The Accidental Lesbian

Iron Lightning

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Ugh, seven words in a game of (I presume) millions of words can apparently truly offend someone. Most reasonable people probably just read it as a cute little quip with the possibility of being misinterpreted and didn't think much more of it. It's not like the game opens up a big quest chain that involves rogering this young lady.

Additionally, I could see this going the other way too if those last seven words were omitted. "How dare you assume that my character is not a horny lesbian by not allowing me to attempt to tap that ass."

I haven't really played Echo Bazaar but is anyone else put off by your character's apparent inability to truly fail? That seems like really terrible design. How can a character have any humanity if they are infallible? they seem more like gods than people.

gCrusher said:
Captcha: subject, forturag

...yeah. Uh. Discuss?
I've been to Fort Urag before. It was pretty fun until the Confederate Hobgoblins attacked, then it was REALLY fun.
 

trooper6

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SageRuffin said:
gCrusher said:
I learned a new word today. Sapphic. That sounds way more tasteful.

Captcha: subject, forturag

...yeah. Uh. Discuss?
Another fun fact: the term "lesbian" as it's used today is actually a bit of a misnomer. Originally it meant "a resident of Lesbos" (just like how you would call someone from America an "American"). Over time... well, yeah.

Back on topic, I say that this is hardly a fuck-up on the part of the developers. The player must've had an innate fear of "the gay", if you will.
It isn't actually a misnomer, it was a euphemism. Lesbian...woman from the Isle of Lesbos...which is where the Poet Sappho lives with her female friends. So Lesbian and Sapphic are actually from the same cultural root.

But back to the original post...the character you are playing and you the player are not the same. I remember playing through Dragon Age: Origins and my Dwarven Noble was totally smitten with Morrigan...and I kept thinking...that is such a bad idea. She is bad news. I would not be dating her at all. But my dwarf and I are not the same person.
 

SageRuffin

M-f-ing Jedi Master
Dec 19, 2009
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xXxJessicaxXx said:
alandavidson said:
...and what's wrong with a lesbian character? Or a lesbian woman?

A character doesn't define YOU. If that were the case, everyone who played shooters would be a gruff macho man with steroid abuse issues. As long as you are comfortable being YOU, then you should not feel threatened by a character that you are playing.
No one was saying that but the player had already established in her own mind that her character is straight and this message heavily intruded upon that.
But the text simply said:

What was the young lady's address?
Even with the context of the rest of the quote, that's incredibly ambiguous, and it baffles me how the player even came up with her assertion in the first place. Suppose the NPC just wanted to personally say thank you? Maybe she wanted to drop off a small gift as an alternate means of gratitude? Maybe she wanted to warn the player of the old man, like the article suggested? Maybe the NPC had an ulterior motive and the player just made herself a target for an assassination, and put up a facade so no one would get suspicious of her asking for a stranger's address?

My point being, unless future dialogue with or from that same NPC implies that she really does intend to "part the waves", you can't really say that that particular quote - especially as vague in tone as it is - intrudes on the character's sexuality. And even if the player was 100% accurate in her assertions, unless the game outright forces her character to do some kind of lewd act with the female NPC, there still wouldn't - or shouldn't, rather - be much of a problem as she could have her character say some variation of "no". Correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm pretty sure that's not very difficult.

Hell, this almost ranks up there with the one guy asking for a "No Gay" switch in DA2.
 

SageRuffin

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Dec 19, 2009
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trooper6 said:
SageRuffin said:
gCrusher said:
I learned a new word today. Sapphic. That sounds way more tasteful.

Captcha: subject, forturag

...yeah. Uh. Discuss?
Another fun fact: the term "lesbian" as it's used today is actually a bit of a misnomer. Originally it meant "a resident of Lesbos" (just like how you would call someone from America an "American"). Over time... well, yeah.

Back on topic, I say that this is hardly a fuck-up on the part of the developers. The player must've had an innate fear of "the gay", if you will.
It isn't actually a misnomer, it was a euphemism. Lesbian...woman from the Isle of Lesbos...which is where the Poet Sappho lives with her female friends. So Lesbian and Sapphic are actually from the same cultural root.
Eh, close enough. You and I both know the basic etymology. In the end I think that's all that really matters.

But let's move on, shall we?
 

Treblaine

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xXxJessicaxXx said:
No one was saying that but the player had already established in her own mind that her character is straight and this message heavily intruded upon that.

