I never did this, but, you know, it’s a possibility?) And even if she doesn’t, she’ll still want to feel pretty, wear nice clothes that make her look good, and most importantly, feel confident. Confident without guilt – confident without shame.
And there you have it. The thoughts of an almost-thirty-year-old female gamer who just so happened to stumble upon this seemingly insignificant event. I’d say, the complaint itself was small, but the fact that Blizzard went ahead and removed the pose – that, right there, made it a big deal.
I hope this post has given you some insight into why this event is significant, at least to someone like me. Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below!