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Utgardloki
11-08-2010, 10:01 PM
From time to time, I've been giving some thought to the lives of the females of the various monster species that PCs encountered. Female orcs, kobolds, goblins, et cetera: how do they fill their time and what are their lives like. Also, are there male harpies? What do they do?

I've been rejecting the ideas that these females are just like human females, or that they are simply variants of the males with breasts, or that they are simply harem-fodder with no purpose other than producing more orcs, goblins, et al.

Malruhn
11-08-2010, 10:41 PM
It would depend entirely upon the culture of the race. Some are like the males with breasts - or are breeding machines - while others are as disparate as Western Civ humanity (in reality).

Oh - and according to legend, harpies mate with human males they trap - just before they rip them apart and eat them. According to what I've read, ALL children are female harpies... there was no mention of males babies or stillbirths.

fmitchell
11-09-2010, 08:48 AM
A number of older cultures have separate paths for men and women. Men are hunters and warriors, women are farmers and shamans. (IIRC, at least one culture allows men to take the woman's path, but for all social purposes a male shaman is female.)

The status of women might also depend on the level of sexual dimorphism. When the sexes are more or less equal in size and ability, as they appear to be with kobolds for example, the culture/species would develop a wholly egalitarian attitude except perhaps during egg-laying time. Notable disparities in size or physique might lead to dominance by the larger/faster sex, particularly in primitive cultures. This could cut either way, e.g. in the RuneQuest world of Glorantha, trolls (Uz) have a matriarchal culture because females are larger, and the immortal "mistress race" queens have awesome magical power.

Imagine if goblin females were larger and smarter than goblin males. They might send males away from the village to protect the tribe and guard poorly-locked chests; survivors father the next generation.

tesral
11-09-2010, 04:50 PM
Subsistence means constant work. What they do is what it takes to make life possible. As mentioned culture has a lot to do with it. In Eastern American Indian culture women farmed, men hunted. In a hunter gatherer culture this could be different.

Kobolds being egg layers mean they are not as confined in gender role. Egg incubating and the care of the young could easily fall to either gender. Mammals have some roles biologically determined. A male can't incubate the young no matter what is wanted. Infant care is the realm of the female, she has the breasts.

There is no reason say that hunting couldn't be the preserve of the female and farming that of the male, or neither is defined by gender role.

However lifestyle of subsistence societies is one of never ending work to get the food, prepare the food, maintain the shelter, Hunter ganterers actually work less hard. In plentiful environments they only worked average of 20 hours a week to eat. Spare time was spent maintaining shelters, making jewelry, tools, textiles and so forth. Orcs do not have a Wal-mart to run down to.

Utgardloki
11-10-2010, 12:55 AM
I actually spent an amount of time thinking about hobgoblin culture in which the females hunt for the males. This allows the males to concentrate on specialized fighting techniques (or specialized gambling techniques for the less industrious). I figured the females would be more neutral, more pragmatic, and more prone to negotiate rather than fight. They'd also be very elusive and good at hiding, which is why there are not widespread reports of hobgoblin amazons hunting in the woods -- nobody sees them, or else just sees someone in a leather cloak and hood. And instead of Maglubiyet, they tend to worship nature deities. Maglubiyet doesn't mind, since he and his priests don't care for female worshippers.

Anarkitty
03-10-2011, 08:20 PM
In most modern fantasy settings, the default value seems to generally be gender equality, as a practical matter to simplify the rules, or to appeal to the ethics of modern players.
There are different gender roles, but the "women are chattel" idea that many historical cultures had is unpopular, and usually only practiced by "evil" cultures. Instead while women tend towards staying at home with the children, in most fantasy settings no one gets snarky at family reunions when the youngest daughter runs off and joins a mercenary warband, or the town guard, and men who suggest they shouldn't are seen as boors and idiots. Personally I agree with this idea, but it doesn't have much historical basis.
Obviously there are exceptions *coughF.A.T.A.L.cough* but these days they are the exception, not the rule, and are commonly reviled for it.
I actually really like the idea of reversed gender roles in some non-human species, like the aforementioned goblin women being bigger and stronger and the men going out to prove they are worthy (like Predators), or hobgoblin women hunting while the men train. I may have to borrow these ideas for my games.

tesral
03-10-2011, 09:55 PM
It depends. Dwarves in my world, have strictly defined gender roles. Those that break them are ostracized male or female.

Orcs, everything but the strongest males are chattel.

Hobgoblins, the rooster rules the roost, and the hen rules the rooster. What I call a hidden Matriarchy or the principle that if Momma ain't happy, nobody is happy.

Elven roles are defined by age. When you are breeding age, you make babies and raise babies, that is what you do, male or female.

Humans as usual are all over the place. From firmly defined roles to not firmly defined. PC is never a consideration.

Sascha
03-10-2011, 10:26 PM
For fun, toss in a third gender every so often.

Arch Lich Thoth-Amon
03-10-2011, 10:59 PM
I run Skaven in both my WFRP campaigns, as well as my dnd campaigns. I love freaking out my players with these evil creatures.

Since this is under fantasy and not dnd, let me add my two duckets. Skaven females are baby machines; whereas, 99% of the males are just fodder - most not living to adulthood. Their lives are valueless. Less than 1% rules the others. Being that Skaven are humanoid rats, losing such large numbers is meaningless. They breed like rats - quite literally. Probably the only race where if you weren't in the 1% category, it was probably best to be born a female.

http://www.google.com/images?q=skaven&rls=com.microsoft:en-us:IE-SearchBox&oe=UTF-8&rlz=1I7GPEA_enUS311&um=1&ie=UTF-8&source=og&sa=N&hl=en&tab=wi&biw=1419&bih=727

Another race I built up was actually borrowed a movie entitled The Mole People (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0049516/). I made the females the dominant species, both in intelligence, and in size. The males made good workers, but nothing more. It was the females of the race that ruled.

nijineko
03-11-2011, 12:25 AM
i like mixing up social/cutural paradigms with political situations and religious beliefs. between these three polarities, one can make many a unique people. add in racial abilities for flavor and you have hundreds if not thousands of variants to choose from. even small things can make a huge difference.

for example, it is the culture of one particular village in china for children of the teenage years to go up on opposite gender-specific hillsides and to make up poems and songs about individuals on the other side they are interested in. groups of guys and girls will sing together to support each other and in some cases to obscure which one it is that actually likes the subject of the song in question. they will sing and counter-sing back and forth trying to impress each other with wit and lyrics and voice.

mix this idea into a non-human race, and suddenly they don't seem quite so non-human as before. at least to players. add a few hidden taboos, such as forbidden words or subjects and you can have a field day.

Crom on his Mountain
03-15-2011, 04:32 PM
For humans I actually try to keep to the way women were really viewed, though I catch a lot of flak for it. If you remove the classic gender roles you also remove damsels in distress, chivalry, struggles by female characters against these prejudices, and many other role-playing opportunities.

Nonhumans are a different story.

Elves: I used to have elves be completely equal, but as they became more and more Asian in my campaigns women actually started to become very put upon in Elven society just as they were in feudal Japan. Though when I run a Birthright campaign that I'm planning the Asian element obviously no longer exists and they will be completely equal.

Dwarves: Dwarven females are best unseen and unheard, and adventuring is strongly discouraged. There's a reason you never see female dwarves.

Gnomes: My gnomes are actually quite equal, though the females are the ONLY caregivers. My gnomes are wandering scholars who have an irresistible wanderlust. While gnomes are monogamous and will keep in constant written contact with their families and friends they simply find it completely impossible to resist their urges and can't remain in one place for more than a few years. Every gnome has a topic they are obsessed with and rarely do a husband and wife's obsession coincide, so they often go years without meeting. To counter this I've made them very fertile, they need to make the most out of their rare couplings.

Halfings: Matriarchs rule halfling life both in the home and in the community at large. The men don't even pretend this isn't so, being quite content to kick up their furry little heels while having a smoke with their buddies while the women run the show.

Orcs: Women are for snu-snu, and only for snu-snu.

Goblins: Goblins don't really have gender rolls, though the men are generally larger and stronger so they're usually in charge. An exceptionally physically powerful goblin female is definitely as respected as an equally powerful male.

Kobolds and harpies are sexless.

