Hi, all. I hope this is the correct category.
Right now I’m having a try in writing interactive fiction (like many of you probably). In many pieces of interactive fiction you choose the MC’s sexual preference in the beginning of the game. My question is:
Would you feel annoyed or bothered by descriptions of how handsome another character is, despite you choosing the option of not feeling attracted by people of that certain sex? Of course, I’m talking about “normal” descriptions (not extensive essays about how hot they are): A beautiful laugh, graceful movement, a shapely body, a pleasant voice…
From what I’ve seen many authors adjust character descriptions (or even the sex of those characters) to the preference you’ve chosen (or maybe I’ve just seen the wrong stories). Let’s say you chose to play a heterosexual man/woman. This often cuts out the possibility of noticing that, in this case, another man/woman can be attractive, cute or beautiful. I don’t really like that approach. Heteros do notice when people of the same sex are good-looking. In my experience there can also be a certain level of attraction, without tilting into actual sexual attraction (and not to mention people who are hetero or have been hetero all their life can still make exceptions for a person of the same sex for various reasons).
Looking forward to your answers.
I’d say describe the character on a neutral aesthetic base with no sexual undertone?
For me, its not a problem if you, for example, describe a man as good lokking or having a charismatic personality if the PC is a gay woman, as long as those description dont change for other sexual preferences. (Like, if the PC is a gay/bi man it changes to hot or extremely handsome./The PC is swooning over that NPC.) Exceptions would be people you can have a relationship with. Sexual preference does not mean that you are unable to say if a person of the opposite/same sex is attractive .
I agree with this! I think some of your examples fall here (graceful movement, pleasant voice), while others feel worse (shapely body). I think even noticing that someone is conventionally attractive, or charismatic, can be okay, as long as it’s not in a way that implies attraction on the part of the narrator.
Side note: as someone who often plays characters attracted to women (and who is attracted to women irl), “shapely body” feels pretty gross anyway – it reads to me as both objectifying and normative. (Which is maybe due more to the cultural connotations of the phrase rather than the phrase itself, but still.)
ETA: I hate when games describe a character you’ve just met, ask you if you think they’re hot, and then use that to define your sexuality. Which is not what it sounds like you’re doing, but. Just throwing that out there.
Agreed with the posters above saying that it’s reasonable to describe someone as attractive in a non-sexual way. You can write something like “he moved so lightly on his feet that he could have been a professional dancer” or “her smooth voice was straight out of a perfume commercial” and I wouldn’t take it amiss even if I’d specified that my character wasn’t interested in romance with someone of that gender.
I do like it when there are adjustments in the text after you’ve expressed that you’re interested in a particular person, though. It’s nice when the game pays attention to that - it makes the feelings the PC has feel more integrated into their personality!
This for sure! I think “player has expressed attraction to specific person” is a way better trigger for descriptive changes than “player has identified as gay/straight/bi in general.”
No i wouldn’t mind. I am perfectly straight as an arrow but i still find other men handsome. I can clearly see that men like Henry Cavill, Chris Hemsworth and Chris Evans are extremely handsome and attractive.
I think the others have done well in advising about describing characters in flattering but not sexual terms.
I will say that I personally despise being told that I am sexually attracted to a character and have no say in the matter. I’m not ace myself, but I usually choose ace options in CoG because I rarely feel the romantic subplots are fulfilling. I’m totally ok being told that someone is attractive, but I dislike my character lusting after them if I didn’t explicitly choose that route.
There’s nothing wrong with emphasizing the attractive quality of a character, at least to me. Of course, I’d draw a line on how “sexual” the description is.
Beautiful, graceful, stoic, soothing; those are fine in my books.
Pleasant, shapely, plump; those aren’t. I got a strong sexual undertone from those descriptors.
I would personally lump in pleasant with the former category. Pleasant to me defines not a character’s appearance, but instead how the character conducts themselves. Describing someone as a pleasant person implies that they are the type of person that makes others feel good when they are in the pleasant person’s presence.
I don’t mind BUT I don’t like it when descriptions imply that i am attracted to someone even if they are the gender I am attracted to. I dig men. I don’t really dig muscles…i guess if they were a funny great person, i would find the muscles sexy because I find the person sexy…but i dont just outwardly dig them. So when the mc is attracted to muscley dudes before even knowing them i am pretty much LESS attracted to that character out of spite. I guess my answer is i never like being told that i am attracted to something. I dig unconventional dudes. Or personalities. I am straight. My Walking Dead clem is gay because Violet IS THE MOFO BEST. Personality matters.
I am into jack black and he is overweight…i am usually into tall lanky dudes but i feel that personality changes sexual preference
I said objective stance. I’m well-aware that people have different understandings on what looks good and what doesn’t.
But when it comes to CoGs/HGs, where we see things from MC’s POV, things has to be more objective, especially when the MC aren’t supposed to be attracted to that person.
Thw problem with that is I will end with my character being harassed by BOOBS description. Oh how much the boobs bounce how they transparency from X girl so hot. HOW MUCH I FOUND BOOBS HOT… BOOBS BOOBS BOOBS HOT WOMEN…
Hello I am a hetero women I give a shit about boobs and about how much transparency and how hot my friend is . I give a shit. So I found in certain games SKIP SKIP SKIP SKIP SKIP The fact the author is obsessive with X anatomy shouldn’t be forced upon players. If i say i am X Why I have to be Harassed to be obsessed by same is obsessed Hetero cis males. I have to suffer that in 99% of media.
Lol even in Games like Mass Effect the concept of harem of women is like default. Where are the sexy males?
It really does irritate me when female characters are described by what their sentient, juggling boobs are currently doing. Fortunately ( ?) most of that seems to occur in anime, not interactive fiction.
Sadly It happens in some. And in other rival company half of their games are boobs central. I found difficult role play homosexual or hetero girl when games are wow WOMANNN five paragraph description of hot women.
ONE meek line to description of male none including chest and buts and hands…
Yeah… this is why I said excessive descriptions and focusing on certain parts (not just boobs but asses and others too) of the body is a bad idea. Again, it gives you the impression that the MC is just staring at them for too long than they should.
While it’s understandable that those body parts are placed on a very specific place of the body, they are literally in your face, this is a literal shoehorn from the authors in any media. Adding the excessive juggling is just… Ugh… WTF.
Nothing sexier that a well cared firm man hand lol. NONE describe that. best is a mere line description that is not sexy. lol It should be EQUAL portrait
Exactly. Reason description should be neutral or based in character orientation. Even then For author bald men with hairy chest could be hot but not for others so maybe let players choose if they feel x description attractiveness lol