Jump to content
Double Fine Action Forums
Sign in to follow this  
Eiphel

Boy's World / Girl's World - Avoid Gender Binary

Recommended Posts

I'm just watching 'Walking Around in Our Pictures' (Yes, I'm behind the times), and this thought crossed my head with the extensive talk about the respective Boy's World and Girl's World. In particular a few comments like 'Garden Zone - That's for the Boy's more sensitive side '.

I sorely, sorely hope that this game won't define the two worlds with traditional narrow gender definitions. I really hope that 'This feels girly' and 'This feels boyish' are not in any way criteria for what is a good fit for either world. Pick what feels right for the specific character and their world, and don't colour it with gender, because gender biases are narrow, frustrating things. Not everyone fits those definitions, and the people that don't are erased, excluded, and at worst forced into a shape they don't fit. I'd be really sad if this game joined the weight of material which reinforced those perceptions.

I'll note at this point that I'm not saying this because I think it is happening. It's just something that could happen, and I feel strongly about it so wanted to call attention to it. It may be that this issue isn't at all present thus far anyway - That's exactly what I hope is the case! If this post is unnecessary, that's the best possible scenario. But on the chance that it might be pertinent, it's something I felt was important to say.

(Full disclosure - I'm a queer trans girl, and gender binarism/essentialism is very much a first-hand frustration for me.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Eiphel, welcome to the forum!

From the few glimpses of the game that we see later in the documentary series, I think you'll be happy with how the game's going. We haven't seen too much of gameplay, but I think the team's consciously trying to subvert gender biases. I don't think they are (or should be) discarding notions of what feels "girly" or "boyish" altogether; rather, it seems like the world will have certain gendered expectations that the characters themselves will contradict (for example, the girl will need to do the un-maidenly thing of not getting sacrificed while wearing a dress). I'm basing this on like 3 seconds of video, mind you, so I could be wrong. Still, I think it would be a sensible approach: don't deny that the characters have gender or that gender influences their expected roles in the world, but as a coming of age story it would be about them establishing their own identities (in typical heroic defiance of expectations (only less cheesy)).

Even without the social justice angle, I don't think Double Fine would make the girls world completely girly or the boys world completely manly. That would just be kind of lazy characterization, and if there's one thing Double Fine's good at, it's making Kickstarter pitch vid- I mean, characterization.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

pretty much what majugi said.

i actually think that the "Thats for the Boys more sensitive side" is the way the ship is going to treat the boys life. if you look at the game more closely you can easily see that the boys and girls respective environments cast them into a very rigid environment. everything is set for them. yes, its also a question how to do parenting, but in both cases you (or at least I) cant really see a "future" for either of the kids that they are going to have once they grow up. its obvious for the girl, but holds even for the boy. even the ship seems to be doing everything in its power to stifle any opportunity for self [removed]remember the scene where the boy "gets up"?).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Double Fine is located maybe, what, three miles from the Castro? There's bound to be at least some leakage from all that concentrated fabulousity. I wouldn't worry too much about it. (For the record, the gender binary is a problem for me, too, but I've never noticed it being an issue with Tim's other games. So, serious answer couched in a silly way.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Totally get where you're coming from. On the other hand, part of this game's themes are about the boy and the girl breaking away from their bad situations, and part of that does seem to include some gender binary issues. We have here a world where females are prettied up and put into cakes to be eaten by a monster, and we have another world where the boy is basically mothered and distracted by childish 'boy stuff'. And it seems like a lot of what the game is about is those characters actually breaking out of those routines and taking control of their lives, so from that perspective maybe it's actually a positive thing to have these things in the game - at first, because part of the story is about the boy and girl rejecting them.

(Also, I guess majugi basically covered this point)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm going to play devil's advocate here, because being contrary is one of my hobbies.

When I draw a horse, I don't feel like I have to add a few stripes on one leg because some horses are actually zebras. Most horses I see don't have stripes.

And when I draw a zebra, I'll draw stripes across the whole animal.

