There’s this weird sentiment I keep seeing where critics and activists alike argue video game characters, especially female ones, are unrealistic looking and that it’s causing great anxiety amongst the player base that doesn’t see itself reflected in the virtual world.
As an example of this, Dove — yes, the Dove that makes soap — released a video claiming to take a stand against overly sexualized and unrealistic women in video games. The video begins with a female warrior fighting a massive monster. She’s fit and powerful, the picture of good health.
But it’s all a lie. It’s revealed the entire scene is just a set, and when the warrior goes back to her dressing room to remove her armor, we learn she’s morbidly obese, and her costume was hiding her true and beautiful body.
After some brief reflection, the warrior returns to set without her armor, proud to show the real genuine her. The video ends with a real picture of an incredibly unhealthy-looking woman with the tagline, “Let’s make virtual beauty real.”
Implying that obesity and a general lack of care for one’s appearance is beautiful is par for the course for wokeies — that’s nothing new. The left thrives on getting people to stop caring about putting effort into themselves.
But it’s the other part at the end of the video that I find more frustrating. The video claims 74 percent of girls feel underrepresented in video games, according to a study conducted by Dove. The implication is that the reason they feel so underrepresented is because there aren’t a bunch of overweight female characters in gaming — as if making Lara Croft or Princess Peach fat would really draw in the crowds.
There are a bunch of reasons why female gamers aren’t as common as male gamers—check out the episode of Playing Politics from a few weeks ago for more on that—but I can guarantee you the weight of the heroines is not one of those reasons. And I can prove it because the inverse isn’t true.
Where are all the fat male characters that are hooking men into playing video games? Is Mario the only character that truly reflects the average male gamer? More than a third of American men are overweight, after all, so Master Chief better start packing on the pounds in the name of representation!
Or maybe, people can recognize that the protagonists in the fantastical worlds of gaming probably don’t resemble real people and shouldn’t in order to preserve the fantasy. Like, I’m not mad I don’t look like Kratos; I’m going to the gym, I swear, but I’m probably a fair bit away from being jacked like the God of War.
On top of being more leftist BS about grievance politics, a la the obsession with race and gender, there’s a more insidious situation here with Dove’s push for more “realistic characters.” The emphasis that characters in fiction reflect “real people,” which is code in this Dove video for unhealthy obesity, creates a negative feedback loop.
The left wants people to see themselves as victimized and powerless to solve their own problems. That mentality creates the perfect excuse to allow big government to step in and be the solution. How better to reinforce poor health decisions and mediocrity than depicting heroes in our favorite games as slovenly and unkempt, fat and lazy, as having given up on achieving more?
Humans tell stories to pass along a moral or a lesson. Generally, the characters in stories are meant to serve as models for positive behavior to emulate.
Like when I was a 6-year-old playing the “Legend of Zelda,” I looked to Link as a hero who endures great trials to do what’s right and save the princess. He was a role model because he achieved great things and worked to improve, growing stronger with each monster he slew.
What Dove seems to want is characters that are content with their averageness which, one, is terrible from a political perspective, and two, is also just terrible for the sake of art! Heroes should be larger than life. That’s what makes them heroes.
The point of video games, then, is to connect with the characters you’re seeing on screen but not to see yourself in them one-to-one. Not every gamer needs to strive to be a supermodel or look exactly like the characters they’re playing as.
But they should at least strive to be a little bit more like the heroes on screen in spirit and in virtue. Dove might be comfortable with mediocrity, but we shouldn’t be.