Why I’m not a Feminist (and why that isn’t the same as being anti-feminist)

So today’s post is going to be a bit…controversial, maybe? It will be sort of like walking through a minefield but I feel that I need to express my point of view on this and so while I may end of putting my foot in my mouth, I’m going to just be as completely honest with this subject as I can. This post isn’t an anti-feminism post. I’m not going to be trying to attack feminism  but rather explain from my point of view why I’m not a feminist (or at least don’t class myself as a feminist) and why that is not the same as being anti-feminist. If you disagree with something I said or take issue with any of the statistics I mention then I urge you to leave a comment. I welcome all rational conversations on the subject and if my point of view is misguided, I welcome being shown that.

This is going to be pretty long. If you want a snapshot view of my opinion, I’ll add a summary at the end but if you’re going to critique my opinion, I’d suggest reading all of the post as I’ll explain myself better (I hope) within the main body of text.

 

A Brief History

I just want to set the tone a little bit here by covering a brief run through of the feminist movement as a whole. The movement itself didn’t really kick off until the first women’s conference in America in 1848. Women had played an active role in other movements such as to abolish slavery but never one focussing on solely women’s rights. That’s not to say that prominent female and male figures hadn’t spoken out in a manner expected of a feminist. I mean you can look throughout ancient history and see examples of feminism but if we look at more recent history, we can look to 1792.

Here you had Mary Wollstonecraft who as a philosopher spoke out against systematic disadvantages that women faced. This included their education and upbringing being directed towards appeasing men. While this perhaps would have been a reasonably fair example of the patriarchy, Wollstonecraft held both sexes responsible and believed that only by educating both sides could you solve the problem. She was reluctant to cause a ‘him vs her’ scenario.

In the 1780’s you had male support for female suffrage. Mathematician’s such as Nicolas de Condorcet who was an active defender of human rights. You also had Jeremy Bentham who spoke out for complete equality between the sexes. In his published work of 1781 he called out the act of societies lowering the standard of women.

 

19th Century

Through the 19th century a wide range of changes took place in favour of equality. During this time there became gender role divide of men earning the money and women looking after the house and children. This was just a more modern version of gender roles that have existed throughout human history. Fun fact (ok, not so fun): evidence suggests that gender inequality didn’t come into play until we became agricultural. While gender roles existed before then, men and women are believed to have had an equal say within each group.

Anyway, back to the 19th century. In Scotland (wooo!) in 1843, Marion Reid published ‘A Plea for Women’ which was essentially a transatlantic call for all women to join together to improve their standard of living.  One of the main features within this was a call for a better, fairer education. This proved to be the focus of 19th century feminism. Campaigns led to women being able to receive higher education and even opened up a women’s higher educational institution. There were other movements which focussed on aspects of society showing extreme imbalance and equality. Property acts, more rights for prostitutes, better conditions for female factory workers, these are just some of the goals achieved by 19th century feminism.

 

The Waves

This is where the division of feminism arguably begins. This is also where my point of view comes into play. We often hear that feminism is about equality and it is, sure, but that doesn’t mean that in fighting for equality there aren’t different points of view, different priorities and different methods. If you can look within a movement and see three distinct groups, each with its own sub-groups then I think that’s just cause to not use a blanket term like feminism. The waves of feminism are often dated (e.g. first wave feminism 1800s-early 1900s) but I don’t think it is that simple. I believe that the waves represent agendas rather than dates.

The first wave, for example, is of course the origins of the feminist movement and can be seen as focussing on tackling inequality of education, in the workplace and sexual rights/safety. The right to vote was actually seen as less of a priority until near the end of the first waves apparent dating. Most people know how voting rights came to pass in their country so I won’t get into that. Suffice to say that this was where the movement divided somewhat.

Second wave feminism (1960s-1980s) followed on from where the first wave ended. Women continued to fight for equality but there was a distinction. Now, I wasn’t born then and so can only go based on the reading I’ve done, but my understanding is that the divide was between one side focussing on what men and women had in common in an attempt to bridge the gap between the sexes. The other side focussed on the differences. This side aimed for more radical changes to be made rather than simply equality. Second wave feminism had a cultural focus and while they accomplished much, we soon get onto third wave feminism.

This is where things get a bit…complicated, let’s say. Third wave feminism (1990s-2008…apparently) took more of a focus on individualism and diversity. While there was still a strive for equality, this wave can be seen as focussing more on personal issues.

Anyway, history lesson over. There are another two waves of feminism but these shouldn’t be hugely relevant to anything I’m going to discuss within this post. Many people disagree with these waves even existing.

 

Not a Feminist vs Anti-Feminist

Before I share my own view of things, let me just start off by addressing a major issue I’ve come across. There is this sort of “if you’re not with us, you’re against us” mentality that exists within today’s world. If you’re not a feminist then you must be against feminism and therefore equality which is then only a short step away from you being a misogynist. I think this is mostly due to the idea of social justice as this is where we see this frame of mind most often. If you’re not supporting LGBT then you must be homophobic or transphobic, if you’re not in support of Black Lives Matter then you must be a racist, if you support Trump then you’re probably all of these things (I’m not a Trump supporter at all but this is just a trend I’ve seen).

Here is my issue with this line of thinking: all of these are movements. They aren’t basic ideologies. If you asked me if I believe in gender equality, racial equality, equal marriage rights, ETC I would say yes. I’d say it over and over again and be shocked that you have to even ask someone that question. Do I support treating all human beings equally the way that any mentally sane, empathetic human being would and should? OF COURSE! The thing that you have to understand is that these movements don’t equate to that basic strive for equality. Each has their own agenda which covers a wide range of issues and I don’t think it’s fair to assume that all these issues relate to a realistic view of equality.

Here’s an example that should make my point a little clearer. By all definitions, I’m an atheist (I mean I prefer to view myself as an antitheist but the point still stands). Atheism has a very simple and straightforward definition that I’m sure we all know. Yet, as soon as someone finds out you’re an atheist you get lumped with all these assumptions depending on the person you’re announcing it to. Suddenly, you love Richard Dawkins, you hate religious people, you MUST subscribe to the Big Bang theory and Evolution, you probably have no moral compass. None of these things have anything to do with atheism. Yet you can see why classing yourself as an atheist also groups you in with other atheists as if you’re part of some hive mind.

There may be many different names for this generation or perhaps even these few decades but we/it should be called the label generation or the label decades because more than anything else, we are desperate to have everyone grouped under labels. We keep creating these new terms that further divide us and remove our individuality. I feel like I’m in a giant game of Guess Who where someone’s just going through questions like “Is he an atheist?” “Is he feminist?” before slapping down faces that don’t match the description. We seem to be on this bizarre path whereby we strive for individuality by labelling ourselves with more and more terms that just form these blobs of similar minded people that serve no real function within our society.

 

Why am I not a Feminist?

Why is anyone not a feminist? If feminism was truly about equality and that was all feminism was supposed to be about (similarly to how atheism should just relate to a lack of belief in God) then why are the number of people who class themselves as feminist so low? In the UK, a survey by a feminist charity found that 9% of the 8000 people asked considered themselves feminist, with 4% of males following suit. It’s interesting to note that after further questioning, 86% of the men asked wanted equality for the women in their lives while only 74% of women wanted equality for themselves. The numbers for the US are very similar. There is a CLEAR divide between what we as a society view as equal and what we view feminism as standing for. Why is this?

 

In my opinion there are two reasons for this: The first is the radical 3rd wave feminists, the ones often labelled “Feminazis”. Many argue that they make up a small minority of feminists and they shouldn’t be seen as “real feminists” (true Scotsman fallacy) at all but they happen to be the loudest and draw the most attention. The other reason is that feminism as a whole just doesn’t seem to be about equality any more. I’m against discrimination of any kind but many of the feminist issues I hear about aren’t related to equality. They may relate to women’s rights in some way but they aren’t about equality and certainly not equality for both sexes.