Some (many? most?) people fit traditional stereotypes very well - what's to say that it's wrong to tell a story about those peoples' experiences? Does every artist have to be an activist? Is it the artist's responsibility to ensure every work is vetted against its benefit to society? How does an artist determine when they've gone from establishing veracity by reflecting the stereotypical roles perpetuated (and present) in the world around them to reinforcing them?

And like everyone before me has said, DF does great characters - I don't expect them to be "lazy" in fleshing out our two heroes. So despite whatever conversations might spring from your concern, I don't think you need to worry.

Since this is the Internet and intent and tone are easily miscommunicated (and my username might also prompt misconceptions), I realized I should clarify that this isn't intended as an attack on your viewpoint, but I'm curious.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
We have here a world where females are prettied up and put into cakes to be eaten by a monster, and we have another world where the boy is basically mothered and distracted by childish 'boy stuff'. And it seems like a lot of what the game is about is those characters actually breaking out of those routines and taking control of their lives, so from that perspective maybe it's actually a positive thing to have these things in the game - at first, because part of the story is about the boy and girl rejecting them.

I've watched the episode(s) about the Princess Cake puzzle now, and I'm actually really excited by that, because it really nails how I hoped BA would handle this material. (I was never hugely concerned, just moderately conscious of it.) Because the whole nature of the sacrificial maiden thing is very typical - but 'Sacrifice Girl' decides she's having none of it and busts out. That's great, and also it lets me succinctly reply to Ted's question:

How does an artist determine when they've gone from establishing veracity by reflecting the stereotypical roles perpetuated (and present) in the world around them to reinforcing them?

The difference is that reflecting stereotypical roles is:

The game portrays that there's a cultural notion that are 'girly' or 'boyish'.

Reinforcing stereotypical roles is:

The game portrays that are 'girly' or 'boyish'.

What I was conscious of was that the game not include elements 'because they're girly/boyish', but it can be ok to include things 'because they are perceived as girly/boyish'. And in fact the latter can be a really good thing to do (as SurplusGamer was getting at) since it can actually lead to more consideration and exploration of these perceptions, and potentially break them down or open up a wider point of view.

The Princess Cake puzzle with the girl's goal being to break away from it really excites me because it's doing the latter excellently, and hopefully it also shows that sensitivity to these issues can easily exist without 'having to be an activist'. That puzzle wasn't concieved or designed to specifically make a point and drive home an issue, but it's still sensitive to that issue.

From what I've seen in the later documentaries (still catching up), I'm really hopeful that not only will this game dodge the pitfalls I worry about, it could even actively push against them (without ever having been designed with an agenda in mind.)

---

To quickly address your other points, Ted:

Some (many? most?) people fit traditional stereotypes very well - what's to say that it's wrong to tell a story about those peoples' experiences?

It's not wrong to tell those people's stories, but it is problematic when they form a blanket that blots out the stories of other people. There's no threat of 'typical' people being underrepresented in media, whilst people who don't conform to normative expectations are underrepresented, misrepresented, or outright erased all the time. It's that that's wrong.

Is it the artist's responsibility to ensure every work is vetted against its benefit to society?

I would say it's every artist's responsibility to try and be aware of the potential problematic aspects of a work.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Is it the artist's responsibility to ensure every work is vetted against its benefit to society?

I would say it's every artist's responsibility to try and be aware of the potential problematic aspects of a work.

I think this is it, really. To go to an extreme example, say you were making a game about baby sacrifice. You're a baby sacrificer, or something. Maybe, just maybe there's a way to handle a game about baby sacrifice that was really intelligent and sensitive and not at all gross. I think it'd be very hard, but maybe there is a non-icky path to doing it. I'm not going to rule it out. But I would hope the designer of that game might at least be keeping in mind the potential problematic aspects of a game about baby sacrifice. And I think it'd be quite right for someone to raise those concerns with the creator.