Sascha
03-15-2011, 06:28 PM
For humans I actually try to keep to the way women were really viewed, though I catch a lot of flak for it. If you remove the classic gender roles you also remove damsels in distress, chivalry, struggles by female characters against these prejudices, and many other role-playing opportunities.
Why can't men be in the "powerless" role?

Crom on his Mountain
03-15-2011, 06:34 PM
Why can't men be in the "powerless" role?

Because historically men have power in every major culture that's ever existed in every single place on the planet. Why is it so important to switch the roles?

rabkala
03-15-2011, 10:00 PM
Because, sometimes it is fun when the women are on top. :drum: :boink:

Sorry, I saw the opportunity!

Sascha
03-15-2011, 11:38 PM
Because historically men have power in every major culture that's ever existed in every single place on the planet. Why is it so important to switch the roles?
It's not. You can have all you mentioned without putting any sex and/or gender in the lesser position.

(Also, define "major culture.")

nijineko
03-16-2011, 12:15 AM
may i suggest thailand as a counter example to major culture which has been matriarchal for years?

not to mention the native americans had quite a few tribes in which women held real power. in some (particularly the south american ones) pregnant women are accorded equal respect with blooded warriors, as they are recognized as risking their lives by giving birth. this was so strongly held a belief that when women died in childbirth, some warriors would cut off their arms as a trophy - another interesting cultural trait: the collection of the arms of fallen enemies as proof of prowess. also some tribes in africa come to mind... though i'm sure i'll get told that tribes are not major government.

that's just off the top of my head. i can find more.

Crom on his Mountain
03-16-2011, 06:18 AM
may i suggest thailand as a counter example to major culture which has been matriarchal for years?

not to mention the native americans had quite a few tribes in which women held real power. in some (particularly the south american ones) pregnant women are accorded equal respect with blooded warriors, as they are recognized as risking their lives by giving birth. this was so strongly held a belief that when women died in childbirth, some warriors would cut off their arms as a trophy - another interesting cultural trait: the collection of the arms of fallen enemies as proof of prowess. also some tribes in africa come to mind... though i'm sure i'll get told that tribes are not major government.

that's just off the top of my head. i can find more.

Equal respect with blooded warriors? Ah, but who are the blooded warriors? Who are the ones who go off adventuring, pregnant women or warriors?

Sascha
03-16-2011, 11:01 AM
may i suggest thailand as a counter example to major culture which has been matriarchal for years?.
(Minor nit: there haven't been any 'true' matriarchies in human history, for which we have evidence. Strongly matrilineal/matrilocal cultures have been described as matriarchal, though, and the shifting definitions of "matriarchy" make this muddier. But the concept isn't used as much in anthropology now, compared to the -local and -lineal descriptors.)

But yeah, there are counterexamples to oppressive patriarchy across the globe and across time.


Equal respect with blooded warriors? Ah, but who are the blooded warriors? Who are the ones who go off adventuring, pregnant women or warriors?
'Warrior' and 'woman' aren't mutually exclusive categories, neither in history nor in mythology and fiction. Also, pregnancy makes certain activities impractical, but that doesn't mean all women experience pregnancy and child-rearing in equal amounts. It doesn't exclude men from child-rearing, either. All of those things are cultural constructs (which incorporate sex differences, to varying degrees), not universal truths.

tesral
03-16-2011, 11:22 AM
I play with it. Gynidia for example is a world where you have roughly 1 male for ever 700 women. (Dying species, long story) Women run everything. Contrary to what one might think men have exactly one job and while are absolute tyrants in their house, they rule nothing outside it. They are studs. They don't pick the women, they don't pick the times.

I considered what this does to the usual culture. Your love interest is not a man, that is what you hope to breed with, but not live with. So the usual action movie you have the two women who start out ready to kill each other, they have to blow up many sets and bad girls to save the male sex object (who doesn't have a say in the matter.) And at the end fall loving into each other's arms when they find up they are each pregnant with a boy. Very high status for women that have boys.

Sascha
03-16-2011, 01:43 PM
Yep, playing with gender is pretty much what humans do. Sometimes it's a power reversal, sometimes the power's more evenly distributed. Sometimes it's not limited to just two sexes, sometimes not just two genders. Sometimes it's one or more of the above.

tesral
03-17-2011, 09:23 AM
I ran another species that in the plaeo past a virus edited out the male. The were all female reproducing by parthenogenesis. It was a Star Trek game so the visiting ship helped them recover the male half of their species from an ancient frozen male. Again parthenogenesis wasn't mixing the genes and the species was slowly failing. They wanted the boys back.

However they were also concerned with gender politics, and that the male population could either end up in a dominate position parlaying rarity into power, or equally as bad be treated as chattel. They had long conversation with the ship's sociologists as to how to set things up so that future generation would prevent either from happening. They only had 70,000 viable male embryos. To a world of 4 billion women population parity would take generations, and with parthenogenesis not stopping might never be achieved.


I also like to make alien species out of various social animals and bring the gender particulates of the species into the mix. Hygar are hyenas female dominated and aggressive. The Goniti (http://phoenixinn.iwarp.com/startrek/groups/gonti.html) are cape buffalo, male dominated and equally aggressive.

Method of reproduction can also affect gender politics. Acceptians (http://phoenixinn.iwarp.com/startrek/groups/acceptian.html) are avian egg layers. Females have absolute control of reproduction. They lay the eggs fertile or not. And she is the sole decider of the egg is fertile. They have a strict no mating outside of marriage taboo. A taboo mainly observed in the breach by the young. However with female control of eggs good girls stay good girls. If she isn't married she just crushes the eggs as they are laid. No problem. The Acceptians' real problem of population is keeping it high enough. Accidental babies do not happen. The links have the full write ups.

Crom on his Mountain
03-17-2011, 10:30 AM
I play with it. Gynidia for example is a world where you have roughly 1 male for ever 700 women. (Dying species, long story) Women run everything. Contrary to what one might think men have exactly one job and while are absolute tyrants in their house, they rule nothing outside it. They are studs. They don't pick the women, they don't pick the times.

I considered what this does to the usual culture. Your love interest is not a man, that is what you hope to breed with, but not live with. So the usual action movie you have the two women who start out ready to kill each other, they have to blow up many sets and bad girls to save the male sex object (who doesn't have a say in the matter.) And at the end fall loving into each other's arms when they find up they are each pregnant with a boy. Very high status for women that have boys.



Seems to me tthat would be a very fertile species. After all, there's no limit to the number of females one male can impregnate at the same time.

tesral
03-18-2011, 10:50 AM
It's still one at a time, as usual. You still only get an average of one boy per 700 births. Sure they are fertile, but the male/female ratio is getting worse. Eventually they will run out of males.

cplmac
03-18-2011, 11:01 AM
It's still one at a time, as usual. You still only get an average of one boy per 700 births. Sure they are fertile, but the male/female ratio is getting worse. Eventually they will run out of males.

I presume that when that happens, it will then lead to the creation of a new race that is a cross of the females and the other race that they decide to use when there are no more males left of their own. It will be interesting to see if the new race is made to be subserviant or if it branches out on it's own.

tesral
03-18-2011, 01:00 PM
Something like that is happening. Males from other humanoid species are coming in. As fortune would have it there is also a world where a plague targeted women. They lost 90% of the female population. The two are coming together with careful nurturing from the PCs.. On the man-world there wasn't time for the culture ot get broken. They were still reeling from the blow. Fem-world has a deeply twisted culture. That is what the PCs are trying to shelter. They want it to die out.

Now, the guys are deeply deferential to any woman, and the girls are trained from birth to defer to any man. Watching one each try and get anything done....

Arch Lich Thoth-Amon
03-18-2011, 01:59 PM
Sascha -

Why not make a world where all the roles are reversed in your campaigns? I really can't imagine gamers having a problem with this. If the DM was a good one, and the game enjoyable, it would be an interesting campaign to play, IMO, whether it be in Mystara, Greyhawk, Forgotten Realms, etc. We all homebrew changes into our games, make this your "unique" homebrew addition to yours.

Actually, if you went to DM said game/s at a Convention, It wouldn't surprise me if your find yourself with more gamers than you ever imagined. We, as gamers, are always on the lookout for something new and different. Heck, even Mighty Thoth would sign up for a session.