As a male who has grown up in a world with female leaders (whether it be my household, my school, university elements (such as department heads or society leaders), work, governments, literally any part of my life there have always been women at the top. There have been men as well, of course, but I’ve never noticed a huge disparity between the sexes. I think men of my age in particular just don’t see this world that feminism claims exists. It’s hard to take the idea of the patriarchy seriously when you’ve never seen any examples of it your whole life. I think this explains another statistic from the previously mentioned survey. The younger women (18-24) were most likely to describe themselves as feminist BUT also had the highest number of women actually opposed to feminism.

Again, I find myself returning to this idea that feminism is not one idea. Being for equality does not make you a feminist and being a feminist does not mean you are automatically for equality. This may very well have been the basis for feminism but it’s just not what the movement as a whole is about anymore. Let me give you an example of this exact same thing. Granted, it’s a very poorly chosen example and I didn’t use this to provoke but it’s the only good example I could think of: When you see a swastika, what do you think of? Do you think of good fortune and well-being? Probably not. Yet that is exactly what most cultures around the world viewed it as meaning prior to Hitler. Now that I think about it, this is actually quite a fitting example if we assume that Feminazis are in fact that cause for the “misguided view” of what feminism stands for. It may have had a pure meaning to start with but you’re letting nutjobs bury that meaning in the dirt while they replace it with their own, twisted meaning.

 

Equality for both sexes or just for women?

The term equality isn’t as simple as one might think which is another reason I believe feminism can’t just use it as a foundation of their movement. Depending on who you ask, you’ll get a different answer for what feminism stands for. Is it equality for women? Is it equality for both sexes? I’m sure some would say that feminism is about female superiority? (I’m not saying that by the way, just to clarify). But equality in what sense? Do you mean equal rights? Do you mean equal opportunity or equal outcome? Do we ignore the biological and psychological differences that exist between the sexes when striving for equality and if not, how do we factor it in? Should we treat men and women as equal in sports and not account for sex at all?

You might think these questions seem ridiculous but try answering them. Do you seriously believe that everyone within feminism will answer them the same? If you said yes, that’s ridiculous and if you said no then how can anyone be expected to be part of feminism when there is no clear direction within the movement.

We also have to decide whether we want equal opportunities or equal outcomes. Personally, I think the latter is a ridiculous idea that doesn’t actually benefit anyone. If we started insisting that companies, awards shows, whatever else start meeting quotas of women or black people or anything like that, we end up with this ridiculous idea that everyone is capable of doing the same job. The truth is that they aren’t. All people are different and that difference shouldn’t lead to discrimination but we also can’t just pretend that is doesn’t exist. Here’s an example: The SAS, an elite UK force has recently announced that it is considering lowering its entrance requirements for women. They would be given handicaps essentially such as being required to carry less weight. Who the fuck does this benefit? By all means allow women in but lowering the standard is not only patronising but completely foolish. I mean do skinnier guys carry less weight? What a ridiculous concept!

The same applies to award shows. There is usually outrage at not enough women winning awards but what is the solution to that? Either we do more categories which is just dividing things further or there becomes a quota and a certain number of awards have to go to women. Would you seriously want to go and accept an award that you know you only got because they HAD to give one to a woman? I sure as shit wouldn’t! But feminism is supposed to be about equality and as such, should cover men’s inequality as well…right?

 

The Red Pill

If you know this term already, relax. I’m not going in the direction you think. For those of you who don’t know the term, let me explain. In 2016 Cassie Jaye, a film maker and also a feminist, released a documentary about the Men’s Rights Movement. The film was pretty much shut down by “feminist” protesters in Australia with chat show host’s explaining why it shouldn’t be shown…despite not having seen it for themselves. This documentary essentially explores the fight for men’s rights and how A) men do not hold all the power in society and B) How awful and actually heart-breaking it is watching these men who have clearly gone through some rough shit in their lives being verbally abused by “feminist” groups. They get labelled white supremacists, sexists, homophobes, ETC all based on quotes taken completely out of context.

I’ll admit that the documentary itself did go a bit astray towards the end. What started out as an interesting documentary about men’s rights turned into anti-feminist propaganda. As I said at the start of this: I’m not anti-feminist. I certainly don’t appreciate men’s rights being used as a sob story for why feminism is evil (their words, not mine). However, the documentary did highlight some very important differences between the sexes that I’ve never ever heard of a feminist movement supporting or trying to change.

Some examples of this are as follows: If you look at any recent warfare, men make up 98-99% of all casualties. More men are arrested, prosecuted and executed. Men are sentenced to 63% more prison time than women for the same crime (interestingly, if BLM claims that the black population in prisons is evidence of systematic racism, what does the sex difference of prison populations mean?). Men make up most of the homeless population, more men die of cancer, men are dropping out of schools, colleges and universities at an alarming rate and certainly a higher rate than women. Men are more likely to have an addiction problem (drugs, alcohol, videogames, porn) especially related to prescription medications given to young boys/men to control behaviours that should be seen as normal masculine behaviours. Feminism claims that men hold all the power then why are men suffering this much? Why is it that when men try to hold meetings to discuss their own rights, they are shut down by “feminist” groups, most of whom are women?

It seems to me that men as a sex are not the issue. Much like my view on other “privileges” I believe that class privilege is the one most often ignored. There may very well be an elite group running things that’s made up mostly of men…but perpetuating this idea that men are the ones with all the advantages, the ones controlling the system, the ones reaping all the rewards is nonsensical.

One interesting point that I had never really considered before (beyond a Bill Burr joke I heard once about the sinking of the Titanic) that the documentary makes is that men have always been disposable. All successful societies have been quite happy for the men to die in order for the women to live. Men are the ones sent to war, to defend cities when no hope remains. When a boat is sinking or a plane lands on water and they have to be evacuated, who goes first and who goes last? Well, when the US Airways flight 1549 crash landed onto the Hudson river, the idea of “women and children first” was held up as the evacuation orders.

Again, I don’t think the Red Pill really focussed entirely on the issue at hand which is a shame because by turning into anti-feminist propaganda it’s just made matters worse and also lost the opportunity to be a realistic look at the issues. But the backlash it automatically got was ridiculous and did in essence support everything said within the documentary. In researching the backlash after watching the film, I stumbled across one particularly toxic article (which I’ve since angrily tweeted to the author to share my views, despite how many years ago it was written). The title of this article (because I don’t want to link it here) was “Why Australian Men’s Right Activists had their Bullshit Documentary Banned” written by one Katherine Gillespie. Her main criticism of the documentary is that it was funded mostly by men’s rights activists. “People want their side of the story told” claims VICE writer in horror!

 

Equality for Men?

Not only have I never witnessed any aspect of this feminist movement support equality for men, my impressions as a young male of the Western world is that men are often demonized. I find it incredibly alarming but also somewhat amusing that the same people who are quick to say “just because some Muslims are terrorists doesn’t mean all Muslims are” tend to be the same people holding up signs saying “Stop men from raping” or “end male violence against women”. Can you imagine the outrage if someone walked around with a sign saying “Stop Muslim’s bombing” (Again, just to clarify, I’m just using Muslims as an example here. I’m not saying all Muslims are terrorists).

I think this also ignores a lot of the facts and figures. YES! We need to 100% try to end rape and end violence against women. But it isn’t only women that get raped and it isn’t only women who are victims of violence. In most Western societies the law doesn’t even allow for a woman to rape a man. It’s just not possible. Unless you have a penis, you can’t rape someone. Even when it comes to domestic violence, the figures are like 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men. That works out at 47% of domestic violence victims being male! This number is not even remotely represented by the number of refuge spaces available to men in the Western world.

Erin Pizzey, the woman responsible for opening the first domestic violence shelter in the UK and arguably a major contributor to the feminist movement, doesn’t consider herself a feminist. She famously stated that in her own estimates about 60% of women who came to her shelters were violent. There is even a video of a group of women at one of these shelters admitting to how violent they are. As such she doesn’t view domestic violence as a gender issue because in her opinion, you get it on both sides. She received major backlash and lost control of her own refuges after stating that women can be just as violent as men.

I’m not saying any of this to go against the feminist movement. Domestic violence is a serious issue and one that definitely needs to be tackled…but ignoring that the issue impacts men almost as much as women is not the answer.

