Is gender of MC important?

Hey! Male objectification is not cool either! Let everyone be equal! Objectification for all!

I am so bad when it comes to humor.


Funny thing about real life objectification of the male gender from my own experience on my friends. We revel in it. So it’s hard to argue if the objective Have actually has the negative. In the depending where It was working at the time it could happen often. My mind automatically went to awww I am found attractive. Intern the objectivfication could come from either gender. Even though I know it’s inherently wrong. But again that’s one form of it.

Definitely when I think if objectification and how Emmanuel Kant applies it we do it to each other all the genders all the time. Many people do it to thier parents not even realize it.

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Objectification is more than just thinking someone is attractive. It’s treating someone as less than human and as an object. The subject may not be worthy of doing certain things like voting because they are less than and only have value in their looks. I don’t ask my washing machine if it wants to wash my clothes because it is an object. People may not consider the objectified person’s feelings and that could lead to bad things like sexual assault. And there’s already enough literature glorifying bad things like rape fantasies.

@idonotlikeusernames I do think some sort of conflict is needed in most stories/games, but for those who experience discrimination because of their race or gender or anything else and want escapism, they may want more fantasy type problems. Slice of life, horror, mystery, and post apocalypse type games don’t pay too much attention to the social dynamics (because they were destroyed by the horror/apocalypse or you’re too busy trying to find a date to the prom before Friday to care).


I know Kant categorical imperative I know what objectification is. I was referring to the more of a typical sexualize example. Sadly people do it all time, the most common examples in ways we do it are not even to sexualize version.

You don’t need to tell me, I’m a gay guy myself. Though, yes, I often tend to like the more politically themed games.

I’m quite aware of that, if was a lighthearted comment, mostly meant in jest. I know the negative connotations too and one of @TSSL 's proposed matriarchal society games could certainly touch upon the negatives of objectifying cute guys in this case, it all depends on what sort of game you’re going for and what sort of (under)tone you want the writing and presentation to have.

Also a good point.
Holding people up to be ideal images of something or other or literal Saints in our heads is also a form of objectification, it needn’t necessarily be sexual and we do it to historical and religious figures all the time too.

Or trying to get laid in a dating game, which is why I do liked “Coming out on Top” as a dating game, it’s lighthearted its cheerful and stays away from the more depressing gay stereotypes and political issues.


That’s one way. I was thinking and how we don’t have a realize subconsciously or not in many ways we do not treat are parents as full people instead just as providers when times are tough even into our adult lives. I think about when we were teenagers and are need where always Paramount. We never thought how are actions or the actions within themselves to make them happy, or even something greater to be just to them.

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Objectification of women is also different from that of men because of the former being so much more pervasive. It’s just treated as sort of normal to judge women by appearance far more than men (not saying the latter never happens), and in the most irrelevant of contexts. This can be prevalent in character descriptions, too, or even down to the basic level of character designs. Media often acts like women’s attractiveness (itself often narrowly defined) is just more important than men’s, which then makes it so that attraction to women is treated as more important than attraction to men. (Which also leads to me getting a lot more annoying advertisements with suggestive women than men…)
So, while calling for male objectification may be an exaggeration for humor, the basic point of, well, talking about male attractiveness is a way to show that attraction to men is just as valid as attraction to women.

There’s also just the issue that female objectification can often manifest in ways that are pretty threatening… like if there’s a bunch of men street harassing a woman passing by. This kind of threat is less often present for men, so the attention may be likelier to be perceived as flattering (unless from another man, in which case homophobia is likely to rear its ugly head). Of course, men can experience such threatening situations too… but it’s significantly rarer.

Anyway, this is all good stuff to be aware of for writing. It’s not that characters can’t be described as attractive, just that their looks shouldn’t define them (much like any identities a character has shouldn’t define them). And it shouldn’t just prioritize attraction to women over attraction to men. (I mean, if you’re writing something in the perspective of someone who only likes women, that’s one thing, but that isn’t the general way for choicescript stuff.) I’d say @JimD’s Zombie Exodus: Safe Haven provides one way of handling this… it has some very sensuous descriptions, based on the main character’s orientation, but these are evenly balanced by gender, and never dominate a character. It provides attraction without objectifying. A lot of choicescript games give more neutral descriptions, too, which often works well. The player gets to decide who sounds attractive.

