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Author Topic: Re: What does role playing gaming accomplish?  (Read 44743 times)
Jason Lee
Member

Posts: 729


« Reply #105 on: December 07, 2002, 11:33:18 AM »

Uncle Dark and MK make some excellent points about the seperation of motivation of action and rationalization of action (assuming I understand, and they agree with me).

I see a sexist rationalization for a violent action as completely seperate from the motivation of a violent action.  However, when dealing with social issues belief is more important than truth (no philosophy on truth, please).  I can see how it would be easy for either gender to believe the rationalization.

I can also see how people could mistake their fantasies for reality...though I've not met any man or woman who would air their rape fantasies in a public setting (my personal experiences may not be universal).

I like to make sure my borders, and where they grey, are clear when dealing with hate, discrimination, and violence so I can attack them at the source.

Quote from: MK Snyder
Another thread beckons: how comfortable are male players with playing characters in emotions? Can they exhibit grief? Comeradery? Can your character hug his Dad?


I don't think you'll need another thread for that...I'm fairly certain you'll simply get a lot of 'yes damnit!'...though you may find differences in gaming style and comfort level that regulate this.


As I haven't really spoken up about sexism in gaming...let me just say I have a tendancy to identify with my generation a lot (late gen-x).  So, I give a lot of 'yeah, whatever' to subtle sexism and other prejudice.  I think focusing on prejudice creates prejudice where it did not previously exist.

BEGIN anecdote
Once upon a time, Ziriel worked at a retail store.  A middle aged black woman handed her a credit card with the name "Edward" on it.  Ziriel ask for her ID.  The woman went into a raging fit about Ziriel being a racist, impling she was a thief only because she was black.  The woman was so blinded by her experiences she was looking for racism in every dark corner.  She had created racism, in her mind, where it simply did not exist.
END anecdote

I see this kind of behavior a lot, and I give it a resounding 'yeah, whatever'.

There is a point in here somewhere, I swear.  I've never had a big problem with cheesecake, beefcake, pornography, romance novels or any of that other fluff.  The cheesecake does not objectify women for me:  the cheesecake is an object that resembles a woman.  They don't even connect for me...I see no implication of a real woman in the cheesecake.  But, as I said I identify with my generation a lot, and the difference in mental process may be a generational thing...I'm not sure.

I can see how this would bug people who don't think like me, so axe the cheesecake...I won't miss it, I only see good that can come of its disappearance.
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- Cruciel
Ziriel
Member

Posts: 28


« Reply #106 on: December 07, 2002, 12:40:47 PM »

Quote
Speaking as a queer man into leather, I wasn't particularly offended. Mind you, I don't claim to speak for all of my tribe, but hey, I found it funny.


Uncle Dark: I'm glad you are comfortable enough in your own skin that it didn't ruffle your feathers.  :)

Quote
Z, absolutely, it is a terrible portrayal of homosexuals. It is not an accurate portrayal of homosexual men and never was intended to be such.

It may be a fairly accurate portrayal of some heterosexual men's homophobia, though.


MK: That was pretty much my point as well.  As long as we all understand that it represented an unflattering parody.  I just felt I needed to express my distress on the subject as I was not certain that we were all on the same page. I'm glad to see that we are.  No harm, no foul.

Oh yes, and one more thing:
Quote
BEGIN anecdote
Once upon a time, Ziriel worked at a retail store. A middle aged black woman handed her a credit card with the name "Edward" on it. Ziriel ask for her ID. The woman went into a raging fit about Ziriel being a racist, impling she was a thief only because she was black. The woman was so blinded by her experiences she was looking for racism in every dark corner. She had created racism, in her mind, where it simply did not exist.
END anecdote


This iz sadly very much a true tale.  When I worked in retail I was one of the few people that always checked signatures and names on credit cards.  It hadn't even occured to me that the woman was black.  It was something I noticed then shuffled away just like "blonde hair" or any other tidbit.  She was so enraged it took my store manager giving her our credit card policy and talking her down to get her to stop screaming at me.  The experience disturbed me deeply for weeks.  More on topic:  I think this iz why we have to be so careful when we imply that anyone may be sexist.  I like to be damn sure before I do.  Of course when I am sure...boy do I let them have it. ;)
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- Ziriel

Personal Rule #32:   13 people can keep a secret  if 12 of them are dead.
Uncle Dark
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Posts: 215


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« Reply #107 on: December 07, 2002, 01:26:40 PM »

Cruciel, Ziriel,

Regarding your anecdote:
Yeah, there was no racisim in that situation.  Yeah, the woman saw something that wasn't there.  But why?

