Feminism and Team Fortress 2

I can hear you all screaming. I can hear the thundering footsteps of tumblr-based feminists stampeding towards us. We’re all doomed. Or at least you are, since I technically don’t exist. Alright, I’m kidding, you’re safe here (although maybe not for long). But since someone suggested this topic, something that hasn’t really been covered before, I thought, why not? My stance on the whole thing is rather, well, unique…

If you just look at Team Fortress 2 at face value, you’d probably deem it as ‘propaganda for the patriarchy’ or something like that. Nine men of various sizes, shapes and nationalities, including one token black guy, who fight to the death in weird desert landscapes while capturing control points and briefcases full of paper and pants. The only possibly female in the lineup is the Pyro, and even then, it’s a 50-50 chance that it actually IS a female. It’s not looking great for equality.

Before I continue, let’s quickly have a look at the Pyro. This is all assuming that it IS female, although I personally doubt it, since its voice actor also did the Spy’s lovely voice. There’s always the argument that Pyro is female because of the handbag in the locker and his various female accessories (although I don’t understand why the opposite isn’t argued for male hats and miscs) and the random floating female symbol in Meet the Pyro. This is compounded by the male and female stances that Pyro has when he taunts. Not that this really matters. Pyro could be a symbol not just to women, but to all gender-confused and gender-swapped people out there. Pyro gets on with its life and has become a successful Pyromania and CEO of Frontier Industries. If Pyro can do it, anyone can!

But apart from Pyros and Medics wearing Geisha Boys (understandable, early Geishas were mostly male), there seems to be a lack of female presence when it comes to all the fighting and all that lark. The women just aren’t properly represented in the mercenary area. I don’t know why you’d want that though.

The Administrator is always watching us...
Always watching us.

On the flip side, everyone seems to forget this highly important point: One woman rules the world. That’s right, the Administrator rules the entire planet. In gameplay terms, you’re never bossed around by Saxton Hale, you’re bossed around by Helen the Administrator, who laughs with glee with you win and screams at you when you lose. Everything you do, every movement you make is watched by and judged by this invisible, all-seeing woman.

Even in Team Fortress 2’s lore (if you can call it lore), the women have always been the strongest characters. Miss Pauling is bringing the team back together, and as we all saw in Expiry Date, she can completely look after herself. She also drives an awesome little moped full of guns and body parts. Saxton Hale, often considered the strongest and mannliest person around, needs the touch of a woman, whether it’s Helen or his mystery woman from the past. Speaking of Saxton Hale, no man could beat him. The person who finally beat him was a little girl.

Thing is, any outsider could look at this game and say “there’s no women, it’s sexist!” but that clearly is not true. It doesn’t take a lot to wade in and see that the entire game and see that it’s not true at all. This is a video game where the women are in control.

And there’s nothing the mercs can do about it.

 

On an unrelated note, happy Talk Like A Pirate Day! Don’t forget to throw on your Pirate Demoman outfits and piss some people off with the Tide Turner. Also, happy birthday, mum.

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