Can I Enjoy Problematic Content if I’m a Feminist?

I like violent video games. Assassins Creed is easily one of my favorite franchises. In it you get to play as assassins from various points in history and interact with actual historical figures.

You also kill a lot of people.

There is something alluring about the idea of being able to do something when the people in power are corrupt rather than feeling the powerlessness that overcomes me every time a news alert pops up on my phone. The best part is when the later games give you opportunities to play as a female assassin, and her armor isn’t impractical and she isn’t grossly sexualized.

Evie Frye

        Regardless of all the reasons I adore this series, there is still an element of senseless violence to it. Violent video games have often been cited as the source for the rise of violence in teens. I’m not here to debate that point since many others before me already have. Is there something wrong with me if I enjoy killing the villain in a game? We don’t chastise people for being glad when Voldemort dies at the end of deathly hallows (The book is 10 years old, that shouldn’t be a spoiler anymore). But we also aren’t directly commiting the act like you often do when playing a video game.

The question I’m asking is that, even with all of the controversy and negative stigmas surrounding them, is it okay for me to play violent video games as a feminist?

When consuming media we have to be mindful of who created it and what message they intended for it to carry. Harvey Weinstein’s name was attached to a lot of big productions, several of which probably hold a soft spot in the rebellious girls heart–Kill Bill anyone? While Weinstein is in no way redeemable as a human being, are we obligated to turn our backs on every film or TV show he had a hand in? There is no easy answer. If there was, I wouldn’t be writing this with his IMDB page open in another tab, reading through a list of some of my favorite childhood movies.

Regrettably, we are unable to rewrite our histories. Life isn’t a video game where the good guy always wins, or at least keeps respawning every time you fail.

Right now I am grateful for the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements. They are accomplishing important work that needs to be done and finally holding these sexual predators accountable. Women’s voices are no longer being undermined by those determined to maintain the status quo.

Here’s my recommendation on consuming content with a problematic history: It’s okay to continue to watch and enjoy something, and it’s okay to boycott everything associated with a sexual predator. What’s important is that you are aware of the people and the histories attached to these productions, and that you aren’t complacent in their oppression of women’s voices.  

That’s all for my first post, I hope to see you around soon.

Words have power, so @trustyourpen

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