Walking Eye Podcast with FeministsApril 29, 2011
Walking Eye Podcast on Sexuality, Identity, and Ladygamers is probably the most excellent podcast I’ve listened to on roleplaying. Ever. (don’t read the comments unless you want a good example of male privilege backlash. Guh.)
They pretty much hit EVERYTHING and in a reasonable time frame.
I’ve spoken a lot about the issues of publishers and products and what they represent (or don’t represent), but not as much on the issues of self-censoring where and how you play because you expect people to be sexist, racist, homophobic, or whatever.
One of the simplest things about gaming that people get into as adolescents is the fact that you can have a level of power fantasy – to have an idealized version of your self, doing awesome things. What gets missed out on this, though, is that a good number of us DON’T ever get that- we don’t get the opportunity to play a character like ourselves, because playing anything like ourselves opens it up for attack and fucked up behavior.
There’s more potential for bullshit when women play women characters. When anyone plays queer or bi characters. When a black player plays a black character.
The thing about kyriarchy, is that it doesn’t stop because we’re playing a game of the imagination. The thoughts and attitudes of the players creates the imaginary events- for good or for ill.
And if you’re running into people you don’t know, you don’t want to open the door for that bullshit.
So you self censor, so you can fucking enjoy the game without having to deal with a “Ha-ha, what if we sold you as a prostitute?” joke or the “Maybe we should put you in chains and say you’re a slave?” joke, all masked under “well, it’s the character” when no, actually, we didn’t decide to play a fantasy game to hear the same bullshit we can get outside.
One of my friends once asked I why I enjoy Legend of the Five Rings, despite the orientalist stuff poured all over it. “Because I can play an asian character and no one says anything or looks at me funny for it.”
I guess one of the simplest litmus tests to how your gaming goes, can everyone play characters like themselves without catching privileged bullshit microaggressions?