 

What is the Goal of Feminism?

We’re nearly at the end, don’t worry. Finally, in my reasoning for why I’m not a feminist I have to cover the issues that are (as far as I can tell) the biggest issues feminists raise in the Western world. The reason I’m bringing these up is because I don’t think they are based on the evidence. Any aspects of our society that genuinely discriminate against women, I’m completely for exploring and I will support that goal as much as I can. These just aren’t examples of that:

 

The Wage Gap

If you’d rather watch a 15 second video than read my take on this then click here! The wage gap, as far as I am concerned has been debunked. Yet it is a cornerstone of today’s feminist movement. I’m not going to go into the basic economics of it but you can’t just take an average of what men and women earn and then start the claim that women are disadvantaged. I used to believe that the wage gap was a genuine thing and I could never understand why it existed…that’s because it doesn’t. Look at it this way: If the wage gap did exist and women are just as hard working as men, then why would companies employ men at all? Wouldn’t women be the obvious choice since companies could just pay them less?

I will say this: the entertainment industry is an exception but I don’t think it’s as simple as comparing one person to another. When you get somebody to host the Emmys (for example) you can’t claim that they should be paid the same because it’s the same job. It isn’t that simple. I mean why do female prostitutes get paid more than male prostitutes? I’m going to link you to another video where UFC’s Ronda Rousey explains in the simplest way why looking at pay differences in the entertainment industry isn’t about doing the same job. Here you go!

I mean how do you compare actors or sport people or hosts? Would you pay an unknown male actor the same as Helen Mirren? Would you pay Katie Leung (who played Cho Chang in Harry Potter) the same amount as Matt Damon to host the Golden Globes? I don’t think it’s fair to look at a sum of money two people earn and look at it as simply them doing the same job. In the entertainment industry it isn’t that simple.

 

The Pink Tax

This is another one that when it was first brought to my attention, I thought to myself “what the fuck! How can we live in a world that’s so blatantly unequal?” For those of you who don’t know what the pink tax is, it’s the idea that women pay more money than men for the same product. So a male razor might be £2.50 whereas a pink one for women might be £2.99. I haven’t bought a razor in like 4 years so my pricing might be a little off. Anyway, this sounds ridiculous and for the most part, it is.

Like most ideas, there is some truth to it. Women hygiene products such as tampons are taxable due to not being seen as essential. I would completely agree that this is unacceptable and needs to change. However, when you dig a little deeper into other areas you find that it doesn’t all add up. I mean if the only difference is that one is pink, then why don’t women just buy men’s razors? If I was shaving and could save money by buying a pink razor, I wouldn’t have any problem with it.

You just have to ask yourself a simple question: if the only difference (as in truly the only difference) is that one item is packaged for males and the other for females, why would women use female products at all? Why would anyone choose to spend more money just to conform to gender stereotypes? Especially if they were eager to stick a middle finger to “the man” or the patriarchy. I’ve bought women’s deodorant before because I find it often smells nicer, feels nicer and often works better. The simple truth is that these products aren’t all the same and often there is a very reasonable and rational explanation as to why one is more expensive than others.

Take the razor examples again. Men tend to shave their face and in most cases, that is it. Women shave a larger area such as legs, arms, armpits. Men’s razor’s aren’t pleasant to use. Most of the time you end up feeling like you’ve rubbed the hair off your face with sandpaper. Women’s razors tend to be a lot smoother, many come with added features that moisturise the skin or leave a lovely smell. A woman’s razor will leave your skin feeling DRASTICALLY nicer than if you were to use a man’s razor. If you look at ingredients of soap or deodorant you find that male deodorant and soap has drastically fewer ingredients.

There’s also the issue with pink toys being more expensive. Often the reason for this is because there is a more generic colour brought out as the main product, maybe a red scooter. Later on as part of a limited edition the company brings out a pink scooter and its more expensive…that isn’t an example of women being unfairly charged more money. Any limited edition item tends to be more money. I can’t pay an extra £20 for a limited edition Assassin’s Creed game and then complain that I had to pay more because I’m a real Assassin’s Creed fan (not a real example…I never pay for the extra bullshit content. Fuck you Ubisoft you money-hungry scum).

 

1 in 4 Women…

You may have heard the statistic that 1 in 4 women have been sexually assaulted. The Obama administration essentially made this statistic viral (I don’t think that’s the right term but we’ll run with it) to the point that it’s quoted ALL THE TIME! You may be shocked to hear then that while not being entirely fictional, it isn’t entirely accurate either.

The 1 in 4 statistic is based on a college campus survey. People were asked to take part in a survey about sexual assault (or something similar) and out of all the people asked, only 19% did. Immediately we have a non-response bias (the idea that people affected by the issue in question are more likely to come forward than those who haven’t been) which was analysed and found to be significant enough to make the results less realistic. This is something that the authors highlighted themselves when the numbers started being used out of context. If that was all that was wrong with the study, it would be enough. It’s not though.

The questions used within this survey were incredibly vague and didn’t address the issue. For example, the terms rape and sexual assault were never actually used within the questionnaire. Instead, those taking part were given very loose definitions to go by that don’t account for typical college life. For that reason, it has been admitted that this will have led to many people who don’t class themselves as being sexual assault victims, appearing to have been within this study.

Sexual assault is unacceptable and I think we need to do everything we can to put an end to it (like most of the issues I’ve mentioned today) but using statistics such as this doesn’t help the feminist cause because then people soon catch on to the phoney numbers and feel like they’ve been tricked or manipulated. I’m not saying that anyone is intentionally using inaccurate statistics by the way. I don’t think people are actively lying about these issues to try and aid feminism.

 

The Patriarchy

I’m not going to be arguing whether the patriarchy exists or not because I think this answer is neither yes nor no. I think it is a half-truth. I think there are men who are in power and control many aspects of our society and do lead to there being gaps between gender, race, etc. As I mentioned before, I don’t think this is a sex issue as much as a class issue. Men aren’t benefiting from it, clearly, so when I see the term patriarchy which means “a system of society or government in which men hold the power and women are largely excluded from it” I can’t help but feel even more disconnected from the feminist movement. As I mentioned before, the majority of power figures in my life have been female. The individual in charge of my country’s government right now is female. In the US and the UK, women make up the majority so if they thought that a female candidate was the best choice, they would just have to vote for them.

When I look back a few decades or a few centuries, I can see where the idea of a patriarchy stems from. Men did hold all the power. I challenge you as a reader of this to tell me where men hold all the power today in the Western world? If it isn’t benefiting physical or mental healthcare, reducing deaths, custody of children goes to women around 80% of the time, we’re more homeless, commit suicide more often, and spend most of the time in jail with men being the vast majority of inmates, where is the advantage? In most Western countries it will be the men who go and die in the most horrific ways imaginable if another war breaks out.

I also find it strange that the control element that feminists fight against is always against men but what about religion? Most religions have almost entirely male figures at the spotlight, God is usually perceived as being male (for some reason) and most holy books put women as being submissive to men, usually with zero rights. Now I don’t believe any of that stuff and certainly don’t take my morality from it but in a mostly religious world, is it a surprise that over the course of thousands of years a patriarchal system would form when your religion is promoting it and burning people at the steak for not adhering to its teachings? How can you be religious (to the extent of believing the teachings of the Bible or the Qur’an) and yet be shocked that over the last few thousand years men have been in the driver’s seat? The Bible itself has Moses telling his generals to literally take virgin girls for themselves! Maybe take the issue of patriarchy up with your God before you start blaming 20 year old, middle class men for any systemic sexism that exists!

 

The Real Problem

I think the real problem we face within our societies today is that a gender war does exist to some extent. Not everyone is involved and that’s the issue but also the solution. You have radical “feminists” who are clearly not feminist in the most simple sense of the word and on the other side you have male activists who seem to be anti-feminism while taking the exact same approach of claiming to be about equality. I mean just look at MGTOW to see the male reaction to “feminazis”. The issue is that because both sides are fighting over their own issues, the feminists who are actually solely focussed on male and female equality aren’t getting their voice heard. This is then alienating anyone who would potentially be a feminist because they don’t feel like it supports their point of view. If I saw feminists organising protests for even just the occasional men’s rights issue then I could support it. Instead, we get advertising campaigns about manspreading, we get people joking about mansplaining, we get the pay gap and the pink tax…

 

Summary

Well, I got it all out in the end. I expected this post to be maybe a thousand words or so but after every single point I just kept realising that there was another aspect I needed to discuss. If you skipped down to here instead of reading  the whole thing, I don’t blame you. I mean fuck…talk about getting carried away.

