Author Topic: How should gender/sex affect interaction and dialogue in Zalanthas?  (Read 1927 times)

Harmless

  • Posts: 2626
The documentation is not very explicit in how day to day interactions between the sexes, of all the different social classes and backgrounds of Zalanthas. Sadly, this means that it is up to players to fill in those gaps. Inevitably a lot of "RL" seeps in to the roleplay, and immersion may suffer when the similarities are too uncanny for the setting to feel fantasy, to provide a properly fun and escapist experience for everyone.

BTW, I don't want to discuss pejoratives here. This is more about how one should react to issues of sex if they come up, and stay IC and theme-appropriate. After all, we don't want to completely remove sex from our RP; sexual tension, in particular, is often a fun flavor of RP to have, though it definitely isn't the only way to RP and there are a huge variety of personalities and backgrounds to choose from that don't require any particular gender or sexuality. This thread is more about learning how to play out that stuff appropriately when it does come up.

Here are some questions:

1. What is the average or common reaction a person would behave differently in public when they are sexually involved with someone?
2. Are certain attitudes towards a particular sex or sexuality present or absent among the various clans or social groups?
3. How should we respond IC without just breaking character if something that is borderline sexist is said, such as "She is acting that way because she is a woman." There have been a lot of awkward scenes where arguments about this are held IC and it doesn't seem to fit.
4. The themes that are played in the game are dependent on player preferences and the effects of numbers. For example, if Nak is particularly full of submissive female characters, then the impression that females should be submissive becomes pervasive. This shouldn't be the norm, though, and at times there is a rush of dominant, aggro women who kick ass and take names. This creates a problem when your character is a minority suddenly -- how do you stay IC when the docs state this shouldn't be the case?

The only answer I have to the above types of questions is that there is no answer. In other words, there is nothing documented about these things because there is not supposed to be anything special about being male or female. It's just your character's sexual organs, and otherwise you are roleplaying a Zalanthan. This is why in character creation, all the MUD asks you is "Is your character male or female?" Then moves on.

My point: If you were to take 100 random Zalanthan males and 100 random Zalanthan females, from the whole population of the world including every city and village, on average, any one personality trait would be equally present between the different genders. For example, the degree of aggressiveness, submissiveness, adventurousness, romanticism, creativity, or cockiness, all would be roughly equally present whether male or female. Within certain cultural groups in Zalanthas, it could be IC for that group to denigrate or elevate the status of a certain gender. Who you are as a person is more about where you were from and who raised you, than the fact that you were born with ovaries or testes, in Zalanthas. There may be fads in game one way or the other at times, but on average Zalanthas doesn't have many assumptions about being one sex or the other besides the parts. As players we need to keep this in mind so that we avoid falling into the trap of using RL prejudices or issues as the filler for our RP.
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Jihelu

  • Posts: 2561
Re: How should gender/sex affect interaction and dialogue in Zalanthas?
« Reply #1 on: June 18, 2017, 02:11:21 AM »
1: Can you rephrase this? Do you mean, "how do sexually active people behave differently?"?
2: I'm very confused that there aren't documented things that display actual sexism, especially within tribes. I get it, worlds hard. But even then, you generally divide stuff. Even if it's as simple as "The women commonly use archery because thats how that worked while the men use crossbows because they just like them, not natural strength." Or vice versa.
Hell, Tuluk sexually divided their Templarate with super powers.
3: I generally go "What the fuck does that have to do with anything" Or something among that nature. Or I wish all. Or I save it for a complaint and staff will generally fix it later. I try not to use OOC for conflict scenarios. I generally use it for funny scenarios of -something funny just happened with the code or something-
4: I have never really been in the 'minority'. I've played a semi-submissive man but I didn't just go around blushing and dropping things so I wasn't ever really thought of as 'strange'. Can't answer much on this.
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Melkor

  • Posts: 816
Re: How should gender/sex affect interaction and dialogue in Zalanthas?
« Reply #2 on: June 18, 2017, 02:37:07 AM »
It shouldn't, unless your character is chosing a mate. Not a partner, a mate with which to breed.
Not analogous to RL, but in this fantasy game, the rule is that the sexes are 100% equal in every way, save for reproductive organs. As far as I know, you still need opposite sexes in order to procreate.
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Refugee

