The term ‘social justice warrior’ (SJW) has become a dirty phrase to describe anyone who fans see as changing a game or movie to allow for more inclusiveness to the detriment of the game/movie. In practice, this term comes up when games insert women or people of color into games where the property may not have had them before. On YouTube, a new genre has sprung up with titles like “Game X is SJW Propaganda” where the videos then complain about how Game X is worthless because the developers have inserted unnecessary liberal worldviews.
Gaming is not under attack by the feminazis and the liberal media. The country and the world has been divided between conservatives and liberals, and it seems that everything is being drawn into that division. I know that I run the risk of being labeled as a social justice warrior myself, but I’m firmly in the center. This article will be about why it’s irresponsible to use liberals and social justice as a boogeyman for why a game is terrible. Two games that will be used in this article are Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus and Call of Duty: WWII, two recent games that have come under fire as evidence of the gaming industry’s need to insert social justice warrior propaganda into “muh gamez.”
The first thing to know is that the Wolfenstein series has always been about shooting Nazis. This is not something that changed due to the climate of the world right now. I feel that this game would’ve come out unchanged even if there hadn’t been news stories of literal Nazis marching in the streets. A criticism I’ve seen leveled against this game to show liberal bias is the only new white character in the game is a racist, bigoted Nazi sympathizer. This is used as undeniable proof that “white people are treated as the enemy.”
I would rebut by saying that this character is a man from Texas in the 1960s. If the Third Reich had not taken over the country, this man would’ve still held the same worldview, due to the 1960s being a time when race relations were in a very tumultuous time. The Ku Klux Klan is seen running wild in the South. If, hypothetically, a group of people came into power that was willing to say that they were only looking out for white people, then you can bet that the KKK would step out of the shadows.
That same video talks about how BJ Blaskowitz’s pregnant wife is given too many awesome moments, pointing at a scene late in the game when she continues fighting even after her clothes are burned off. A dumb criticism for sure, but I’ll play along. The fact that it’s a criticism that a woman has too many action scenes does not mean that there is some feminist conspiracy to make us men bow down to the almighty woman. The only thing that is happening is a character that has endured a lot of pain and suffering at the hands of the Nazis wants nothing more than to fight for a peaceful world for her unborn child. It’s almost touching to see a woman who wants to change the world for the betterment of her children.
Call of Duty: WWII
The criticisms of the latest Call of Duty game mostly center around historical inaccuracies due to social justice warrior interference. There are a few things that instead of being seen as a way to sell copies to as many people as possible, are signs of social justice run amok.
The first main thing that comes up is the ability to play as a woman in the multiplayer. Not only a woman, but a black Nazi woman. I agree that historically, woman were not allowed to be on the front lines in a fighting capacity, nor were the Nazis known lovers of non-white people. On the whole, though the multiplayer experience in Call of Duty has never been known as a wartime simulator with the utmost care being placed to being 100% historical accuracy. There is something to be said for the campaigns of historical games having as much accuracy as could be fun for the mainstream market. The multiplayer modes usually act as essentially paintball games, where a black woman could conceivably be a competitor in. It’s less social justice and more making it possible for anybody to create a character that they can relate to.
The other big criticism, and the one that I can understand the most, is the decision by Sledgehammer Games to remove any Nazi symbols from the multiplayer. The official reason for this is that they didn’t want impressionable players to see the symbols of hate while playing as a Nazi. I believe that this may be an overreaction as the previous Call of Duty games had the swastika intact. The reaction by Sledgehammer Games to remove the swastika from the multiplayer a decision based wholly in the modern presence of very real and very public Neo Nazis in the media. It may not have been the right choice, but it’s a decision that is totally understandable.
What’s the Big Deal?
I’m not saying that these games don’t have politics inserted into them. Politics are everywhere in the gaming industry; there is no such thing as an apolitical game. It’s normal for humans to insert their beliefs into their everyday lives. It’s human nature. Do Wolfenstein and Call of Duty lean a little to the left? Most definitely, but this isn’t out of the ordinary. Art tends to be progressive politically, due to the artist’s desire to change the world in everything he does.
There are social justice warriors out there. They are the people that yell and scream about how games are racist and sexist and if you think differently then you’re part of the problem. I’m sure that most people have been in contact with some of these people, but for the most part these are people that give what the average person a bad name. Every side of every conflict has its radicals, for every militant feminist there is at least one men’s rights activist. The average person is somewhere in the middle; it’s the outliers who make the most noise.
Video games are going through a tough time, just like the rest of the world. In fact, I would argue that since video games seem to always be going through growing pains as a medium, any real-world strife seems to doubly show on the industry. If the gap between conservatives and liberals seems wide in the real world, then the gulf between conservatives and liberals on gaming forums has more vitriol and anger in each side.
Is it a big deal to have a female character that is arguably a better soldier than the main character? I don’t think so. Does wiping away symbols that may be offensive to some people mean that the game is ruined? Of course not. A good game is a good game. If a game has politics that are different than yours, then ignore it, more than likely they are not trying to brainwash anybody. Games are not being ruined by social justice or those dang liberals. If this article made you mad, and you are about to leave a message or comment, think about it for a second. Am I wrong? Why are you getting so mad about games being more inclusive? It’s not the end of the world, relax and enjoy the video games.