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Author Topic: Guys writing girls  (Read 2645 times)

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Offline JoelTopic starter

Guys writing girls
« on: August 20, 2015, 05:34:39 PM »

You Do You.  But this is my general rant:
What is it with guys creating caricatures of women that are so outrageously removed from any sense of reality that these characters can't possibly be anything but vehicles for particular fetishes.  Why does this feel even more offensive than a female writer doing the same.  And why doesn't this feeling extend to caricatures of men.

Offline Erythrite

Re: Guys writing girls
« Reply #1 on: August 20, 2015, 08:00:28 PM »
I think it does extend to caricatures of men.  I have seen a LOT of really bad M/M fiction written by women.

At the same time, I do understand your point.  I think, as someone who has written both male and female characters extensively (and on other sites I don't announce my RL gender and people often assume I'm male), it might have something to do with the way female characters are viewed in general.  I cannot tell you how many group RPs I have joined with female characters only to have these characters constantly sexually objectified, even when I made the effort to make some of them rather non-sexual.  Playing male characters, this was rarely the case.  I hardly ever felt like my male characters were objectified or seen purely as vessels for my (or anyone else's) fetishes.  I think in a sense it's considered more 'okay' to fetishize women/female characters to the point of them not even being seen as actual people/characters.  I think you're more likely to see someone (regardless of gender) writing a female character who doesn't even try to make her feel multi-faceted, because she can be 'sexy' instead.
« Last Edit: August 20, 2015, 08:01:37 PM by Erythrite »

Offline JoelTopic starter

Re: Guys writing girls
« Reply #2 on: August 21, 2015, 02:26:28 AM »
I think it does extend to caricatures of men.  I have seen a LOT of really bad M/M fiction written by women.

[...]

I think in a sense it's considered more 'okay' to fetishize women/female characters to the point of them not even being seen as actual people/characters.  I think you're more likely to see someone (regardless of gender) writing a female character who doesn't even try to make her feel multi-faceted, because she can be 'sexy' instead.

I think we are both thinking the exact same thing, and subconsciously I'm sure I only throw up these stupid threads to fish for like minded folks out there.  We all wanna feel included in a way.

I agree with the m/m situation and the female writers making retrogressive female characters.  I think it just comes down to power--

A straight woman can write stories about gay men and explore queer identities without personal investment because she can safely retreat back her heteronormative place in society afterwards.

Likewise, a straight man might distill a woman down to sexual traits and play them without involving a woman's voice at all, who (as I assume) would disagree strongly with that portrayal.

And lastly, a straight woman might create a sexualized female character in order to participate... I'm inclined to imply 'uncle tom' but I know that's wrong and I'm also cognizant of second versus third way feminism but don't really get it yet.  Hopefully someone else might want to weigh in?
« Last Edit: August 21, 2015, 02:38:21 AM by Joel »

Offline Beorning

Re: Guys writing girls
« Reply #3 on: August 22, 2015, 03:34:57 PM »
Out of pure curiosity: any examples of male characters being written badly? How do you write a man as a 'caricature'?

I'm asking, as I haven't encountered any examples of such a thing myself. Not saying that they don't exist! I'm sure they do, if you say so. I'm just curious what they are like?
« Last Edit: August 22, 2015, 04:26:51 PM by Beorning »

Offline Aethereal

Re: Guys writing girls
« Reply #4 on: August 22, 2015, 04:30:28 PM »
Quote
I think it does extend to caricatures of men.  I have seen a LOT of really bad M/M fiction written by women.
       Same. I've also seen a lot of people writing their own sex in a caricature manner, oddly enough. May not even be sexualized...
         Don't want to point anyone out, though. Can go from the tall muscled hunk with nonexistent personality to a prettyboy with no personality, and then everything else... (Are bland and one-dimensional characters more easily missed and/or forgotten when they aren't sexualized?)

         I play both female and male characters, and ... I've not had much of the sexual objectification towards my characters, either? Or at least not more with my female than male characters. Might be the types of RP I join, might be my own OoC self, I don't know. Similarly, people of the Internet typically think I'm male.

         On the flipside, someone actually stating they only want people who play their own sex is a serious off. I *know* it may not be the case, but my brain tends to translate it to "probably sexist asshole I cannot be bothered to contend with". And it's definitely too IC/OoC line blurring for me (especially in an erotic RP, I wouldn't know whether the other player is really thinking of my character when replying, or rather some twisted caricature of ME). I have opted out of RPs I'd otherwise like to participate in for this clause alone, even when I am the "correct" sex to play whatever character is being looked for.