  • Posts: 1571
Re: How should gender/sex affect interaction and dialogue in Zalanthas?
« Reply #3 on: June 18, 2017, 08:14:25 AM »
1.  I don't understand the question, sorry. 
2.  I would say all attitudes are present and legitimate to play but that the prevalent attitude would be that the genders are equally competent.
3.  If it happens IC, respond to it IC.  If some PC states a belief that women are weaker/emotional/whatever stupid generalization you want to insert, that's fine.  It doesn't mean it's so.  It means his PC is wrong.  PCs can be, should be, and are often wrong.  That's okay.  It's good.  People can come up with the craziest ideas and so can PCs, that makes them real.  The player should have a reason for it, but he doesn't have to play it out for our acceptance of his RP.  The PC can just be. 
4.  I would just...stay IC.  Whatever is going on (sounds like you mean something OOC like a sudden change in the kinds of PCs being portrayed), let your PC just keep on keeping on like they were.  If you want to respond to it at all, let your PC come up with some theory on why things are as they are and base your reactions on that.  It doesn't really have to make sense to anyone but your PC.

Lizzie

  • Posts: 7450
Re: How should gender/sex affect interaction and dialogue in Zalanthas?
« Reply #4 on: June 18, 2017, 08:49:49 AM »
By and large, the citizens of the planet Zalanthas aren't aware of the concept of sexism.

It is possible that there exists individual citizens of the planet who have acquired sexist ideas/thoughts/behaviors.

The two sentences above can exist at the same time, and both be equally true.

My characters would likely pass it off as just some idiot whose mommy was weak and therefore he's formed the opinion that all women are weak. Or some dipshit whose boyfriend dumped her for a prettier, less intelligent woman, and has formed the opinion that pretty + stupid = more attractive to men than smart + plainlooking.

I don't see anything wrong with it, as long as there's some IC acceptance that the exceptions are not the rule.
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John

  • Posts: 4035
Re: How should gender/sex affect interaction and dialogue in Zalanthas?
« Reply #5 on: June 18, 2017, 09:31:02 AM »
I don't think calling everyone who uses offensive language directed at a female should be labeled a sexist (either on the character or player level) and docked karma or called a bad player.

Recently (I believe this may have been posted about on the GDB) a player was accosted by a player dwarf who wanted to steal her necklace. He was throwing around the word whore a fair bit. My character, had no dog in the fight and didn't care what happened until he noticed the female in question worked for House Borsail. He then proceeded to try to convince the dwarf to go away. He used the same language as the dwarf which meant he called the Borsail aide a whore himself. This was done by the character in an attempt to rationalise with the dwarf. The dwarf being a dwarf refused to budge because FOCUS and all that.

This was one instance where a player may be labelled a sexist because of the actions of their character DESPITE the character not having any actual sexist views.

Another more recent incident involved a female character (dunno if it was played by the same player, but it'd be pretty funny if it was) telepathically communicating with a different character of mine saying they don't want to be known as a whore. My character corrected the female character and said he doubted anyone would care if she was whoring herself out. What would be cared was that they were neglecting their duties and it was likely the female's employer would be unhappy to hear this (my character was trying to blackmail the female character). This was an instance where I took the time to ICly correct someone to say "there's nothing wrong with whoring".

If someone is behaving in a way that I feel involves them bringing their OOC prejudices in game, then I'd send through a player complaint. I don't think any grand sweeping decisions need to be made on what can and can't be said by characters in game. Overall sexism in game seems to be fairly minimal to non-existent.
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valeria

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Re: How should gender/sex affect interaction and dialogue in Zalanthas?
« Reply #6 on: June 18, 2017, 10:26:28 AM »
Here are some questions:

1. What is the average or common reaction a person would behave differently in public when they are sexually involved with someone?
2. Are certain attitudes towards a particular sex or sexuality present or absent among the various clans or social groups?
3. How should we respond IC without just breaking character if something that is borderline sexist is said, such as "She is acting that way because she is a woman." There have been a lot of awkward scenes where arguments about this are held IC and it doesn't seem to fit.
4. The themes that are played in the game are dependent on player preferences and the effects of numbers. For example, if Nak is particularly full of submissive female characters, then the impression that females should be submissive becomes pervasive. This shouldn't be the norm, though, and at times there is a rush of dominant, aggro women who kick ass and take names. This creates a problem when your character is a minority suddenly -- how do you stay IC when the docs state this shouldn't be the case?

