Monday, June 25, 2007

Frag Doll Responds: Reposted From 79 Soul...

Valkyrie FD, one of the Frag Dolls, took the time to address some of my concerns and questions from my musings about the Frag Dolls. I thought it was interesting, and, honestly, I certainly didn't expect them to respond directly. Still, she raises some interesting points, and I absolutely think her response is worth sharing. So, without further ado:

Actually a great read and I understand your concerns. I can't speak for all the frag dolls, but I know I specifically took this JOB from Ubisoft for not only a career move, but more importantly to do what I think is best for female gaming at the time: to push aside stereotypes about female gaming and bring about more awareness in the hopes that more girl gamers will come over and play. As bad as this sounds, when girl gamers aren't a minority, I will quit shoving my sex in the face of those that continue to make my life a living hell when I am gaming online. While I don't consider myself a feminst in most parts, when it comes to gaming you would probably be shocked to know I very much am.

Now, working for Ubisoft do I agree with everything they do with our brand and our team? Of course not, I am a gamer and as with typical gamers I fight many things about corporate ownership and dictation of my beliefs about gaming and the industry. But working for Ubisoft also allows me to have a voice for things I believe in and we do indeed have an impact to what they do with us and utilize us for.

Now of course I think I am decent looking, but I am also a 31 year old, married, slightly overweight Frag Doll. There are other married Frag Dolls as well, and I wasn't even the oldest frag doll until Katscratch left to follow her gaming career. Is this an excuse for the perception people have against the frag dolls that we are all young, single, hotties? By all means no, I am simply saying if their only motive was to sell sex, the could do a much better job then myself. Did looks count when Ubisoft picked us? Of course I think they factored in, they put us together to help market and promote their products, and it is safe to say that that any company that is going to put a face to their products would want one that is appealing and can present their company well. But it isnt like they went after models, and it most certainly was not the most important factor to say the least. In fact most of the frag dolls are simply cute or normal looking with a couple of exceptions, dont let professional photography or makeup fool you all that much.

Point of fact is if Ubisoft based their picks on looks we would not be able to carry the wins and placements of all the tournaments that we have competed in, period. No way in hell, becuase gaming with, and beating, the male gamers out there takes a natural love, skill and dedication and you can't make people have this on a whim. When they picked us, it was for the package in all things, but most important was true love and skill for the games themselves.

I like to think of it as baby steps to help change this industry and bring attention that hardcore gaming consumers arent only 13yr old males, and unfortunatly the only way the female voice seems to be heard is if we are in a group instead of lets say, a co-ed team (which is hopefully where the future will end). This is why I only play for female teams and the reason I helped found my clan and my heart, the PMS Clan as well. One day there will be no need for all-female teams, but until that day comes consider me a feminist for gaming to the extreme. And this is how I push my feminism-by showing that girls don't need guys to carry a win for them and can do it all on their own, and do it well.

I know this mentality usually riles some guys up, but it breaks my heart when I see female gamers out there think we don't do a good thing for all of us. If you look at the big picture of things, I know in my heart we are doing a GREAT thing for female gamers out there and as long as Ubisoft doesn't go against my morals or better judgement, I will continute to promote THEM to promote US.

Anyway, as I said I did enjoy your article and appreciate your interest and questioning. I hope I was able to clarify somethings but if you have any more questions, indeed let me know.


Moody said...

Wow, I didn't expect them to respond. I'm really glad they did.
Are you still torn about the issue Roy?

Cara said...

I really didn't expect a response, either. That's cool.

I don't agree with everything she said, here. But hey, credit where credit is due.

strikebunny said...

I have been playing video games for most of my life and I've never felt like the Frag Dolls and others like them are doing anything good for me.

My problem is that their message seems to be "you can be a gamer and still be a girly girl too" when it should be "forget about restrictive gender roles and do what you enjoy."

Roy said...

moody: I am, actually. She raises some good points, and I'm not sure how fair it is of me to be harshly critical. Because, here's the thing: Yes, I think all of us can agree that Ubisoft is looking at them, on some level, as models. They're using women to push games, but they're taking a slightly different approach than a lot of other companies- but what Ubisoft is intending isn't necessarily the same as what the women involved are intending. All of us, as feminists, pick our battles. If being a Frag Doll allows her to get a message out- that women can be gamers, and totally kick ass... well, maybe that's fair. We pick our battles and we make concessions sometimes.

And, here's the other thing: If a company offered me a chance to make a living gaming, and blogging about games, and going to gaming conventions? I'd jump at the chance. Even if it meant that I had to be corporate shill.

strikebunny: Yeah, I know what you mean. That's also part of why I'm torn, too. If the message is "You can be a kick ass gamer and still be girly" is that necessarily wrong, or is just not the message I, personally, want? If that message helps women break into gaming, and helps everyone realize "You know, gaming isn't just a men's field, everyone can enjoy it" then I guess, to some degree, it helps.

I may have to take her up on the offer to ask some more questions. Perhaps I can get an e-mail interview. Anyone else have questions that they'd like answered?

MoePower said...

Sorry if I'm a little late on this one. I was just browsing around the internet for that had to do with gaming and whatnot and happened to google upon this one. I hope you don't mind my extra two cents!

I read the entry you made a few posts down about the Frag Dolls and their place in the gaming industry and I have to say, you probably are the only person who has written something constructive about them that I have seen in quite a long time. I really respect the way you approached it. I'm not going to go into detail why I defend these ladies with all my heart and have so much respect for them because Val pretty much hit the nail on the head. However, I have spent a good amount of time with these ladies and honestly, they and their community are the specific reason why I continued to play games despite the grief I received on Xbox Live back in the day.

One thing most people do not understand is that they aren't just faceless shills who shove UBISOFT down your throats. If you ever get a chance to play with them online, you'll find it's quiet the opposite. Plus, if they don't like a specific Ubi game, they'll be very vocal about it.

This part, however, was interesting to me...because it sort of pertains to me:

"When the casting call went out that the Frag Dolls were looking for two more members, they got dozens of responses. They selected only eight for consideration.
Should I be surprised that all eight are... drum roll... thin and attractive? Should I be shocked that the winners were 21 and 19?"

I was one of the the Final 8 (Shannon/Moe)). It was one of the best experiences in my life. I would do it all over in a heartbeat.

Honestly, I kind of winced when I read "all eight are thin and attractive". All of the girls varied in shape and size. All of the girls that were in it also had skills to pay the bills, so to speak (Not trying to toot my own horn here...). Not just pretty faces. All of the girls also came from deep-rooted gaming backgrounds as well...and the same goes with the current Dolls.

Anyway, I'm getting off-track...I just wanted to let you know it was an interesting read. I'm also glad Valkyrie responded and gave you some clarification.

Take Care!