On Your-Critic.com, K. Cox discusses how her feminist perspective makes it difficult to enjoy mainstream entertainment, including video games, because she doesn’t identify with the characters:
The ability never to be alienated by the games we play or by the people who play them is the very core of privilege. Bust out that p-word and gamers get riotous, but there’s no way around it. Despite all of the crap that’s been handed to me over the last three decades, I have privilege by the metric ton. I’m as white as white can be, identify perfectly well with the sex and gender I was born with, and have almost exclusively heterosexual attractions. In those senses, I’m pretty thoroughly represented in game worlds, plots, narratives, and characters. Further, I have two good hands, two good eyes, and two good ears — so I’m pretty thoroughly catered to in terms of game mechanics, audio-visual design, and control schemes. For a number of my friends and peers? The layers of crap to deal with just never end.
The golden days of everyone being able to “just play a game,” if any such days exist, are ahead of us still, not lying dormant in some sepia-tinted past. They are the same as the golden days of all our other pop culture and pop art: lying in a society that’s come to terms with understanding sex, gender, race, and a whole lot more.
I don’t dismiss her perspective in the least, because I too as a sexual minority have seen the world through similar perspectives (i.e., not finding myself identified with the dominant heterosexual characters in mainstream pop culture). At the same time, my experience today with a more integrated and evolutionary perspective is remarkably different. I can both criticize mainstream culture’s shortcomings and also enjoy it at the same time.
Cox concludes her reflection on a complex note. She sounds nostalgic, wishing for “golden days” in which pop culture understands socio-cultural complexities, but she realizes that if a more enlightened world exists it must be through cultural evolution.
And yet I wonder how her failure to enjoy pop culture, rooted in a core non-acceptance of what is and a refusal to identify with a larger sense of Self which can overcome resentments, is impeding her ability to create new forms of culture that overcome the past.
From a standpoint of being part of an emerging revolution in the world’s spirituality, I want for all people to see that they can identify with their True Self — that unqualified personal essence that is all that is real, and of which there is only one — only partially in varying degrees in all forms of culture.
Truly if we are to be Who We Truly Are it is necessary to create new forms of culture that come ever closer to allowing all of us to find simple enjoyments in ordinary life. We must evolve … so our culture reflects not only the image of who we are (man, woman, straight, gay, black, white), but our essence.