1) Likely depends on the person and specific relationship.  Some people are going to be all lovey dovey at bars, and others are going to be boffing solely on the DL, possibly because one of them is gross (gemmed, breed, mutant).
2) There is documentation that certain sexes are treated differently in certain tribal societies.  Barring that, and the former incarnation of the Tuluki templarate, no.
3) Call them out IC or ignore it?  However you'd react if someone said that breeds are actually wonderful people or something else equally nonsensical in the documentation.
4) I don't understand the question.

Harmless

  • Posts: 2626
Re: How should gender/sex affect interaction and dialogue in Zalanthas?
« Reply #7 on: June 19, 2017, 08:20:15 AM »
I was in a state of profound sleep deprivation when I made the original post. I see there have been some nice posts regardless of my awful writing anyway so I am gonna just leave it as is or maybe edit it later. Thanks for your help and confirmation of ideas I had about this and some good examples too!
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tapas

  • Posts: 139
Re: How should gender/sex affect interaction and dialogue in Zalanthas?
« Reply #8 on: June 21, 2017, 10:35:43 PM »
I would avoid the "sexist" language altogether.

The ooc reality is that words like "bitch" or "cunt" are used as a cudgel to hit people for who they are. If you throw that around in game you might be able to claim plausible deniability by using the thermian argument. But that doesn't change the real world context that you are filtering into the game.

So just be a cool dude and avoid that bullshit plox.

tapas

  • Posts: 139
Re: How should gender/sex affect interaction and dialogue in Zalanthas?
« Reply #9 on: June 21, 2017, 10:48:33 PM »
I was in a state of profound sleep deprivation when I made the original post. I see there have been some nice posts regardless of my awful writing anyway so I am gonna just leave it as is or maybe edit it later. Thanks for your help and confirmation of ideas I had about this and some good examples too!

It's a discussion worth having and a discussion that will continually creep up along with other issues. I can say that I've been pretty annoyed with some of the ways my female characters have been treated.

And that's not to knock the success Armageddon has had in keeping the game friendly to all sorts of players with all sorts of lifestyles. But it bears continual discussion in the least.

BlittzOff

  • Posts: 14
Re: How should gender/sex affect interaction and dialogue in Zalanthas?
« Reply #10 on: June 22, 2017, 08:53:28 PM »
Can we stop the whole projecting characters to players thing that keeps popping up.

Just because someone is playing a very arsey, bad person with many flaws and prejudice does not mean they're doing some self-insert.
A perfect world with no bad people in it is a far-from-Armageddon world. In no way should you punish someone for being an example of that.

In a world where criminal women are sentenced to rape-by-dwarf death, where the life expectancy is short even though some people can live exceedingly long, and everything is horrible in general, surely some real-life bad themes would still seep in.

Maybe "bitch" isn't thematic because the canines aren't that common or something, but that is the only reason why someone shouldn't use it.

Maybe women in Arma don't have less muscle growth than men and the weakness prejudice isn't thematic either, but from my experience most human women and men are still sort of equivalent to the real-life counterparts.

Imagine if a player who played dwarves a lot suddenly started raving about little-people insensitivities in Arma driving him into OOC rage and demanding it be taken out.

Take every insult to your character, not you yourself, and respond IC however you see fit. The only time I can see an insult being inappropriate if it's just not thematic and has no link to anything in Arma.


This wasn't supposed to be an insult argument but here we are now.

Lizzie

  • Posts: 7450
Re: How should gender/sex affect interaction and dialogue in Zalanthas?
« Reply #11 on: June 22, 2017, 09:15:03 PM »
Blittzof I tend to agree with you on everything you just said. In Armageddon, men and women are not THE SAME. They are equal in status and ability to succeed. That is all. Physiologically they ARE different. Females are still the child-bearers, and males are still the sperm-banks. Females - presumably - have the hormones necessary to become pregnant and bear young. It is absolutely positively plausible that females are capable of bitchy behavior - with the word totally intended to be aimed at females, specifically. That isn't sexist. It's biology. Just like females are the ones who end up breastfeeding. When was the last time you mudsexed with a male and a female, where it was the male who took the mul mix? It's almost always the female. Where are the scrab-intestine condoms? When was the last time you saw a male PC with a curvy figure, a feminine flare to their hips, and an impressively large pair of breasts? How "equal" are the sexes in Zalanthas, afterall?

