Meanwhile, in Gaming Group Two, we're playing a game set in South America in the 1970s. Again, not the most egalitarian society in terms of women's rights. Needless to say I'm the only female player (and character). Am I surprised that the non-player characters harrass and try to flirt with my character, no, not really. Does it have to be mentioned all the time? No. Does it have to happen every scene? No. Would it kill the GM to just lay off? Okay, we get it, the NPCs ignore what I say because I'm female, and only pay attention to me when they want to flirt. Listen, we're playing a game, folks, make believe: can't we make believe that I'm being treated with a bit of respect, can't we stop dwelling on all the sexist crap and treat me like a human, here?Its easy to see where this applies to video games and anything set in a fantasy or historical setting.
Really, that's what it is about, respect and being treated like a human. In either group, these guys show up to a session and they sit down and have fun gaming. When they leave, they never feel like they've been belitted or lessened because of who they are. They never get made uncomfortable for being male, they never sit there feeling like a hunk of meat, and they never have to even worry about being put in a situation that would make them feel sexually harrassed (I mean, except for Deliverance-type situations, I suppose. But, funny enough, those never seem to arrive). Meanwhile, because I'm female, situations arise all the time that make me uncomfortable.
Of course, she gets me thinking about comic books (lint gets me thinking about comic books). People tend to pull out the "realism" defense when discussing violence, especially rape, in comic book stories. "We want to deal with realistic issues," they say.
My response to that is if they really wish to draw attention to the problem of sexual assault and do some good about it, try volunteering, fundraising, or writing a check to RAINN or Men Can Stop Rape. Stick to these rules when it comes to your writing. Because thus far the major comic book companies have managed to flummox at least 99% of the depictions, and those flummoxed depictions are becoming more common nowadays than radiation was in the Silver Age.
They're talking about bringing realism to worlds where characters fly, throw cars across the street, travel to other planets. We're obviously up for a little escape from the most hellish aspects of human existence here. Realism is no good reason to put any part of the plot in.
Funny though, how the weirdness of superpowers is often brought up to support the persistence of dreadful sexist art in superhero comics, at the same time realism is cited to defend the use of rape as a plot point. Now, the same people aren't always using both arguments, but its a fascinating tendency of comics companies to use both in their own defense.
Looks like realism is okay, so long as it alienates women. And it looks like fantasy is okay, so long as it alienates women. I can see the ground rules are being adhered to.
Time to change them.