Reading “Self-Saving Princess: Feminism and Post-Play Narrative Modding” was a revelatory, empowering experience.
Thinking about Big Problems is more often than not a paralyzing experience. Big Oil, Donald Trump, the possibility of nuclear warfare, widespread misogyny, poverty, neoliberal capitalism, climate change– when we think about these Big Problems, a feeling of doom, like a peach pit made of lead, seems to settle in our stomachs. Pin us to the ground. We think about taking a step forward– we think, maybe if we can just take that first step, we can begin to jog, and then to run, and then to fly. But that first step seems impossible. The Problems are too Big. They tower above us, so that we find ourselves in their shade. When we raise our eyes, we find that they have fused together to create a net of lead, trapping us. Our hearts drop. We remain pinned to the ground by that peach pit of doom.
Ok, that may have been a very melodramatic way of describing what it feels like to think about Big Problems, but you get the point. Entrenched misogyny in the world of video games is another one of these Problems. None of us are in the room where the games are being made. None of us have the power to directly alter the content of the games. Even if we were the CEO, we’d be responsible to the stakeholders, who want profits above all. And we’d have to make profits by appealing to the main fanbase– straight white men. But working toward solving this Problem, even outside of the industry, is possible. Post-play narrative modding can be done by nearly anyone. Spreading the word and changing the direction of pop culture conversations can be done as long as one has Internet connection, as Sarkeesian showed.
Creating conversations. Nudges in the right direction. Rome wasn’t built overnight. It will take work, and it will take time. But we need to have hope that Big Problems can be solved, not only because they can, but also because to give up hope would be to never even try. Nudges and conversations. From everywhere and anywhere, from everybody and anybody. Even the greatest and tallest of oaks were once saplings.