It's not like her reaction came out of the blue, with no basis.  How many times had someone accused her of being a thief because she was black?  Sure, Ziriel wasn't doing that, but the old lady had experienced enough racisim in her life that she interpreted that oen situation wrong.  Think about this: if she was old enough, she may remember a childhood where she'd been regularly and legally sent to the back of the bus or refused service because she was black.  Rosa Parks only made her stand in 1955.  Segregation did not end until, what, 1966?

Now imagine gaming with her.  Portraying racism, segregation, or slavery in-game would be touchy enough.  Joking about it out-of-game around the table would be a big mistake.

The point is, you can't isolate a person in one situation from the rest of his or her experience.  Saying, "I'm not being racist right now!" does nothing to ease the burden of pain that woman carried, and sounds like the all the denials she'd heard from bigots most of her life.  Saying "yeah, whatever" discounts that pain, as if it was of no consequence, as if her life and experience did not matter.

This isn't to say that Ziriel should have done something different.  It sounds like you did what you were supposed to do for someone in your position at that time.

What it is to say is that when dealing with people's emotional buttons, people you want to enjoy a liesure activity with and perhaps keep as friends, you can't just dismiss their previous experience.  It has to be taken into account.

Lon
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Reality is what you can get away with.
Irmo
Member

Posts: 258


« Reply #108 on: December 07, 2002, 01:47:48 PM »

Quote from: Ziriel


This iz sadly very much a true tale.  When I worked in retail I was one of the few people that always checked signatures and names on credit cards.  It hadn't even occured to me that the woman was black.  It was something I noticed then shuffled away just like "blonde hair" or any other tidbit.  She was so enraged it took my store manager giving her our credit card policy and talking her down to get her to stop screaming at me.  The experience disturbed me deeply for weeks.  More on topic:  I think this iz why we have to be so careful when we imply that anyone may be sexist.  I like to be damn sure before I do.  Of course when I am sure...boy do I let them have it. ;)


While your story suggests that one should be careful, I think one should be even more careful to declare "No one is less discriminatory than I/we." It's not always obvious to oneself when one acts in a discriminatory fashion, and sometimes one slaps oneself after the fact for not being more tactful. While in your example, there obviously was no discrimination given, I personally very much see the view on the receiving end as the relevant one. If someone feels discriminated, and there isn't a very solid reason why the other party acted that way, then it would probably have been better had the other party not acted that way. And in that, one should keep in mind that different people have different thresholds. While Ralph might feel that implications of organized crime in an italian american background are nothing to get worked up at, one needs only to look at the ruckus in New York City on the participation of "The Sopranos" actors in the Columbus day parade that some people like to eliminate any connotation whatsoever. And while one can personally feel its exaggerated, one isn't in their hide and doesn't know what other experiences they build their attitude on.

One need only remember the "separate but equal" doctrine to see how discrimination can be in the eye of the beholder.
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Ziriel
Member

Posts: 28


« Reply #109 on: December 07, 2002, 01:54:29 PM »

Quote
Regarding your anecdote:
Yeah, there was no racisim in that situation. Yeah, the woman saw something that wasn't there. But why?


