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Question about sexism and Safana.

PelmaleonPelmaleon Member Posts: 14
As a proud member of the slut "community" and having known many, many sluts (went to UCSB and lived in LA almost my entire life), I'm slightly upset at a certain Beamdog writer (or writers) disliking affectionately promiscuous people.

It's not like Safana said "I'm so horny, do me now you hot strong man! The amount of wetness in the sea's breeze is nothing compared to what's going on in my nether regions!" and the game said she was dressed in underwear. Now THAT characterization IN ADDITION to it being in multiple parts of the game for multiple women, I would be more likely to agree with being sex-objects and being somewhat sexist (but sexist doesn't automatically mean bad - it just means sexist. If we lived in the 1500s then sexist views on women would be seen as deeply culturally ingrained and overall good). But seeing as this is a FANTASY game with people who explode if you ask them about their tree-name, seasoned warriors who can be reduced to sharing their most intimate moments with hamsters because of too many blows to the head, autistic guys who talk too much and repeatedly ask you if you are going to throw rocks at them or if they are annoying, and many more idiosyncratic, flavorful characters, I don't believe a slutty pirate girl who was overly sheltered by her nobleman father does not fit the world.

Does this mean the game is offensive to people who immolate themselves? Does this mean this game is offensive to people who have brain damage and are left being somewhat mentally retarded? Does this mean the game is offensive to autistic people. The supreme answer to all these question and more is.... maybe. It depends on the person being offended (or not being offended). It's subjective. People with PTSD (it's a spectrum, not a binary condition) and/or an ingrained mental issue(s) can be varyingly triggered by multifarious events (which includes microevents). To go back to the sexism subject, should be bash a game for having sexist characters, or thank the game for evincing something about ourselves depending on our reaction to the characters? Should we not thank it for bestowing us with greater emotional intelligence, elucidating our flaws so that we may look deeper and subsequently conquer these deeply ingrained issues which provoke our personal triggering(s)? Personally, I'm a utilitarian. So if slutty pirate girl helps flesh out the world and make 1,000 people slightly happier (+10 happiness to each) but triggers 10 others (-30 happiness), we still have a net gain of... get your calculators out!... +9,700 happiness, which makes me believe it was a good choice. Don't mind the arbitrary numbers - I hope you get the bigger picture.

Safana had at least some form of subtlety and social finesse in the form of slightly above-average flirtation skills. (With looks like those, who needs a top-notch diction?).

In conclusion, just as trans people exist irl, so do us sluts. Yet Beamdog writers have bashed a decently-written (note: I'm not saying well-written, because she wasn't) slut characterization from the game and hamfistedly introduced a trans into it. This isn't supposed to be a diatribe. This isn't supposed to be call for a witchhunt. This is an explanation that maybe, just maybe, some of Beamdog's writers aren't intelligent or wise enough to handle writing for game heralded as one of the greatest RPGs of all time. This isn't to say that they aren't wonderful, amiable, passionate people, because they most likely are. But when you write for a fanbase composed of a mostly astute older generation (we have passion for an oldschool game which makes us read a plethora of words and employ our imagination to get the most out of it) gamers, you are held to higher standards than say, an indie writer who writes feminist drivel (we should all strive to be egalitarians - the current version of feminism is a divisive word with divisive connotations and divisive results) for other feminsits, or a war veteran who writes fitting stories for war games like Call of Duty.

Thanks for reading, and a reminder to all people who are taking part of the forum debates, cherrypicking will lead us in eternal circles. To solve a complex problem you need long and complex answers.

Edit: accidentally said utilitarian instead of egalitarian in my 2nd to last paragraph. whoops.

AKrugBierBaeloth_JnrLoldrupatakdogBenjin

Comments

  • Baeloth_JnrBaeloth_Jnr Member Posts: 86
    edited April 2016
    Seems like Beamdog's NPC project includes serving up politically correct marionettes with affected morality.
    Not really a style of characterisation I appreciate.
    I suppose we should be thankful they haven't retconned their political correctness onto the rest of the game.

