December 11, 2013

Dude, She's Just Not Into You.

People need to understand something about writers: we're shifters. We assume different identities, evoke spirits and walk around in someone else's shoes. We don't always write in our own voices.
A good writer will challenge themselves and take on a different form. It's how a nerdy white boy from Buffy the Vampire Slayer can portray the struggles of a Black American family during the civil rights movement, or a secretary can place herself in the mind of an orphan boy with superpowers. A good writer is interested in the world and struggles developing around them. It helps us grow in understanding.

But not all of our readers are willing to grow, which brings me to the immersive and at times, obsessively addictive world of role playing. I'm talking the twenty-sided die, you pervs.

Please understand, my nerd cred is seriously limited in this area. My ex-boyfriend was big into D&D and Magic the Gathering, but refused to bring me into this world because of my philosophical debates on what "mana" is. I also had some outlandish ideas about the Jews lasting 40 years in the desert because of an extra terrestrial mana-machine...

I seriously love you Giorgio A. Tsoukalos! Ugh... anyway... So I've been on the periphery of nerdsville. To the point where I can't even figure out the game Munchkin (sorry Robin!) and am hit with a level 5 attention deficit spell when anyone tries to teach me. But I have a lot of respect and admiration for this world and for the writers who create elaborate mythologies and who take creative risks by creating strong female and transgender characters. It's a pretty revolutionary world, or is it?

Hell hath no fury like a mage who can't use the girdle of femininity to trigger a sexual preference.
The Game: Baldur's Gate II.  The Vixen: Hexxat.  

See a lot of shit went down on the Baldur's Gate forum when it was revealed that a new character,  Hexxat, is a Lesbian. Hey, dudes love Lesbians right? So what's the deal? Well Hexxat's character is exclusively into women, not one of those pretends-bians you see making out in a College bar. Male characters are unable to romance her, thus thrusting her character into a brand new world of *GASP* having an identity outside of objectification. AMAZING, right? And this character was developed by a man, FYI. That just makes me smile.
But then, the aftermath. The forum was ablaze with hilarious outrage that would be a wonderful rendition of #ScriptsFromRealLife if it didn't piss me off so much. You can read the forum here.
The highlights, and I quote:

"This has to be a fucking joke. I already pictured my neutral-evil war mage travelling around with Hexxat and his other friends and this just ruined it man."
Really? I mean, really?

"I'm forced now to roleplay myself as a female to embrace the romance path with Hexxat. I do not like this."
OH SNAP! Not only is fan boy pissed he's not getting any action by proxy, but he has to be emasculated into playing a woman so he can romance the character! File that under #FirstWorldProblems

It's a little bizarre, isn't it? Sexual frustration within a virtual relationship sounds like some twisted David Cronenberg meets Christopher Nolan's dream-levels kind of fucked. I'm not sure how deep this goes, but perhaps some autonomy of the characters is required to create healthy boundaries. Maybe dude should play a woman to step inside her shoes for once.

Maybe there's a lesson here. Life doesn't always turn out how you want and either does the art you consume. Old Yeller. That was a brutal lesson for me. But you know what? When I was six years old and my dog was killed on Halloween aka my favourite holiday of all time, I was prepared for that shit. I already knew that life could suck and dogs don't live forever. I still eat candy.

Same story with The Little Mermaid. The real one, the Hans Christian Andersen, rip-your-heart-out-love-ain't-fair one, where you see the innocent girl give up her life for an idiot and become the foam of the sea that dead fish and used condoms float in. Great. Love stinks. Learn it, move on with life.

I applaud the writers on Baldur's Gate for creating a unique character and giving some representation to my Lesbian sisters. Just for the simple fact to teach some fan boys to detach, grow up, and realize that it's not all about them.

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