Similarly, there are probably loads of ways to create games starring 'girly girls' or vice versa. But I'd hope the creator would at least make sure they weren't inadvertently sending a message of 'Being girly is the best! Girls who aren't girly will fail in life!' Like, I don't know, if there was a game where if you can afford cute, stylish clothes and make-up you'll get dates but if you dress in t-shirt and jeans then boys will reject you then (actually, pretty sure this already exists)... I think the designer should maybe think about that a little, unless what they're trying to do is cleverly lampshade something.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I sorely, sorely hope that this game won't define the two worlds with traditional narrow gender definitions. I really hope that 'This feels girly' and 'This feels boyish' are not in any way criteria for what is a good fit for either world. Pick what feels right for the specific character and their world, and don't colour it with gender, because gender biases are narrow, frustrating things. Not everyone fits those definitions, and the people that don't are erased, excluded, and at worst forced into a shape they don't fit. I'd be really sad if this game joined the weight of material which reinforced those perceptions.

Double Fine doesn't strike me as the sort of studio that would design around broad strokes like "Is the character biologically male/Is the character biologically female" (as opposed to thinking in great detail about the character as written and working to that). If a character's world winds up being typically "boyish" or "girlish", I'm certain it'll be down to the characters themselves, not simplistic social stereotypes :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Double Fine doesn't strike me as the sort of studio that would design around broad strokes like "Is the character biologically male/Is the character biologically female" (as opposed to thinking in great detail about the character as written and working to that). If a character's world winds up being typically "boyish" or "girlish", I'm certain it'll be down to the characters themselves, not simplistic social stereotypes :)

I think that sums up my feelings pretty well. Why can't games just be games, and characters be characters? Why do some people demand that everything have some kind of broader social impact/relevance?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"Boy's world" and "girl's world" are simply shorthand to refer to the places those characters live—they aren't the actual names of the places, and they don't imply that one area is "for boys" or "for girls." It's just easier than saying "the place where this particular boy character lives" and "the place where this particular girl character lives."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Double Fine doesn't strike me as the sort of studio that would design around broad strokes like "Is the character biologically male/Is the character biologically female" (as opposed to thinking in great detail about the character as written and working to that). If a character's world winds up being typically "boyish" or "girlish", I'm certain it'll be down to the characters themselves, not simplistic social stereotypes :)

I think that sums up my feelings pretty well. Why can't games just be games, and characters be characters? Why do some people demand that everything have some kind of broader social impact/relevance?

"Why can't games just be games, and characters be characters?" thats what this thread is about. for the characters to be characters, and not just a stereotypical boy/girl. its like the mythical "normal person". "normal person" does not exist, its just a combination of most common traits ie. the most boring person ever. you can hardly even call such a person a character. we all have our specific quirks, even if we are "roughly normal". and the boy and the girl are going to have their quirks.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
"Boy's world" and "girl's world" are simply shorthand to refer to the places those characters live—they aren't the actual names of the places, and they don't imply that one area is "for boys" or "for girls." It's just easier than saying "the place where this particular boy character lives" and "the place where this particular girl character lives."

thanks chris, altough i believe that you can see that we have already figured that out ;).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@Black Hand.

I have some news which you might find disturbing. Some girls are "girly" and some boys are "boy...ish"? Did I just rock your world?

Besides, I'm not even sure those stereotypes exist anymore... Most games that have female characters don't make them very "girly" at all. Rather, they are portrayed basically as men (personality wise) with giant knockers. That's the stereotype.

Let writers tell the stories they want, with the characters they want. Why does all this PC garbage have to be poured out over everything?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
@Black Hand.

I have some news which you might find disturbing. Some girls are "girly" and some boys are "boy...ish"? Did I just rock your world?

I have some news for you as well. The world is not black & white.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have some news for you as well. The world is not black & white.

I agree. Variety is a beautiful thing... Replacing one stereotype with another doesn't do us much good. The best thing is to do (in my opinion) is just worry about the story - and forget all this other nonsense.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The issue is a lot more subtle than you give it credit for, meisjoe

While -yes- it's perfectly true that some girls are particularly girly and some boys are particularly boyish, that's neither here nor there. The matter at hand, and the concern being brought up by the OP here is that the game doesn't adhere unthinkingly to stereotypes. Which, is a totally fair comment, for a start. But it goes a little deeper than that, too.

