Space Ramblings

Shut Up About FemShep Already

At some point in the last few years it became fashionable for a small group of idiots to act like playing the female version of a generic character was like taking part in a civil rights movement. That somehow playing the female version of Shepard was a bold and important step and that EA and Bioware were suppressing their FemShep civil rights movement by not emphasizing the female Shepard as much as the male Shepard.

blackshep

Pictured. The Shepard that FemSheppers don’t care about

Richard Cobbett is one of the worst examples of this, going on incessantly about FemShep in an article calling the generic female version of a generic character the greatest SciFi heroine ever. In RPS posts he acts as if namechecking FemShep is some sort of statement. It’s only a statement of idiocy.

Fact. Both Shepards are generic hero characters with minimal development. Playing FemShep is no bigger than playing a female character in Skyrim.

Fact. Playing a female character is not a statement, it’s a choice. It doesn’t change how games depict women. It does not make you a better person. It does not mean that you are a woman by proxy and can natter on about being the victim of EA’s sexism against FemShep. Doing that is so stupid that the language doesn’t have the words to accommodate a proper description of it.

Fact. FemShep is no more overlooked than BlackShep. EA not using FemShep on cover art is not sexist, just as not using BlackShep on cover art is not racist. It’s just a choice. Few of the FemShep fanatics though dwell on BlackShep or any of the issues that come out of that. I don’t know why that is, but maybe it’s not hip to be a white male who talks a lot about playing BlackShep the way it is to be a white male who talks a lot about playing FemShep.

Fact. FemShep does not substitute for the lack of female characters in games, but most games don’t have characters of any gender with depth. It’s a function of gameplay. When characters have no character, it doesn’t matter how you tweak their skin color, gender or features. They’re just a projection of you. Playing a character of a difference gender or race does not mean that you are experiencing what life is like for them or that you can turn your game experience into outraged rants about your virtual suffering.

Please stop. Just stop.

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