“Old Woman!”

Here’s an article that I stumbled upon yesterday, in regards to Overwatch, a game I recently purchased.


Now, ignoring the juvenile hate in the comment section (as gamers are wont to do whenever they perceive “SJW” content), there is something of a point to be found within the article, though I’d suggest it goes far beyond Overwatch.

Our entertainment industry as a whole doesn’t quite seem to know just what to do with older women, either as actors or as characters within our stories.  While there are a smattering of examples (Murder She Wrote and Golden Girls from the 80’s) come to mind, especially recently, women in entertainment find themselves more in tune with what Amy Schumer notes in her own show.

(Warning: some NSFW content within this clip)

(I am intentionally ignoring the fact that I would have absolutely no problem dating any of the girls in that video, for the record.  Especially Tina Fey there.  One of my few crushes.  Where are you in my life?)

The stories from Hollywood are especially cringeworthy.  The then 28-year old Olivia Wilde being deemed too old to play the romantic counterpart to 37-year old Leonardo Dicaprio in “The Wolf of Wall Street (http://www.avclub.com/article/olivia-wilde-was-deemed-too-old-leonardo-dicaprio–233872).  Or 37-year-old Maggie Gyllenhall being “too old” for 55-year old James Spader (http://www.avclub.com/article/maggie-gyllenhaal-37-was-told-she-was-too-old-play-219788).

That said, I am confident that as Blizzard was designing Overwatch that none of them said, “to hell with those crones.”  The female characters in fact do have considerable range of ages going by official biographies.  I’m not even sure that they intentionally tried to make every female character “young looking,” as really the older male characters in Overwatch don’t exactly look all that old outside of gray hair, and also have some fairly absurd backstories to explain their vitality (read up on Reaper or Reinhardt in that game sometime).

And it’s not like video games have ever had the problem of making even canonically old characters look like they’re twelve or anything (glares at the Fire Emblem series warily).

But it is an odd look for a game that went to great lengths to celebrate diversity, and to resounding success, that all the ladies of Overwatch look like they’re barely old enough to legally purchase alcohol in the United States.

Is it a problem with the entertainment culture?  Artistic style?  Market demand?  I dunno.  But I do think there’s a problem there somewhere, and it needs to be found before we can effectively fix it.

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