Offline la dame en noir

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Re: Guys writing girls
« Reply #5 on: August 23, 2015, 10:25:44 PM »
I often feel very uncomfortable when men come to me for a F/F plot. I know that a lot of us are playing out our fantasies when we're roleplaying, but I can't help but feel slightly uncomfortable about all of it. I used to write a lot of male characters when I was younger, but I always did my damn best to not make them stereotypical. This goes along with how I am very much against playing characters who aren't black. I feel that because I am a black, bisexual female, I can portray real world issues and their feelings better than me playing a straight white girl. It just feels strange.

But a writer does what they want.

Offline Wyatt

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Re: Guys writing girls
« Reply #6 on: August 23, 2015, 11:00:04 PM »
At the same time, I do understand your point.  I think, as someone who has written both male and female characters extensively (and on other sites I don't announce my RL gender and people often assume I'm male), it might have something to do with the way female characters are viewed in general.  I cannot tell you how many group RPs I have joined with female characters only to have these characters constantly sexually objectified, even when I made the effort to make some of them rather non-sexual.  Playing male characters, this was rarely the case.  I hardly ever felt like my male characters were objectified or seen purely as vessels for my (or anyone else's) fetishes.  I think in a sense it's considered more 'okay' to fetishize women/female characters to the point of them not even being seen as actual people/characters.  I think you're more likely to see someone (regardless of gender) writing a female character who doesn't even try to make her feel multi-faceted, because she can be 'sexy' instead.

I have run into the same thing on other gender unknown writer sites where my female characters are objectified and often see male characters trying to abuse them overtly or subtly, something beyond D/s of the trust/caring variety, though my girls are rarely pushovers and the male characters can learn a painful lesson very quickly.  They also tend to objectify or worship me if they think I am a female, which weirds me out, but I generally use intellect, rather than insults, to shake them of those habits.  On sites like that I tend not to reveal my gender either way, instead just being a writer and nothing more. 

I won't write a submissive female character as a PC, in some way I find that as a male I don't want to do that, it just doesn't feel right for me to do that.  I will write both male and female caricatures as NPC's, usually because they are included in the story because of one or two extreme personality traits they have and are purposely over the top.  I have one partner on E with whom I write a couple of F/F stories, she only writes F/F and I am very appreciative of her liking the characters I write with her.  Being an experienced GM I had to learn to write female characters for my games as NPCs and truthfully find females far more interesting and complex to write than males, in part I presume, because it takes more thought and less instinct on my part to write cross gender.  I don't write females with male players on E, though I have always wanted to write with a female writer and have both of us challenge ourselves by playing cross gender.

I have seen proposals for badly written female characters by male writers in the Thread/Idea Request areas of E, but generally skip over them quickly since bad writing and/or role playing is the biggest turnoff possible.

Offline Caehlim

Re: Guys writing girls
« Reply #7 on: August 24, 2015, 06:47:47 PM »
How do you write a man as a 'caricature'?

Like this

Offline Beorning

Re: Guys writing girls
« Reply #8 on: August 24, 2015, 08:14:34 PM »
... wait. It's not that far removed from Conan, you know :)

Offline Caehlim

Re: Guys writing girls
« Reply #9 on: August 24, 2015, 09:16:08 PM »
... wait. It's not that far removed from Conan, you know :)

I wouldn't feel too out of place accusing Robert E. Howard of writing caricature male characters. Although that was considerably more accepted within the heroic fantasy genre of the day.

I mean, "... a tall man, mightily shouldered and deep of chest, with a massive corded neck and heavily muscled limbs. He was clad in silk and velvet, with the royal lions of Aquilonia worked in gold upon his rich jupon, and the crown of Aquilonia shone on his square-cut black mane; but the great sword at his side seemed more natural to him than the regal accoutrements. His brow was low and broad, his eyes a volcanic blue that smoldered as if with some inner fire. His dark, scarred, almost sinister face was that of a fighting-man, and his velvet garments could not conceal the hard, dangerous lines of his limbs."

Tell me that doesn't sound like it's out of a romance novel.