Anyway, why am I not a feminist? I’m not one for following or supporting a movement without just cause. If I don’t fully believe in it, I’m not going to stand behind it because when people start doing that, bad shit tends to follow. I support the main goal of feminism: equality, but I don’t support the movement as a whole for a number of reasons. If the sole goal of feminism was equality, I’d be happy to say I’m a feminist…but it’s not that simple. Feminism has an agenda that goes beyond basic equality. The root of feminism may be equality but from one feminist to the next there is going to be a diverse view on certain issues. There is a feminist stance on certain issues and as I don’t agree with these, how could I possibly say I support it as a movement? I also don’t feel that feminism ever supports men’s issues. Most women who are active supporters of men’s rights movements don’t consider themselves feminists. But it goes a step further than that. The feminist movement seems eager to not only ignore men’s issues but actually direct all the blame towards men as a whole. Campaigns against domestic violence are usually calls for protection for women from men despite the fact that men are victims of domestic abuse almost as often as women.

My question to you is this: If feminism is about equality of both sexes, why is it that men don’t feel that way about it? If men can’t possibly know what it’s like to be a woman, to walk in their shoes, then how can women decide that males should be feminist? Why is being feminist seen as the same as supporting basic human rights? Why is it not the same to say you’re for equality?

Finally, can’t we all just get along? Let’s accept that there are difference between the sexes. There are inequalities between them both as well but if we focus on one or the other we’re never going to resolve anything! Let’s get everyone to sit the fuck down, have a rational conversation about everything and come to some fucking agreements!

I guess one of the things it comes down to is that I actually find it slightly insulting to be told that this is a “man’s world”. As someone with mental health issues who has grown up in a society where having feelings is enough to have you labelled a pussy, mental health problems aren’t seen as much better. A world where you are physically assaulted and psychologically tortured for not being big enough or tall enough or strong enough or manly enough but not just by males, but by females as well. If men rule the world then why was my generation raised to pay for dates, to just accept being assaulted by a woman because under no circumstances can you hit back, to pay for expensive rings and other nonsensical wedding traditions that benefit the woman (both during the wedding and in the case of a divorce) drastically more than the man. Where in my home country a percentage of my tax money every year goes to keeping a 150 year old woman more than comfortably wealthy just because we need the monarchy as a living tourist attraction…

In the end, I just wish we didn’t need these labels to define the support of basic human rights. Rather, we should focus on the words for those who don’t support them. Oh, you don’t think women should be paid the same, you must be a cunt then. Ah, you’re against gays getting married, well you’re also a cunt. As far as I’m concerned those are the only sorts of labels we need.

 

Anyway, I’m done, rant over. Got a fucking book here! If you have any comments or opinions to share, I’d genuinely be interested in talking about this with you so leave a comment below and I’ll get back to you. Alternatively, follow me on Twitter!

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What Should (but won’t) Happen in Avengers 3 & 4!

Today’s post will look at my hopes and dreams for Infinity War and Avengers 4. I strongly doubt that any of these things will take place within the two films but as far as I believe, this is the direction they should take with the respective characters. Prepare to delve into hopes of a hero killer as I share my views on how Thor, Loki, Tony Stark, Steve Rodgers…and so many others could and should meet their demise in this end of an era!

 

Thor

Thor: God of Thunder. A fun character who has always added a large aspect of comic relief to otherwise tense situations. Long story short: he should die. Why? Well, in completing his trilogy I believe he has also completed his character arc. When we are first introduced to Thor, he is about to become king and wants nothing more than to do battle by his father’s side as he rules over the 9 realms (interestingly if he had been born before his sister, he would have filled her shoes nicely). We then follow Thor through The Dark World as he learns that he wishes to pursue his own life rather than becoming king of Asgard.

When we reach the end of Ragnarok, Thor’s evolution is complete: he’s finally taken his father’s place as king of Asgard having come to the conclusion that Asgard is the people, not a place. He’s lost an eye, he’s lost his hammer, he’s lost all his Asgardian friends, and he’s lost his father, his recently discovered sister and the place he once called home.

Considering they are on their way to Earth at the end of Ragnarok, it’s safe to assume that the Asgardians will fight against Thanos. This is why I think Thor should die. Considering most, if not all of the Asgardians will die and if we assume that Heimdall is in fact one of the Infinity Stones to be collected by Thanos then who do we have left? Thor and Loki? It’s true that they could adopt Earth as their new home but I feel that this would be an excellent opportunity to close the chapter on all things Asgard.

 

Loki

Speaking of the God of mischief, I should mention that Loki is one of my favourite characters. I always hoped that he would one day switch sides and fight on the side of good. Unfortunately, I also belief this is why he should die. It’s not necessarily something I want to happen but it is something that needs to.

Loki’s arc of redemption has run fairly parallel to that of his brother Thor. In the first Thor film, both characters are trying to find their place in their father’s life and on Asgard. In Avengers, they head in different directions and are seen as the good and evil versions of each other. Thor: The Dark World shows them come together once again only for Loki to pull his usually mischievous tricks but not to hurt his brother but rather to claim the throne he always desired. In Ragnarok (although I think it was handled poorly) he steps back into the side of the light, even if only in support of his brother and having exhausted all other options.

The way Loki should die is therefore quite simple. Having him die to save the Avengers or Earth or to stop Thanos is a ridiculous notion. I mean it could be viewed that he is trying to save himself but I feel that would remove all the character development we’ve seen in the last few films. To me, the only end that makes sense is one of two options: Either Thor dies at the hands of Thanos and in a wave of emotion Loki sacrifices himself to avenge his brother OR Loki dies to save Thor, showing that his love for his brother is the only motivator he haves left. We had this notion teased to us in The Dark World only for it to reveal itself to be one of Loki’s tricks.

Loki has always put his own survival first and by sacrificing himself to either save or avenge his brother; I think it would show how his character has changed.

 

Iron-Man

Again, this is unlikely to happen for a variety of reasons but if Iron-Man is going to duck out then this is the only acceptable time. I’m worried that they’ll have Tony retire or something, perhaps from injury, perhaps from old age, perhaps from grief…whatever the reason, I won’t accept it. Tony has never let anything stop him this far: both in terms of villains and his own personal problems.

I mean think about it, Tony has beaten groups of terrorists, created a suit that is unmatched and continues to improve, defeated copies of his suit not once, but twice (in fact many, many times if you count each individual suit), he’s defeated “Gods” and aliens and biohazardous, glowing, regenerative drug addicts, the most advanced AI which was born from alien technology, his own team (for the most part) and if he doesn’t die then he will also have defeated a God with Infinity Stones that literally control the cosmos and are completely unmatched in terms of power…and yet he will give it up? I don’t think so.

As Tony is now playing a “father figure” role of sorts within the life of Peter Parker, I don’t think Marvel are going to let him go yet. I’ve heard rumours that Robert Downey Jr has added films onto his contract so even though he was supposed to leave a while ago, I think he’s going to carry on longer than anyone thought. He could even end up being the mentor of all the new Avengers. Who knows.

I will say this, if Tony doesn’t die against Thanos then the only other respectable way for him to die is introducing a new villain, perhaps someone who was once hero and now turned villain. This would be the best way to truly pack a punch and shake the foundations of the MCU. We know Thanos is powerful and will kill at least some Avengers but after he is gone, Tony’s death could be an incredible motivator for a character such as Spiderman.