Yes, bitch refers to a female, being female, in a hormonal sense. AND female canines are known as bitches, and gortoks are canines, so it all ties in together. I see absolutely nothing wrong with it and I don't consider it sexist in the least. Just like I don't consider accusing a man of thinking with his penis to be sexist. Women don't HAVE them, therefore, the insult can't possibly apply to them. So when a male PC spends an inordinate amount of time obsessing about sex, then yes - he is "thinking with his penis (or insert any genre-appropriate substitute for the word)." Again - biology. Even Zalanthan biology has male and female limitations and differences. Equal does not mean the same. If it did, there would be no sexes, it wouldn't be an option in chargen and all our characters would be its instead of hims and hers.
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MeTekillot

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Re: How should gender/sex affect interaction and dialogue in Zalanthas?
« Reply #12 on: June 22, 2017, 11:19:59 PM »
Why can't all Zalanthans just be beautiful hermaphrodites so we can stop having this argument?
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tapas

  • Posts: 139
Re: How should gender/sex affect interaction and dialogue in Zalanthas?
« Reply #13 on: June 23, 2017, 01:10:30 AM »
Yes, bitch refers to a female, being female, in a hormonal sense. AND female canines are known as bitches, and gortoks are canines, so it all ties in together. I see absolutely nothing wrong with it and I don't consider it sexist in the least.

The meaning and use of the word isn't the same thing. Just becuase bitch means female dog doesn't mean that it's not frequently used as a slur used to attack women for being women.

I have encountered uses of the word ig in ways that are sexist. But thankfully it's not overly common.
« Last Edit: June 23, 2017, 01:14:17 AM by tapas »

BlittzOff

  • Posts: 14
Re: How should gender/sex affect interaction and dialogue in Zalanthas?
« Reply #14 on: June 23, 2017, 06:17:10 AM »
You keep saying it as if it's wrong to insult people for something.

The word stump is used to insult dwarves, and can apply to every dwarf as insulting.
It doesn't make it bad. Maybe it's not imaginative, but it's there.

Maybe it's upsetting to draw some real-life conflicts and prejudice into Arma, but humans are in real life, humans are in Arma, albeit more hardy, and you can't wipe clean prejudice between different people. Sure, arma is different in some ways, with the inter-human racism faded away/nonexistant now that everyone is about the same skin color and there are no bases for hardcore skinhead nazi purists to exist, and with the other races to be racist about.

But gender tension existed since the lowest and earliest tribes in history, with matriarchies and patriarchies, and whatever else.
Prostitution/whoring is the oldest profession in existence, why shouldn't it be used as an insult?

If you truly want this to be gone, then you're gonna want to convert all humans to the sexually ambiguous dwarves.
Just look at this classy lady.

Refugee

  • Posts: 1571
Re: How should gender/sex affect interaction and dialogue in Zalanthas?
« Reply #15 on: June 23, 2017, 08:30:53 AM »
But you use dick and bitch pretty much the same, one's just female and the other's male.  Like using he and she. 

He's being a dick, she's being a bitch.

It's only a big deal if you make it a big deal.  And by pressing this in-game, making your PC's actions somehow relate to RL, to -your- actions, we've broken something.  Maybe irrevocably.  I don't know for sure, but I'm concerned.

Last time I was logged in, my PC was in the perfect position to really treat an elf poorly.  Like he always does.  But now...it doesn't feel right.  You've made elves somehow related to real people.  And I don't want to treat real people badly, or even pretend to treat real people badly.  My brain swirled around looking for a solution to the paradox, and coming up with nothing quickly enough before the moment had passed, I basically ignored the elf.

I'm not sure if I can work through this new PC Armageddon.  I'm just not sure.


sleepyhead

  • Posts: 197
Re: How should gender/sex affect interaction and dialogue in Zalanthas?
« Reply #16 on: June 23, 2017, 09:29:49 AM »
But you use dick and bitch pretty much the same, one's just female and the other's male.  Like using he and she. 

He's being a dick, she's being a bitch.