Lon - Yeah.  I thought a lot about that, and I think that iz why it bothered me for such a long time.  It really made me consider the whole thing more in depth.  It also scared me.  Are things really that bad?  Are people really that awful?  I know that there iz discrimination; I'm not that naive.  I myself have been the victim of it plenty of times.  (I've actually been spit on for goodness sake!)  I'm lucky enough to be able to surround myself with people who don't take stock in such rubbish.  I'm also lucky enough to be of a younger generation where such things seem to be much less common or accepted. (I'm 25.)  It seriously spooks me to think that someone had treated her the way she thought I was treating her.  Oh yes, and she wasn't that old.  I would peg her at an even 40, an age where I would hope things were getting better.  But we are way off thread here... (sorry 'bout that)

This may be very much at the root of why so many women are so deeply offended by questionable things like cheesecake art.  Maybe an artist didn't mean to be offensive and wanted to paint women as sexual and beautiful people.  (Although this certainly izn't true of more raunchy examples, but stay with me here.) Wouldn't it be awful to be that artist and then be assailed by angry women with your only defense being, "I didn't mean it that way, really!". Now, don't misunderstand me, I'm not saying we should go forth and embrace things like cheesecake art.  However, it iz some food for thought.  Past discrimination can really color the way you look at the world.
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- Ziriel

Personal Rule #32:   13 people can keep a secret  if 12 of them are dead.
Ziriel
Member

Posts: 28


« Reply #110 on: December 07, 2002, 01:59:26 PM »

Quote
While your story suggests that one should be careful, I think one should be even more careful to declare "No one is less discriminatory than I/we." It's not always obvious to oneself when one acts in a discriminatory fashion, and sometimes one slaps oneself after the fact for not being more tactful. While in your example, there obviously was no discrimination given, I personally very much see the view on the receiving end as the relevant one. If someone feels discriminated, and there isn't a very solid reason why the other party acted that way, then it would probably have been better had the other party not acted that way. And in that, one should keep in mind that different people have different thresholds. ... And while one can personally feel its exaggerated, one isn't in their hide and doesn't know what other experiences they build their attitude on.


Irmo - I very much agree with you.  Really, I do.
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- Ziriel

Personal Rule #32:   13 people can keep a secret  if 12 of them are dead.
Jason Lee
Member

Posts: 729


« Reply #111 on: December 07, 2002, 02:20:01 PM »

Quote from: Uncle Dark
The point is, you can't isolate a person in one situation from the rest of his or her experience.  Saying, "I'm not being racist right now!" does nothing to ease the burden of pain that woman carried, and sounds like the all the denials she'd heard from bigots most of her life.  Saying "yeah, whatever" discounts that pain, as if it was of no consequence, as if her life and experience did not matter.


What I'm saying here, is maybe for a second her experiences and pain don't matter...I'll deal with her as an individual, and she can deal with me in the same manner.  It's reverse discrimination, and as I said I tend to identify with my generation a lot.  I don't know how much reverse discrimination effects people of other age groups or cultures (even internal US cultures), but I consider the attitudes of my peers an indication it's an actual problem with younger generations (as perspective difference arise between generations).  It has been beat into us in public school all our lives that the white male is evil and has ruined the world.  You've got some options for dealing with this force fed guilt:  lovingly embrace it, be miserable, and walk on egg shells around every minority (and hence treat them like a different kind of person); or realize the 'evil white male' wasn't you and never will be you, treat everyone like a person and expect the same (and in my case develop that kind of 'yeah, whatever' cynicism to what I deem as overreaction).  I'm sure there are other options...maybe even more reasonable ones.

But, I drift off topic.

You are completely right about needing to take someone's personal experiences and situation into account before nailing them with a touchy issue in game.  I just think people projecting their experiences on people they don't know by being over sensitive pigeon hole's them even further into the classification of 'different'.

How this relates to sexism, in my mind, is that you simply need to weed out the overt and obvious sexism...never mind the little things that are only sexist if you seperate them from their intent.  As far as game design goes, I think this is actually pretty easy.
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- Cruciel
Uncle Dark
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Posts: 215


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« Reply #112 on: December 07, 2002, 04:40:39 PM »

Quote from: cruciel
What I'm saying here, is maybe for a second her experiences and pain don't matter...I'll deal with her as an individual, and she can deal with me in the same manner.


How do you deal with an individual without dealing with their experiences, good and bad?  If you ignore their pain, aren't you dealing with a fragment of an individual, or a projection of who yo would rathe they were?

Quote from: cruciel
never mind the little things that are only sexist if you seperate them from their intent.