Sascha
03-18-2011, 04:00 PM
It's not so much that I want to see a full role-reversal; it's food for thought, a discussion point. Challenge the base assumption, see if the idea holds. It's my inner empirical social scientist showing through.

(That, and I think I've been playing Dragon Age: Origins too much. "People are not simple. They cannot be summarized for easy reference in the manner of: 'The elves are a lithe, pointy eared people who excel at poverty.'" When Sten makes sense, there's something wrong :P)

Crom on his Mountain
03-19-2011, 10:53 AM
'Warrior' and 'woman' aren't mutually exclusive categories, neither in history nor in mythology and fiction. Also, pregnancy makes certain activities impractical, but that doesn't mean all women experience pregnancy and child-rearing in equal amounts. It doesn't exclude men from child-rearing, either. All of those things are cultural constructs (which incorporate sex differences, to varying degrees), not universal truths.

They aren't mutually exclusive, but the number warriors has been historically so low that it's barely worth mentioning. And men are in many ways excluded from child rearing. It's cold hard fact that men are larger, stronger, and faster; these traits are what is most important to primitive warfare. It's also cold hard fact that only women can produce breast milk and women are far better suited for raising young.

Any race in which these roles are reversed would need to also reverse these fundamental biological facts. If a race produces female warriors more often then men than that race's women would also be larger, stronger, and faster than the men. Men also wouldn't be able to function as highly as child-rearers without other biological adaptations. A race which has true equality would most likely have very little sexual diomorphism, which is why elves very often in games are treated as more egalitarian than humans. Cause you know, the men already kinda look like girls.

These things aren't cultural constructs, if that were the case than these constructs wouldn't hold true in nearly every culture around the globe. The fact that this isn't true is strong evidence that these differences are a result of biology, not culture.

Sascha
03-19-2011, 02:49 PM
They aren't mutually exclusive, but the number warriors has been historically so low that it's barely worth mentioning. And men are in many ways excluded from child rearing. It's cold hard fact that men are larger, stronger, and faster; these traits are what is most important to primitive warfare. It's also cold hard fact that only women can produce breast milk and women are far better suited for raising young.
20% of Sarmatian warrior graves being females isn't insignificant. They (the Scythian-Sarmatian group) are one of the candidate cultures for the Greeks' tales of the Amazons. That's pretty worth mentioning, 'specially when fantasy cribs heavily from mythology and legend. There's also the West African Dahomey culture, where women constituted about a third of that kingdom's standing army (and were the king's bodyguards, to boot) in one of its eras.

Also, your biology stats need to work on from a normal distribution. The average male is stronger and faster than the average female, but there's overlap. And breastfeeding is not the ultimate expression of child-rearing; proper socialization into the specific culture is, in which men play an equal role to women. (Well, not quite equal, as the birth and survival rates are skewed - birth to males, survival to females. But close enough.)


Any race in which these roles are reversed would need to also reverse these fundamental biological facts. If a race produces female warriors more often then men than that race's women would also be larger, stronger, and faster than the men. Men also wouldn't be able to function as highly as child-rearers without other biological adaptations. A race which has true equality would most likely have very little sexual diomorphism, which is why elves very often in games are treated as more egalitarian than humans. Cause you know, the men already kinda look like girls.
My point is, we don't need to change biology to make it work. 'Cause it already works that way in our own world. That's what gender is, a socially-constructed definition of masculinity and femininity. Sexual dimorphism plays into gender theory, but is not the controlling force behind it.

Also, that bold line there? That's what I'm talking about. Appearance, especially beauty, is so very culture-bound, it's not a universal truth. That the portrayal of elves as "more attractive than humans" comes out as having more feminine traits speaks more to the artist's concept of beauty, than anything intrinsic to elves.


These things aren't cultural constructs, if that were the case than these constructs wouldn't hold true in nearly every culture around the globe. The fact that this isn't true is strong evidence that these differences are a result of biology, not culture.
Sex and gender are two different things. And, cross-culturally, there are more than two sexes and genders acknowledged. Same biology at work, radically different interpretations. That's my point - these truths you hold aren't the basis for nearly every culture's structure; they operate from a specific model, derived out of an egalitarian culture before the rise of agriculture (Neolithic Turkey and Jordan are the case studies here).

Biological determinism went out of favor a while ago, as a social theory for justifying inequality.

Anarkitty
03-19-2011, 03:23 PM
You have just made a very interesting point.

Yes, in reality males tend to be bigger, faster and stronger than females, and it is for this reason that they tend to be the primary warriors in most societies. (It is a notable side effect that this in turn leads to males generally being in charge, which in turn leads to social sonstructs that maintain this status quo even when technology evolves to the point that being stronger than the other guy really doen't matter any more, only being strong enough to carry and use the appropriate weapons and gear which basically starts as soon as guns are good enough that bayonette charges are no longer common.)

However the interesting part is that in most fantasy RPG settings (with a few notable exceptions), males and females have exactly the same ranges for Strength, Dexterity, Constitution (or whatever physical stats the system uses), and exactly the same odds of getting any result in that range. Mechanically this means that males never had that advantage and the only reason that there would be a preference for males being warriors is that the females are more valuable to society because in addition to being equally good at combat they can [i]also/[i] bear children. The logical evolution of a sociaety like this is a matriarchal system of government and culture, and a devaluing of males in the society. There would still be a higher percentage of men in combat roles because they are more expendable, never have to take time off due to pregnancy, and assuming things like brain chemistry are similar to ours, are more aggressive despite not being stronger.
I can see a society like this either being very egalitarian with very few clearly-defined gender roles, or stratified with some strife or competition between the genders. In the latter society, I imagine basic gender roles would be either traditional or nonexistant, and more advanced roles, like blacksmithing, magic, or the like would be based mostly on which gender the person who developed the technology was, and would be guarded jealously from the opposite gender with a guild or school system in an attempt to gain an advantage in the society.

Most game worlds seem to default to the former, but it could be quite interesting to creat e rules for the latter, where certain skills or even schools of magic are gender-restricted, but not according to the usual preconceptions of gender roles. Maybe only males can learn sewing or healing or only females can learn blacksmithing. Mixed gender adventuring parties have to deal with the constant sense of having to show that they are better than their opposite-gender counterparts, male and female both. And romance becomes an complicated dance of love and rivalry and affection and competition.

nijineko
03-27-2011, 11:28 AM
all this discussion reminds me of a tri-gendered race i once read about. one gender had the ovaries, one the womb, and one the standard male. made for interesting political and interpersonal relations. especially when interacting with a dual or single gendered race.

i'm also reminded of one series where certain psionic powers were gender specific.

Soft Serve
03-27-2011, 11:40 AM
Didn't look like anyone mentioned the Shivering Isles of The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. (I skimmed the thread, honestly.)

In that little plane of existence the Dark Seducers and Golden Saints (Lawkeepers of their own respective halves of the Isles.) are Female dominant. The men in their races provide support and perform stay-at-home stuff while the women fight wars and generally kick-ass.

(Note: Why is armor for women always skimpy? Even in Oblivion where they are designated fighters they're wearing barely 5 ounces of metal. Hell, look at Mortal Kombat while we're on it.)

nijineko
03-27-2011, 11:54 AM
i think they are using the alternate rules from the 'son of a portable hole' books regarding less = more... as in less female clothing = more ac bonus. or something silly like that. check out the pdf, it is full of late night silliness.

Sascha
03-27-2011, 02:14 PM
(Note: Why is armor for women always skimpy? Even in Oblivion where they are designated fighters they're wearing barely 5 ounces of metal. Hell, look at Mortal Kombat while we're on it.)
(The concept of the "Male Gaze": women are portrayed as to appeal to heterosexual men, as they're the assumed point of view. Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Male_gaze#The_Male_Gaze_and_feminist_theory), TVTropes (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/MaleGaze).)

nijineko
03-27-2011, 02:22 PM
well, there is a similar effect in certain art for males as well. look at the art for the original conan books, as well as other period art. not much armor there either.

