I am a girl. I come equipped with girly parts, like fallopian tubes and a smug sense of always being right. But don't let this fact make you think that I don't like looking at other girls. I like it. I like it a lot. There's something about the pleasing curves of the fairer sex that made my teenage years at an all-girls Catholic school a very exciting time indeed.
However, I have my standards. I like my ladies to have character, originality and a bit of attitude. All earnest qualities that Female Shepard Number 5 completely lacks. Frankly, if I saw her in a locker room, I'd glaze over and move on, in search of more interesting entries for my Filofax of Filth. She's just so utterly bland.
When EA first announced their Facebook poll to vote for a new Lady Shepard look, I didn't really care. As soon as I get my grubby mitts on Mass Effect 3, I'm importing my custom-made Shepard, who I spent hours lovingly sculpting into a Goddess of the Stars. But as Shep 5 started gaining the lead by a sickening margin, I felt the rage face activating.
This is the first time that female Shepard will be shown to the world. The real world. It'll be the first time she's used for marketing campaigns, advertisements and, in my wildest dreams, adorning the box itself. Think about it – this will be the first in a long time that such a well-written, kick-ass female hero will be brought into the spotlight – merited not for the size of her dirty pillows and the tightness of her tramp-stamp jeans, but for her ability to dominate the battlefield, unite humanity, and stand up in the face of intergalactic adversity. So it breaks my heart that the mass public have gone for such the wishy washy, Barbie faced personality vacuum that is Shep 5.
The modern day world is already so much more culturally diverse than yester-year, so why don't future representations reflect this? Isn't it about time that the cliché of a blonde-haired, blue-eyed pin-up was phased out?At the very least, think about this seriously. In a battle situation, you want to be at the peak of your physical condition. When you've got thermal bullets zinging over your head and Garrus screaming in your headpiece, you need to be able to at least see what the hell is going on – something that simply isn't achievable with those straggly bits of hair flopping in your face. Trust me. I have an irritating fringe, and I can barely see the screen right now, let alone a charging Krogan. In any case, as pretty as Mass Effect is, you've got to admit the boys at Bioware haven't quite mastered the hair technology, reducing anything that isn't a careful bun or sensible buzzcut to a greasy moptop. Do you really want to be staring at that for 30 hours?
Commander Shepard deserves better than this. You're talking about a woman who brought down a teched-up Saren. A woman who survived being brought back to life after being blown out into space. The woman who punched that damn annoying reporter right between her lying eyes. Just look at Shep 5, then back to these words. Now look at Shep 5 again – that is the face of a woman who cares more about her glue-on nails and handbag Chihuahua. She's not the saviour of the goddamn universe.
Please, boys and girls, I implore you. Don't vote for Number 5. Vote for diversity. Vote for originality. Vote for personality. For the love of god, vote for someone I can proudly place on the first page of my Filofax. Thank you.