Katie “Kiyora” Bilan’s talk about Feminism in video games sparks internet debateMarch 31, 2019
Katie “Kiyora” Bilan recently gave a talk in FEU regarding feminism in video games.
And while the the actual talk is not in the post, the post itself got backlash from people commenting that identity politics should be left out in video games as well as various sociopolitical agendas.
Some added that games should be judged on graphics, gameplay, story and other gameplay features but not a platform to push political ideologies.
The two sides
“I’ve never looked at a video game or a comic book and said: “I can’t enjoy this because the person doesn’t look like me or isn’t the same gender as me. I’m not represented.” That shit is for losers.” One comment said while others echo the same sentiments.
While there are those who dislike representation on video games, there are also gamers who applaud companies for doing such.
In the Kotaku article, she said it felt good to be represented and that it was nice to see people enjoy playing as a black person because she was made fun of as a kid up until she was a teenager for looking the way she was.
Knowing that a certain type of race or gender is loved and embraced by the community made her feel more comfortable of her identity.
Diversity in various games
However, this trend of adding more diversity in isn’t really new. Game developers have been been adding more representation in video games in recent years. Overwatch has recently revealed that Soldier 76 is gay despite of the community’s lack of enthusiasm on the sudden announcement without any hints that he is gay. This is also what pretty much what J.K. Rowling did with Dumbledore and she too is getting flak.
Battlefield 5 also has a female as the cover and was the lead in the trailer. This sparked backlash from the community pointing out that the developers are pandering to the minority. They also added that there were not a lot of females in World War 2 making it less historically accurate.
Apex Legends, the new Battle Royale game that has taken the world by storm has a lot of representation and diversity as well. The game has 2 black women and a pacific islander as one of characters you can choose from in the game. But unlike Overwatch and Battlefield 5, there was very little outcry on it’s diversity.
People have also criticized that some developers are just adding diversity just for the sake of adding it. They also added that this is also a tool to get minorities to buy their games as video games in general are dominated by males.
Others defend Bilan
While there are those who criticize Bilan’s talk, there are those who defended her saying that they should understand what she is saying first before criticizing her since her talk is not even on the post. The term “Feminism” is also too broad to discern what exactly she talked about and there seems to be no copy of her talk online either or at least not that I’m aware of.
This is for the most part, important since context is everything.