 

Hawkeye

As much as I wish that he would die, I don’t think he will. After introducing his family, his kids, his farmhouse and showing his willingness to sacrifice his own life to save a child’s…no. Something may happen to Hawkeye, in fact I’m fairly certain it will but he won’t die. Perhaps the universe will be altered and he’ll never have been an Avenger and instead will have lived with his family the entire time in peace and harmony on a farm somewhere. He should have died in Age of Ultron instead of Quicksilver…

Speaking of, this would be a perfect opportunity to fix that mistake, just saying. With Thanos and ultimately and inevitably the Avengers having the ability to manipulate time through the control of the universe that the gauntlet offers, and with the suggestive shots from set that hint towards time travel, actions being altered, the butterfly effect taking hold would be an interesting direction to take.

 

Timeline Alteration: Swap Hawkeye for Quicksilver

What would have been different if Quicksilver had lived and Hawkeye had died? Well his family would grow up without a husband/father but they are pretty well taken care of, at least on a financial level. Hawkeye retired after Age of Ultron whereas Quicksilver would have stayed with his sister and joined the Avengers, meaning that the mission in Lagos which essentially triggered Civil War would have gone differently. The men wouldn’t have escaped with the vials, meaning Cap wouldn’t have been near civilians, meaning even if Crossbones had pulled the same trick and Scarlett Witch had contained the blast, nobody would have died other than members of Hydra.

Countries wouldn’t have called for the Accords meaning that Zemo’s plan would never have taken hold. There wouldn’t have been the UN meeting meaning that there wouldn’t have been a chance to frame Bucky. Sure, he would have stayed in hiding for now but Black Panther’s father would have stayed alive meaning the events of the Black Panther film would have been non-existent or at least different. There wouldn’t have been a divide of the Avengers, Rhodes would never have been injured, Spider-Man wouldn’t have been discovered or at least not called into action and wouldn’t have his suit which would have changed the entirety of his film. This could lead to Shocker being alive still, potentially The Vulture would also still be active and would be staying under the radar having never been caught or had to rob Tony Stark’s plane.

You can begin to see the potential ripples that changing one life for another could have within the MCU. Now, obviously by looking at the title of this post you can see that I don’t believe that will happen…but it should. There is certainly scope for bringing back Quicksilver (somehow with a different accent, ideally) which is a possibility. Sadly, I don’t think it will be in exchange for Hawkeye’s life…although I will keep my fingers crossed until the bitter end.

 

Captain America/Steve Rodgers

Steve Rodgers has been tittering on the edge of death ever since Winter Soldier. Granted, Civil War would and could have been the end of his tale but I’m relieved that that wasn’t the case. Captain America is probably my favourite character within the MCU, certainly my favourite hero. His journey from brave and obedient soldier, to outlawed rebel, all the way through to criminal prison breaker is one that I’ve followed with great interest and found highly entertaining. His arc has truly been an incredible story to follow. His beard in Infinity War also looks awesome!

Sadly, we can all feel that his time is coming to an end. Not that I’ve read the comics but I’m all too aware that in some of them Bucky takes over the mantle of Captain America. It seems that his story has also been heading in a certain direction and personally, I don’t feel that Bucky will be dying any time soon. We’ve seen the Winter Soldier follow an opposing storyline to that of Cap and yet it seems that just as their stories started together, they will end together…in the sense that Steve will die and Bucky will take his place and move from the Winter Soldier to Captain America…Captain Winter? It would be the only way to truly allow Bucky to repent for the sins he committed while being brainwashed by Hydra. Others may forgive him but he will never forgive himself…unless he is deemed worthy enough to follow in the footsteps of the most noble man he knows.

We’ve seen many nods to this throughout previous films but I think that by while Civil War was a Captain America film and did feature most of the Avengers, it was more of Bucky’s story than anyone else. It was the story of how he remembers every single person he killed while having no control of his body, it shows the conditions he lived in and it shows how he doesn’t value his own life if it puts others’ at risk. So I think the only logical outcome is Steve Rodgers to die and for his best friend to stand in his place as the new Captain America.

 

Hulk

This is a though one. On the one hand, I don’t feel like Bruce Banner and the Hulk have had their story told within the MCU. So based on that, if they kill him that would seriously be a big mistake…and you wouldn’t like him when he’s angry (pun!) The truth is that there is no reason why Hulk would die. I don’t read enough into Hollywood news and updates to know all of the future films being released by Marvel but I feel that the Hulk still has a place. That being said…if you were going to kill him off, Thanos would be the best time to do it. No other villain is going to match Thanos for a long, long time (at least that’s what these 10 years of films have been building to). So unless they fuck it up so badly that Thanos comes across as a pussy then Hulk either has to die here or he needs to survive far into the future to fall at the hands of whichever villain next appears as the biggest threat.

The issue is that I don’t think the Hulk needs a standalone film. I know fans are screaming out for a planet Hulk film but personally, I think that idea sounds incredibly dull! I certainly wouldn’t be rushing to see it. Since Hulk has already pulled the escape routine after Age of Ultron, we realistically have to rule that out as well. So death is the best option we have.

 

The Rest

Vision may die temporarily but I don’t think they’ll scratch the character off entirely. We know that Thanos will get all the stones and we know that Vision has the soul gem so at some stage Thanos is going to take it. Maybe it doesn’t kill Vision but simply removes his power or maybe he gets brought back after being killed. Either way, I’d rather see Vision die. I don’t think he fits into the MCU as well as people thought he would because in comparison to other characters, he seems a bit overpowered. There’s no real reason that he couldn’t defeat most enemies yet he’s always in the background. I think removing him here is better than dragging out his character longer than necessary.

 

As for Scarlett Witch and Black Widow, I don’t think it hugely matters one way or the other. I’d be shocked if Scarlett Witch died as we seem to be seeing more and more of her power and I feel like there is a larger arc to explore there. I don’t think she needs her own film but certainly exploring her powers and character through Avenger films and perhaps other character films would be a wise move. That being said, if her story ends here I won’t shed a tear. I think they should kill Black Widow but I’m worried they won’t. Her character was fun and she’s badass and a great comic relief but what the fuck is she doing? As Clint says in the first Avengers film: she’s a spy, not a soldier. Her plot armour seems to save her from every threatening scenario. I mean it’s a superhero film and that’s the case with all of them but it’s most noticeable with her.

I feel bad that Marvel has such poor female characters. I mean Scarlett Witch is cool in terms of her powers but her character and story are boring. Black Widow is awesome as a character and has an interesting back story which could EASILY become an origin story which would be awesome (another thing that will never happen). It could be violent and unlike any Marvel film so far. They wouldn’t do it, of course, because Disney owns Marvel and Disney would never risk ruining their brand of family friendly fun.

Still, Black Widow feels out of place as these stories get more and more flimsy. I mean Peter Parker is a kid but he’s super smart and his spider powers. Scott Lane is an idiot (I mean he is book smart but just seems lacking in certain areas mentally) but he can shrink down and grow big at the flick of a switch. Thor is practically a God (and is according to some people). Even useless Hawkeye can take crazy bow and arrow shots from jets. Black Widow knows martial arts and somehow manages to win practically every fight she faces.

Just so nobody thinks I’m having a dig at the female characters entirely because they are female: Marvel does some incredible female characters, I just don’t think that these two are examples of them. I mean Sif, Pepper Potts, Jane Foster, I’m sure the Wasp will be fantastic…I mean sure, Thor: Ragnarok let the side down on that front by continuing to give us incredibly boring female characters but that’s not to say that Marvel can’t do it. Anyway, back on topic…

 

End Times

I think Infinity War needs to end with Thanos winning. I mean I’m sure that is exactly how it will go down but it’s also what NEEDS to happen. If Thanos is weakened or defeated by the end of Infinity War then Marvel will have wasted 10+ years of storytelling. Again, I’m sure that’s exactly the plan but I’m just letting it be known that they will have seriously fucked everything up if it doesn’t go down that way. He doesn’t need to have won: Earth could still be spinning, the Avengers (at least most of them) could still be standing…but Thanos needs to have the high ground. He needs to have all the power, he needs to look like he could be about to destroy the Marvel universe forever with all the future films being red herrings to distract us from the best ending to a film series ever!

