So this blog post might get me a lot of hate, but here it is. Blizzard released the Overwatch comic, which (pretty much) confirms that Tracer is gay with this image.
Let me just say, kickass, awesome, amazing, woo. I am all about the choice to have Tracer be an open lesbian and good one Blizzard. However, some people have rightfully complained that this was really the safe way to go about representation. The reaction to those complaints has been ridiculous. Let me break this down a little better.
Those complaining that this was the safe way to have a gay couple, highlight that attractive lesbians are often used as “representation” because people (mostly men) have an easier time accepting this. Even the most outspoken haters of homosexuals often find themselves being complete pervs when it comes to attractive lesbian couples. The issue that people have is that if Blizzard really wanted to be more representative that maybe they could have gone another route, like two men, or less “hot” and “sexualized” women.
Those that hate this are tired of SJW never being happy about anything. First let me just say if you use SJW anymore just stop. The term social justice warrior used to have merit, it does not anymore. Now it’s simply an insult thrown around in lieu of actual conversation about a subject. Move on and find something more clever. Second stop being so dismissive.
Representation is a difficult thing, even though it really shouldn’t be. Companies are faced with a lot of blow back if they do decide to have a more diverse cast of characters, so they do in fact often choose the “safe” route. For instance black men being the wise person that helps the white lead. Women who laugh and joke with the guys, and often are insulting to other women. Black women as someone sassy and in your face. Gay men as the sassy best friend. And hot lesbians that everyone can say “oh that’s hot” about. The thing is these safe things aren’t actually really getting to the point of representation and can even be more insulting than if the characters just weren’t in the media in the first place.
I am not dismissing the choice to have Tracer be an open lesbian, in fact I believe that I used the word “awesome”. What I AM saying is that people have a right to say that this is just a first step and that Blizzard should do more. I am also saying that you need to stop being dismissive. Even if you disagree with those complaining (which you might) take the time to have an actual conversation and not just slap a lame insult on it. Consider what people mean when they are saying that following certain tropes doesn’t get to the heart of really representing certain groups. If we are truly going to move towards media that includes diverse characters then it has to be in all forms, not just forms that are easy for everyone to be exposed to.
Good on Blizzard for this step. Good on people saying that they need to do more. Good on people that have managed to have real conversations about this and not just insult fights. Maybe a few other people should take a step back when it comes to this.