It seemed like harmless fun. Star Trek Trexeles had me from the moment I heard about it. It had everything, a Star Trek theme, George Takei voice-overs and little pixellated uniforms. It promised to eat up endless hours of productivity in order to poke buttons and be amused by inside jokes and fond memories of a childhood with my brother and our friends, all the same, just a bunch of kids lost in space.
This nostalgia-laden daydream lasted as long as the opening for the game. With the words “boldly go” as read by George Takei still ringing in my ears I was punched, kicked and bludgeoned out of the utopian future and back to the twenty-first century; back to this world; back to blatant sexism; back to knowing my “place” and my “worth” as determined by some nebulous outside source.
I was asked to choose a captain. Of course this would have been Picard if the option were there. But alas for my childhood feels existing characters were not an option. Instead there were eight generic Human and Vulcan beings, four female and four male. Hurray for a female option and varying skin tones! At least that’s what I thought until I looked closer. Like any good gamer I wanted to see what type of stats these characters came with and which one would best fit my ‘hit them over the head and ask questions later…or never’ game style. And what I saw took the fight right out of me. The captains had two different personality traits that each gave them bonuses and negatives. The problem was there were really only two different groups. They looked like this
Relaxed: + Engineering, -Science Missions
Imposing: +Combat, -Diplomacy Missions
Aggressive: +Combat, -Diplomacy, -Engineering Missions
Brash: +Combat, -Science, -Diplomacy Missions
Now considering I am writing this rant and plan on publicly sharing it, particularly with all people who have a hand in this game, I will give you two guesses as to which group of people not only have the more negative verbal traits associated with them but also the increased negative stats. Go on take a minute. The massive negative to science and engineering should be a major clue that yes it is fact the women. Every male captain choice is described as relaxed and imposing while every female is aggressive, brash and apparently really bad at STEM activities, oh also we can’t negotiate for shit which is confusing considering how long we like to spend on the phone and shop you know teehee. gag.
Trexeles I hear you loud and clear. As a woman I do not belong in a captain’s chair. Men in high positions deserve positive words to describe them. They are RELAXED and comfortable with their power; IMPOSING to others and have the skills to get things done. Women under the same circumstances are AGGRESSIVE constantly over reacting, and BRASH covering up their general lack of skills and intellect. It is an age-old stereotype, beautifully illustrated in this commercial.
When men in power act decisively it is seen as strength and cunning. When women do the same exact things they are just being bitchy.
CBS interactive I hear you. Women cannot be expected to want to play games. Games are men’s domain and I am ruining it by complaining about something as trivial as wanting to be thought of as an equal, as good at leading and science and engineering as the next guy. I know marketing has told you that strong female characters are a turnoff and will lead to lower sales. Girls cannot be expected to be interested in science or imaginative play. Superheroes and science fiction are for boys, pink flowery crap and playing house is where little girls are supposed to stay. Quiet, submissive. But have you tried it? Do you think girls may not be responding in droves to your sexist toys and games because you are purposefully belittling them and telling them that they are naturally worth less than their brothers?
This is disgusting, and I expected more.
I expected more from you Star Trek, you who showed us the new frontier where Earth had put her wars and violence behind her. You who showed us that being human trumped nationality, race and gender. Where humanity was more important than being human and even an android could be declared equal to (who are we kidding exceeds) the humans around him. How can you now hand over a world of equality that meant so much to me as a child, to be turned into a world of blatant sexism?
I expected more from you George Takei, you who fight tirelessly for equality. Your Facebook feed is full of victories in marriage equality and LGBT rights, and I have always viewed your name as a banner for a more equal and just world. Now you gave your name and voice to this creation. Seconds after hearing your voice I found myself, and half the population accosted, degraded and generally made less than our male counterparts. Please live up to your reputation as an ally of equality and pull your support for this and other hurtful games.
I expected more of us. We should be past the days where women are less. We should be past the point where society has indoctrinated us ALL to expect less of girls, to expect less of ourselves.
We cannot continue, even subconsciously, to put down our girls. We cannot tell them that science, engineering and the captain’s chair are not for them. We must let them lead. Let them be bold, relaxed, and imposing. Let them just be lost in space.