I’d actually be so satisfied if that was the ending. I mean it would suck closing off such an incredible universe but imagine the shock. Imagine the looks on everyone’s faces when The Avengers all die one by one and Thanos simply lifts his hand and destroys everything. The film would end with a message thanking all the fans and those involved with the films for the 10+ year of cinematic joy. Even if they ended it like that so it felt, deep down, like it was all over even when Avengers 4 would be out the year after. I could totally jump on board that idea.

 

Anyway, thanks for reading. I always appreciate any comments. I love discussing any ideas you may have so leave a message down below or follow me on Twitter!

The ‘Wrong’ Path

If you haven’t seen or even heard of The Path, you’re missing out (until you get to season 2 that is). What we have is a great cast with a great premise. We follow a “movement” (it’s a cult) as they weave in and out of certain issues that they face. The Path focuses on a few characters in particular, one of which is Eddie (played by Aaron Paul). Eddie, who is married and has children (also part of this group) has spent most of his life as a believer only to start to doubt the movement after a journey to Peru. During an ayahuasca trip he saw some things that planted a seed of doubt in his mind.

This basically leads onto the story of season 1 which one way or another revolves around Eddie’s spiral into disbelief and eventual rebellion from the movement. If you haven’t seen the show before then be warned, I’m not going to flat out discuss the plot, but I am going to explain why it going down a different path would have been a lot more interesting…at least to me.

 

The Disbelief

The Path ultimately focuses on the story of Scientology. The show itself isn’t about Scientology as such but more on their tactics of recruiting, of getting away with illegal activities, what they do to people trying to escape the group, how they respond to challenge, their pseudo-science tests that basically involve measuring arbitrary bodily measurements such as heart rate or temperature…you get the idea. I always compared it to other religions such as Christianity but actually, after recently learning more about Scientology, I couldn’t ignore the flat out parallels.

Meyerism (the religion of the show) employs these same tactics in order to lure in new members, blackmail and exploit previous members and essentially keep control of the movement. This really ties into what made the show so incredible at the start. It was gritty, it was realistic, it contained some truth that you see when you look out into the world. Let’s take a closer look at that.

 

Season 1

Season 1 took such a tight grip of, much like a snake gripping its prey. I couldn’t believe how interesting this show was and it felt exactly like the sort of show I’d been waiting for. I’d recently finished Hannibal and had a gap in my life for something that was dark and appealed to that part of our personalities. What’s darker than a cult that stops people from leaving?

The first season of The Path interested me in one very distinct way. You see, Eddie quite early one (I believe it may even be the first episode) returns from a trip to Peru where he took “the medicine” (ayahuasca, an extremely potent hallucinogenic concoction used by Amazonian tribes. It’s essentially liquid DMT). During his visions/hallucinations he follows his brother into a room. Here he sees the leader of the movement, dying in a very mortal way: from cancer. What I absolutely loved about this was the idea that there was nothing remotely magical or mystical about it. Eddie was exploring his own consciousness to come to terms with one very specific truth: They Meyerism movement is bullshit.

To me that was wonderful! This unspoken idea that their medicine was helping Eddie to see the truth just seemed so compelling. The rest of the season focuses on Eddie being torn apart by this revelation due to his family (particularly his wife) being very devoted to Meyerism. It just felt so real and while watching it you knew all too well that similar things like this undoubtedly happen all the time whether in Christianity, Islam, Scientology, you name it. People don’t cope well with their loved ones coming to the conclusion that everything they believe in is bullshit!

Up until the very last episode, I couldn’t get enough of this show. That is until Eddie returns to Peru and finds out that actually, what he saw wasn’t a vision projected by his subconscious at all. Steve (the founder) was actually there and was actually dying of cancer and for no real fucking reason, was dying in a compound where people are allowed to wander around freely, people who are there with the sole purpose of taking a psychedelic drug. But you know what? I could have accepted that. It ruined an aspect of the show that I adored but it wasn’t the end…or so I thought.

 

The Chosen One

Season 2 then goes down a path that ‘The’ Path should have stayed away from. It turns out that everything in season 1 was unnecessary as Eddie is now the chosen one. Meyerism is real, there are real powers and Eddie is essentially Jesus. Dammit Hulu you fucking pieces of shit! This led me onto a whacky conspiracy theory that I’ll share with you shortly.

Anyway, I sort of came to terms with Hulu’s decision to send The Path down a dark road and I did enjoy season 2 for the most part. It showed Eddie trying to fit into a normal life outside the movement which for some reason I really related to despite having never been in such a position. The biggest issue was that all of the story involving Eddie fitting in, getting a new girlfriend, getting a job, ETC was all just a build-up to him coming back to the light and re-joining Meyerism. Re-joining isn’t the right word…running Meyerism. There entire season builds up to the most disappointing climax ever! (giggity)

 

The Conspiracy

The tinfoil hat wearer inside of me thinks that it’s very suspicious that the show seemed to be heading in one direction in season 1 and then a completely different direction in season 2. We’ve gone from a gritty and realistic show to absolute nonsense. Who knows, maybe that was the plan all along? But if that’s the case, then the writing of the show was poorly done. I had just recently watched Going Clear, a documentary about Scientology and one part of their fairly recent history kept coming back to me: Scientology essentially blackmailed the IRS into granting them the status of being a religion. That’s very real and very true and quite frankly, it is terrifying. They’ve done similar things to people speaking out about the cult…religion, the religion.

So what about The Path? A show which quite clearly mimics Scientology and highlights MAJOR flaws with such a system that many, many people had come out and said “this is clearly about Scientology”. If Scientology as a movement is really so against any negative press or willing to “deal with” anyone who has a bad thing to say about them, then what would they make of a show such as this? This relates to season 3 a little but I’ll cover that in the next section.

I mean am I the only one who thinks that? Maybe I’m being a bit too much of a conspiracy theorist but that doesn’t sound too unbelievable to me. Scientology is a hugely powerful organisation. I mean if you can blackmail an agency of the United States government into announcing that a following started by a mentally ill sci-fi writer is now a religion, then what else can they do?

 

Welcome in Season 3

Now that I’ve finally finished season 3, I can give it a proper overview. I have to admit that for most of season 3, I couldn’t have cared less. The characters personalities shift from episode: Eddie wants to keep people in, then he wants to kick people out. Cal wants to kill Eddie then the next episode he saves him, then he wants to kill him again, then he wants to kill himself. Nothing is consistent, nothing makes sense and the entire premise seems pretty fucked.

The more I watched, the less I cared! I actually stopped watching it around episode 7 and just gave up. I’d gone from waking up eagerly on Thursday morning to watch the latest episode to just not watching it at all. Then, out of complete boredom, I decided to finish the season. I have to admit that towards the end, I started enjoying the show again.

That is until the final episode where Eddie decided to take on the IRS…sound familiar? There is so much set-up in the final episode because they are so desperate to try and get another season. Workmen are digging up the grounds and we see the body of some dude from the first season (can’t remember his name, Sylis or something) and the two people who know where the body is: Cal and Sarah, don’t think to consider stopping it? Not to mention the movement being sued left, right and centre. It feels like there just wasn’t a great deal of consistency with the writing. I debated this with someone online who claims that the show is incredibly well written but I disagree.

Plus, Mary is the most annoying character ever and if she is still around in season 4 then I can tell you right now that I won’t be watching it!

 

In Summary

So long story short, I’m a little disappointed. I understand that there will always be fans disappointed with the direction a show takes. I happen to usually be on ‘Team Disappointed’ such as with How I Met Your Mother or Lost or any number of other shows. So I completely acknowledge that the opinion of one person is not cause for uproar. I’m sure many people are loving the direction the show is taking. I guess there are just too many elements from season 1 that called to me only to flip them on their head. There’s probably not some Scientology influence causing the show to head in a different direction. It probably comes down to appeasing the masses. Maybe they are trying to feed off the superhero phase currently going on in the world. I mean Eddie can survive explosions now so… who knows? Shame he couldn’t deflect lightening in the same manner.

I will say this: A show that managed to highlight beneficial aspects of both weed and ayahuasca will always get a thumbs up from me. I’m going to continue watching to see where season 3 heads and who knows, maybe I’ll be pleasantly surprised, maybe not.