Whether we like it or not, the way things are represented in media, ANY media, be it literature, games, films, whatever does have an effect on the wider culture. For example, when a girl grows up seeing images of pretty, girly girls enjoying success and boyfriends and a great social life, but they see girls with geekier interests being portrayed as unattractive, clumsy and freakish (and these are very common stereotypes) this serves to reinforce societal ideas that girls 'should' be a certain way (and the same sort of stuff for boys, too, though the issues are different). It's not that there's anything WRONG with 'girly' girls or 'macho' boys or whatever, it's just that when they are over-represented as desirable things to be (and make no mistake, they are), that goes a long way to reinforcing problems which are REAL issues in society, whether you believe it or not.

Your assertion is that artists don't have any responsibility to consider how the portrayals of people in their work might serve to reinforce norms that when pushed too hard are damaging in our society, and that to do so is some kind of terrible imposition of PC values. I'm not so sure. When there are girls and boys going through bullying, depression, even suicide every year for the mere fact that they don't fit in, I don't think it's too much to ask creators to take a moment to consider their use of stereotypes and try to make sure they aren't using them irresponsibly, in a way that helps perpetuate societal values that cause this kind of suffering.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have some news for you as well. The world is not black & white.

I agree. Variety is a beautiful thing... Replacing one stereotype with another doesn't do us much good. The best thing is to do (in my opinion) is just worry about the story - and forget all this other nonsense.

you still have girly girls and boyish boys, noone is taking that away (shouldnt take it away), but assuming that they are going to act the same and perceive and treat everything around the same way is simply wrong, that is what im talking about. but "characters" are not just boyish boys and girly girls. characters are "boy growing up under a constant supervision and control of his every step" (and this is still very limiting) he still might like to play with toy cars and wear blue stuff, but he is likely to differ from most boys of his age and the way he treats the world. characters are defined by many more things than just "he is a boy".

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@meisjoe

Can you express your opinion without being a jerk to the OP? I don't think her concern is wrong. And being uncivil when everyone else is being nice kind of singles you out as the dick in the room.

That said I agree that story should come first. The story the author/developer/painter/director what have you wants to tell should take precedence over other things. If we changed everything that any individual person could find problematic with a story you'd have no story because no two people will agree on everything 100% of the time, even less with 90,000+ people invested in this game. Niches are better than Mass Appeal. But at the same time I think it is a noble thing to consider a concern like this, and whether it can be addressed without ruining the integrity of the what the author is attempting to create. It's nice to try and be inclusive up to a point and I don't think that's being overly PC at all. Hell some of the best ideas I've had concerning a story have come from a potential reader asking a question I hadn't considered, and how that subtly informed the story.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Why does all this PC garbage have to be poured out over everything?

So people such as Eiphel (and myself, by extension) are nothing more than 'PC garbage' to you? Now matter how you might try to excuse your words, you were referring to a real person with honest concerns.

I'd go on, but I don't want to rob you of the distinction of being 'the dick in the room'. (You have a way with words, Secret Lover.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Why do some people demand that everything have some kind of broader social impact/relevance?

It's not a demand that everything has a broader social impact, it's a comment that the entertainment that you produce is a part of society as a matter of fact. Whether or not a game has a broad social impact, it should at least have an impact on its players. Games will also be interpreted by players in a societal context: an FPS game where you play as a murderer would have a much different impact than an FPS game you play as a superhero, even if the underlying mechanics were the same. From a less extreme angle, games draw upon societal expectations to craft relatable characters and plotlines. Players don't need to engage in media studies to appreciate these things any more than Shakespeare's original audiences needed to engage in literary analysis to appreciate his plays.

Moreover, no one is suggesting that female characters shouldn't have girly traits or that male characters shouldn't have boyish traits. The concern is that having the role of characters entirely defined by their gender is both artistically limiting and alienating for many players.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

to put it simply: dont be a lazy writer and try to put some work into your characters.

and its not that stereotypes/tropes are necessarily bad. its just that if you think your story demands a stereotype/trope, then you actually already have a reason to use it and you are going to study it well. take spec ops: the line for example. that game wouldnt work without a 30 something white dude, "military lingo", heroic, dudebro character trope.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think this is a game about escaping the worlds that have been prescribed for them and defining themselves as adults. I don't think gender binarism in the world itself is really a conflict for that particular narrative.

