So, shortly after Ozzie posted on why you shouldn’t expect people to go out of their way to do more research and consume more media in order to find a good message in a creator’s work… a bunch of people rushed in to tell us that the “unnamed redhead” in the Reinhardt animated short had a name… she was clearly Brigitte, Torbjorn’s daughter and beloved Overwatch supporting character!
But, what identified her as Brigitte, what kind of character is she? Was this depiction of her accurate to previous material?
The woman depicted in the short is the second-most muscular woman we’ve seen in Overwatch (second only to Zarya) with a cog tattoo on her left shoulder and a t-shirt which has the sleeves torn off and reads “I like exercise because I love eating” and she has the standard issue Disney-face.
This is Brigitte in her only other speaking appearance, note how she started with a strong jawline, narrow lips and freckles:
And here she is in her other follow up appearance, arms like twigs and half-way to the final Disney-face, no more freckles or jawline:
So really what identified her as Brigitte were these elements:
- Proximity to Reinhardt during his pre-game period
- Tendency to tell Reinhardt that he shouldn’t do what the audience is specifically eager for him to do (ie, be a hero)
- Her hair is kind of the same and she has practical pants (a rarity for women in the world of Overwatch)
- Nobody refers to her by name while she’s around
There’s also that one in-game spray graphic where she’s shown sporting even more “prettified” face, posing for a photo with her dad (good luck knowing that relation without digging up lore):
The greater irony of this is that the single exchange between Reinhardt and Mercy where Brigitte’s name is mentioned actually undermines her role in the video. According to the in-game content she goes off with Reinhardt on his adventures… not keeping him company in the castle while he avoids risks. Note how in the short she isn’t shown to change her mind and support Reinhardt’s decision at the end.
(Also worth noting is people have been asking, by name, for her to appear more often and be shown helping Reinhardt in the game for over a year now but this is the closest Blizzard have come, that and they had to confirm her who father was in a tweet because again… zero priority elsewhere.)
At this point, if you look at what Blizzard have provided: Brigitte has no consistent look beyond pants, skin tone and hairstyle. Her only consistent behavior is telling Reinhardt not to go be a hero. In the video she isn’t even shown doing the other support aspects such as enabling travel, fixing his armor, gathering intelligence, being the social one of the pair, etc.
The point is here is Blizzard doesn’t care enough about a female character to give her a consistent appearance, have her name be used so the audience can identify her or give her any sort of motivations of her own – you shouldn’t take the time to act like she’s an important character who everyone should know.
I promise you that defending Blizzard’s failures to do the basics when it comes to their promises of better depictions of women and better diversity will not result anything good for anyone other than Blizzard’s shareholders.
I said this on the Moira post, but really… what could have been.
This is exactly what I meant by “asking us to “do our homework” before we comment will make the commentary far more critical, not more lenient.”