    Post edited by Baeloth_Jnr on
  • craymond727craymond727 Member Posts: 196
    As a male feminist, the criticism around Safana's portrayal wasn't the fact that she was sultry and suggestive, but that there was little to no character development outside of that. Feminism includes sexual agency and expression as part of its views, and I fail to see how Amber's comments were slut-shaming. The first Baldur's Gate did little to expand on a character's backstory, so for an NPC like Safana, whose only character trait is her sexuality, it warrants legitimate feminist criticism. Her sole purpose in the game is to serve as the oversexualized thief. In SoD, Amber and the other writers sought to add greater character depth, and having carried both Safana and Jaheira in my party, I find accusations that Beamdog completely rewrote two NPCS to be unwarranted.

  • Baeloth_JnrBaeloth_Jnr Member Posts: 86
    In fact, all the BG1 characters were basically written around one eccentric character trait:
    Minsc's only character trait is his insanity.
    Edwin's to destroy Dynaheir
    Xan's depression
    Coran's infidelities
    Jaheira's complaining
    Khalid's cowardice
    etc.
    These could all be called discriminatory classifications and lacking depth.
    But their lack of depth is precisely what makes them effective in the context of BG1.

    AKrugBierPelmaleonlolienLoldrup
  • PelmaleonPelmaleon Member Posts: 14
    edited April 2016

    As a male feminist, the criticism around Safana's portrayal wasn't the fact that she was sultry and suggestive, but that there was little to no character development outside of that. Feminism includes sexual agency and expression as part of its views, and I fail to see how Amber's comments were slut-shaming. The first Baldur's Gate did little to expand on a character's backstory, so for an NPC like Safana, whose only character trait is her sexuality, it warrants legitimate feminist criticism. Her sole purpose in the game is to serve as the oversexualized thief. In SoD, Amber and the other writers sought to add greater character depth, and having carried both Safana and Jaheira in my party, I find accusations that Beamdog completely rewrote two NPCS to be unwarranted.

    Yet sexuality wasn't her only trait and it's myopic and intellectually dishonest to tunnel vision your assessment of her to say it was. To help elucidate this point we need to define the most base element of a "sex-object". It would literally be a box with an animate vagina in it. People would venture far and wide to witness and possibly pay gold to use it so that they may relieve themselves into its warm embrace. Both Safana and Jaheira had more to them, as seen in their biographies, portraits, and written lines.

    I definitely agree that Safana didn't have much depth and definitely agree that it's a great thing the writers sought to add greater character depth to her. Those obviously aren't my issues and obviously not the issues of most others. My concern (and apparently the concerns of others) stem from the kotaku interview which evinced much of Amber's mental acuity when she one-sidedly spoke of sexist-towards-women ideas in a fallacious fashion: "If there was something for the original Baldur’s Gate that just doesn’t mesh for modern day gamers like the sexism, [we tried to address that],” said writer Amber Scott. “In the original there’s a lot of jokes at women’s expense. Or if not a lot, there’s a couple, like Safana was just a sex object in BG 1, and Jaheira was the nagging wife and that was played for comedy. We were able to say, ‘No, that’s not really the kind of story we want to make." It's intellectual dishonest and bothersome to many for a lead writer to cherrypick like this whilst discussing their mission statement. She was most likely triggered by their characterizations or she would have also spoke about how, as Baeloth_Jnr posted, basically all the characters were built around conspicuous traits. She didn't discuss at lengths about making the expansion charmingly cohesive to the original games' vision of Faerûn; she talked about altering the world to fit her personal desires and "agenda" (I hate that word because it paints such a negative picture - some agendas are incredibly beneficial and significant to society). (If in a different context in which they were discussing something else and she jokingly said these exact same words, then virtually no one would have a problem with it.)

    May I ask why you call yourself a feminist instead of an egalitarian? Men have sexism issues in 2016 as well (women being believed over men for assault charges, men being expelled from school just on rape allegations without proof, men being laughed at and ridiculed if they say they were sexually taken advantage of, men being looked at as child rapists if they like to use the swing in the park playground by themselves, etc.)

