Source: Serene’s Forest
Caroline Siede wrote a great piece over at the A.V. Club called “If You Like Return of the Jedi But Hate the Ewoks, You Understand Feminist Criticism.”
If you ask me, the metaphor speaks for itself. But here she is dropping the mic on those who cannot conceive of simultaneously criticizing something and enjoying it at the same time.
When I tweeted about my frustration with the female characters in Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes (one human, one primate, both of whom contribute very little to the plot), a friend replied, “Sorry to hear it’s a bad movie.” But it isn’t a bad movie. In fact, it was one of my favorite action blockbusters of last summer. Yet my specific feminist frustrations were extrapolated into a larger condemnation of the film. No one assumes that critiquing the Ewoks means you dislike Star Wars. So why did my complaints imply I hated Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes?
I received some similar commentary on my recent piece for Al Jazeera America looking at how video games have been implementing queer romances. I contend that it is possible to be happy about the fact that games are recognizing queer audiences while still having issues with the way that they are doing so. For example, why does the new Fire Emblem game (in which child rearing plays an important part) assume that gay and lesbian couples can’t have children? After all, it is not as though the conception and birth of the children of straight couples is depicted. So why not allow queer couples to, say, adopt a child orphaned by the war that the player is tasked with fighting or something of the like?
And why are some companies using on-disc DLC to provide access to queer content? Why are straight romances considered “standard” while queer romances are “pay-to-gay add-ons”?
It is possible to ask all of these questions and more while still cheering game development companies for acknowledging the existence of their queer fans, just as it is possible to celebrate civil rights victories IRL while still recognizing that we have a long way to go.