Treblaine said:
In response to your post I tend get annoyed by games that let you play a woman but assume you are male in real life resulting in these kind of lines in dialogue. It's just really depressing. That's the impression I get if they make your female character a lesbian.
[EDITED FOR CLARITY]

There is more to lesbians than that, they aren't males in female's body - I know you did not say or imply that - but that's where that line of logic leads. Being a woman (or man) is down to more than physical, or sexual, it's right down to the way they (or us) go about getting things.

The thing about a role playing game is the player - either male or female - can be a representation of themselves.

And anyway, you have to admit that most games with male protagonists are exclusively intimate with females, and most female protagonists have exclusively male partners. Think Samus Aran, Lara Croft, Jill Redfield, Faith (Mirror's edge).

Looking at LGBT themes in video games you'll find male-male homosexuality far more common And I'm really struggling to find more than two examples of games that include Lesbian coupling but not gay (male-male) coupling as well. I can only think of Rain from Fear Effect 2.

In fact I'd argue there is a shocking absence of lesbianism in gaming!

You can't object to all presentation of lesbianism in media as titillation for a male audience, as how is that going to screw over lesbians who want their interests depicted?

Games need to take a more flexible approach to sexuality considering that your character is in such a weird state of essentially two people in one:
(1) The fictional in-game character
(2) the real person at the controls trying to fit in the role.

Really you can't say "oh, I'm a lesbian now"

Lesbian means far more than "female with fleeting crush on another female". It is indicated by ongoing actions that ultimately depends on the player DECIDING to follow through with.

Of course there are those who "know" they are gay, just the same as I have always "known" I am straight, that is simply because one can only imagine having partners of a certain gender.

But at the end of the day, you CANNOT really get into a relationship that does not resonate with your own sexuality, it breaks the immersion too much. But I think it is all right to give someone gay history, for either gender, and let them either pursue or leave it.

So I suppose Half Life 2 screws over Straight Females and Gay Males with the very personal interactions and relationship with Alyx. Though purely platonic at the moment, there are undercurrents.

Now if Half Life 2 had been about Gina Freeman... would that have really changed anything?
 

Treblaine

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I went on this site lesbian gamers dot something (god, I sound like Jeremy Clarkson recommending sites like that, but seriously)

Anyway, they claim this is a problem but more more in the INVERSE.

For example playing a female and marrying a female, your wife describes you as "handsome".

That... that just sounds like they are using the same stock sound files for the wife in a lesbian marriage as in a straight marriage and it is jarring. I am not saying there isn't a dyke out there butch enough to like their wife to call them "handsome" but it's just one small part of developers continuing to have such a male-female bias to relationships.

But more than that, it's the attitude that a lesbian relationship is nothing more than a gender swap, swapping some pronouns and that's enough.

No. That is treating lesbians as men who happen to be in women's bodies.

Femaleness is far more than physical or sexuality, it is fundamental to ideals and approaches.
 

Moonlight Butterfly

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xXxJessicaxXx said:
No one was saying that but the player had already established in her own mind that her character is straight and this message heavily intruded upon that.
Treblaine said:
I didn't mean to say lesbians were men in womens bodies. I guess my point of view harks back to the time of games like Morrowind and Arcarnum where they decided to have romances but didn't think any women would play and so made the love interests female and gave both characters access to the dialogue.

To me it's just an assumption that there will only be a man playing and so he won't care for his female protagonist 'going off' with another guy but he can enjoy being a voyeur. Bioware games are still guilty of this, giving the female character uninteresting straight love interests. I know it's a personal opinion but the only Bioware love interest I have ever like was Alastair which was written by a woman. The others seem stand offish or really bland like the writer just isn't interested. Jacob for example...and compare Kaiden to Liara (yes I know she's technically not female but come on...)

I try not to think about Anomen :< the horror.

Everytime a female character of mine is flirted with by another female character, which seems to be a favourite of Bethesda, it just reminds of those past examples and makes me shake my head.

Treblaine said:
That... that just sounds like they are using the same stock sound files for the wife in a lesbian marriage as in a straight marriage and it is jarring.
They are using the same files. Which just goes back to my point that the default player for most video game writers is a man.

It only goes to prove my point that romances that are lesbian are made for a male voyeuristic audeince not for gay women. It is grating on both straight and gay women just from different angles.
 

SageRuffin

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Dec 19, 2009
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Treblaine said:
I went on this site lesbian gamers dot something (god, I sound like Jeremy Clarkson recommending sites like that, but seriously)

Anyway, they claim this is a problem but more more in the INVERSE.

For example playing a female and marrying a female, your wife describes you as "handsome".