Soft Serve
03-27-2011, 02:57 PM
Haley and Durkon sum it up right about here.

http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0675.html

Sascha
03-27-2011, 03:01 PM
Similar effect, in that the male form presented to the male audience suggests how they should look; it's still the male gaze, just turned upon the male form. It wasn't really intended for women to consume, nor is it necessarily how women view men.

nijineko
03-27-2011, 04:59 PM
interesting. and well put. the artists that came to mind when i made that comment are in fact, male. what then would represent the 'female gaze'? any examples out there?

Sascha
03-28-2011, 08:39 AM
You'd be looking for stuff where the primary audience is assumed female, so fashion or lifestyle magazines and the Twilight films; the latest Dr. Who installments (especially those with David Tenant) could be seen as having a female gaze ... though that's rather misleading, as I think Russel T. Davies was going for author appeal and it just happens to overlap with what most women want :P A brief (and so very NSFW) demonstration can be had over at the Nostalgia Chick's (http://thatguywiththeglasses.com/videolinks/thedudette/nostalgia-chick) review of Labyrinth (http://thatguywiththeglasses.com/videolinks/thedudette/nostalgia-chick/5570-labyrinth).

Sascha
03-28-2011, 08:17 PM
...Russel T. Davies...
Er, that should read "Russell T. Davies". Bleh.

nijineko
03-29-2011, 12:28 AM
ah. hmmm. interesting. i'll avoid the nsfw link, thanks anyhow. fashion mags, eh? my recollection of those seem to put males in either an effeminate or hyper-masculine mode. curious.

Sascha
03-29-2011, 09:53 AM
There's also a side to the debate that considers any gaze as a response to the male gaze; those points of view can't exist, under this framing, without the male gaze to define them.

(To sum up the Labyrinth review, David Bowie's pelvic area receives screen time, as he's wearing rather tight tights and his co-stars are thigh- or waist-high puppets. The reviewer makes the argument that this was noticeable to girls/women; guys might not have noticed, or noticed nearly as much that it was on-screen. The underlying theory: in general, men don't think about other men's bodies in the same fashion as women.)

tesral
03-29-2011, 12:16 PM
Well DUH! Likewise women don't think about other women's bodies the way men do. I tried watching the video, I found her annoying.

Something else I find annoying while on the subject is the unreasonable demand by some (not currently present) that we look at each other, male or female, without thinking about sex. Kind of like breathing without air. Sex drives us; we are wired to breed, to look at each member of the opposite gender with an eye to their suitability as a sex partner. Yes we can and do move passed that, sometimes so quickly we don't even know it happened. But stating that we must not consider an attractive member of the distaff as sexually attractive is stupid.

Rant over. Back to the main topic.

Something else I prefer to stay away from is the idea that everyone considers Humans "better" than their own kind, or Elves better than their own kind, or trees better...you get the idea. There is no universal standard of beauty, even among Humans. The Hobgoblins are not going to see the Human female fighter as more desirable than their own kind. I do allow for the idea of xenophiles. Those that do find somethng different to their tastes, sometimes anything different. However they are not the norm. And may be considered total perverts by the general population. As a rule like to like and they consdier their own as much better than anything else no matter how Humans or other races feel about them. Okay, the Humans consider the Orc chicks vial looking. To Orcs that is one hot Mama.

Anarkitty
03-29-2011, 05:52 PM
In most classic fantasy worlds though, Elves actually are more attractive than other races. Objectively so, in the sense that most members of most other races are attracted to them. In the end, it doesn't have to do with how they look, it's because they're Elves, and that's their hat, along with the bows and pointy ears.

tesral
03-30-2011, 12:39 AM
Well I don't agree with that. Tolkien was making a moral point that was highly raciest. It has gotten stuck in RPG without, I think many people even knowing it.

Being that the game I play is my game, I don't have Humans as the golden race (as per Gygax), Elves are not more prettier (Tolkien) People are people. They like their own kind and generally more so their own kind from their own culture. As I said the real world examples show that Beauty is very much in the eye of the beholder. The sheer variety of Human "beauty" standards throughout the world is stunning.

fmitchell
03-30-2011, 01:26 AM
Why is armor for women always skimpy? Even in Oblivion where they are designated fighters they're wearing barely 5 ounces of metal. Hell, look at Mortal Kombat while we're on it.

That, along with non-mammal mammaries (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/NonMammalMammaries), are my two big beefs with typical F/SF art. Not that I don't appreciate female breasts as much as the next heterosexual male (and possibly more), but "warriors" with gaping holes in their armor to show off their assets breaks my suspension of disbelief, not to mention objectifying women, undercutting images of strong women with inappropriate sexualization, blah blah blah.


In most classic fantasy worlds though, Elves actually are more attractive than other races. Objectively so, in the sense that most members of most other races are attracted to them. In the end, it doesn't have to do with how they look, it's because they're Elves, and that's their hat, along with the bows and pointy ears.

Meanwhile, in the real world, I've met white guys who don't find blacks or Asians attractive, and most of the "sexiest women alive" presented in the media look like interchangeable stick figures to me. It's not inconceivable that humans might find elves too thin, too pale, too slanty-eyed, or too prissy.

tesral
03-30-2011, 01:39 AM
Meanwhile, in the real world, I've met white guys who don't find blacks or Asians attractive, and most of the "sexiest women alive" presented in the media look like interchangeable stick figures to me. It's not inconceivable that humans might find elves too thin, too pale, too slanty-eyed, or too prissy.

I think I said that. And I agree fully with the idea that so called "super models" look like a bag of antlers with two tennis balls in their chest pockets. I like women with curves. I believe the condition where you can count the ribs and see the hip bones clearly in animals is called "Emaciated", and they arrest people for it. In Humans the media coos over it.

Ranting, it's a bad habit.

Sascha
03-30-2011, 06:24 PM
Well DUH! Likewise women don't think about other women's bodies the way men do. I tried watching the video, I found her annoying.
Seems obvious, but it doesn't actually come up in the conversation without someone actively bringing it up. And that didn't really start happening until it was a product of second-wave feminist work (largely due to film and especially television being relatively new media).


Something else I find annoying while on the subject is the unreasonable demand by some (not currently present) that we look at each other, male or female, without thinking about sex. Kind of like breathing without air. Sex drives us; we are wired to breed, to look at each member of the opposite gender with an eye to their suitability as a sex partner. Yes we can and do move passed that, sometimes so quickly we don't even know it happened. But stating that we must not consider an attractive member of the distaff as sexually attractive is stupid.
*cough*

Other than that, spot-on analysis. (Barring asexuals, of course; they aren't going to be strongly motivated by sex drive, like the rest of us :P)


Being that the game I play is my game, I don't have Humans as the golden race (as per Gygax), Elves are not more prettier (Tolkien) People are people. They like their own kind and generally more so their own kind from their own culture. As I said the real world examples show that Beauty is very much in the eye of the beholder. The sheer variety of Human "beauty" standards throughout the world is stunning.
Indeed.


I think I said that. And I agree fully with the idea that so called "super models" look like a bag of antlers with two tennis balls in their chest pockets. I like women with curves. I believe the condition where you can count the ribs and see the hip bones clearly in animals is called "Emaciated", and they arrest people for it. In Humans the media coos over it.
Unfortunately, the heroin chic look is just an extreme form of body image issues present before '93 (when the first Kate Moss Calvin Klein ad appeared) and that persist today. It's just more noticeable in fashion due to the goal of having a body that's, essentially, an ambulatory hanger - something on which the clothes can be seen, without the fleshy bits getting in the way.

tesral
03-30-2011, 06:35 PM
Unfortunately, the heroin chic look is just an extreme form of body image issues present before '93 (when the first Kate Moss Calvin Klein ad appeared) and that persist today. It's just more noticeable in fashion due to the goal of having a body that's, essentially, an ambulatory hanger - something on which the clothes can be seen, without the fleshy bits getting in the way.

Hey, I like the fleshy bits.

Anarkitty
03-30-2011, 09:12 PM
Unfortunately, the heroin chic look is just an extreme form of body image issues present before '93 (when the first Kate Moss Calvin Klein ad appeared) and that persist today. It's just more noticeable in fashion due to the goal of having a body that's, essentially, an ambulatory hanger - something on which the clothes can be seen, without the fleshy bits getting in the way.