But how does someone not you determine your intent?  The only way they can is by interpreting your actions, or by asking you.  How else are they to interpret anything except in light of their own experiences?

Of course, how do you ask someone, "were you meaning to be a sexist just then?" without risking offense?  Obviously, it would be better to ask, but if your experience is that asking leads to more trouble...

Keep in mind that it is often not safe to assume that everyone intends well.  many people who have been swindled, scammed, or hurt started out assuming the best.

Also, there's the matter of harm caused whether you intended it or not.  I may not have intended to stomp on your foot, but your foot still hurts...

Lon
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Reality is what you can get away with.
Ziriel
Member

Posts: 28


« Reply #113 on: December 07, 2002, 04:55:03 PM »

Quote from: cruciel
What I'm saying here, is maybe for a second her experiences and pain don't matter...I'll deal with her as an individual, and she can deal with me in the same manner.


Pretty thought that.  Wouldn't it be nice if we could all just talk to each other as individuals and without preconceptions?  Unfortunatly that just izn't feasible.  Our experiences are what makes us whole, even if they do taint our world view.  If we all wandered about without taking our experiences into account we would be as children.  Which iz not to say that reverse discrimination doesn't bother me; it does quite a bit.
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- Ziriel

Personal Rule #32:   13 people can keep a secret  if 12 of them are dead.
Jason Lee
Member

Posts: 729


« Reply #114 on: December 07, 2002, 05:05:41 PM »

Uncle Dark and Ziriel, you are of course both right.

I'm somewhat of an idealist...now that I've poked my head out of my little fantasy world and screamed 'why can't we all just get along' I can safely crawl back into my idealistic cave before sharp pointy rocks of reality rain from the sky and bury themselves in my skull.

And reverse discrimination is just one of my little buttons.
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- Cruciel
damion
Member

Posts: 198


« Reply #115 on: December 07, 2002, 05:09:26 PM »

The problem is -ism's are all defined by nebulous social convention.  
The have to be defined in terms of the victim, and also in terms of a socially
accepted 'norm'.  Thus any accusation of sexual harrasment is taken seriously and examined by a higher power, frex jury. (Yeah, I know there are problems with this, they arn't relevent to this point).  The idea being the jury is compare against the 'social norm'. The end result is it's a combination of the victims feelings and the accuseds intentions, neither of which is readily available. (To take the Ziriel example, yes you had a reason to be suspicious, because the name on the card does not appear to match the person.)
(sorry for the ~rant)

I suppose for gaming it just comes down to social contract, what can people encounter in game and not have it cause severe emotional resonance with out-of-game emotions.  Also, these issues may not be obvious.(The soprano's thing was mentioned)
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James
Emily Care
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Posts: 1126


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« Reply #116 on: December 07, 2002, 05:21:29 PM »

Good handling of strong disagreements everyone.  

Damion had some constructive, on-topic questions:
Quote from: damion
Is there anything in the structure of RPG's that should be examined? I'm talking about things in the system or presentation of material. (Ignoring stuff we already know about, such as cheesecake(where did this term come from anyway?) art and ludicrous stuff like gender based stat mods).

I know Walt mentioned that he perceived differences in the types of games females preferred. One could assume these differences are a consequence of enculturation, but that doesn't make them less real.
Should we take them into account, which might appeal more to women, but enforces the enculturation or should games ignore such things, (the idea being to not 'target' anyone, but just be a game)?

I like the second one, and a purpose of the Forge(IMHO) is to promote indie games, which tends to increase the diverstiy, but perhaps not enough.  What are peoples opinons of the designes that have been posted here on the forge?


Is there anything in the structure of RPG's that should be examined?
The first thing I thought of is the Sarah syndrome from Knights of the Dinner Table, wherein the female gamer tries to interact with pc's while the male players attack it. Games that facilitate hack & slash gaming might be a turn off for many female gamers. So, more (ahem) sophisticated gaming that gives more options, as Walt's post suggested, would go over better.