The OP seems to be rather missing the point by even implying that these characters fit or belong in their worlds to begin with. I think the story is rather positive about rebelling against these things in the broader sense in such a way that I think it should be seen as a very positive message to those like her regardless of gender biases in the "establishment" of each world.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I think this is a game about escaping the worlds that have been prescribed for them and defining themselves as adults. I don't think gender binarism in the world itself is really a conflict for that particular narrative.

The OP seems to be rather missing the point by even implying that these characters fit or belong in their worlds to begin with. I think the story is rather positive about rebelling against these things in the broader sense in such a way that I think it should be seen as a very positive message to those like her regardless of gender biases in the "establishment" of each world.

I think that the OP had a valid concern, that has been addressed by some of the replies that followed. I don't think it was wrong to bring it up in the first place. Not everyone is following the development as closely as forum regulars, and this is an area that we can help :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
"Boy's world" and "girl's world" are simply shorthand to refer to the places those characters live—they aren't the actual names of the places, and they don't imply that one area is "for boys" or "for girls." It's just easier than saying "the place where this particular boy character lives" and "the place where this particular girl character lives."

Thanks for the response, Chris, but in point of fact the Boy's World and Girl's World labels were not actually what prompted the post, and I have always understood them to be what you describe. The post was prompted by specific discussions of what content should go in each world, particularly as seen in the fourth documentary episode. And as I tried to make clear in my earlier post, my voicing this consideration shouldn't be seen as implying I believed any cause for concern existed - I didn't then, and now having seen even more info I am even less worried. Rather I made the post because it's always worth considering and bearing in mind, and I just wanted to open up the discussion.

Why does all this PC garbage have to be poured out over everything?

Comments like this usually stem from a misunderstanding of what's being said and asked for. In reality the issue being raised is not, I suspect, the one you are reacting to.

Why can't [...] characters be characters?

They absolutely can. Nothing in the sentiment I expressed aims to constrict the range of what a character can be. I believe you're fundamentally misunderstanding the point, and reducing it to a much less nuanced point which has not actually been expressed.

First of all, I am not asking that this game be co-opted to a cause. There seems to be the misapprehension that what I want is the game to be turned into a piece of activism. That isn't so. This is a request for conscientiousness and awareness, not for advocacy. Not all media can be devoted to all causes, but all media can be sensitive to them.

(Alright, no, not quite true. There is a caveat to that. There are conceivable games/stories/films/et cetera which are inherently incompatible with certain sensitivities. This request does circumscribe a small amount of media - but only that media which is directly, wilfully harmful. And if you are unhappy about intrinsically, intentionally harmful media being opposed, I would have to wonder why. Regardless, for what's relevant to this discussion, nothing I am saying circumscribes anything Double Fine would ever be remotely likely to do.)

Why do some people demand that everything have some kind of broader social impact/relevance?

We don't, and I am not. This is a flawed premise. The fact is that everything already does have broader social impact and relevance. This is the very nature of culture. Nothing exists in a vacuum, and everything, even a piece of content produced for pure escapism, regardless of the intent of the creator, impacts upon society. This isn't opinion, this is fact. It's a basic principle of the social sciences. It's human nature - the very basis of culture, of our civilisation.

We're not demanding everything be given a broader impact. Everything has one already. What we're asking is that the creators be mindful of that significance.

On the other hand, if you do understand all this, and you still have a problem with it, that is a lot more problematic - It's easy to understand your comments stemming from a mischaracterisation of what's being discussed, but if you get all this and you still find it annoys you, I'd have to wonder why - since ultimately the discussion is really nothing more than a desire for creators to take reasonable steps to avoid being accidentally problematic with their creations.

But at the same time I think it is a noble thing to consider a concern like this, and whether it can be addressed without ruining the integrity of the what the author is attempting to create. It's nice to try and be inclusive up to a point and I don't think that's being overly PC at all. Hell some of the best ideas I've had concerning a story have come from a potential reader asking a question I hadn't considered, and how that subtly informed the story.

This is a nice post, but actually it still assumes a larger request than I was really making. Direct inclusion is definitely great and a good way to be conscientious, but it's certainly not the only way to be sensitive. Double Fine could produce a game about the 'girliest' girl that ever did girl, and the most boysterous boy in boytown, and have them play to traditional expectations the entire way through the story - And it would still be possible to make a sensitive game.