This is actually explicitly true. I'm dating someone who was training for a creer in Fashion Design, and the general opinion among designers is that models are "hangers with legs." That phrase is courtesy one of her professors. The trend towards ever skinnier runway models is less about body images, and more about trying to have a better clothes-to-hanger ratio. It's not healthy or nice, but at least it's logical.
The problem is that is in turn seen as "what a model should look like" and starts being adopted by non-runway models, for whom it is neither healthy nor logical. This in turn starts altering the perceptions and expectations of the population as a whole.

My point about "everyone finds Elves attractive" was an attempt to comment on that being something of an Informed Ability (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/InformedAbility) that they posess, rather than trying to say that everyone actually finds Elves attractive. I'm more of an Orc man myself. Mmm, curves and muscles... :)

Sascha
04-01-2011, 04:26 PM
To bring it back around to the original topic: how do you characterize females? Same as a male, really. They're products of a social environment which applies pressures towards certain sets of behaviors; sometimes they'll act in accordance, other times not as much. Which times are which are variable between individuals, and the pressures will change based on cultural norms. (This method also works for humans, so bonus~ ^_^)

Utgardloki
04-01-2011, 10:29 PM
Good ideas in this thread.

I just heard a parody of a nursery rhyme, and the reminded me of some theorizing I've been doing about how women may have helped humanity evolve higher intelligence.

Not only to women talk to their kids all they time, but they teach them complicated nursery rhymes like "The House that Jack Built" (in which the kids get to learn the concept of recursion). Plus, the women got to be mothers in the first place by choosing mates, many times on the basis of poems or other shows of practical intelligence on the part of the man who impressed them. In fact, by playing psychological games, they force men to figure them out.

(Now if I can just find a woman who is impressed with my skills in boolean logical analysis...)

Other species may have females who pick males based on other criteria. A sentient race evolved from birds, for example, might end up with exceptional artistic and performance skills, especially compared to a race evolved on the basis of physical might and military tactical skills.

tesral
04-01-2011, 10:43 PM
(Now if I can just find a woman who is impressed with my skills in boolean logical analysis...)

I got that one.




Other species may have females who pick males based on other criteria. A sentient race evolved from birds, for example, might end up with exceptional artistic and performance skills, especially compared to a race evolved on the basis of physical might and military tactical skills.

War Hens chose based on body weight. The fattest male can sit on the nest the longest. No, I'm NOT kidding. They even fight over fatso. That is why they are called war hens.

Bower birds on the collection of stuff the male has (Much like Humans) The Birds pf Paradise on how well the male does with those feathers that actually hamper his survival. Song birds on performance skills as mentioned.

As I mentioned earlier the animal kingdom is a deep and vast collection of behaviors to bend a society around.

Anarkitty
04-02-2011, 03:29 PM
As far as mate-selection criteria goes, we humans (in general, not as individuals) are pretty boring actually. Especially now, since the criteria that is wired into our subconcious hasn't really kept up with our rapidly changing society.
It starts getting more intersting on the individual level as people of both genders buck the expectations and conciously or unconciously override their own genes in their mate selections.

Sascha
04-02-2011, 05:32 PM
As far as mate-selection criteria goes, we humans (in general, not as individuals) are pretty boring actually. Especially now, since the criteria that is wired into our subconcious hasn't really kept up with our rapidly changing society.
It starts getting more intersting on the individual level as people of both genders buck the expectations and conciously or unconciously override their own genes in their mate selections.
*cough*

Soft Serve
04-04-2011, 11:10 AM
*cough*

I see what you did there...

Sascha
04-04-2011, 11:50 AM
I see what you did there...
I would never.

Utgardloki
04-04-2011, 10:36 PM
Applying my logic to hobgoblins, I imagine they started out somewhat similar to lions, in which a band of males would kill another band of males and take over their mates. Except that over time, they learned they get better responses from the females if the let the children live -- or maybe the females are smart enough to hide their young children and bring them out later figuring that the guys are not keeping careful count.

As a result, the female hobgoblins tend not to get too emotionally attached to their mates. "Hobwon was cute, but he really should have been a better fighter," she might say.

nijineko
04-04-2011, 10:54 PM
i imagine that causes all manner of half-breeds.

tesral
05-06-2011, 01:16 AM
Applying my logic to hobgoblins, I imagine they started out somewhat similar to lions, in which a band of males would kill another band of males and take over their mates. Except that over time, they learned they get better responses from the females if the let the children live -- or maybe the females are smart enough to hide their young children and bring them out later figuring that the guys are not keeping careful count.

As a result, the female hobgoblins tend not to get too emotionally attached to their mates. "Hobwon was cute, but he really should have been a better fighter," she might say.

That is certainly a valid way to look at them. I tend to see them more in the light of a dual society. Fairly hard and fast gender roles. Males Provide and protect, females nurture. That includes things like keeping the records of the tribe. It will be the wise woman that can chant the genealogies and the tales of the past. Without the women a tribe has no past and no future.

A band of males only is rootless and fickle. Even other Hobgoblins fear them for they have no reason to preserve anything. A large tribe will try and absorb them, a smaller one destroy them as a threat.

Utgardloki
05-09-2011, 11:58 PM
That is certainly a valid way to look at them. I tend to see them more in the light of a dual society. Fairly hard and fast gender roles. Males Provide and protect, females nurture. That includes things like keeping the records of the tribe. It will be the wise woman that can chant the genealogies and the tales of the past. Without the women a tribe has no past and no future.

A band of males only is rootless and fickle. Even other Hobgoblins fear them for they have no reason to preserve anything. A large tribe will try and absorb them, a smaller one destroy them as a threat.

How about reversing it: females protect, and males nurture?

Anarkitty
05-14-2011, 01:45 PM
There are animal species where this is the case. Females carry the young, and then abandon them, and the males then nurture and raise them.
I could see it being an interesting premise for a race or society in a game world as well.
It would probably throw the players for a loop. when they say the all-female army and guard, they would probably initially assume it was a cliche "Amazon tribe", and it would only become apparent after digging a little deeper what the nature of the society is.
I am always looking for ways to keep my players on their toes.

tesral
05-14-2011, 02:37 PM
How about reversing it: females protect, and males nurture?

I could, but I didn't. There is only one problem with males as the nurturing gender in mammals. Females have all the nurturing anatomy. Ergo at least infant care must be the province of the female. Once the child is weened anyone can care for it, but by that point the child-mother bond is well established. To truly reverse this trend you have to rebuild the creature.

I did that with the Koo. While the female lays the egg the male takes into into his brood pouch and incubates it. The male is the nurturing partner the female the protectors and providers.

nijineko
05-14-2011, 05:17 PM
for species where infants or young can be fed by regurgitation, anatomy becomes less important. more likely young than infants, but still. ^^

Sascha
05-14-2011, 05:34 PM
Pretty much any non-mammal works for that, lacking the defining feature of the order and all.

magic-rhyme
07-11-2011, 02:51 PM
Because historically men have power in every major culture that's ever existed in every single place on the planet. Why is it so important to switch the roles?

Actually, ah, no.

There have been many proven exceptions for anyone with the necessary skill and willingness to seek them out. You simply need to have the skill and willingness.

However, you're correct that historically that has been true more often than not, especially during the last two hundred years.

---------- Post added at 02:51 PM ---------- Previous post was at 02:32 PM ----------


There's also a side to the debate that considers any gaze as a response to the male gaze; those points of view can't exist, under this framing, without the male gaze to define them.

(To sum up the Labyrinth review, David Bowie's pelvic area receives screen time, as he's wearing rather tight tights and his co-stars are thigh- or waist-high puppets. The reviewer makes the argument that this was noticeable to girls/women; guys might not have noticed, or noticed nearly as much that it was on-screen. The underlying theory: in general, men don't think about other men's bodies in the same fashion as women.)


Why do these kinds of discussions always ignore historical fact about the strong prevalence of homosexual, bisexual, and asexual males and females in most cultures throughout history -- including subsistence cultures in resource-poor parts of the world?

For example, regarding those subsistence cultures with male leaders who had many wives, why does everyone assume all the unattached males simply made pledges of celibacy and took a lot of cold showers or else spent a lot of time reading NSFW magazines? No, in many such cultures, the unattached males became warriors/hunters whose husbands were other warriors/hunters.

For that matter, why do they always ignore historical fact about gender fluidity and sexuality fluidity? In many cultures historically, a person's gender niche or sexuality niche could be changed under certain circumstances without any alteration of that person's anatomy.

The idea of there being only two genders, and both genders grounded in anatomy, is a relatively recent conceit.

In many cultures historically, there have been several different genders available to anatomical males and several different genders available to anatomical females. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries in some parts of the United States, for all discernible purposes, primarily heterosexual men and primarily homosexual men were treated as two different genders despite identical anatomies. With research, a person will even find this "different genders" notion argued in some of the medical and political writings of the time. (The above is not true for all parts of the U.S., obviously.)

So assuming that other species, whether science-based aliens or fantasy creatures, will ground their genders in anatomical sex is not only naive anthropologically, it doesn't even hold true for human beings!

Sascha
07-11-2011, 04:15 PM
Why do these kinds of discussions always ignore historical fact about the strong prevalence of homosexual, bisexual, and asexual males and females in most cultures throughout history -- including subsistence cultures in resource-poor parts of the world?
Er, because a non-insignificant percent of people having these kinds of discussions are ignorant of historical fact, when it comes to sex, sexuality and gender, would be my guess. Given how prevalent some lines of thinking are in marginalizing us non-heteronormative folk, it's not surprising that discussions are skewed.

(Also, you may want to reread post #20.)

Utgardloki
07-20-2011, 01:05 AM
Actually, I hate to say it, but homosexual and asexual characters are less important for my thinking, because for any culture to survive, heterosexual couplings need to occur.

Also, I tend not to get too inquisitive over whether or not a hobgoblin the PCs are killing is gay. Maybe he is, maybe he isn't. Maybe the goblin chicks do more than exchange rat stew recipes when the PCs aren't looking. But it is more important to know whether they have the right to address the goblin chief directly, or if they need to find a male intermediary.

But I suppose you could have a race where only half the females are interested in sex, and the rest would rather focus on focusing on non-sexual pursuits. Or maybe they have three genders, one of which does not have reproductive equipment. There could be lots of ideas there.

But besides focusing on alternate gender identities, it may be useful to ask if there are alternate social roles in general. For example, many human cultures have a "madonna/whore" distinction in which both types may engage in heterosexual activity, one type within marriage and the other outside of marriage, but their behaviors and social roles are much different. In thinking about hobgoblin cultures, I've decided that the majority culture has most women taking on both huntress and seductress roles with a change of clothing. But I suppose the renegade hobgoblin culture would have the priestesses and the huntresses be different people with different social roles.

tesral
07-20-2011, 02:13 AM
When describing a culture I tend to either go for the extremes, if they are important or describe the middle of the road average. Usually the average as that is the baseline.

Writing NPCs is seldom near that baseline. NPCs that are a bit off the wall are fun. So I have the Gay male brothel owner, normal girls for hire brothel mind you, he is just one of the girls. The one handed bar owner called Captian Hook, who has never been to sea. I like characters like that. As an example I did of characters for airship pirates.

One eyed, one legged, missing an ear, and several fingers ships carpenter, named "Lucky" Fergenson.

Ships boy "Jimmy" who is really the runaway daughter of the Evil Duke, or not so Evil Duke. In any case tossing her lot in with this bunch beats marrying Prince Valium.

"Batty" Smith. Deck hand that constantly talks to the stuffed parrot on his shoulder. Acts like the parrot answers. He is sane and sober as a church warden. He is hiding from a past and the "Batty" thing is an act.

Hal Forthright: Suspects that the party is the wanted people he is looking for or another member of the crew is his target. A Paladin that is doing his level best to not act like a Paladin. ("Ahem, arrr") He isn't real good at it.

Big Fat Ugly Bug-Faced Baby-Eating O'Brien. Need I say more? This beautiful woman is tough as three men, can out swear a ship full of sailors, and split a man from chin to crotch with a glance. And her
needlework is beyond compare.

"Toad". A little guy that is a bully at heart. He sucks up to the party and if put in change of anything is a tyrant that makes Bligh looks like a Sister of Mercy.

Sascha
07-20-2011, 01:17 PM
Actually, I hate to say it, but homosexual and asexual characters are less important for my thinking, because for any culture to survive, heterosexual couplings need to occur.
Um, yeah, this might be "please choose words carefully" territory. For a *species* to survive, there needs to be procreation. Culture, well, that's a social transmission of ideas, values, norms and behaviors; it's not genetic, thus perpetuation doesn't need to be part of a biological reproductive cycle. Plus, for humans, non-heterosexuals are a rather small percentage of the total population (Kinsey estimated 10% back in the ... 50s?, and a recent demographic makes that figure somewhat generous); acknowledging and accepting is in no way dangerous to the birthrate and keeping the population viable. (Education and employment opportunities are a far greater factor to slower population growth.)

Also, just because procreation requires heterosexual pairings of gametes (barring magic or miracle, both of which are available in fantasy ;), it really does - you can't get a viable embryo out of anything but female-produced ovum + male-produced sperm, due to imprinting on the growth genes in humans) doesn't mean that all reproduction is done by heterosexuals. Plenty of folks find out later in life, or try to run from it and have the "normal" thing, or undertake reproductive procedures that don't require intercourse. (Not to mention adoption, in whatever form it takes.) Identity politics is messy, messy stuff, but fun.


Also, I tend not to get too inquisitive over whether or not a hobgoblin the PCs are killing is gay. Maybe he is, maybe he isn't. Maybe the goblin chicks do more than exchange rat stew recipes when the PCs aren't looking. But it is more important to know whether they have the right to address the goblin chief directly, or if they need to find a male intermediary.
Actually, it's not so much of a dilemma here. If it's *important,* it gets consideration. If it isn't, don't worry about it. Not everybody wears their sexuality on their sleeve, and it works for lots of other differences, too: "X elf" vs. "elf, who happens to also be X," where 'X' is whatever you want (sexuality, gender, ethnicity, nationality, religion...). Goes back into identity politics. Messy, but fascinating. (Also, messy.)


But I suppose you could have a race where only half the females are interested in sex, and the rest would rather focus on focusing on non-sexual pursuits. Or maybe they have three genders, one of which does not have reproductive equipment. There could be lots of ideas there.
Er, that'd be three sexes. Sex and gender aren't the same thing - one is a biological assignment, the other is a cultural definition. And even then, you still might have two genders (depending on how the culture constructs masculinity/femininity).


But besides focusing on alternate gender identities, it may be useful to ask if there are alternate social roles in general. For example, many human cultures have a "madonna/whore" distinction in which both types may engage in heterosexual activity, one type within marriage and the other outside of marriage, but their behaviors and social roles are much different. In thinking about hobgoblin cultures, I've decided that the majority culture has most women taking on both huntress and seductress roles with a change of clothing. But I suppose the renegade hobgoblin culture would have the priestesses and the huntresses be different people with different social roles.
You're just describing something that goes further into gender studies here. Unless the alternate social roles are also available to males, you're just making more gendered variety, not less. Incidentally, creating a non-gendered social role is still gender politics.

Malruhn
07-20-2011, 09:42 PM
I've been avoiding this thread like the plague, but we've just entered into territory that hits close to home.

In my campaign world, I've made my hobgobs female dominated. The males are big and strong, and make outstanding soldiers and warriors - but the females rule. They are conniving and cruel and power-hungry and... well, "Teh Ebil"!! The MALES are led to believe that since they fight the wars, that THEY are in charge, but both genders know the truth.

As for the straight/gay/whatever thing, the only time it enters into real gaming are the celibate (and WANNA-be-celibate) monks and clergy. If the duke has a beautiful wife or a handsome husband is just a by-line, as in, "The duke has a long flowing purple cloak, a silver-filigreed scepter and his significant other is fluttering about by his shoulder." It may be male or female, but that's as far as I believe it needs to be taken.

Now, I _DO_ have a nation where the ruling family is horribly inbred and paranoia and insanity run rampant - and they have semi-regular witch-hunts and hunting out "undesirables," which could be anything from left-handed folks, to blue-eyed folks, to homosexuals, to people that are "taller than this tall." Like I said - they're insane.

Personally, I don't give a rat's behind about the topic, and my campaign world tends to reflect this.

