Gexx in Knoxville

This blog is about Gexx, in Knoxville

gendered rpg frustration

Posted by Gexx on January 12, 2009

Rarely is the RPG world viewed as aimed toward females.  Think of a group of Dungeon and Dragon players, and most likely it's all males, maybe a female tagging along.  How about online RPGs like World of Warcraft?  There seems to be a larger female presence, but how many of the females are really males who want to play a female for any number of reasons.  Also, the female characters seem to be extremely sexualized, suggesting that their purpose is eyecandy/fanservice to heteronormative males.
 
Do your thoughts accurately reflect the demographics of RPG players, though?  Most likely not entirely. 
 
(Disclaimer: I've only played four Dungeons and Dragons games.  All have been with Morgan, all have been with Living Forgotten Realms through RPGA.)
 
For example, Morgan ran a game on Saturday.  Present were: Morgan (the DM), three other males, myself, Beth, and Mandy.  Half of the playing population were female.  We all played characters that corresponded with our IDed gender, so I won't touch upon that.
 
The story: we wander into town and see a crowd harassing a female and claiming she's a witch.  Our main goal is to rescue her.  Once we do, we need to see her safely to her uncle in another village.
 
So basically, we remove a victimized female and release her to another form of patriarchy.
 
The previous game's story:  We wander into a town and find a funeral.  The funeree was murdered, clues lead us to a group of citizens.  The only one still in town is a milkmaid (and girlfriend of another in questioned group) who implores to us to only bring her bf back before breaking down in tears.  When we get to the end, we find that the other woman of the group that ran away was actually abducted and is presently in the middle of a difficult birth.
 
Once again, the vicimization of females.  None are able to actually control their own life or act autonomously and only care about their "female role" as partner and mother.
 
Another story involved adrogynous pixies leading us to a dieing psuedo-magical woman, too sick to care for her cave which now has MONSTERS RAWR! But we take care of the monsters and give her a peaceful death.
 
Again, the only female depicted is powerless.
 
Yet another involved only monsters.
 
So three out of four stories I've played were about damsels in distress.  None contained even a single strong female figure.  All stories are led by males, all evil people are males.
 
I say to Morgan: "I'm tired of females being portrayed as powerless.  Not one story has a strong female figure.  What is the deal?  Are the DMs  specifically not picking certain stories which may have a dominant female?  I understand that male is the 'pattern' but this is bothering me."
 
Morgan responds that it most likely is because Dungeons and Dragons his primarily, if not exclusively male writers for their modules.  Other RPG games he participates in have storylines driven by stronger female characters.
 
"So, write your own module!" is his excited suggestion.
 
I look at him oddly, as I have so little experiance that I don't even know what all my single character can do.  "Maybe you can write one?" I respond.
 
He agrees, so now we're tossing back and forth story ideas.
 
Any suggestions?
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