    Loldrup
  • Baeloth_JnrBaeloth_Jnr Member Posts: 86
    "Safana was just a sex object"

    I also find this a misreading of Safana's character.
    As I recall she used her sexuality as a means of getting what she wanted.
    So, insofar as she was a 'sex object' it was at her own discretion.
    That is 'sexual agency' albeit to selfish ends, and not in the pursuit of 'social justice'.

    Pelmaleon
  • DemonocratDemonocrat Member Posts: 9
    Pelmaleon said:


    May I ask why you call yourself a feminist instead of an egalitarian? Men have sexism issues in 2016 as well (women being believed over men for assault charges, men being expelled from school just on rape allegations without proof, men being laughed at and ridiculed if they say they were sexually taken advantage of, men being looked at as child rapists if they like to use the swing in the park playground by themselves, etc.)

    Egalitarians are feminists in everything but the name. Feminism (at least actual modern feminism, not what-people-think-feminism-is) is concerned about all gender-related issues, including the social construction of men as aggressors. By refusing to call engagement against gender-related discrimination feminism, one plays right into feminism haters' hands. Fear of the name spawns fear of the thing itself.

    I konw it's not much of a source, but at least it's got some decent references :
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feminism#Men_and_masculinity

    (Sorry to butt in. As a male feminist myself, I see this question popping up very often, and I felt it needed to be answered, and given the actual climate on the beamdog forums, I'm getting out of my hole to partake in those heated discussions.)

    Pelmaleon
  • PelmaleonPelmaleon Member Posts: 14

    Pelmaleon said:


    May I ask why you call yourself a feminist instead of an egalitarian? Men have sexism issues in 2016 as well (women being believed over men for assault charges, men being expelled from school just on rape allegations without proof, men being laughed at and ridiculed if they say they were sexually taken advantage of, men being looked at as child rapists if they like to use the swing in the park playground by themselves, etc.)

    Egalitarians are feminists in everything but the name. Feminism (at least actual modern feminism, not what-people-think-feminism-is) is concerned about all gender-related issues, including the social construction of men as aggressors. By refusing to call engagement against gender-related discrimination feminism, one plays right into feminism haters' hands. Fear of the name spawns fear of the thing itself.

    I konw it's not much of a source, but at least it's got some decent references :
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feminism#Men_and_masculinity

    (Sorry to butt in. As a male feminist myself, I see this question popping up very often, and I felt it needed to be answered, and given the actual climate on the beamdog forums, I'm getting out of my hole to partake in those heated discussions.)
    Don't you think it might be too late to salvage the "feminism" name though? I believe it might be much more efficient and easier for the advancement of society to abandon it and adopt the term "egalitarian" instead, which can have subsets of "women-focused-egalitarianism" and "men-focused-egalitarianism".

    Demonocrat
  • DemonocratDemonocrat Member Posts: 9
    edited April 2016
    Pelmaleon said:



    Don't you think it might be too late to salvage the "feminism" name though? I believe it might be much more efficient and easier for the advancement of society to abandon it and adopt the term "egalitarian" instead, which can have subsets of "women-focused-egalitarianism" and "men-focused-egalitarianism".

    It might be that the name is getting outdated, and I agree that it at the very least is getting misused in everything but academic circles. However, I personally feel abandoning the name would signal a form of abdication I am not ready to embrace, which could be perceived as caving in to pressure from antifeminist movements (not that egalitarianism is antifeminist - but let's face it, antifeminism is in vogue, although it rarely overtly identifies as such).

    Pelmaleon
  • DeathPhoenixDeathPhoenix Member Posts: 9
    edited April 2016
    Praise equality, deny sexist group naming to defend equality.

    I'm a male feminist? So everyone understand when I say it, but I'm a true equalitarian noticing that women are still suffering unfair treatment, so are men on other subjets (mostly related to kids!)

    BG is designed and need to exploit divergente cultures/perceptions. It cannot go totally out of discrimination. I'm happy that the vilan is a woman! I'm not happy if all vilans are women to "balance" things out. This result in anti-sexism becoming pure sexism!

  • DagothDagoth Member Posts: 3
    edited January 2017
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