For that matter, objectification of women is also one of the issues that often arises with fictitious matriarchies… generally, anything that treats a matriarchy as an excuse for sexualized women isn’t really engaging with the fictional society. It seems that many of contemporary western society’s ideas about what women should be like are so ingrained that we still see them depicted in women who are supposedly dominating and leading. (Poses and wardrobes can be especially obvious.) And yeah, even assuming that the theoretical matriarchy is not heteronormative, their power dynamics would be such that other women would not be treated in an objectified way.

I’d also like to throw out this link: It shows a whole bunch of examples of ways that the usual narratives prioritize men over women, by describing the reverse. (One can presume that these reversals would be the usual versions in the theoretical matriarchy.)
I especially like the “Egalitarian Society Has All-Female Leaders by Complete Coincidence” because… yeah, it’s just utterly absurd how many supposedly gender equal settings nonetheless have ridiculous ratios of male domination.


It flattering :grinning::grinning::grinning: least from my experience. But again I use to work at gay bars.

Well I’d never force you guys into a hetero marriage, that would be unfair to those poor girls :wink:


Well again you do have your own game in development, don’t you @TSSL ? :thinking:

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Well, it would be good if more people reacted that way, but unfortunately a lot of people don’t… :disappointed_relieved:

I mean, I could even imagine a matriarchal society in which they believe that only women are worthy of actual love (sort of a gender flip of some of the most misogynistic Ancient Greek attitudes), and relations with men would be more of a secondary thing to relieve desires (for those so inclined) or for those who want to reproduce :thinking: such a society might even allow more independence to men who pair up with each other, being outside the direct control of a woman. There really are a lot of ways to arrange social dynamics that would look unfamiliar to what we’re used to :thinking:

Ah, true, though that would take a considerable amount of retrofitting to turn into a matriarchy :sweat_smile: (though its geneder roles are at least rather different from traditional Western ones) as of right now, I’m just brainstorming.


I was thinking more that you could start with one of the nations further away and then we could come into contact with it through traders and other characters from those regions, no? But yeah, since I play male characters by all means keep the main society gender egalitarian. :sweat_smile:

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I’m new here, but one thing has me thinking. The concept of ‘gender choice’ in IF seems to go against the notion of good fiction. In fiction the point seems to be to experience a life other than your own. So I’m Huckleberry Finn floating down the Mississippi River. Or I’m a man called Ishmael in Moby Dick. Or I’m Elizabeth Bennett in Pride and Prejudice. Even in games I am Lara Croft in Tomb Raiser or Frisk in Undertale. If I were given a choice? I could be Becky Sharp and not Huckleberry Finn. But that’s not the same story at all. Or Indiana Jones instead of Lara Croft. Is IF more about being the character? Rather than experiencing someone’s journey. Can their be good fiction in IF without solid characters that are not based on a whim? What do you think?


It is called Interactive Fiction for a reason. A choice of gender doesn’t make something bad fiction. It’s all about letting the reader tell there own story. A gender choice allows the reader to put themselves into the role.

It is easily possible to write good fiction with gender choice just check out Tin Star and Heart of the House for just two examples.


Nah, it’s like “I’m Thesisthysestes the crazy Argonian at Skyrim” or “I’m McEvil Shepard that likes to mess up my companion’s life.”

Being able to play as yourself (or role-play, to an extent) is the advantage an IF has over traditional fiction, but by no means make it “less good” than traditional fiction.


It’s funny that you mention Frisk, a character whose gender is explicitly undefined… :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

While it makes sense that a story set in a culture with very strict gender roles (e.g. Pride and Prejudice) would be very different for a male protagonist, I can’t really understand why that would be a problem for the other stories. I mean, would the stories really change that much if you switched Lara Croft and Indiana Jones (again, aside from cultural things)?

Can you tell us any CS games which you feel are lessened by the players choice of gender? (I’ll admit that Affairs of the Court is probably one, especially when playing as a gay male, as its gender roles are at once both strictly-defined and all over the place, but do you have any other examples?)