Sascha
07-20-2011, 11:59 PM
I've been avoiding this thread like the plague, but we've just entered into territory that hits close to home.
No snark or sarcasm: I envy that insulation. It's a luxury I don't often get.


(I'm going to take the next bit rather out of context, and definitely out of your intent. I'll address what you actually said after.)

As for the straight/gay/whatever thing, the only time it enters into real gaming are the celibate (and WANNA-be-celibate) monks and clergy.
And stuff like this is why I'm affected before you. I honestly find it impossible to believe sexuality only ever comes up due to a deliberate lack of it. No dating? No weddings or marriages? No pregnancies? No children? No parents? Those things are normal. They're expected. They're, in most cases, *awesome*, causes of celebration. And they're internalized to the point most of us don't register them as outright signs of sexuality.

As a culture, we only take notice of transgressions. We joke at their expense, or nag/guilt our loved ones on the subject, or try to pretend they don't even exist. Those things are also normal. They're expected. They're, in most cases, decidedly *not* awesome. So yeah, erasure and marginalization hit a little closer to home, a whole lot sooner, for those of us not in the majority.


(Now for what you actually said.)

...but that's as far as I believe it needs to be taken.
It's as far as any of my games have ever gotten, too, though there might have been a kiss once, many moons ago. Anything else - and there hasn't been much of it, a handful of events at most - happens off-screen, either between scenes or after the audience has gone home. We usually have bad guys to smash or capers to pull, so our actual game time focuses on those things, rather than the (salacious) details of our characters' interpersonal lives.

The point isn't to be explicit. It's to be aware. Use the awareness as you (general you) will.

fmitchell
07-21-2011, 12:55 AM
I honestly find it impossible to believe sexuality only ever comes up due to a deliberate lack of it. No dating? No weddings or marriages? No pregnancies? No children? No parents? Those things are normal. They're expected.

Maybe in your games. My gaming group's all about adventure and violence. The few romantic relationships that ever cropped up in a game ... well, the way they played out made Tolkien's non-romance between Arwen and Aragorn look like Anne Rice's erotica. That's a group full of straight guys in their 20s and 30s for you. (Okay, the occasional girlfriend in the mix ... but it's the Bible Belt. Even the prostitute-assassin's exploits were mostly G-rated, at least before I left.)

Welcome to America: violence and death are A-OK, but flash a boob and the nation goes nuts.


So yeah, erasure and marginalization hit a little closer to home, a whole lot sooner, for those of us not in the majority.

Fair enough. Unfortunately, in many gaming groups mainstream* sexuality is a taboo subject, let alone alternative modes. (Sorry if "mainstream" still sounds judgmental, but last I heard straight people made up over 90% of the population.)

Steering my babble vaguely toward the thread topic, I could populate the world with matriarchal hobgoblins, asexual orcs, and the Goblin Band of Thebes ... but in most cases nuances of gender politics and sexuality would never come up anyway.

tesral
07-21-2011, 09:01 AM
(Edited for length) And stuff like this is why I'm affected before you. I honestly find it impossible to believe sexuality only ever comes up due to a deliberate lack of it. No dating? No weddings or marriages? No pregnancies? No children? No parents? Those things are normal. They're expected. They're, in most cases, *awesome*, causes of celebration. And they're internalized to the point most of us don't register them as outright signs of sexuality. The point isn't to be explicit. It's to be aware. Use the awareness as you (general you) will.

And this is exactly where I take it. There is a writing principle called "The edges of ideas" Where you don't have to have volumes of expository detail you show people what the results of the central idea are, marriages, births, happy couples, courtships, grandparents etc..I.E. sexuality in practice. I draw the curtain on showing the actual sex in practice. I'm of the opinion that sex is the world's worst spectator sport. (I broke that rule once to absolute hilarity). In short the people in my worlds have lives ,and it shows. Heck nothing is a good plot driver like the twisted romances of the royals. "I don't want to marry Prince Zoloft, I want to marry Dashing Horndog!" (That's not a bad name, note that down)



Maybe in your games. My gaming group's all about adventure and violence. The few romantic relationships that ever cropped up in a game ... well, the way they played out made Tolkien's non-romance between Arwen and Aragorn look like Anne Rice's erotica. That's a group full of straight guys in their 20s and 30s for you. (Okay, the occasional girlfriend in the mix ... but it's the Bible Belt. Even the prostitute-assassin's exploits were mostly G-rated, at least before I left.).

Yea and the Bible Belt needs to grow up (http://phoenixinn.iwarp.com/Politicks/sex.html). Really it does. These are people with children even. Given my druthers of showing naked boobs or naked guts? Guts belong out of sight, bobs belong out.

I run a world, at least my Fantasy setting that is warmer than the American Midwest. If one is prone to noticing such things people that live in warm climates are less fond of clothing and easier about nudity. Even at that my culture is not monolithic. I have a variety of cultures. The Culture Chapter (http://phoenixinn.iwarp.com/fantasy/fantpdf/01_Manual_Culture.pdf) says it all.

Malruhn
07-21-2011, 06:15 PM
Sascha, you made your point well... um... good. Your point has a high degree of pointitudityness...

Even for the allegedly celibates in my world, the only time it is mentioned is when there is a potential conflict (The merchant's legal-aged child wants to thank your monk in a very personal manner) or there is a flagrant violation (The allegedly celibate high priest was caught in an embrace that was NOT platonic!). It is a flavor thing for a couple of deities I have - as in: The adherents of Timmy The Pure are chaste, the adherents of Fred the Wanton engage in relations with everything that moves and many things that do not. Really, the only time it becomes topic of conversation is as I said - there are conflicts or there are violations.

I've never had a situation arise where someone was "marginalized" in my campaign... but, like FMitchell, there are expectations. When it becomes known that a person (PC or NPC) is outsides of the "norm", in most cases the reaction is a quick shrug of the shoulders and an, "Okay?" There are those societies (as I said before), where this is NOT the usual reaction, but I consider that like real life - there are those that care and those that don't.

As for your "out of context" commentary, the only time sexuality is brought up is if the PC's bring it up (I wanna hook up with the prince/princess!) or if the players want their characters to engage in a relationship. I've had hubby and wife want to have their PC's marry and breed, and two straight guys end up in an in-game gay relationship. There's been about a dozen "relationships" in my gaming world - and I've been playing for over 30 years. The only other time it's come up is when "heroes" come to town and very rural folks try to marry off their children - some more provocatively than others. I had several merchants haggling with one player (straight) over bride-prices for their daughters who eventually told them that he didn't play in that field... and after a moment of shock wore off, all but one went to try to "sell" their daughters to the other PC's - and one began talking to the PC about his son... It's a matter of pragmatics - why try to sell an Inuit a freezer or sell a ham to a Jew - they aren't buying!

In most cases, in my world, sexuality isn't discussed purely because it is a non-issue. People engage in romantic and physical relationships all the time. The only time it becomes an issue is when people break that standard - like being monotonous (used on purpose!) in a society that is into polyamory, or break pledges (I promise to cleave unto no other... and they do it anyway).

I do this for the same reason that I don't DM the act of voiding personal wastes... urination and defecation happen all the time - but are outside of the scope of something that is interesting. The only time it has ever become an issue was when a ranger was tracking a herd of orcs - he wanted to know how many were in the group, so he counted orc-piles.

And Tesral - I thought the guy's name was Horndog McDashing...

tesral
07-21-2011, 07:48 PM
And Tesral - I thought the guy's name was Horndog McDashing...

I like it the other way. It sound more heroic and less porn star.

Sascha
07-21-2011, 10:31 PM
Maybe in your games. My gaming group's all about adventure and violence. The few romantic relationships that ever cropped up in a game ... well, the way they played out made Tolkien's non-romance between Arwen and Aragorn look like Anne Rice's erotica.
That wasn't quite my point. It wasn't the degree present, but the binary "exist: yes/no" bit. And not a critique of a specific group's dynamics, but a comment on the state of the hobby, as I've experienced it. If the description fails to portray your group, great; you're not the ones I'm talking about.


Fair enough. Unfortunately, in many gaming groups mainstream* sexuality is a taboo subject, let alone alternative modes. (Sorry if "mainstream" still sounds judgmental, but last I heard straight people made up over 90% of the population.)
There are other terms for it. (Though, they're all fairly judgmental, heh, as critiques of cultural aspects.)