 

Anyway, as always, if you have any questions or comments then leave them below. Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter!

Peace!

In-Depth Review of Assassin’s Creed: Origins

“Be the chaos that comes to be. Gods are just like you and me”

So the long-awaited “last straw” of the Assassin’s Creed franchise has arrived. If you didn’t read my previous post looking at why my hatred grew and grew for the franchise, you can find it here. Alternatively, here is a summary: boring gameplay, bad writing and lack of imagination…and a clear strive to make as much money possible with the smallest amount of effort. Despite that being the case, I was eager to play Origins and after 40 hours in 5 days, I have finished the game. In this post I’m going to summarise the game for you and also look at what they did well, what they did poorly and where the game could and should go in the future.

This will probably turn into a fairly lengthy article but you can look at it as being divided up into the following sections: The first section will look at the downsides of the game followed by the pluses. The second section will look at how certain aspects of the game set it up for future installments as well as looking at the directions that Ubisoft may choose to take.

 

Summary

This post will be riddled with spoilers. If you haven’t played the game then I’d advise not reading any further. So what are my thoughts? Well, it certainly exceeded all my expectations. I have to admit, that there is definitely a bias here. I have a huge fascination with Egypt: I’m currently reading my 2nd book this year on it, my computer wallpaper is the Pyramids of Giza, visiting there is on my bucket list…I could go on. Suffice to say, being able to explore pyramids and see what Egypt could have looked like around 50BCE was on its own a fun experience for me.

As for the game itself, while there were some negative elements. I LOVE what they have done with it. To me, this almost felt more like a reboot (and a much needed one at that). I made some initial notes when I first started playing but they began to sound petty the more I went on. Things like the “animus pulse” felt a bit out of place to me. I wish they had just called it “eagle intuition” or something like that because while it would have sounded ridiculous, it would have made more sense. I mean why would using the animus allow for memories to be changed? It just doesn’t fit in. Other things like changing the ‘assassinate’ buttons from X to Y also seemed a little unnecessary. Points like these were shadowed by the massive enjoyment I experienced from playing through Origins.

 

Grasping at Straws

As I said, I loved this game…and for that reason I’m going to start my summary with the negatives. These are the things that brought the game down just a little for me. Most will sound petty but I’ve got to be honest. We’ll start with the story elements.

 

Negative Points: Film Connections

One of my biggest issues (which was something I’d hoped wouldn’t happen) was their blatant desperation to connect this game to the Assassin’s Creed movie. We see SO MANY references to it that it just becomes impossible to ignore. Most of this takes place outside that animus through e-mails, files, etc. I wouldn’t have had an issue at all if it weren’t for the fact that the film didn’t relate to the games. It was never explained why the Apple was so small or why Abstergo seemed to know very little about the pieces of Eden. Instead, it feels like the film tried too hard to be generic without addressing any previous lore and then this game tried to connect them back together. It’s not a huge issue but it does make me wish the film had been a little more thought through. If only they had aimed the film at fans of the series then maybe we’d have something better to discuss. The fact that they are releasing another 2 films makes me wonder how much of this is just them laying the groundwork.

 

Negative Points: The Ending (in the Animus)

Another story element that did annoy me was the ending. I mean, not the very end (that was actually a great way to end the game). However, when we have just had a 2 day long battle on the Nile and finally face the two remaining members of The Order, we get a pretty disappointing outcome. I feel like they could have done more with the war aspect rather than setting up two arenas to fight in. Like why would these people just be hanging around in a war, waiting for a one-on-one? I was worried the game was going to end at this point but everything that happened after this was great. I just feel like they could have tied in a feeling of being more involved in the war that was going on rather than giving us simple boss battles.

 

Negative Points: The Ending (out-with the Animus)

Now this was ridiculous! I know that many, many of the Assassin’s Creed games have ended in a similar fashion: you discover your next destination or need to move base to escape Abstergo. I can even accept William Miles randomly showing up (with a different voice) but there was no real explanation as to why they are going to Alexandria. We’ve had maybe 4 games with stupid endings in terms of the modern day, most of which had very little connectivity to previous games, so I feel like they should have given us a bit more to go on. I’ll come back to this later one when I discuss the future of the games because it sort of annoys me that both bodies were in the tomb yet from what we can tell, Aya is now in Rome.

 

Negative Points: Glitches and Timeline Mix-Ups

I found how they handled the side missions in relation to the main story really well done…but…I found myself returning to some side missions after completing the main story only for Bayek to act like certain dead characters were still alive or that he was still searching for his son’s killer. I feel like it wouldn’t have been that much effort to record a few extra phrases for certain scenarios in order to cover this issue.

I also found it incredibly annoying when I’m freeing people from cages only for them to start attacking me. I first discovered this on a boat when searching for copper. I had killed all the guards already and thought I’d be a decent human being and free the captives, only for them to start attacking me. This happened a few times and became quite an inconvenience. From that point on I just let them rot in their wooden cells.

 

Negative Points: The Pre-Cursor Messages

I’m not going to linger too long on this point as actually, other than for this small point, I believe the pre-cursor stuff was done well. Finding these hidden chambers and activating these messages was cool but for the most part, I didn’t feel like I was gaining much from them. It bugged me that they were referring to Layla in the same manner that they’d shocked players by referring to Desmond at the end of Assassin’s Creed II.

I also feel like while talking about time and displaying pictures of wormholes is interesting, there wasn’t a great deal of substance to them. I plan to go back through and explore them deeper (you may have heard certain words were said backwards) as I’m sure there is more to offer. Maybe they are just setting up the next game but in comparison to some of the pre-cursor stuff we’ve had before, these messages just let me down which is a shame because the temples were awesome!

 

Negative Points: End the Mainstream

One thing I was hoping for in this game (perhaps it was just an example of wishful thinking and unrealistic expectations) was for the story to destroy the mainstream narrative of history. The franchise has always been great at combining real history with the fictional history in a manner that tends to work really well. I was hoping that the idea that the pyramids and the Sphinx are much, much older than mainstream history leads us to believe would be explored within the game. It could have been the perfect Segway into life after the catastrophe. It could also have made people want to research it more (Fingerprints of the Gods is an excellent book, just saying).

Using the tunnels under the Sphinx in all honesty, made my dick hard. That is something I’ve recently been researching and while I doubt there is a set of Isu armour under there, the mystery itself is still hugely intriguing. I think the idea that the pyramids weren’t tombs could have been used in incredible ways within this game. Perhaps they could have been entrances to pre-cursor tombs or energy stores or something completely unexpected that just brought a bit more of the pre-cursor story into the world beyond coded messages. I mean the pyramids are one of the biggest mysteries on Earth and I just feel like Ubisoft didn’t play on that as well as they could have.

But that’s all the negativity out of the way (looking back through it I realise I’ve made a pretty big list out of tiny little points). These may all seem pretty minor but they genuinely impacted on my enjoyment in playing the games and are what stopped this from being my favourite game ever.

 

Bask in the Joys

Now we can explore what made this game great and improved it drastically from the last few years of dead cow milking we’ve had from Ubisoft.

 

Story

For me, Ubisoft nailed the storyline. I was a little confused at the start when being thrown into flachbacks then different flashbacks then random scenes here and there that it turns out were blackouts…but once we got down to it, I thoroughly enjoyed it. I was a little disappointed that Bayek shaved his beard because I thought it looked pretty bad ass but other than that, I don’t have many complaints. There was never a moment where I felt bored of the storyline. It seems that Ubisoft did a pretty good job of balancing the main storyline with the side quests and side activities which was a good change from the last few games.

My only complaint would be related to the vault that we opened at the end. I feel like they could have made what was inside it a little more exciting…but that’s neither here nor there. I also wouldn’t have minded fleshing out the final missions a little more. After all the build-up and then the chase across countries, I feel like there was a missed opportunity for a few more missions. Also, for those less up-to-date with the history, I feel like we could have explored how Marcus Junius Brutus discovers and explores the Colosseum Vault. Again, a completely minor thing that doesn’t remotely take away from how much fun I had playing through the storyline and exploring Egypt.