It's as I mentioned in an earlier post - what is important is that, whatever characters and cultures are presented within the story, and whatever expectations, normative traits, stereotypes et cetera are being expressed by objects within the game, it can still be fine as long as the game's own authorial/authoritative voice does not express those ideas in the real world.

I bring this up specifically in reference to the line 'whether it can be addressed without ruining the integrity of the what the author is attempting to create'. Because the thing is, it can - it always can. Because all that's asked is that Broken Age not reinforce stereotypes with its authoritative, out-of-universe voice. Your post tends to assume that slightly more is wanted - Inclusivity of a specific character or viewpoint within the game for example. And yes, those are good, and it is noble to consider things like that - and yes, equally, there will be times when they would actually distract or interfere with the vision of the game - But those are not actually, necessarily, the extent of what's being required.

The only way in which the request in my original post could actually ruin the integrity of what Tim was creating would be if Tim were directly creating a game intended to reinforce and condone normative stereotypes. This is what I meant earlier when I said the only things my sentiments circumscribe are irrelevant to this discussion - because obviously Double Fine has no intention of authoring a conservative screed of that fashion at all. Beyond that, whatever Tim's vision, there really is no reason why sensitivity to these issues would interfere with the integrity of what he was creating. And that's really true as a general rule - Merely being aware of issues is not imposing on a creator anything that should proscribe elements of their work - With the only exception being where that work is specifically created as an invective in opposition to that issue.

The OP seems to be rather missing the point by even implying that these characters fit or belong in their worlds to begin with. I think the story is rather positive about rebelling against these things in the broader sense in such a way that I think it should be seen as a very positive message to those like her regardless of gender biases in the "establishment" of each world.

Again, I believe you're misunderstanding my motivations in creating this post. I am not implying anything about these characters and their relations to their worlds. I didn't write the original post in response to a perceived problem at all - I wrote it because the game's themes seemed that they might touch upon an area where there, historically, has been a problem. I didn't think Double Fine had already gone wrong or was hugely likely to go wrong down the line. I just saw that the issue was at least pertinent to the area in which they were working and for that reason wanted to voice it - even if it is completely unnecessary from the point of view that Broken Age could easily have navigated these pitfalls anyway, I don't think it's a wasted post because it's opening up a discussion of an issue and making it a little more visible.

I also wrote that post when I'd just watched episode four of the documentary, and acknowledged in the post that I was somewhat behind the times - but this shouldn't matter, because like I've just said, I feel like the discussion has merit even if Broken Age is doing fine without it. Having caught up a bit more now and seen more of the design for the game and its themes, I am actually very enthusiastic about where it's going and think it looks to be doing a great job of not simply avoiding problems, but actually chipping away a bit at the stereotypes too.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Apologies for the misunderstanding. Allow me to state than that I think that an author should always be mindful of what their work is saying to their audience. If you're not considering what it says to them you're not considering what you want it to say. If you're not making these considerations than why are you making it in the first place? And don't say you made it for yourself, if you made it for yourself you'd keep it to yourself. If you aren't considering your audience and the impact of your story on them and their attitudes toward others than you're being intellectually lazy.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think this is a good thing to bring up just to show both creator and backer side that it is being thought about.

The artist should keep his vision but it does not hurt to hear concerns.