Offline Nachtmahr

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Re: Guys writing girls
« Reply #10 on: August 24, 2015, 09:42:37 PM »
I'm not really sure what the issue here is. I mean, is it not slightly ironic to be frustrated with men playing female characters as glorified vessels for various fetishes when this entire site is build around just that concept? We all come here to roleplay and write stories, many of us (Dare I say the majority?) writing about various kinks and fetishes we have. At the end of the day, while some characters are definitely better written than others, all character we play are really nothing but tools we use in order to write out our fantasies. Whether you're playing as a "Slutty Woman"-archetype or not doesn't really matter, as in the grand scheme of things that character is still just what you use to represent yourself in said story.

Now, I think your use of the word "Caricature" is really justified here, because frankly the people writing these characters likely did not intend for it to be taken this way. I don't think you can really count it as a caricature if it's either not intentional, or not intended for you to see. You're always free to just not write with people who use these kinds of characters after all, as cliche of a mindset that might be. You also don't have to read it the same way you don't have to stare at a caricature if you don't actually want to.

Now, I do think there is a real hypocrisy in your statement though!

So, when was the last time anyone here deliberately played an average or even somewhat unattractive character? Right, that happens very, very rarely, and most often in cases where it's because the partner finds the unattractiveness of the character paradoxically attractive. We are all guilty of this: Of playing unrealistic characters. People that look Hugh Jackman or Samantha Fox without putting in any effort - Just lucky genes, time and time again. We don't write out the soul-grinding workout sessions and hardcore diets it takes to live up to those unrealistic physical ideals, and the characters more often than behave as though they're completely unaware of how gorgeous they are. Is that not equally as bad?

And as my final point: What isn't a caricature? I'm genuinely curious - You, at least on the surface, seem to identify as male. So how can you judge what is and what is not a real woman? What makes other males interpretation of what they consider the ideal female any less valid than your own? You have already called it out as a caricature, so you can hardly turn around now and say you respect the way they do it. You're clearly critiquing this style of play. How can you, as a male, judge how offensive it is to women to be portrayed in this way? I, for one, don't think it's any better to see a man sculpted as if by the gods, swinging about his far-above-average genitalia and yet acting as though he's just a regular bloke and completely unaware of how attractive he is, than when it is a woman.

You're generalizing a lot here, and I think in the end it's more of a personal grievance of yours than it is this big issue that you've made it out to be.

Offline TaintedAndDelish

Re: Guys writing girls
« Reply #11 on: August 24, 2015, 10:13:03 PM »
I get the opposition to caricature, but I think its more a matter of personal taste. It's subjective. I like certain exaggerations and stereotypes, but dislike others. In some places, I'm willing to give a pass so to speak, or "suspend my disbelief", but in others, I'll put my foot down and shout, "It breaks realism." I think it's more about matching the book to what the reader wants than matching the book to what the writer thinks you will like.


Offline eBadger

Re: Guys writing girls
« Reply #12 on: August 25, 2015, 12:41:27 PM »
A few thoughts, lacking any good structure:

I play characters.  I create them based on personality, background, and what I want to accomplish; usually, gender flows fairly logically from that.  It's very rare that I decide to play a gender first, and create a character based on that - and those situations are usually (always?) because of the roleplay or other players' preferences. 

I see very few characters - either male or female - that aren't caricatures.  I actually write mine as such intentionally: an outstanding feature, trait, or notable tidbit makes them more memorable and - when limited to the space of a few pages - it actually creates more personality.  A hairy mechanic with a lisp and a penchant for knock knock jokes is more fun to play - and to play with - than someone more realistic, who can't be quickly summed up or expressed (try to describe yourself in a phrase; consider how differently you act in different places, different times, different moods, with different people).  Instead, I focus on behavior for suspension of disbelief, and that's gained many comments that I do play 'realistic' women (when I choose to.  Sometimes a comic villain is fun). 

Social gender norms and preconceptions also play a role.  As a guy, I find it rather chancy to play an aggressive, dominant male because the line between 'sexy' and 'really fucking creepy' is pretty narrow (consider popular fiction: I would consider a boyfriend who breaks into your room to watch you sleep after just one date as restraining order material, but Twilight fans seem to find Edward dashing).  Females can express the same types of behavior and characteristics but come across as less threatening.  On the other hand, females tend to be called out as 'fake' when being portrayed as aggressors because our gender norms define men as sexual and women as passive.  It has nothing to do with personality or lack thereof, just preconception. 