Interactive fiction uses choice to allow the reader to relate to and bond with the main protagonists in a story better then they would otherwise able to.

An example you use is Huck Finn - a lot of us have read the Adventures of Tom Sawyer in high school but of all those that had there are those that did not gain a lot out of it, or as much as others had. A scene that I was able to relate to in Tom Sawyer was the scene where the boys go into the town dressed as girls and in doing so, they get called out for not reacting as girls are “supposed” to when trying to catch a lead pipe thrown at them. (Or was this in Huck Finn… either way, the point remains) - as the story is written, I was not able to relate to a boy’s adventure as much as I could have if the protagonist was a girl.

The story may change on its face but in its core, it will (if written well) remain the same. The difference is, the author may be able to reach more of her/his audience in a way that creates believable and relate-able connections where none may have existed in a normal fiction …

“Solid characters” is so subjective its not even funny. A solid character is defined by its reception by the author’s audience and a customizeable protagonist is one of the most powerful that can be created. This does not mean the character has to be totally malleable by the reader - Samurai of Hygorai(sp) is a wonderful series of three games which has a popular and somewhat fanatical following and the character has non-customizable traits.

If you ever attempt to write an IF CS game, you will learn, quite fast that a protagonist that is customizable and involves a lot of choices is anything but “whimsical” - I would say it takes much more skill and writing creativity to create a protagonist full of choices then it is to create a normal fiction protagonist.

The story itself is about connecting to and allowing your audience to experience it to the fullest of their ability. If this means it is slightly different every reading, perhaps that is a greater good then trying to fit your entire audience into a structured unyielding story that they may not connect to at times or relate to in critical moments.

One other thing - great character creation really has to do with so much more then identifiers such as gender. I hope you learn that lesson by participating in this community.


By that logic, OP, you could say that giving any choice over the protagonist lessens the strength of their character. Surely being able to choose major personality traits, which many games do, should have even greater repurcussions than the choice of gender? So why single out gender choice?


That’s actually the good question to ask. Which would be better without gender choice? And which fixed gender ones would benefit from not being fixed? I don’t think there’s many that have suffered from allowing gender choice since the player is the MC and is directing the story.

It’s difficult to keep an MC personality on track unless you’re playing a very specific, predefined type character where some of your character traits are already assumed. So lets say you wanted to write a story about Lara Croft (or Indiana Jones for that matter). Your using her background, her personality, responses etc. You’ve got a predefined character (which can sometimes be a down side as it can restrict what options you can give to players.) They’re not playing as themselves, they’re playing how they think Lara Croft would react.

That’s not a wrong way to do it, but in this situation, you’re telling a specific story- it has downsides and benefits. And it can be limiting which many readers don’t like because you’re telling them what they must do, instead of letting them choose. Lara Croft and Indiana Jones are two very different people, with two different personalities. But, if you look at the basic story between these two, it can be pretty similar, (Enter scary tomb probably full of reptiles, find artifacts, get out without dying). Gender isn’t the important aspect here. It’s how people react to it that gives most of the story, rather than a normal novel that goes in a straight line.

The same with others like Moby Dick/Mary Dick- with a little adjustment, there’s no reason why it couldn’t be a woman hunting down the white whale instead of a man. Sure, men were usually the ones on whaling boats traditionally, but if this particular one happened to have a woman on board, why would the story be so different unless you made a point to make it that way? (Ie had the crew trying to kick her off the ship at every turn because woman on a ship were bad luck or some silliness like that). If she’s been accepted as captain, (and there’s precedent, look at cases of female pirate captains etc) the story could be adjusted without a lot of difficulty I’d imagine.

The only other cases I can think of is where you have a very specific and defined world creation. (Like in your example if you really wanted to do Pride and Prejudice: The sequel, and really don’t want to flip the world like choice of romance) Or you’re going for ultra real historical, where gender makes a big difference and don’t want to write separate male/female tracks to deal with that.

But let’s face it most of the choice games here lean towards fantasy to one extent or another. It’s not a large jump to move gender roles around, or just let people play the accepted exception since after someones flinging spells around, or riding on dragons, that usually seems like kind of a small thing. Basically if it lets people relate to a character better, why not?

BTW: Didn’t we just have this conversation recently?


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