Gender Switches in Other Media


#1

I read this and it amused me, especially since it’s what Choice of Games is essentially doing. I’d never even realised that parents were doing similar things for their children in regards to books, but I think it’s a lovely idea.
http://www.lastwordonnothing.com/2013/12/18/one-weird-old-trick/

I also remember articles where parents have switched male characters in games for female characters for their children.

Mario swapped for Pauline in Donkey Kong here www.youtube.com/watch?v=JeXDNg7scyU

Zelda for Link here http://arstechnica.com/gaming/2012/11/i-am-no-man-for-zelda-playing-daughter-dad-gives-link-a-sex-change/


#2

Naturally I am in opposition to this silliness. Aside from referencing the Patriarchy (- the suggested existence of which I find to be morally and intellectually offensive-), it seemed to be the sort of self-gratifying pettiness that those in denial about gender appear to adore, and which I just find inane.

I also think taking inspiration from this sort of thing can only be damaging to a story. It is not just the perspective of the reader which is changed, after all, but also the [hypothetical] perspectives of other characters. Acting as if gender is no big deal when it comes to writing a character is frankly dumb. But I suspect this slips back into old territory.


#3

@Drazen yes, it very much does slip into old territory.

You could have phrased this much more effectively by saying “I…think taking inspiration from this sort of thing can only be damaging to a story. It is not just the perspective of the reader which is changed, after all, but also the [hypothetical] perspectives of other characters. Acting as if gender is no big deal when it comes to writing a character [seems counterintuitive].”

That would be a perfectly acceptable thing to say.

“Acting as if gender is no big deal when it comes to writing a character is frankly dumb”, on the other hand, demeans a lot of the work other authors in our community are doing. And it is unappreciated.


#4

@jasonstevanhill Said old territory never seems to go long un-trodden, by all, on this forum, does it?

Anyway, regardless of my brusqueness, I did not mean to suggest anything against the work done on this site. After all, it is precisely because gender is a big deal, that authors, here, take the time to craft worlds in which either such is not as consequential, or in which such can be overcome.


#5

If you find the thread inane Drazen, you can always just choose not to read the thread.

I posted the thread because I saw that first article today. I thought it was relevant towards what Choice of Games is doing.


#6

And I thought pointing out its failings was relevant to what Choice of Games is, and/or should, be doing.


#7

*shrug* I’ve never been one to believe that a story must always be read in exactly the way the author intended. I reserve the right to overwrite in my imagination any story I read with the story I prefer any way. So if a young girl prefers to think of Bilbo Baggins as female, and that enables her to identify more strongly with the character, I say the more power to her.

Using Choice of the Rebels as an example, I got rid of the weakness because I’m sick of playing games that always force me to take a weakness as if it’s some universal law of nature when it most certainly is not, and I reversed Simone/Simon’s gender assignment code because it came across as an artificial attempt to create a situation that was much more interesting to the author than to myself as a reader/player. I also edited Choice of Intrigue so that when talking to Ramirez failed, I’d still have the option of beating him into cooperating. The disappearance of that option made no sense to me and so I changed things so it wouldn’t disappear. It’s all about giving myself the story I enjoy most.

Thus if a young girl were to ask me to read Bilbo Baggins as female to her, or Mario of Donkey Kong fame as Pauline, because that will enable her to enjoy it more, I don’t really have an issue with either of those. Bilbo is kind of asexual anyway, and Mario is just a bunch of pixels. The thought of reading Aragorn as female makes me cringe however, but if that’s what floats someone else’s boat, than have at it. Just don’t ask me to read or watch The Lord of the Rings that way. Aragorn’s male gender is far too strongly etched in my imagination.

The only time I have a serious issue with gender switches is when they don’t strike me as realistic to the setting, or contradict biology.


#8

I’m with @Drazen, I don’t like the idea of it. It sounds illogical.


#9

@Doctor What’s illogical?


#10

What I never understand is why gender would define personality traits. For me, being able to choose gender in most CoG games is a good thing. Sure, there is a difference in gender, but that is not the same as personality, at all. So to anyone wanting to read a story with swapped gender, why not?

I always like to make up stories with the Beauty and the Beast with reversed roles, just because it is time to challenge such old ideas. :smiley:


#11

@P_Tigras, as I’ve said elsewhere, I’m just happy that you enjoy Rebels enough to take the trouble of fine-tuning it to your own tastes.

I know it goes without saying (to you), but as long as we’re on the record, let me say that I don’t at all mind people tweaking Rebels to maximize their private enjoyment, as long as (a) if they tweak the code of the final, complete game, it’s code they’ve paid for, and (b) they don’t distribute (let alone sell!) their tweaked version.


#12

@Havenstone

I didn’t even know people could tweak the code?


#13

If you can view the code, then you can copy it, paste it into a text file, and do whatever you want with it on your own computer, with your own copy of ChoiceScript.

It can’t be tweaked by other people in the public Dropbox version, no.


#14

@JTAL Every material condition affects how a mind manifests itself, surely?


#15

@Havenstone You’re quite right. I’ve certainly enjoyed the Rebels public beta greatly. It’s one of the games to which I’m most looking forward, and I wouldn’t have taken the time to mod/edit it if I didn’t enjoy it so much. And of course I’d never even consider distributing my mods to your game without your permission. If I ever did make that request of you, it would only be to make the specific edits needed available to those who have already purchased the game. People need to buy the game via official channels so that your creative effort is properly rewarded.


#16

@Drazen - To some degree, but nowhere near the level of external cultural influence, which is evident if looking into various cultures around the world throughout history as to how gender and equality (or lack) thereof has been viewed.


#17

@JTAL I disagree. For me, the Haecceity of a person is innate, immutable, and more fundamental than any situational stimulus.


#18

@Drazen - Of course, but the traits of said person is not limited to the gender, but assigned through cultural bias. We are all shaped by the culture to which we are born and unfortunately most people never can break free from that.


#19

@JTAL Surely a culture is composed of persons, and not vice versa. So, then, cultural traits such as ‘Girls like pink’ are dependent upon female persons, - but female personhood is not itself founded on such traits. Culture merely supervenes onto what is already present.


#20

@Drazen - Cultures are often constructs of the people in power, put in place to maintain that order, as opposed to express each persons within a society, more so since the settlement of nomads and establishment of the patriarchate, serving to lift up men and keep women down. That is culture, not what is within us. As for pink, personally I can’t stand it, while some guys love it. But culture tend to overrule this, by forcing its ideas and ideals upon the individual. Just look at a fairly recent trend where men more and more are expected to live up to an unrealistic ideal, including having to shave and not display a hairy chest. Body hair is natural, but our culture demands it to be removed in many cases. As an example of culture completely taking over. It takes a strong person to break from this “tyranny”.

But perhaps we should agree to disagree as to not further hijack this thread.