I do not think it will be a problem with this game but I do want to give voice to it as food for thought.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm terribly curious to see how things proceed with the game, particularly regarding whether and (if so) how the story mechanic which seems to be showing up will wind up relating to the topics discussed here. I am anticipating that aspect of the game with both interest and great fear. Trying to overcome a certain fear and dread associated with the state of gender reality and gender ideology in society is something I personally find important to actively do each day. Overcoming the dread to try my best to look at these things directly and without falling into comfortable self-delusion ranks among the most difficult things I feel compelled to do, in fact. The trailer for Broken Age makes me uneasy. I feel like that's one of the intended possible reactions (could be wrong). I say it does so rightfully, though, because the game is shaping up into something which as best my limited perceptions can gather is at least partly about components in humanity's less beautiful reality which thoughtful, self-aware people have a right to feel uneasy about (I'm wording it lightly). I would posit that the tough to look at truth is that sexuality, gender, and its implications represent a convenient dualism which covers and obscures matters much darker and more complicated than stereotyping of the "frilly and pink vs metallic and loud" variety. To sum up and conclude what is shaping up to be an unprompted and depressing viewpoint, regardless of whether these things are to be woven artfully into this great work whose skill and beauty I could never emulate with my crude prose, I will nonetheless say at this point, that at the very least by coincidence there is strange resonance between the picture such circumspection forms into my mind and the title this game has chosen.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I'm terribly curious to see how things proceed with the game, particularly regarding whether and (if so) how the story mechanic which seems to be showing up will wind up relating to the topics discussed here. I am anticipating that aspect of the game with both interest and great fear. Trying to overcome a certain fear and dread associated with the state of gender reality and gender ideology in society is something I personally find important to actively do each day. Overcoming the dread to try my best to look at these things directly and without falling into comfortable self-delusion ranks among the most difficult things I feel compelled to do, in fact. The trailer for Broken Age makes me uneasy. I feel like that's one of the intended possible reactions (could be wrong). I say it does so rightfully, though, because the game is shaping up into something which as best my limited perceptions can gather is at least partly about components in humanity's less beautiful reality which thoughtful, self-aware people have a right to feel uneasy about (I'm wording it lightly). I would posit that the tough to look at truth is that sexuality, gender, and its implications represent a convenient dualism which covers and obscures matters much darker and more complicated than stereotyping of the "frilly and pink vs metallic and loud" variety. To sum up and conclude what is shaping up to be an unprompted and depressing viewpoint, regardless of whether these things are to be woven artfully into this great work whose skill and beauty I could never emulate with my crude prose, I will nonetheless say at this point, that at the very least by coincidence there is strange resonance between the picture such circumspection forms into my mind and the title this game has chosen.
There are enough actual differences between men and women to warrant a generally accepted binary distinguishing of the two sexes with the understanding that the individuals in each group can vary wildly and share more things in common with the other sex than their own. While transgenderism can blur the traditional binary mindset of gender, it's such a rare occurrence as to not demand an overturning of the traditional perception so much as to just make us aware of exceptions to the norm. Interestingly enough, it is also somewhat incorrect to believe that transgenderism disallows binary genders so much as just challenging the traditional male body = male mind concept. The concept that one can have the psychological being of a female while in a male body only serves to establish the concept of binary genders (male/female) more firmly by stating that the person is one mentally and not the sex they were born with. I merely bring that up because the topic of gender binary is almost exclusively brought up around that mindset.

I hope the game stays true to itself, whatever that is. Double Fine has always shown nothing but excellence in how they portray their females and often take a step away from the manly beefcake variety of the male heroes as well. But there is nothing wrong with a boy acting like a boy and a girl acting like a girl. There are cultural and biological differences that are easily observed albeit not universal which can be rightly drawn upon. The girl who acts like a stereotypical girl by wanting to talk things out peacefully is no less valid than a girl who deviates from the norm by wanting to be a strong warrior or some such thing. To disallow the former is to do injustice to those girls just as much as to disallow the latter would do to those.

Either way, Double Fine strives to make unique characters. I'd say they all pretty much deviate from the norm. Whether or not the world they find themselves in has simplistic gender-based elements is trivial when the characters themselves are more dynamic in true double fine tradition. Consider playing some of their games, like the Cave if you haven't already. Though don't shy away from strong females or sinister females. If there's any developer who I wouldn't share the OP's concerns about, it's DF. Not that I particularly care if they use traditional or atypical genders as long as the characters are still distinct and interesting. I just don't know what the big push to dismiss the typical girl is for. I guess it'd be the squeaky cog scenario where the typical girl does not feel the need to ask for representation whereas the atypical would. The end result potentially being that the smallest group gets catered to and the largest group ignored because of it. Thankfully, DF just makes the best characters they can and seldom bother with catering, unless of course it's to cater lunch for the developers as thanks for a job well done.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...