While the gaming media continues to proliferate the narrative that SJWs don’t exist or that they somehow are a figment of the imagination of those who use the GamerGate hashtag, the real world is being affected by ludicrous complaints from Social Justice Warriors left and right. Just recently a thread was made on Battle.net by someone who complained to Blizzard that an over-the-shoulder pose by Tracer, a female character in the first-person shooter Overwatch, turned her into a sex symbol. They asked Blizzard to remove it and Blizzard complied.
“So I wanted to start off by saying, I think the development team has done a pretty great job with the cast of female hero’s in Overwatch. They are diverse, interesting, and compelling. From Mei to Zarya to Widowmaker the female cast reflects a large spectrum of personalities and player fantasies.
“With that being said, lets talk about Tracer.”
Fipps proceeds to explain what poses and personality traits that they finds acceptable, but then they come across the following poster.
It’s a pose called “Over The Shoulder”… you know, the kind of pose you see often on Facebook posts, or Imgur, or Reddit, or heck… in this crazy thing called real life where people sometimes make cheeky poses.
However, Fipps didn’t see it that way. This pose single-handedly transforms Tracer into a sex symbol, according to Fipps…
“WHAT? What about this pose has anything to do with the character you’re building in tracer? It’s not fun, its not silly, it has nothing to do with being a fast elite killer. It just reduces tracer to another bland female sex symbol.
“We aren’t looking at a widowmaker pose here, this isn’t a character who is in part defined by flaunting her sexuality. This pose says to the player base, oh we’ve got all these cool diverse characters, but at any moment we are willing to reduce them to sex symbols to help boost our investment game.”
Furthermore, from Fipps’ perspective this pose was not acceptable and needed to be removed, …
“I have a young daughter that everyday when I wake up wants to watch the recall trailer again. She knows who tracer is, and as she grows up, she can grow up alongside these characters.
“What I’m asking is that as you continue to add to the overwatch cast and investment elements, you double down on your commitment to create strong female characters. You’ve been doing a good job so far, but shipping with a tracer pose like this undermines so much of the good you’ve already done.”
After the post went up, the thread filled with a lot of Blizzard’s community expressing anger at the post and calling it a “troll” post. There were a few scattered posts in agreement with the poster that Tracer’s back facing the viewer was too sexualized and that Blizzard needed to tone it down, but the majority thought the whole thing was ridiculous. Thrawna, for instance, agreed with Fipps, stating…
“[…] it’s not that a female is being sexualized that makes me uncomfortable with this pose. I am 100% for it when it’s appropiate (Widow, for instance). But this particular hero’s personality seems anathema to sexualization, and that’s what makes it pretty gross.”
Someone pointed out that other characters make the same pose as well, with cidsa on Twitter compiling a few images of other characters looking over their shoulder… since it’s a pose that everyone in Overwatch can use.
That’s not to mention that various members of Blizzard’s community had to remind Fipps that Tracer isn’t real… Tracer is a fictional character. The Japanese recently had to remind the United Nations that video game, anime and manga characters aren’t real.
I suppose it’s a serious mental illness issue here in the West where some grown adults seem to believe fictional characters have human rights. Just to be clear, nothing within the Constitution’s Bill of Rights gives fictionally created characters rights equivalent to a real life human being. The sooner people recognize this, the better off we’ll be in this world.
Unfortunately, Blizzard’s game director on Overwatch, Jeff Kaplan, seems to agree with the people who take into consideration the lives of fictional characters to absurd degrees. Kaplan acquiesced that the pose was “uncomfortable” and had to be removed for Tracer, stating in a post…
“We’ll replace the pose. We want *everyone* to feel strong and heroic in our community. The last thing we want to do is make someone feel uncomfortable, under-appreciated or misrepresented.
“Apologies and we’ll continue to try to do better.”
The general consensus is that removing the pose that people like because someone else doesn’t like it seems more problematic than the pose itself. Even a self-identified SJW feminist, Tanya Kuntz, commented about this incident and disagreed with Fipps, writing…
“This pose seems very mild and tame to me, and I’m one of those SJW feminists that people like to hate on. I honestly don’t see a problem with it?? If Tracer’s pose was one of those back-breaking boobs and butts pose where they show the boobs and butt AT THE SAME TIME, like so: https://41.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_makz7twac51r34y4ho1_500.jpg
Then the poster might have a point. But this pose is actually humanly possible for any normal woman to pull off, AND she isn’t dressed in skimpy gear where every inch of her skin is being shown off.
I think she looks fine.”
In a strange twist, we have a sex-negative, self-identified SJW feminists expressing that this particular Social Justice Warrior complaint went a little too far. Unfortunately, Blizzard already capitulated.
A more reasonable solution is to keep the content and not alienate the core fanbase for the perpetually offended. For instance, technically, Blizzard could implement the much-requested “SJW Mode”.
Previously, it was suggested that Capcom add the “SJW Mode” into Street Fighter V, so crotch-shots, the infamous butt-slap, or bare-chested men, jiggly boobs or any sort of sex appeal would be censored in the game.
Epic Games used to have a mature content filter in Gears of War games, and Midway was also known for having them as well to keep angry moms and puritan parents from complaining about the content in their games.
Quintus pretty much summed up how a lot of the community felt by sarcastically taking jabs at Fipps, writing….
“Everyone put on your gender neutral grey jumpsuits because nothing says fun like trying to pretend we aren’t human. I wish I thought everyone was just being trolled hard here. This is what happens when people have too much free time and no real problems to worry about. Smh…
“Also ITT: Millenial social justice warriors.”
Instead of censoring the game at the whim of someone else’s moral behest, it seems like it would be more beneficial to the community to keep the “problematic” content in the game and just add the “SJW Switch” or “SJW Mode” so that anything deemed remotely “problematic” is just removed, censored or blocked out when the “SJW Mode” is turned on. Everyone wins.
As it stands, it looks like the Blizzard community will simply lose out on a Tracer pose because someone found it offensive. The Battle.net community expressed some righteous hatred toward SJWs, but expect those sentiments to be censored on most gaming news websites… assuming they even cover the news.
[Update: Due to the outcry, game director Jeff Kaplan made a follow-up post explaining that this was a team decision and that they aren’t pandering…
“With this particular decision, it was an easy one to make—not just for me, but for the art team as well. We actually already have an alternate pose that we love and we feel speaks more to the character of Tracer. We weren’t entirely happy with the original pose, it was always one that we wrestled with creatively. That the pose had been called into question from an appropriateness standpoint by players in our community did help influence our decision—getting that kind of feedback is part of the reason we’re holding a closed beta test—but it wasn’t the only factor. We made the decision to go with a different pose in part because we shared some of the same concerns, but also because we wanted to create something better.
“We wouldn’t do anything to sacrifice our creative vision for Overwatch, and we’re not going to remove something solely because someone may take issue with it. Our goal isn’t to water down or homogenize the world, or the diverse cast of heroes we’ve built within it.
“This wasn’t pandering or caving, though. This was the right call from our perspective, and we think the game will be just as fun the next time you play it.”