Few years ago, I was surfing the internet one day, and came across this picture:
And I laughed like there’s no tomorrow.
“This is fucking brilliant!”, I said to myself. The reason why I said that it’s because I believed that the creator of this is using comedy or humour as a weapon to make a powerful statement. He even got The Huffing Post to talk about it.
So I spam-messaged this picture to my friends, and I shared it numerous times on Facebook (as many other internet users usually do). I even got interesting conversations and arguments about it with my friends. Then, I simply carry on with my life.
And that is till recently,it naturally re-surfaced from the back of my mind when I was thinking of an idea to poke fun at gendered marketing for my Creative Proposal project for one of my class.
“Okay, so instead of making of fun of how they market stuff for boys, what if we make fun of how they market stuff for girls as well! Oh! What if… We reversed the gender roles! Yeah, that will funny! Haha!”, I told myself, slowly building the confidence to this “great idea” of mine.
I did some research, trying to find the perfect vehicle for my “great idea” and walla, the perfect candidates for it:
“Video Games, YES! It’s perfect! These games are totally the polar opposite of one another! This is going to be good! It’s going to be funny, haha!”, I told to myself while doing a small victory dance in my small, cramped up studio apartment.
So I’ve done the proposal, came up with contigency plans just in case I have to downscope my idea and finally, I submitted it. The facilitators/lecturers feedback about it was positive.
“There’s no reason to stop this train! IT’S GOING FULL SPEED AHEAD! CHOO CHOO!”, I boast to myself and to my friends. I was pretty confident that it’s going to come out good at the end.
And that is, until I actually executed the plan. This is what I came up with at the end:
Mind you, the artwork wasn’t originally mine, I simply piece it or “collage it” together (with some editing and masking to some of the original files) with Photoshop.
Now, do you notice anything wrong with it?
Yeap, that’s right. “Where is the humour?”
I showed this to my friends and the facilitators and the responses I got from them are at best, lukewarm. And I don’t blame them. They were expecting funny pieces or funny “something” from me. And these “something” aren’t funny at all.
I think long and hard about this and there are two conclusions that came into mind:
I lack the ability, skill and time to pull off the desired effect like what Kevin Bolk did with his work (the Avengers’ reversed gender pose) and;
This topic is no longer funny to me.
This blog here is mainly about the second conclusion.
So why is this topic is no longer funny to me? It’s simply because this topic (regarding to gendered marketing) is starting to become personal to me, and I’m getting tired of it. I changed from an outsider who observe and laugh at what is happening, to a person who is fighting for a cause.
“What is that cause you’re fighting for” you say? Simple; I want better, and stronger representation of women in entertainment media, such as video games. I want a world where my future daughter can come back home from highschool and play a game that look like this:
“But Fedya, haven’t you notice it? Female representations in video games are getting better and better. And Fedya, like you us male gamers want it as well!“
Yes, I know. But the scale is still noticable. It is still male dominated. And we must not stop fighting for it. The keyword here is “STRONGER representation of women”.
There’s an article regarding to “Gender Breakdown of Games Showcased at E3 2016” are there some points made about it that I honestly think, going against what Feminist Frequency is actually fighting for.
No offence to Carolyn Petit and her article, but I believed the problem does not lie as to whether or not there are more games with “violent-oriented” mechanics than “none-violent mechanics. But on what end of spectrum are the female characters in those games. I believed by having those games with women as their protagonist, it would tip the scale much more to their favor.
Alright, I don’t want to go off-tangent with my rant. But bottomline, my project has “failed” in becoming a humour piece that I intended for it to be. Instead, it became a reflective piece to my own conscience. And I would like to share that with you, the reader of this blog. Have a nice day. Fedya out.
p.s. Gamers, play a game with strong female characters like Beyond Good and Evil, or play as Saryn or Valkyr in Warframe. Creators, write/create/design female characters that is a force to be reckon with. Okay, I’m officially out.
Links to resources/artwork used for the “failed” piece:
References for the blog: