No, not sense-sore, censor. As in, to quote Dictionary.com, “to examine and act upon as a censor” and “to delete (a word or passage of text) in one’s capacity as a censor.” Man, people get so sensitive about everything being just they way they want it these days, don’t they?
Take Tracer, the cute fem-Scout character from Blizzard’s impending new release, Overwatch. People have been salivating over the idea of Blizzard releasing a Team Fortress 2-esque first person shooter for some time, and with good reason. There are many reasons to praise TF2, but seeing a titan like Blizzard take a crack at this has been met with electrifying reception. Even I am pretty intrigued by Overwatch and I have no allegiance to Blizzard. I have never played World of Warcraft or any Diablo game; the most I did was infrequently play Warcraft III in my high school computer club. So, with the release of Overwatch drawing near, what has been one of the larger subjects of discussion about it?
Tracer’s butt. I couldn’t make that up if I tried. Apparently some people voiced criticism of one of Tracer’s victory poses for being oversexualized. Observe:
In response, Blizzard has released a new victory pose for Tracer:
Significant difference, don’t you think?
Sarcasm aside, I meet this news with about as much contempt as a court has for a party who flagrantly defies its orders. It means we can’t have nice things anymore. Whether or not you think Blizzard is the patron saint of gamers and is the holy light in an apostate video game culture, terms like “manufactured rage” immediately spring to mind. Maybe it is just my naivete, but I am highly skeptical of the numbers of people who genuinely had a problem with this single pose of Tracer’s and were so moved by their morals to condemn it but also wanted to play this game. Was there significant overlap? If not, then why would anyone listen to those people? They are entirely free not to play this game, patronize Blizzard, or endorse anything about it. Nonetheless, Blizzard responded to this outcry by remaking Tracer’s pose, and so here we are, talking about something the Internet has termed Buttgate. How low we are to be in this predicament!
Obviously, this is a much larger problem than Tracer’s butt. ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°) This is about the generation of controversy that seems constant in our society, especially when it comes to video games, which is still very much a boys’ world. Like I said when I was talking about International Women’s Day, the horror of sexist attitudes prevails to varying degrees in video games. It is one thing when the Sorceress from Dragon’s Crown has more surface area on her chest than the entirety of the Louisiana Purchase – that is a hard position to defend as anything but indulgent fanservice – but it is entirely another thing when we are looking at one of three victory poses for Tracer. Forgive me for saying so, but have people forgotten to enjoy things for what they are, instead of looking for reasons to be offended? This is such a genuine non-issue that it bewilders me. Honestly, to go back to the previous example, how many people are even still fulminating about the Sorceress from Dragon’s Crown? It’s safe to say zero at this point. No one is fighting that battle because not only is it stale, but it was never worth fighting about in the first place. Were it a serious controversy meriting a call to arms, we would still be talking about it. Instead, we all moved on to the next subject of faux-outrage and the cycle continued.
It bespeaks something pathetic about our culture that these controversies are ginned up by people who are really rather uninterested in the actual subject matter or engaging in civilized discussion on it. Instead, someone comes out with guns blazing, shots are fired, and then they retreat to let the rest of us, baffled and irritated like guests at the wedding of Thetis and Peleus, voice disdain for the kind of frivolous nonsense that is being dumped into our daily discourse. What makes this especially loathsome is the fact that these controversies take away from the legitimate ones by shifting attention to the minutiae of unimportant matters from sincere issues. There are so many video game-related “scandals” with a suffix of “-gate” appended to them that one hardly has time to keep track of them all. Tracer’s butt might eclipse them all due to the sheer magnitude of foolishness surrounding it. I am positive Buttgate is guilty of being a mindless debate. Would anyone have said Tracer was oversexualized if Tracer were a man in that same pose? Of course not. No one bats an eyelid at the Engineer’s mechanical bull taunt in TF2, but if the Engineer were a woman, you can bet your last Steam wallet dollar that artificial outrage over the Engineer’s sexualization would be in your face the next day. We hop-skip from one kind of furor like this to another, never addressing the core of what are acceptable standards of equality in society. I especially like when people try to ascribe certain opinions on these phony scandals to the political Left or Right, as if those are monoliths that can only espouse particular positions.
Incidentally, evolving standards of decency apply to everyone, and if we only accepted the standards of polite society as they were, we would see even more bigotry than we already do. I’ve never been one to run away from being labeled a “Social Justice Warrior,” but then, I’m also so apathetic on these kinds of issues that the term would never be applied to me anyway. It’s about time we stopped using that term perjoratively like social justice has made the world a worse place for everyone, but I digress.
With all that said, are we done here? May we move on? Perhaps if we stopped fixating on the rear end of a 3D model of a fictional character, we could make some real progress in gender rights and equality. At the very least, historians thousands of years from now would be less likely to jeer at our overwhelming ignorance. We have people trying to reason their way backwards to prove points about Blizzard’s decision to change Tracer’s victory pose with so much a posteriori argument that it would make Kant’s head spin. To what end? I cannot be the only one tired of seeing pointless non-issues like this being trotted out, one after another, like a parade of Lippizaners. It is as if we look to be sore about something instead of using sense. After all, do you see Blizzard playing Jason Derulo’s “Wiggle” every time Tracer appears? No? Then we have nothing more to discuss. Let’s play the game, enjoy it for what it is, and stop being so defensive about what sort of non-oppression we are allegedly beholding.
I mean come on! Are people really that…butthurt? ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)