This is going to come across oddly considering I’m a woman, but I honestly disagree with EA Sports putting the option for a female Be a Pro player into NHL12. Sure, it was awesome of them to listen to frustrated letters from a little girl who couldn’t fully enjoy the glory of kicking her brother’s ass at a sports game. Is it necessary, though? Probably not.
I’ve been playing video games since 1987, which is when I got my Nintendo. Not once did I wish that I could have a little pixelated girl in Ice Hockey to break up the Fat-Thin-Medium-Medium combo. Frankly, it’d just wind up being Thin with boobs and pigtails, so in retrospect I’m very glad that they decided to leave that option out. The only girl in Nintendo history who was actually bad-ass and who didn’t look all cutsey/get captured/wear a terrible pink dress and float was Samus from Metroid, and having her in there wasn’t a rallying cry to Gloria Steinhem. It was more of a “yeah, she’s a chick, no biggie” moment.
That’s where Metroid’s character got legendary status, right there. The game didn’t fawn all over the fact that Samus was a woman – she just was. No fanfair. Hell, you had to beat the world’s hardest NES game to figure it out. And you know what? The fact that the storyline of the game didn’t trumpet the fact that the main character was a woman is what made the game revolutionary.
Only when we accept gender roles, race, sexual orientation, and other biologically determined things as un-changable and ok do we get race of sexism, racism, and everything else in society that’s wrong. Making a big to-do over someone because “oh, it’s great that a black guy plays hockey!” or “oh my GOSH, women play video games so they HAVE to be represented in every single game ever!” cheapens things. It draws attention to the very problem that so many want to make a topic of no discussion. Sexism exists because people pay overt attention to what men do and what women do, and how different they are – and a lot of times how those differences are wrong.
Listen, there’ll never be a female player in the NHL, and that’s okay. Men are larger and stronger than women – a woman’d get killed out there on the ice, not because of ability, but because of sheer physical differences. While it might be all feel good to include the option to make a woman for the women who play NHL12, it’s unrealistic and unnecessary. I have managed to make a pro that’s a guy, and I’ve lived. Anastasia Beaverhausen became Andrew, and I’m perfectly fine with that. It’d be stupid to make he a she, and expect her to have the same stats and abilities that player has. He’s a power forward in the vein David Backes. I highly doubt it’s do-able for a woman to do the same thing in real life. EA Sports is all about realism, and adding women to NHL12 just isn’t realistic.
Add womens’ leagues, or womens’ teams for international play. That’d be awesome, and would add a whole new level of gameplay that’s realistic and has basis in actual life. But to have feminism – or at least inclusiveness – trump what’s real does the game a disservice.
And by the way, this promo shot is unfortunate. Maybe the women in the game COULD hold court with Backes. I mean, I wouldn’t argue with Inga the pissed off German curling champion, would you?
I will break you.