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Wednesday, 29 May 2019

Changing History for Inclusivity?

I am not a gamer.  I think that the last game I played was Mortal Kombat back in the 90s which mainly consisted of hitting a lot of buttons with no idea what I was doing.  (Worked for me though, I had a good success rate!)

The guy I am dating is a gamer.  I was interested to see how games have progressed over the years, in terms of graphics, how realistic, what they were like to play now etc etc.  My first introduction was the new Spiderman game and I was amazed at how far games have come along.  You could actually learn your way around New York just by playing the game and the quality of the animation is as good as and in some cases better than film quality.

Then he showed me Battlefield V.   I wasn't sure a first person shooter game was going to be something that interested me, but he showed me the advertisement video as a taster and I was shocked to see that one of the first people I saw was a woman.  On the front line, in a WW2 game.

Women were not on the front line in WW2.

Photo Credit

The Russians, I agree, had women in active duty, such as Lyudmila Pavlichenko, the famous Soviet  sniper.  But were there American and British women on the front lines of battle in hand to hand combat against the Nazis?  No.  

Featuring women on the promo posters and showing them predominantly in the game for me, is an insult to both the men who actually served on the front, but also, the women who contributed to the war effort, many dying in the process.

Have we reached a place where inclusivity prevails over historical accuracy?

Now in 2019 women can serve in any branch of the military as a man.   If you can pass the same physical tests that men undergo, there is no reason to stop a woman who wishes to serve her country and be at the front line of battle.  Women are already doing this now and have died doing so.

But in WW2 this was not on the case.  Not in battle.  This is where EA DICE have fundamentally screwed up.  Including women in this game is completely historically incorrect and to me, is so wrong.

While women were not subject to the draft and were not called to the front, women did contribute to the war effort, some sacrificing their lives in the process.  They worked in munition factories.  They drove ambulances.  Ferried planes.  Nurses joined the war effort in their thousands, stationed close to the front and helping wounded soldiers.  Some died in the process.

Women were recruited for and joined the resistance, became spies and operatives; risking their lives to share information and derail the Nazis.  They fought.  They shot and just like the men who they fought along side, some were captured, tortured and died.  

Women like Irena Sendler, a Polish social worker who saved over 2500 Jewish children from the Nazis in Warsaw.  She was captured, tortured to the extent that her legs and feet were broken, yet she refused to provide information.

American Virginia Hall, called "the most dangerous of the Allied spies" by the Nazis.  Despite only having one leg, she helped to train the French resistance and caused chaos for the Nazis with cutting supply lines and gathering vital information, all the while being hunted by the SS/

New Zealander Nancy Wake aka "the white mouse" as she was called by the Germans who on occasion, killed Nazis with her bare hands.

Violette Szabo, who worked as a British operative and resistance fighter and fought against the Nazis.  She was ultimately captured and despite several escape attempts from the concentration camp, was ultimately executed.  She was the second woman to ever be awarded posthumously the George Cross. 

There are so many more.

My point?   EA DICE did not need to pander to inclusivity by including women in the game, featured in places where they did not fight.  Because although not at the front lines, women served their countries in many ways, dying in the process.

You want to include women in WW2 in a game?  Make a game about the resistance, about spies in WW2, where women served alongside men.  Don't just include them in a game to appease gender equality.  Women played their own, active and vital part too.

Celebrate that.  Don't put women where they were not and do not insult in the process the war heroes who fought on the front lines and died for our country.  Both men and women deserve better than this.