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Dumb things pop-culture critics say: boys don't like female soldiers

kat · 1 · 10075

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Offline kat

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Boys wouldn't find female soldiers "believable".

The believability or not of female soldiers in Battlefield 1 is not predicated upon an accusatory interpretation of implied intent on the developers behalf. It depends solely on how the presence of women on the battle-field is framed and presented to the player. In other words, what story is the player given to explain female combat soldiers in the World they inhabit. What's the story behind it, because yes, based entirely upon trench warfare and front-line combat as it is historically documented to have happened, and as the player might already know it, coming across female soldiers is incongruous enough to potentially break immersion if a supporting rationale for their being there is not provided.

In other words, historically contextualised to the First World War as it stands, of atrocious bloody front-line combat, it is indeed unexpected, nay "[not] believable", to find female soldiers prancing about the battlefield poking peoples eyes out with bayonets, because the cold, hard, and costly truth and reality of the World War One, is that there were no female soldiers engaged in Front-line combat. This may be a distasteful reality for 'politics', but it is a reality nonetheless.

With that said, this is, of course (it goes without saying), not to say female soldiers in a First World War setting cannot or should not happen. Quite the opposite in fact, especially should their presence be made clear by the story presented to the player.

For example female front-line troops in a First World War setting might be explained as a direct consequence of being granted enfranchisement before the Great War thus obligating them to fight and die for King and Country just as men and boys had been doing historically for centuries up and to that point without[1].

Alternatively women could have volunteered and fought in the trenches alongside their male counterparts knowing that at War's end they would be rewarded with the same Entitlement, obligating their being subject to the same historical responsibilities toward eligibility as men[2], a condition Government perhaps placed on all adults (over 21) for enfranchisement - "Join the Effort. Get the Reward. A Right to Vote![3]".

Or women fighting in the trenches being there as a result of pretending to be men, with breasts bound and mustachios penciled, all in the name of subversive 'suffering' for enfranchisement.

Or using equally suspicious but well intentioned fakery to volunteer because their brothers, fathers, husbands, sons had been killed leaving no-one left to fight but themselves.

But this is not the game Battlefield 1 looks to be. And this should not be taken to mean anything beyond face value, certainly nothing 'political' unless the developer specifically speaks upon that point (they haven't especially). Whilst a person can muse the possibilities and what-if's, denying the realities of the conflict and the desires of the developer to pay homage to it, projecting motives and agendas where they don't exist, naming and shaming those not in agreement, helps no-one. Then again that's never the point of such disingenuous faux outrage or criticism.

Incidentally, considering some 250,000 "boys" lied about their age to volunteer, enlist, fight and subsequently die in the early months of the War because they thought it was their Duty to King and Country, it's an interesting choice of words to use to make a point - "boys wouldn't find..." instead of "male gamers...." or perhaps just "gamers....".

[1] at the outbreak of the First World War, and contrary to a particularly politicised but popular point of view, few soldiers fighting and dying in the trenches were qualified to vote, they were either too young (under 21), or had other disqualifying impediments[cf. 1b]. It was not until AFTER the war and the passing of the "Representation of the People Act, 1918" that a majority of males aged 21 and over, and females age 30 and above (and/or married), were entitled to vote in both local and national elections (with some of the same conditions of eligibility applicable to both, whilst women were subject to additional caveats). This meant that prior to the 1918 Act a majority of men and boys were fighting ostensibly as a Responsibility of Citizenship, an Obligated Duty to Crown and Country, not the eligibility to vote.

[1b] as of the "Reform Act, 1884" Entitlement was an extension of Property rights; ownership of land, property, rental, tenancy etc., determined eligibility. Electing a Member of Parliament or Local Government Representative was not considered a 'personal right' in the sense it is understood today until the "Representation of the People (Equal Franchise) Act 1928" granted equal eligibility status to both men and women aged 21 and above.

[2] when looking at the political rhetoric surrounding franchise Entitlement it was considered a reward of soldiers ostensibly to assuage the possibility of outcry at the monumental changes to Eligibility requirements for voting and offset the fact women were to be granted the same privileges without having been subject to the same historic Duties, Obligations or Responsibilities. Even after the Great Wars end and the "Representation of the People Act, 1918" came into being, men were still enlisting or being conscripted as a continuance of prior historic obligations and duties to Crown and Country only they had been subject to, not because they now had the vote, or as a consequence of it. In other words, Parliament could not grant women wholesale franchise access whilst much of the male population, especially those whom had fought and died in the trenches, were still not eligible.

- "The most sweeping change which the Act introduces is the admission of women to the Parliamentary franchise, whilst the difficult question of the enfranchisement of soldiers, sailors, and others serving in connection with the War, is solved by giving them the franchise for the Constituency in which but for their service in connection with the War they would have been entitled to vote, or, as an alternative, for the constituency (if any) in which they happen to have an actual qualification."
("The Representation of the People Act, 1918" by Sir Hugh Fraser LL.D. (Pub. 1918) - Introduction (pdf pg.27-33)

[3] certainly with the "Reform Act 1884", and even with the "Representation of the People Act 1918", voting was not yet considered a Right as is understood today, it was a privilege granted by Government as a direct consequence of State controlled conditions of eligibility; a person had to earn it rather than it being inherently inalienable to the individual.