That... that just sounds like they are using the same stock sound files for the wife in a lesbian marriage as in a straight marriage and it is jarring. I am not saying there isn't a dyke out there butch enough to like their wife to call them "handsome" but it's just one small part of developers continuing to have such a male-female bias to relationships.
To be fair, there is a such as a "handsome" female who indeed isn't masculine in any way.

But that's another subject. Let's move on, shall we?
 

zedel

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Treblaine said:
Lesbians are more than just males in female bodies - I know you did not say or imply that - but that's where that line of logic leads. Being a woman is down to more than physical, or sexual, it's right down to the way we go about getting things.
Now, I doubt you are intentionally suggesting this, but the term "more" used when comparing lesbians and transgender people seems to be insinuating that transgender individuals are somehow lesser than lesbians. As someone who is myself genderqueer, I was originally offended by this, but I realize that wording things can be difficult.
 

SageRuffin

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Dec 19, 2009
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xXxJessicaxXx said:
To me it's just an assumption that there will only be a man playing and so he won't care for his female protagonist 'going off' with another guy but he can enjoy being a voyeur. Bioware games are still guilty of this, giving the female character uninteresting love interests. I know it's a personal opinion but the only Bioware love interest I have ever like was Alastair which was written by a woman. The others seem stand offish or really bland like the writer just isn't interested. Jacob for example...
Nah. The main problem with Jacob is that his dialogue is set up in such a way that FemShep might as well be holding a fucking neon sign saying "FUCK ME NOW!". I always imagined my FemShep to be paired with Ashley, which made those scenes of interactivity all the more jarring when those sultry lines came out into the open.

That's not to say Jacob doesn't suck - as a character and in terms of gameplay - but simply saying that he's bland is just scratching the surface.
 

Chris Gardiner

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-'Another little, under-the-radar title called Dragon Age: Origins , from plucky Canadian underdog BioWare, does something similar'-

Isn't typing this the same thing being complaining about in this Echo game?

Failing to find humor in something, then getting upset over it, is rather silly.

So is basing an article around 'forced lesbianism'.

Otherwise, this was a good read.
 

Moonlight Butterfly

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Mar 16, 2011
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SageRuffin said:
xXxJessicaxXx said:
To me it's just an assumption that there will only be a man playing and so he won't care for his female protagonist 'going off' with another guy but he can enjoy being a voyeur. Bioware games are still guilty of this, giving the female character uninteresting love interests. I know it's a personal opinion but the only Bioware love interest I have ever like was Alastair which was written by a woman. The others seem stand offish or really bland like the writer just isn't interested. Jacob for example...
Nah. The main problem with Jacob is that his dialogue is set up in such a way that FemShep might as well be holding a fucking neon sign saying "FUCK ME NOW!". I always imagined my FemShep to be paired with Ashley, which made those scenes of interactivity all the more jarring when those sultry lines came out into the open.

That's not to say Jacob doesn't suck - as a character and in terms of gameplay - but simply saying that he's bland is just scratching the surface.
I would agree with that my femshep seems to turn into some sort of sultry abomination when she goes near Jacob when he is in no way likable.

I have played his romance just for the sake of it and I still found him to be very bland, even his loyalty mission is uninteresting.

I would go for Joker over Jacob a million times over. Bioware like to keep all thier funny and interesting characters single, like Varric and Joker and give the female player bland meatheads like Jacob and Kaiden. Meanwhile the male player gets really interesting people like Jack and Tali.
 

Treblaine

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zedel said:
Treblaine said:
Lesbians are more than just males in female bodies - I know you did not say or imply that - but that's where that line of logic leads. Being a woman is down to more than physical, or sexual, it's right down to the way we go about getting things.
Now, I doubt you are intentionally suggesting this, but the term "more" used when comparing lesbians and transgender people seems to be insinuating that transgender individuals are somehow lesser than lesbians. As someone who is myself genderqueer, I was originally offended by this, but I realize that wording things can be difficult.
WHOA! I didn't even notice that mistake.

I meant to say "there is more to lesbians than that, they aren't males in female's body"

I believe the consensus is "male in females body" is in the same area as LGBT, but is quite distinct from actual lesbianism, someone who is sure in their gender, just their sexuality does not conform with that [EDIT CONTINUE] which is typical but not absolute.

God dammit, the English language makes talking about sexuality and gender a minefield.

So many gendered pronouns, so many phrases based on presumptions. I have to read everythign through twice
 

Treblaine

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SageRuffin said:
Treblaine said:
I went on this site lesbian gamers dot something (god, I sound like Jeremy Clarkson recommending sites like that, but seriously)

Anyway, they claim this is a problem but more more in the INVERSE.

For example playing a female and marrying a female, your wife describes you as "handsome".

