Done with Dudebros…
Okay DudeBros, I’ve about had it with you.
Earlier in the week I had an argument with one of your ilk. He was launching personal attacks on a woman — one of the writers for the Tomb Raider reboot*. Her offense? Having a concerned opinion about the design of the character Quiet.
Here’s a picture of Quiet, a sniper, in “uniform.”
Now, the DudeBro says I can’t judge this because I don’t know the context. Seriously? What possible context is there that can justify this sort of clothing for a sniper?
Okay, before we go any further, let me list my meager qualifications. I went here to learn how to write. To be specific, I learned how to write science-fiction. To be even more specific, my Master’s Thesis is military SF. So when I see this outfit, I can truly say “what the everloving fuck?”
Oh… Camoflague skin? I call bullshit.
Even if you say, “but Mike, it’s science fiction,” or “but Mike, it’s Metal Gear,” it’s still bullshit. I’m not expecting SF to be hyper realistic — I do expect it to make sense. Here’s why Quiet’s outfit is NOT suitable for a sniper, and why camo skin isn’t a good reason, and that her outfit is for clubbing, not wetwork.
Okay, so Quiet’s skin can blend in with her surroundings. What about her clothes? They’ll still be visible. Given the coverage it’s a small flaw, but still, her left arm is all shiny black PVC… If only her ability wasn’t limited to her skin. If only she had some device that could cloak her whole body from hostile eyes.
But let’s talk about another aspect of her outfit. Protection. I’m not necessarily talking body armor, although that might be nice. I’m talking about environmental protection. Whether it’s the harsh sun, mucky swamp or winter winds, she’s going to need gear suitable to her environment.
On top of that, camo skin does jack squat to hide bodyheat, so Quiet is going to show up on infrared. Also motion detectors counter visual camo. I’d expect the tech in Metal Gear Solid to have these options.
Let’s also consider the complete lack of equipment on Quiet. Optics, food, water, databook, that may fit on those pouches for a day trip, but for something that requires long distance work?
Now given the nature of video games costume changes are rare, so if this her default state and she has limited protection, camouflage and equipment, what purpose does Quiet’s costume serve? I mean, outside of titillation?
Oh wait, DudeBro… now your counter argument is that the rebooted image of Lara Croft is sexist/hyper sexualized? Let’s take a look:
You cite her torn clothing and the sexual assault as being evidence of sexism? Interesting. Yet when I turn your attention to this blog entry about an assault survivor who suffers a flashback when she plays this game and yet perseveres, you dismiss it without reading?
So, let me get this straight: Quiet’s outfit is okay without context, but Lara — who not only survives the assault but fights off and kills her attacker, whose outfit is torn apart by a hostile environment — is sexist design despite the context given by the game itself? Despite that fact that assault survivors identify with Lara and women — then and now — think of her as a heroic icon in gaming?
Dudebro, you are not part of the problem with sexism in gaming. You ARE the problem.
* No, I won’t mention the name of the Dudebro or the writer he attacked. The former doesn’t deserve the attention, and I don’t know the latter well enough to drop names.