Should we take them into account, which might appeal more to women, but enforces the enculturation or should games ignore such things, (the idea being to not 'target' anyone, but just be a game)?
Ron's gendered Sorcerer mechanics are an interesting approach.  If rpg hit the main stream, I am certain that there would be gendered rpg's just like there are gender targeted products of every stripe.  Gad, I shudder at the thought.  Barbie the Role-playing game.  <shiver> yes, I suppose that day will come. :) That's not whay you meant, Damion, sorry.  

I feel like we need more information about what women are looking for in games.  If it's what Walt said, then hell, who needs to gender approach it, all of those things would improve a game. :)

What are peoples opinons of the designes that have been posted here on the forge?
I can't think of any that strike me as sexist. Women can kill puppies, right? ;  )

--Emily Care
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Koti ei ole koti ilman saunaa.

Black & Green Games
Irmo
Member

Posts: 258


« Reply #117 on: December 07, 2002, 07:50:48 PM »

Quote from: Emily Care

Should we take them into account, which might appeal more to women, but enforces the enculturation or should games ignore such things, (the idea being to not 'target' anyone, but just be a game)?
Ron's gendered Sorcerer mechanics are an interesting approach.  If rpg hit the main stream, I am certain that there would be gendered rpg's just like there are gender targeted products of every stripe.  Gad, I shudder at the thought.  Barbie the Role-playing game.  <shiver> yes, I suppose that day will come. :) That's not whay you meant, Damion, sorry.  


I don't think "targeted" RPGs necessarily have to look like that. The french RPG "Reve de Dragon" (as I mentioned elsewhere recently e-published in English) has at times been called feminine in its preference for (a) strange, enigmatic world(s) and sometimes bizarre situations. With the entire world being dreamed, there is literally nothing impossible as to what you could experience, and maybe this emphasis on fantasy with a captial F, on imaginativeness rather than predictability, schematics and archetypes could be seen as a means to target to female players. (Ironically, the game was written by a male, and has many male fans, but being a french game that might in part also have cultural reasons).

[Edited to add: The above is a deliberate exaggeration and polarization, and should by no means indicate that anyone's RPG is unimaginative (at least of the writers present ;) )]


I wonder what the female to male ratio of Skyrealms of Jorune groups are, since I think it shares at least some of those qualities. Anyone have any experience? (incidentally, judging by the available webpages, Jorune also seems to have been quite well-liked in France)
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thoth
Member

Posts: 49


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« Reply #118 on: December 07, 2002, 08:44:07 PM »

Possible tangent question, but i'm thinking still on-topic.

There has been a lot of talk about negative sexism towards females, but what about positive sexism?

The reason I ask is because i've always seen what seems like positive sexism when talking about females. Specifically, the notion that 'hack n slash' is not-so-good, females don't like 'hack n slash', so females are better role-players. It's not very heavy, I don't think, but its something I've always felt was present.

If someone was stereotyped (however lightly) with something that wasn't considered a bad thing (positive discrimination), but still stereotyped, does that somehow make it less wrong?

Which leads to me the question; is this whole thread about trying to get better treatment for women (possibly positive sexist), or for fair and equal treatment (egalitarian)?
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Amos Barrows
ManiSystem
Ziriel
Member

Posts: 28


« Reply #119 on: December 08, 2002, 04:21:44 AM »

Quote from: thoth
If someone was stereotyped (however lightly) with something that wasn't considered a bad thing (positive discrimination), but still stereotyped, does that somehow make it less wrong?

Which leads to me the question; is this whole thread about trying to get better treatment for women (possibly positive sexist), or for fair and equal treatment (egalitarian)?


Ahh...I was sort of wondering if this would come up.  IMO, positive discrimination can lead to all sorts of sticky unpleasentness, so I'm against it.  If you are treating one group as if they are fabulous how then are you treating other groups?  And let us not forget that being treated to well can come off as condescending and may also frustrate someone who just wants to be treated normally.  Hmm.  See what I mean by sticky?

As far as my personal goal on this thread, I strive for understanding and education.  (I know it sounds cheezy but its true.)  Through this education I would personally hope for equal treatment.  Women who expect men to open doors for them and pay the bill at dinner, then go on rants about how they want equality irritate me.  But hey, that's just me.
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- Ziriel

Personal Rule #32:   13 people can keep a secret  if 12 of them are dead.
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