It's only a big deal if you make it a big deal.  And by pressing this in-game, making your PC's actions somehow relate to RL, to -your- actions, we've broken something.  Maybe irrevocably.  I don't know for sure, but I'm concerned.

Last time I was logged in, my PC was in the perfect position to really treat an elf poorly.  Like he always does.  But now...it doesn't feel right.  You've made elves somehow related to real people.  And I don't want to treat real people badly, or even pretend to treat real people badly.  My brain swirled around looking for a solution to the paradox, and coming up with nothing quickly enough before the moment had passed, I basically ignored the elf.

I'm not sure if I can work through this new PC Armageddon.  I'm just not sure.

A couple of things:

1. While I probably disagree with the censorship and meddling as much as you do, none of it is supposed to be for the benefit of filthy, disgusting elves like the one you encountered IG. Elves are still thieving, lying snakes and one of them probably has a hand in your pocket right now. These new rules are supposedly for the benefit of the players behind the screen, whether those players are playing elves or not. Just like rape is banned not because that good-looking little indie merchant is now ICly considered too good and too precious to be violated, but because allowing rape causes all sorts of OOC issues that staff would rather not navigate. And that doesn't change whether or not you agree with these rules.

2. Right now, the only place where those new rules have been posted is at the end of a locked thread, posted in the middle of what seems to be an exiting staff member's angry explosion at the playerbase. It's quite possible that most people who play the game have not even seen that thread and are oblivious to any supposed new rules. As I've said before, I trust the staff to repost these rules where everyone can see them--if they didn't, it would be unfair to new players, non-GDBers, and people who for whatever reason just missed the thread. Until that happens, I'm not convinced they're actually a thing, because staff do not tend to bury gamewide rule changes at the ends of locked threads. Nergal gave us all one month to get used to the changes, anyway, so I'm sure clarification will come before our grace period is over. Until then, I'm not too worried about it.



John

  • Posts: 4035
Re: How should gender/sex affect interaction and dialogue in Zalanthas?
« Reply #17 on: June 23, 2017, 09:43:36 AM »
You've made elves somehow related to real people
Elves are nothing like <insert ethnicity here>. Elves have a biological disposition towards theft and running. Unless you believe that everyone whose <insert ethnicity here> are thieves in real life, you should not be associating them with any RL group.
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Riev

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Re: How should gender/sex affect interaction and dialogue in Zalanthas?
« Reply #18 on: June 23, 2017, 09:51:27 AM »
You've made elves somehow related to real people
Elves are nothing like <insert ethnicity here>. Elves have a biological disposition towards theft and running. Unless you believe that everyone whose <insert ethnicity here> are thieves in real life, you should not be associating them with any RL group.

I feel like what Refugee is saying, is that by giving them the "no more <this word>" treatment, its like humanizing them in some way. They're no longer Wops, or Japos, or Krauts. They're people, with families, feelings, similar to you and me. Its harder (not hard, harder) to demean people when you find yourself sympathizing with their plights.

I'm pretty neutral about the removal of one word we use for elves, as we can still use longneck, sharpear, skinny, gutter-trash, etc etc.

But so far as gender/sex, its a very difficult line because while being able to birth children in no way impedes or assists a female in rising up in their job or career in Zalanthas, its entirely possible that someone decides that pregnant females must be cared for, attended to, protected (while in other cultures, a pregnant woman who takes down a raptor a day, guarantees a strong child). If someone calls you a bitch, an angry female gortok that protects its young with ferocity... shit, take it. This isn't the "bitch" of the Modern Western World where you are "strong and independent" or "demanding".

I think both in how we use words in game, as well as how we take them in real life, we need a step back. Being called a dick, to me, means "you have one use in life, and everything else you do is just fluff". If someone calls me a dick, or a dickhead in game, I usually assume they mean "You're nothing but a stick of flesh". Its demeaning, and they mean it as a pejorative, so I take it that way. I don't assume "they're a man-hating second-wave feminazi that thinks penises are evil".
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Patuk

  • Posts: 4146
Re: How should gender/sex affect interaction and dialogue in Zalanthas?
« Reply #19 on: June 23, 2017, 11:10:40 AM »
I play Armageddon to chop up motherfuckers with bone swords. Picking male or female doesn't affect this, nothing else is relevant. My position is unassailable; this thread is now over.
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Harmless

