The Significance of Tracer’s Booty

I haven’t been terribly active lately, but sometimes I see a thing that just feels like it’s worth a comment.  Today, that issue is Tracer from Blizzard’s new first person shooter Overwatch, and her booty.  Now, I have been at most passively following Overwatch.  I’m not huge on FPS’s but I do really like the characters and their personalities, particularly Tracer.  I like her catchphrase, I like her personality, and I like the fast assassin style of play she represents.  And yes, I also like her butt.  I like butts, I’m a butt guy, and it’s okay if I like butts.  Butts are cool.

That said, Tracer’s butt is becoming very controversial.  Why?  Well, one of her poses is her showing off her butt.  Not a dynamic, cool pose that happens to show a little extra butt.  Not like a taunting back-turned pose, or anything particularly cool, just her showing off her butt. Someone, for better or worse, made a post on Blizzard’s feedback forum about how this pose was out of character for Tracer and Blizzard ended up deciding to remove the pose from the game.

This shouldn’t be a big deal.  A fan made a point (a well-reasoned point, no less) and the creators reacted to it.  Then, the craziness happened.  People started doing mocking reactionary threads where they battled a strawman whose argument in no way resembled the original post.  People started in about how people need to stop being so easily offended while being horribly offended that a voice other than theirs was heard.  

And look, I don’t even necessarily agree that the pose was problematic.  I think it was, at worst, bland and unremarkable.  I could see a problem with it, but the problem would be less that it exists and more that it exists instead of something cooler and better and more fitting with the character.  I think that removing the thing doesn’t really do much since, as far as I can tell, you have to pay in-game currency for the pose anyway so if you don’t like it it may as well not exist anyway.  No one seemed to actually be offended by it, though a few people were annoyed by it.

So why, after saying all of this, is Tracer’s booty significant?  Because it’s brought to light some  problematic things in the gaming community.  Because even though we’re not just losing a pose, we’re trading it for what is supposedly a more fitting-for-the-character pose, people are throwing tantrums.  They’re throwing tantrums about things like censorship and artistic liberty, which aren’t really relevant to the conversation, and then turning their own arguments on themselves by demanding that Blizzard put the pose back in (with some threatening to cancel their pre-orders).

Now if this is that important to you, then fine. If you’re so easily offended that replacing one pose with another is going to get you to cancel your purchase then that is your prerogative and you are, in fact, choosing the right way to have your voice heard, but let’s be honest about it.  The person who suggested the poses removal is not the one who is thin-skinned or easily offended, you are.  You’re not defending anyone’s artistic liberty or battling censorship, you’re demanding that you get your way.  And that’s fine, argue for getting your way, but do it like an adult and don’t act like you’re some oppressed freedom fighter trying to save artists from a nonexistent scourge.

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