• Theevenger - March 10, 2012 12:30 a.m.

    Seriously? You made an Aliens reference but ignored Ripley? Also, if you're looking for strong females in SF...Honor Harrington much?
  • crswaites - March 10, 2012 7:29 a.m.

    Actually, Aliens is absolutely the best example of a female Sci Fi action movie, she's absolutely amazing. Also, that movie came out in 1986, and she's still the best example (until FemShep). I think that's quite telling.
  • Mamudo - March 9, 2012 11:52 p.m.

    I've played both male and female Shepard's. I prefer playing "FemShep", primarily because I prefer the Jennifer Hale's voice over her male counter-part. I feel that she deliver and lines better and when it's time for Shepard to be tough, she sounds more demanding. The differences in the story between male and female are minor and I would have to disagree that there is a "best" ME story, but there is definitely a favorite story for each player, provided they have multiple play-throughs with differtn types of Shepards. That being said, my favorite is the story from the perspective of Kim Shepard.
  • RebornKusabi - March 9, 2012 10:09 p.m.

    As a male, forward-thinking FemShep fan, I completely agree with this article and I am currently linking it around to my friends for them to read since I have never been one to be able to voice exactly why I liked FemShep. Thankfully I won't have to anymore- this article does it for me!
  • crswaites - March 9, 2012 9:46 p.m.

    I couldn't possibly agree more. There are interactions in the game that just seem weird or contextually groan worthy when done as a male rather than a female. Yes, men and women are equal here in the world of 2012. But it is still bizarre and somewhat disturbing when a male punches an UNARMED reporter in the face just because she's slightly annoying and unfair. It leaves a bad taste in the mouth. I get that it's Renegade Shepard and he's a total dick, but it's still weird when a man punches a woman in the face, it's supposed to be a "Hell yeah!" moment. When a female Shepard punches that reporter in the face, it makes much more sense contextually, Renegade *or* paragon. It just seems like the exact right response at the exact right time. Another example: Shepard headbutting the Krogan. As a male it is brutish and macho. So what. A guy head butts a monster. It's not anything we wouldn't see Will Smith do in any Sci Fi movie, or worse, Vin Diesel. But when Femshep headbutts a monster that easily weighs three times as much as her, it's not about machoness at all, but a demand that she be treated with as much respect as everyone else in the conversation. There's something incredibly uninteresting to me about Male Shepard kicking ass and taking names, because that is the essence of every single thing in the media that is action oriented. There is never an action here that barely kicks ass and refuses to take names. On the other hand, watching female Shepard do things that are awesome, without losing her feminity-- there are several encounters with non-romance options where the character across from you comments on how beautiful she is-- she is the ultimate gender equality in a sci-fi/action setting. Compare to Skyrim, where you can pick your gender, can even get married, yet your character is utterly sexless and could not be more of a cypher.
  • RebornKusabi - March 9, 2012 10:12 p.m.

    Your examples are what the author meant about subtext that commenters under you didn't seem to understand.
  • Hexen255 - March 9, 2012 9:14 p.m.

    Female Shepard is nothing more then a different model with a different voice, I couldn't disagree more that the story or it's subtext is any different besides who you can have a relationship with. There is absolutely no best way to play Mass Effect, and anyone claiming otherwise is the one who is incorrect. Also, by claiming there is some kind of difference between playing male or female Shepard I feel you are enforcing there a difference in class between genders rather then accepting the equality both in the game and in our world.
  • Deathblow92 - March 9, 2012 9:31 p.m.

    I completely agree. By even bring up this point of you just re-enforce why it's not true. If sexes are truly equal in this universe, then there shouldn't be a "best" version gender-wise. The other thing I'd like to bring up, I see no difference in the voice acting. They're both awesome.
  • Megalovina - March 9, 2012 11:34 p.m.

    You two have just spectacularly failed gender/racism/queer theory 101 Go directly to jail. Do not collect $200 dollars.
  • celticwhisper - March 10, 2012 8:25 a.m.

    Please do not do that. If you're going to tell someone they "failed (x) 101", give an explanation as to why so they learn what they did wrong. Personally, I think deathblow92 has a point - the only way we're going to get beyond sexism is to view the sexes as having no differences outside of the obvious biological ones, and even then to minimize inference drawn from those biological differences (e.g. do not assume greater/lesser capability based on generalities such as male muscle mass, female pain tolerance, etc.) ME comes a lot closer than a lot of media to doing that, due in large part to the aforementioned programming constraints. FemShep and MaleShep act the same way, do the same things, accomplish the same goals, and both have the same options open to them. They're portrayed as equally flawed and human, capable of pride, doubt, determination, hurt, and the remainder of the host of human emotion (many thanks to the work of Hale and Meer). This seems to me to be the very picture of gender equity. If you disagree, that's fine, but you will not be granted any credence for saying "No, you're wrong" without explaining yourself. "Go directly to jail. Do not collect $200 dollars." only serves to compound the antagonistic tone of your reply and does nothing to cultivate respect or consideration for your words.
  • Megalovina - March 10, 2012 1:28 p.m.