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Re: How should gender/sex affect interaction and dialogue in Zalanthas?
« Reply #20 on: June 23, 2017, 11:36:04 AM »
People who understand the setting well could use certain words with no issue. But that understanding of what it means to be female or male in Zalanthas isn't universal. Luckily some of the posts above hit on key points of Zalanthan life as a female and how it is free from the shitty prejudices of the real world.  I think if all players had the understanding shown by some in this discussion then we wouldn't have to debate censorship or political correctness, because the roleplay in game wouldn't veer on anachronistic or RL-poisoned views of females, who are just as capable of everything in Zalanthas and do not deserve to be the target of insults or false assumptions based on their gender alone.
If I had the time I would try to condense the points made above into a crash course for newbies. I think it would help.
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Synthesis

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Re: How should gender/sex affect interaction and dialogue in Zalanthas?
« Reply #21 on: June 23, 2017, 03:29:35 PM »
Maybe it's just because of my job, but my #1 definition of "bitch" isn't "cranky..." it's "weak."

As in "stop being a little bitch*," not "she's such a bitch!"





*not that I would ever actually say that
« Last Edit: June 23, 2017, 03:44:24 PM by Synthesis »
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stark

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Re: How should gender/sex affect interaction and dialogue in Zalanthas?
« Reply #22 on: June 23, 2017, 04:32:53 PM »
It's a lot of talk about being called a name via your imaginary avatar by other imaginary avatars.  If someone is playing a character that can only think up something like calling someone a bitch, why are you interacting with them? You can logoff and go outside for that kind of interaction. Keep pissing people off until you find someone that can call you a dirty erdlu-fu**ing whore rag. Or something equally mollifying in a world of people with no written languages, words should be used vibrantly.
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James de Monet

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Re: How should gender/sex affect interaction and dialogue in Zalanthas?
« Reply #23 on: June 23, 2017, 05:05:59 PM »
Honestly, I almost think chivalry (dysphemized: whiteknighting) is harder to deal with IG than pejoratives or sex-based prejudice.  Who turns away kindness?  Especially when your character wouldn't assume it was because of their sex?

I don't know that I have a good way to address it.  I suppose one could assume it was an act of courtship (but without the RL eye rolling, because sexes being equal works both ways).  'Oh, thanks!  Are you just nice, or is this an offer of something more?'  or 'Oh, thanks.  I hope you're just being nice, I'm not interested in anything more.'

I dunno.  Anyone have experience / good advice for this kind of scenario?
You know I think if James simply retitled his thread "Cheese" and apologized for his first post being off-topic, all problems would be solved.

Delirium

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Re: How should gender/sex affect interaction and dialogue in Zalanthas?
« Reply #24 on: June 23, 2017, 05:25:36 PM »
Honestly, I almost think chivalry (dysphemized: whiteknighting) is harder to deal with IG than pejoratives or sex-based prejudice.  Who turns away kindness?  Especially when your character wouldn't assume it was because of their sex?

I don't know that I have a good way to address it.  I suppose one could assume it was an act of courtship (but without the RL eye rolling, because sexes being equal works both ways).  'Oh, thanks!  Are you just nice, or is this an offer of something more?'  or 'Oh, thanks.  I hope you're just being nice, I'm not interested in anything more.'

I dunno.  Anyone have experience / good advice for this kind of scenario?

As with any jarring, OOC or non-thematic behavior, it is really tough to handle IC. On one hand, you can't just go OOC for fear of starting a jarring OOC argument, and it's really hard to lead by example when/if they simply don't take the hint. Especially if you are playing a female. If you're playing a male and witnessing it, it's still awkward to even acknowledge IC.

As much as I hate feeling like a tattletale, I'm on the verge of deciding I should just send in a player complaint but ask them to simply explain (with examples) why their behavior has no place in Zalanthas, and hope it is framed as a well-meaning educational outreach rather than some sort of finger-shaking rant.

When I first started playing I didn't understand the concept of magick hate in Tuluk and a staff member took the time to write out an email to me explaining why my character's behavior was incongruous and how to fix it.

That really helped me, even if I was horridly embarrassed at the time.
« Last Edit: June 23, 2017, 05:28:04 PM by Delirium »
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