Overall, I felt thoroughly gripped by Origins and for the first time since maybe Revelations, I was actually incredibly interested as to where the storyline was headed. What I loved was that as a player, we knew early on what the vault was and how it could be opened but couldn’t do anything about it. I spent so long wondering what was behind those doors. Nearing the end of the game I started to worry that we may never find out but exploring Alexander’s tomb and seeing the staff in there was a joy.

 

Character

Again, I think Ubisoft did an excellent job of coming up with an interesting character. I can’t say it shocked me that they found a way to slip playing as a female character in there but Bayek was interesting and likeable (unlike maybe the last 3 or 4 main characters). I’m still torn as to whether he is actually an ancestor of Desmond’s (there was certainly a similarity and the scar on the lip used to be the tell-tale sign).

Aya was also a like-able character (other than when her story arc called for you not liking her). I feel like she may be the focus in the next game but we’ll discuss that in a moment. It was good to see a strong female character without it being forced down our throats. I mean she was strong because the situation called for it as opposed to the previous games where the female characters tended to be stronger than they should be or incredibly annoying.

 

New Features

As with most Assassins Creed games, the new features took a little getting used to. Unlike the last few games (I feel like I need a codeword for referring to all the games between 3/4 and Origins) the new features didn’t feel like someone came up with them during a 3 minute brain storm session

. Anyway, Senu the bird added a refreshing element to the gameplay. I found it changed how I played the game a lot and it actually took me the entire 40-odd hours before I used her in the most efficient manner. I worry that they’ll force that into every game which would be fun but also devalue the connection that Bayek had with his pet. I guess they could maybe find some way around that but anyway, this was an incredibly successful new element that truly enhanced the gameplay.

The combat system was another aspect I was a little worried about at first but now, I can’t imagine how it will feel playing the old games. It truly made combat not only more entertaining and just fun in general, but more fluid and challenging. There was a higher level of strategy required in certain situations which brings me nicely onto that very aspect.

The level system seems a little crazy at first. It took me a while to realise that I couldn’t just fight everyone which can be a little frustrating at time (such as getting hooked on the storyline but being unable to progress due to your level) but also made the game as a whole more fun. It meant that for some missions, you had to actually be incredibly strategic and stealthy. With most Assassin’s Creed games you might try to do it like that but upon failing you can just fight everyone. That’s not an option when you’re at a lower level than everyone inside a fortress. I said ages ago, way back at like AC 4 that we needed something like this and I’m so relieved they did it in a manner that worked. Even the whole skill upgrades idea was wonderfully refreshing. They trialed it with AC Unity and improved it a little with Syndicate but they nailed it (finally) with this one. They broke it up in a similar manner to that of Far Cry 3 which I think was a good decision.

 

Refreshed Boring Aspects

One of my main complaints in previous games was related to those stupid stone things that you match up. There was no challenge to it, finding them was a pain in the ass and ultimately the reward was never worth the effort you put in. Using the stars and making it more visually appealing certainly made things more interesting for me but finding out that they’d hidden a whole precursor temple under the sphinx related to these stones made it VERY exciting! I felt compelled to find them all (and luckily there were only 12). I was a little disappointed that all you got was some Tron style armour. I feel like it would have been another opportunity to explore some more First Civilization stuff rather than just presenting us with some unexplained armour. Even if they’d given us some sort of backstory or reason for it being there, I’d have been a lot more relieved to find it. Still, they toned it all back from the previous games and I give them two thumbs up for that.

 

Mission Fluidity

Another thing that this game did really well was the structure of the missions. You can have multiple on-going at the same time which was a refreshing change. Also, the idea of being able to play some of a mission, realise you’re not a high enough level, go do other and then continue where you left off is simply a great feature. Nothing is more soul-destroying than having to bail on a mission and then do it all over again.

At the start, they also managed to completely refresh an element from the original game that had always been annoying. You’d have to go to a dude to start the mission, you’d then go find someone else usually to get more information, then you’d kill someone, then you’d have to go back to one guy, then the first guy again…they scrapped that in Origins which was wonderful. You could take on like 4 new missions, work through them and never have to go back and forth between people. It made the run-up to an assassination seem a lot more realistic but also drastically less boring and repetitive.

The only thing that did get a bit stale was the hunting aspect. I feel like it was almost perfect but by the last few levels of each aspect (melee, assassins blade, etc) I found myself just getting bored and usually not bothering to explore it any further. I think I only got two aspects fully improved.

 

Future of the Series

This is where I become a little concerned. I feel like there are two elements to explore here and I will discuss my opinions on both in just a second. The game can advance two aspects of its story: the present day and the past. The manner in which it will do this has been hinted at within Origins but I feel like only time will tell which direction Ubisoft heads in. My main hope is that they take the proper time again to come up with ideas and develop them. Origins was a refreshing reboot and it would be a shame to scrap that by rushing to release a sequel.

 

The Past

I get the feeling that Bayek’s story had been told. There’s no need to explore Egypt anymore (from a gameplay standpoint) and since Bayek continues on there, I can’t see him returning, at least not as the main character. His wife on the other hand, Aya, is a prime candidate for the next game. Having changed her name to Amunet (literally meaning Hidden One), Aya went in pursuit of Cleopatra and spared her life, only on the understanding that she would rule over the people of Egypt in the way that she’d promised. We know from previous Assassin’s Creed games that she kills Cleopatra within the next two decades.

As Aya/Amunet has moved to a new location and as her character was developed throughout the game, I feel like Ubisoft may follow her in the next game. We could see her involvement in the destabilization and ultimate fall of the Roman Empire and even though we’ve seen Rome as a city before, that’s over 1400 years from when the game would be set. That’s not to say they would even explore the city of Rome at all as you’d have the entirety of the Roman Empire in all its glory to play with. I’d be quite happy playing her in the next game and it would allow players to stay connected and feel like the game followed on properly from the previous one (something that they failed to do in the last few games). The game could even start off with the assassination of Cleopatra and then follow Aya as the assassins are outlawed and banished.

One element that is essential to the storyline in the past is interaction with the First Civ temples and artifacts but more importantly, the history. We NEED to get a game sooner or later that lets us explore the first civilization, even if just a tiny bit. Perhaps flickers of memories that help tell the story that little bit better. They’ve essentially been teasing us with that since like Brotherhood, maybe even as far back as Assassin’s Creed II. Certainly it’s been an idea since Black Flag but I can understand why they are hesitant. I don’t think anybody wants a full game based in that civilization as it would lose the feeling of interacting with history that we’ve come to enjoy. They just need to find some new details to share with us instead of simply rehashing the same First Civ stuff. That does take us onto the other issue: the present day storyline.

 

Modern Day

So it looks like we have a new main character: Layla. Not my favourite and certainly no Desmond (although her higher intelligence can certainly be appreciated). It seems that the modern day storyline is going to link in with the past. William Miles arrives at the end to take her to Alexandria without any real explanation as to why. My first thought was to collect the apple but the odds of it sitting in a random box are pretty astronomical. Besides, after doing a little research it seems that the apple from Origins is in fact the same one that ends up in Solomon’s Temple in the first AC game. So why the fuck are they going to Alexandria then?

A question for the next game I’d imagine. What we can gather from the messages from after the cataclysm is that Layla is going to be involved in some sort of time travel or universe hopping. The pictures and audio all suggest that she will create an animus that actually allows her to travel through time to relive the memories of people but also change the past and impact the future. I wasn’t sure how I felt about that at first but if they do it well then I can totally get on board.

However, before doing that, they need to decide what the fuck is going on. I mean where is Juno? She was released all the way back in AC III, she was interacting with the world and creating a following in Black Flag and then she basically just vanished. If she is the threat then that needs to be established. The present day storyline in this game revealed very little about what was going on (and trust me, I read ALL the emails and other nonsense on Layla’s laptop). The next game needs to establish how Juno is either not going to be a threat or is going to be defeated and it needs to tie this in with whatever time travel or alternate reality shit they decide to explore. They need to worry less about tying the games to the film and instead focus on tying the games to the other games.

 

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