    Nope. It is not the oppressed job to educate the oppressor. If you truly are interested in power relations and hierarchies then educate yourself. I have no obligation to hold your hand. And who says I was trying to make a "credible" agreement? I picked those words to provoke on purpose. Sometimes people need tough love or to be called out on their bullshit in less than nice terms; conflict is a part of life. No, he doesn't have a point; he is using faulty logic. By that logic if his house caught on fire he could ignore it to make it go away. Sexism, racism, homophobia, transphonbia and the like are not just abstract ideas; they are real and embodied in everyday life. Why don't you tell the parents of all those gay kids who keep on committing suicide because of physical, mental and emotional bullying that homophobia does not exist and they can just close their eyes and wish it away. But the Mass Effect universe isn't equal. The only female characters in ME1 and ME2 were either Asair, who are designed to pander to the heterosexual male audience, and human females who had the same body model as the asair, as side from the head of course. All the other races either wrote off the female side of their species as "at the home world having babies" (which is a whole other can of sexiest worms) or they just ignore them completely. Yes I know the salarian are a matriarchy so they are "too busy" to leave the home planet, but they are still absent from the game no matter how good the intentions. Why are voice actors of the volus and the other nonhumanoid minor races all male or masculine sounding? Bioware obviously employed female voice actors so why could have one of the random hanar shopkeepers have a feminine/female voice? I have yet to play ME3 so I don't know if they added more females other than krogans, but even if they did that does not negate the fact diverse female bodies were largely absent from the first two games. Mass Effect is neither made or played in cultural void. Developers and players alike are coloured by their past experiences and personal biases which they bring into the games they play/make because people are not robots who can turn off our emotions. Hell, people play games like Mass Effect to feel emotions and experience different perspectives. True objectivity is impossible so the closest we can get to it is by examining our own biases and how /who/what influenced them in the first place to try and fill the gaps. Media is made to navigate and explaining our own reality to ourselves and others in ways impossible in our embodied lives; so it is very important to examine who exactly are the ones that are doing the most speaking and who are they speaking and are not speaking about because, like it or not, media influences they way we view and relate to others and ourselves. I’m sure everyone has had a fictional character that has made them look at an issue differently or inspired them to change their behaviour for better or worse. Well, it looks like you got me to explain myself after all. Congratulations you just got critical theory 101 without having to pay for it; I guess I am not as nihilistic as I thought. If you are truly interested in educating yourself in this kind of theory then I can point you to a few soft core critical theory blog sites, but this is the kind of thing you can’t learn from a text book or take a few classes than never think about again. You are going to have to read all kinds of different articles and theory from people of all different backgrounds and think about it, maybe even write about it. Critical theory is like a language, if you don’t use it you lose it. Also, for all you Bioware defenders, just because a game has problematic elements, like weak representations of disempowered groups, does not automatically make it bad. As long as we can identify those problems and why the creators made them the way they are (like a staff of a game being made up of mostly white guys so the game panders to them the most). So basically what I am trying to say is take everything with a grain of salt, yes that even means this essay.
  • Yukichin - March 11, 2012 7:12 p.m.

    I haven't played Mass Effect, so I can't comment much, but I do like that you admit that problematic things are not inherently bad. That being said, I VERY firmly disagree, as a gay man, with the notion that it's not our job to educate. In fact, I'd say quite the opposite: it IS our job. Getting mad at someone, telling them to just go look things up instead of giving a human face to issues, and insulting them doesn't help things. Instead it just sets people against you. If you help educate people you have a MUCH better chance of them actually listening and learning, rather than just becoming annoyed. In fact, I'd go so far as to say that telling them THEY need to learn by themselves is rather patronizing, because if nobody's going to teach them, how on earth are they supposed to gain knowledge?
  • FantasticMrStarFox - March 9, 2012 9:02 p.m.

    I completely agree. Femshep is a total badass. In some ways i think female shepard is better than the male one. For one the default femshep actually looks practical and not just a model. The voice actress for femshep really puts way more feeling into her dialogue. You can really feel the tension when you pick one of the Renegade options with her.
  • Evanesco - March 9, 2012 8:51 p.m.

  • Matt Hughes - March 9, 2012 8:33 p.m.

    This is a fantastic article
  • MasterBhater - March 9, 2012 9:02 p.m.

    How about you calm down and enjoy the rest of the amazing, funny, and thought-provoking content that GamesRadar throws at us (such as this article). I'm damn sure that GR has already heard the fans. I'm sure they know you love TalkRadar, and it'll come back some day when the GR staff feels like it. Boycotting a website whose main source of revenue is not comments posted, but ads shown, is not going to contribute to your cause.
  • Fox_Mulder - March 9, 2012 9:31 p.m.

    I can't escape this comment whenever I go on GR. Umm you're a chode go take your little gun and get the hell out of my GamesRadar.

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