A recent thread on TheRPGSite talks about sexuality and sexual and/or gender bias.
Cheesecake art in fantasy is a real issue. I thought it was mostly gone but there’s heaps of the damn stuff out there. You know – the male characters are ripped with muscles, the female characters are showing cleavage. It’s because the target audience for the games are adolescent males.
That cover made quite an impression on my adolescent psyche.
Men evolved to hunt and kill things. Women evolved to raise the children. For whatever reasons in the past, its bot a recent thing. And arguably its unnatural – look at lion prides, the women do all the hard work and the men lie around and yawn impressively.
I don’t want this to get into an argument about capability: males and females should not be in competition in certain areas. Strength for example, some women will be stronger than some men but men can achieve a higher extreme of strength than women. On the flip side, men cannot give birth or sustain another life from their bodily secretions.
RPG games tend to have a lot of combat. They tend not to have a lot of romance. The thread discussed homosexual relationships but it became apparent that for a lot of people, role-playing games are not where sexual elements are discussed. It’s just not a part of many games.
Her Indoors told me she likes the ‘girly’ novels she likes because they cover themes which she says fulfill a level of escapism and cover life events that she will never again experience. Falling in love for the first time, having an affair, having to choose between two suitors. These are the stories she enjoys. They’re certainly more believable or perhaps ‘down to earth’ than the stories I enjoy (interstellar wars fought by galaxy spanning empires? secret agents working to stop the encroach of extra-dimensional aliens?). Are there many games which cover this area? Only one that I can think of. A game of “Romantic Fantasy”. It still involves a lot of swords and struggles so I don’t know how it fits in with the whole ‘romance’ thing.
Is this the central reason why the hobby is dominated by young males? Because we like the fights, the power and the glory? It becomes our escapism – so should we not cater for their escapism?
Wouldn’t there be room for a game where we take our relationship maps and our GM-less story-driven games with conflict escalation and use them to model something other than fights in the playground?
The model of relationships. The first kiss. The first time you realised you liked someone. The first time you were jealous for the affections of another. The first time your heart was broken.
Fights in the Playground. Maybe that’s exactly what we should be modeling?