That... that just sounds like they are using the same stock sound files for the wife in a lesbian marriage as in a straight marriage and it is jarring. I am not saying there isn't a dyke out there butch enough to like their wife to call them "handsome" but it's just one small part of developers continuing to have such a male-female bias to relationships.
To be fair, there is a such as a "handsome" female who indeed isn't masculine in any way.

But that's another subject. Let's move on, shall we?
Maybe it's a cultural thing.

There was a time in English that words like "handsome" were not gendered and could be applied universally, like "cute" is today i.e. my cute boyfriend, my cute girlfriend, my cute dog, my cute daughter, etc depending on appropriate context, of course.

But today handsome really is a gendered compliment.

Just like describing a man as beautiful, even if he is (literally) it doesn't seem appropriate and to an extent challenges his masculinity.

I think it's just the most tangible part of how the game feels like it was designed around a male protagonists and they just dropped in a female character model in as an afterthought, it doesn't feel like real inclusion. It's obvious how easy it is to code in new textures, that doesn't show any commitment.

I put this in a similar vein as the Bechdel Test, women are present but not in a significant way. Bechdel test is 3 fold:
(1) are there 2 or more Named female characters in the film (nameless extras do not count)
(2) do they even talk to each other?
(3) is the subject of their talk about ANYTHING other than a male character?

The majority of films fail this test, and those that pass it pass often only with a single fleeting scene.

This isn't about positive or negative depiction of women, just that they are actually truly depicted AT ALL! If they can't verbally interact about something other than men then the women are hugely denigrated in their depiction.
 

Unesh52

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I really enjoyed this article, which is no surprise considering what the author writes for. Man, I would've really liked that game more if anyone I knew would've played it with me.

Sober Thal said:
So is basing an article around 'forced lesbianism'.
Why was that silly? After all, the article wasn't "about" that player being upset. It was about the "identity gap." The incident was just an anecdote used to introduce the larger topic.
 

Yal

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Dec 22, 2010
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I had a similar experience with Baldur's Gate (unwelcome intrusion by the writer, not surprise gayness). It really is jarring. That unassuming little gnome thief I created back at the beginning, mostly useless all game, is suddenly a demigod? WTF? That just didn't work for me. I think that's part of why I never got into the sequel, and apparently I really missed out there.

And if Echo Bazaar ever gets a real login system, someone do please let me know.
 

Cavouku

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Hmm... no, I can see why the player might be upset about this. And let's not try and be high and mighty; we can all easily read that the same way she did. It very much sounded like an implication to pursue romance, there's not two-ways about it.

I liked how... Jessica (had to scroll up) put it, it sounds like something that was designed for straight men, and was then plastered on for any other kind of character.

In an RPG, you make a character. Sure, it doesn't have to be like you, and most people don't want it to be, but she seemed to want her character to be straight, and that is perfectly fine. I can see why, in a Role Playing Game, she would feel like the London Master took a liberty that was to be left to the character. I would be equally upset if my DM said that my character wanted to shag the studly elven soldier boy, because I was playing Kalet as a straight male tiefling, and he was mine, not the DM's.

That being said, I think sexuality should be one of those things the game asks you at the beginning. Do you want this character to be straight? Gay? Bi? Transsexual (though that's a bit less about sexuality and more gender identity)? Asexual even? What?

It takes more writing, but I think that it would be greatly appreciated by people who want to play all types of characters.
 

Benjamin Moore

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SageRuffin said:
gCrusher said:
SageRuffin said:
I find it weird that the player interpreted the text in that nature - maybe she just wants to visit the character for the sake of visiting?
Nah, we all just want to get our freak on, apparently. In all fairness, I've read most of the text as opportunities to be a deviate, but usually in taking from those weaker than I, regardless of what strength or skill I'm applying.
Oh trust me, I have my moments as well, but even if was completely accurate interpretation and the NPC wanted to have some "fun", how would that make the player's character sapphic (I hate using the term "lesbian"... ugh)? Unless she shows interest back, everything's good, right?

I fail to see the issue here. Or maybe I'm just weird. :/

Isn't sapphic an adjective? It's only a noun when referring to poetry of Sappho, poetess form the island of Lesbos c.600, i.e. a Sapphic verse:

Sapphic (`sæf&#618;k)

-- adj
1. prosody denoting a metre associated with Sappho, consisting generally of a trochaic pentameter line with a dactyl in the third foot
2. of or relating to Sappho or her poetry
3. lesbian

-- n
4. prosody a verse, line, or stanza written in the Sapphic form

EDIT: Fell right into Muphry's Law! Ouch!