Also, the bolded bit? That's how marginalization starts.


And this is exactly where I take it. There is a writing principle called "The edges of ideas" Where you don't have to have volumes of expository detail you show people what the results of the central idea are, marriages, births, happy couples, courtships, grandparents etc..I.E. sexuality in practice. I draw the curtain on showing the actual sex in practice. I'm of the opinion that sex is the world's worst spectator sport. (I broke that rule once to absolute hilarity). In short the people in my worlds have lives ,and it shows. Heck nothing is a good plot driver like the twisted romances of the royals. "I don't want to marry Prince Zoloft, I want to marry Dashing Horndog!" (That's not a bad name, note that down)
Yepyep.


Sascha, you made your point well... um... good. Your point has a high degree of pointitudityness...
Thankie.


I've never had a situation arise where someone was "marginalized" in my campaign... but, like FMitchell, there are expectations. When it becomes known that a person (PC or NPC) is outsides of the "norm", in most cases the reaction is a quick shrug of the shoulders and an, "Okay?" There are those societies (as I said before), where this is NOT the usual reaction, but I consider that like real life - there are those that care and those that don't.
Part of the problem is sometimes you (general you) aren't aware of the situation, until someone else brings it up. There are a couple threads here on the forum, on orcs and half-orcs that kinda demonstrate this (though I think one of them wandered into orcness, rather than being created for it; that one's more relevant). Or, the early-ish parts of this very thread (starting at post #11). It's great that you and yours haven't encountered this, but it exists out in the wild.


As for your "out of context" commentary, the only time sexuality is brought up is if the PC's bring it up (I wanna hook up with the prince/princess!) or if the players want their characters to engage in a relationship. I've had hubby and wife want to have their PC's marry and breed, and two straight guys end up in an in-game gay relationship. There's been about a dozen "relationships" in my gaming world - and I've been playing for over 30 years. The only other time it's come up is when "heroes" come to town and very rural folks try to marry off their children - some more provocatively than others. I had several merchants haggling with one player (straight) over bride-prices for their daughters who eventually told them that he didn't play in that field... and after a moment of shock wore off, all but one went to try to "sell" their daughters to the other PC's - and one began talking to the PC about his son... It's a matter of pragmatics - why try to sell an Inuit a freezer or sell a ham to a Jew - they aren't buying!
That's exactly demonstrating what I said, yeah. It's not pragmatics, when the statement is 'X and Y don't appear in this game, except for one to tempt the other,' and you have both X and Y in the background, hanging out and not tempting each other. They might not have focus, but they're there. The fact that you have a farmer, his wife and children is proof of concept, regardless of their attempts to marry off their daughters. It's a minor detail, not an absent detail, is my point.


I like it the other way. It sound more heroic and less porn star.
May want to check your quote there.

fmitchell
07-21-2011, 10:54 PM
That's how marginalization starts.

You don't have to tell me about the tyranny of the majority, living in Texas among a whole bunch of Catholics and disagreeing with all of them on almost everything. Gaming is mutual entertainment, though, and injecting one's politics, religion, or sexuality into a group not ready or willing to deal with it does more harm than good.

Fortunately for me RPGs self-select for secular participants, but from what I can tell more LGBTQ-friendly groups are forming for the rest of us.

templeorder
07-22-2011, 09:40 AM
It depends how far back in history you go and what you mean by power. What we consider high fantasy typically revolves around dark ages to reformation era Europe. From a classic perspective then, yes... men were in power. And lets face it, so was the church and that world was an ugly, brutal place. There are lots of examples of cultures where women have the power directly, and indirectly, especially if by power you define as influence in politics and economy. On a case-by-case basis and not cultural it opens the doors considerably. Same for gender roles.

Your creativity is the boundary here. In cultures that i want to portray as "backward" simple, brutish... i keep them very traditional and oppressive towards females (or one gender specifically) - its really about power not gender here. Cultures more progressive will share power between class and gender to whats best suited or towards promoting some higher ideal. Caste societies can cut gender right out. Gender roles can flip flop based on religion or some particular social function... sky is the limit. Cultures can adapt to fit their environment over time too, so think about that.

tesral
07-22-2011, 11:53 AM
There are other terms for it. (Though, they're all fairly judgmental, heh, as critiques of cultural aspects.)

Also, the bolded bit? That's how marginalization starts.


The thing here is that is me and my friends are playing a game. Yes, gender politics in the real world can get more complicated than they need to. However: That is not the game we are playing. You have an obsession with pointing out the exceptions. Yes, I know they exist. They are not of issue in my game at this time. Currently I have no players but standard heterosexuals in the game. No one has announced their character is gay. I do not see where constant sensitiviy to the issue is of importance in my game. I am not going to mention every possible exception when discussing general rules.

Dalkiel
07-23-2011, 10:43 AM
You don't have to tell me about the tyranny of the majority, living in Texas among a whole bunch of Catholics and disagreeing with all of them on almost everything. Gaming is mutual entertainment, though, and injecting one's politics, religion, or sexuality into a group not ready or willing to deal with it does more harm than good.

Fortunately for me RPGs self-select for secular participants, but from what I can tell more LGBTQ-friendly groups are forming for the rest of us.

I don't know about the Catholics in Texas (I've heard similar things before about Texas) but I am a Catholic who runs a group that's LGBT-friendly (Q? That's new to me...) which is also open-minded about religion. I've had players that were agnostic, atheist, protestant, jewish, Odinist (Norse Gods, no kidding). Them Texas Catholics might want to remember that even THEIR bible says "judge ye NOT, lest YE be judged."

Givin' us normal Catholics a bad name, they are. :-)

tesral
07-23-2011, 04:45 PM
Fundamentalists give everyone a bad name. It's what they do.

fmitchell
07-24-2011, 01:16 AM
I don't know about the Catholics in Texas ...

Between the Bible Belt and Republican/Blue Dog vibes and the Vatican shenanigans since Pope Palpatine took over, neither Texas nor the Catholic Church is terribly friendly to progressives. Combine the two, and add in a whole bunch of personal junk, and I for one would move to Sweden if I could.

But again, yanking this thread somewhere near the topic ... if modern humans get this overworked over beliefs and practices, imagine how nonhumans in traditional societies would react to deviations from their cultural norms. "You want to ... HUNT?!" the hobgoblin mother shrieks at her daughter. "You're going to the shamaness right now, young lady! No daughter of MINE is going to root around the woods like some filthy MALE!"

tesral
07-24-2011, 10:11 AM
I have much the same attitude about Dwarves. A ridged society that slots each person in their place male or female. A respectable womans marries, or at the least joins the clergy. Anything else. like adventuring is so outré as to get you disowned and bared from the family cave. Mind you males are in much the same position. Their choices are strictly limited.

The deal is the Clam Mother, usually the oldest married or widowed woman in the clan wields great power. Any unmarried person without parents in the community must have someone to speak from the and that is the Clam Mother. She is one half of the judicial team in criminal cases and the whole of it in domestic cases.

Among Dwarves Tradition carries immense weight. It is not to their benifit at times when new thinking would serve them better. Like underground is harsh. The margin between a comfortable existence and starvation is a thin one. People cling to the traditions as a way to endure and even prosper, much like Fiddler on the Roof.

Utgardloki
07-26-2011, 11:14 PM
Actually, my motivation for thinking about this issue is running _Sunless Citadel_ and wondering what to do with the female goblins. It had always bugged me that they were just there until unceremoniously slaughtered by PCs wanting to make sure the next generation of goblins doesn't cause any problems.

Start thinking about it, and I start to realize that things would happen. Gnome traders might exchange human female captives for hobgoblin female captives to take back to their respective tribes, and thereby human and hobgoblin females have a chance to chat for a while. Of course, before the gnomes get there, you have these human barbarians with female hobgoblin captives -- I'll make a rule that sex between humans and hobgoblins is very strictly forbidden under pain of death, but having a law like that means that even people who never thought about having sex with a hobgoblin before now want to do that more than anything else.

tesral
07-27-2011, 03:17 AM
I have been considering adding half Hobgoblins to replace the half Orcs I do not have.