Man Up and Support Female Leads

by on 15/08/2013
 

Last night, I sat down to watch Kick-ass 2. The impression that the trailer gave was that the film should have been titled ‘Hit Girl’.

I’ll allow my other GPers to do a full review, but I came out of the film with the same impression. Kick-ass 2 should’ve been called Hit Girl.

Now, I appreciate that the comic that the story comes from is called Kick-ass, and that this was a sequel, which immediately requires some connection to the previous film, but this was still mostly a story about Hit Girl. She does the best things, has some of the best lines (aside from Olga Kurkulina’s Mother Russia), and the story is as much about her growth as it is Kick-ass’. This should have been her tale.

This comes hot on the heels of me playing Dragon Age 2, a game which allows one to play Hawke as either female or male but was advertised, and had pre-rendered trailers, only of the male Hawke. Cards on the table, I usually play a good-aligned bloke on my first playthrough of such a game, as I like to play myself in RPGs (or, at least, a version of myself thrust into that world, which explains my constant choice of Khajiit in Elder Scrolls games). My second playthrough is usually a negatively-aligned female, so I can experience the differences the plot offers.

But the marketing of Dragon Age 2 irked me, so I picked a female Hawke, played her instead. And zero fucks were given.

It’s not just Dragon Age 2 that has this problem. Mass Effect 1 and 2 allow you to play either gender, but were marketed with ManShep. Mass Effect 3 gave a token effort, providing you with a reversible cover you could change to FemShep, but FemShep was always on the inside. She was hidden, almost an Easter egg. I freaked Alex out when she bought a version of ME3 for the 360 by reversing the cover without her knowing. She plays a FemShep but would never have guessed FemShep was hiding in her game box, waiting to be unleashed.

This is all, I fear, related to a common refrain on the Geek Pride podcast, particularly when Becca or Laura are on: the wonder why no production studio feels safe enough to have a female superhero movie. For some reason, Elektra’s failure means we can’t handle a female-led flick, but Green Lantern’s floppiness means we can’t handle Ryan Reynolds with blue eyes, or something.

DC/WB is all like “Wonder Woman’s too confusing for a movie!” and Marvel/Disney is all like “Here’s a raccoon with a machine gun”

Fellow men geeks, I think it’s time we have an honest conversation. And I mostly aim this at male geeks, though there may be a couple of females who are of the bent I’m about to rip apart. I am not of this opinion, but I think many are, and, worse, there is a perception that all men are like this. But, as a whole, we need to stop being fools and accept female leads. We need to not look at games or films with women on the cover and think, “That can’t be for us, it has a woman on the cover.” We need to not dismiss books and films written by, or starring as principle characters, 50% of the world. We need to not go the Smurfette route and throw a single woman in when we’re creating, should we be artists.

We need to Man Up. That is, to be real people, real Men, who accept women as equals. If you’re one of these idiots who attacked Anita Sarkeesian for assessing video games, even before her first video, you are not a man in my eyes. If you would honestly not have bought Mass Effect or Dragon Age because a woman was on the front cover, then you are not a man in my eyes. If you wouldn’t go to see Wonder Woman destroy all of Metropolis defend the world because she has breasts, then you are not a man in my eyes.

Women are ace. Women like Cheng I Sao have been kicking ass for centuries (by the way, I’d love to play a game based on her life: she was one of the few pirate captains ever to survive long enough to retire!), and those of us men who balk at this in video games or films need to stop being knuckle-dragging protozoa (who have knuckles for the purposes of this argument, okay?) and accept this. Okay?

Hit Girl is someone who we haven’t mentioned in the GP casts yet as a Superhero deserving her own film. I think she kind of has one now, though not under her own title. With any luck, she will get her own film, based on the Hit Girl comics. And, let me tell you, I imagine it’ll be pretty fricking sweet.

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