I have some characters who end up as female just because of the availability of photos.  Most models are women; same with cosplayers.  It's extending to movies, video games, and other media.  BDSM and fetish gear is heavily skewed toward women; frankly, I still tend to play out scenes in both real life and roleplays in slacks and dress shirt rather than fetish gear because most of the male stuff is creepy and clunky.  Sometimes I'll google something like 'steampunk pirate' and the most striking photos are females; I'd rather go with one of those than stick with a male strictly because I am one. 
« Last Edit: August 25, 2015, 12:46:32 PM by eBadger »

Offline Vergil Tanner

Re: Guys writing girls
« Reply #13 on: August 25, 2015, 02:46:32 PM »
Hmm....interesting. I definitely see the point being made, though I also find myself agreeing somewhat with Badger and Mahr. "Caricatures" aren't necessarily a bad thing, since we tend to ascribe stereotypes to people for ease of reference, and having several visual cues and defining parts of those characters always helps set them apart from the rest. However, I do have to point out that what makes something a caricature has not exactly been well defined. How do you determine whether it's "removed from reality" or not? As offensive as some people may find it, there are women that exist that actively enjoy casual sex (I myself know about four of them) and there are males who aren't particularly fussed about casual sex and others who actively reject the concept (I know a couple of those latter ones myself). As has been noted, people are complex and any given stereotype or caricature is likely to accurately describe at least ONE person presently alive in the world. There're almost 7 billion of us...it's statistically unlikely that you could come up with a non-contradictory description that doesn't accurately describe SOMEBODY. But that isn't the point; my point is that since humans are complex individuals, "unrealistic" and "caricature" is ill-defined in the first place.

If it's based on appearance, well, first off obviously people exist who look like them or Faceclaims would be impossible. But further than that, it has already been pointed out that people very rarely create an outright unattractive character or average looking character unless the unattractiveness or averageness is in fact the point. Since play-by-post RP's are in and of themselves fantasies and vehicles for particular daydreams and fetishes, it's somewhat impossible to avoid and unfair to criticise given that very few people ever fantasise about themselves being unattractive. It's just a human thing that we want to idealise ourselves, and in scenarios where we're playing out fantasies, want to play idealised characters. Now, that doesn't necessarily excuse poor writing - Mary Sues and Gary Stues are rightly frowned upon - but it does go some way to explain why very few characters are unattractive. And I would hazard a guess that 9 out of 10 RPers primarily make characters that are, overall, attractive. That isn't a caricature, it's an idealisation because we want our fantasies to be...well...ideal. Hence the term "fantasies."

Now, I like to consider myself a decent writer...no doubt there are people who would agree, and people who would disagree, but I personally like to flatter myself in considering my writing to be of a decent standard. So, let's take one of my longest running currently active characters, Grace Elizabeth Young, as a case study in this hypothetical. She is currently involved in a small group RP I am GMing called "We Could Be Heroes," a character and story driven Year One superhero RP. There are a variety of characters involved, but Grace was amongst the first to be introduced (I'm not the original GM, but I am one of the original players who stepped up when the original GM disappeared).

Grace is a bisexual sex-positive female who enjoys casual sex and is, at this time, uninterested in a monogamous relationship with anybody. She's also part of the "clique" that "runs the school," and is a cheerleader.

On first glance, this would appear to be your standard stereotypical vehicle for lots and lots of smut, which not much substance to her as an actual character. On first glance, I would assume that she meets the OP's criteria for a "caricature."

But the thing is, Grace has a reason for all of that. Blonde? Eh, blonde people exist. In the west, at least, blonde is one of the most common hair colours. Female? Over half the population is female, so blah blah blah, banal explanations blah.
The real point is that I've written out Grace's entire backstory from when she was a young girl up until her current age, and written it in a way to try and make it believable. Now, her bisexuality really has nothing to do with any of that - homosexuality isn't a choice, I just wanted to see if I could write a non-heterosexual character believably (it turns out I can; the secret is to gasp write a normal character, since being non-hetero doesn't make you any less human. Go figure.) - but it was an aspect I wanted to work in regardless of what kind of character she ended up being. I won't go into any details, since my players might be reading this and I don't want to give spoilers for her character arc later on in the RP or any details of her past I've left out of general discussion, but the overview is this:
She is inspired at least in part by Faith from Buffy The Vampire Slayer, and was designed concurrently with her brother Dante as a kind of compare and contrast. Whereas Dante is the kind of "damaged" that leads to an aloof, distrusting nature, somewhat awkward social skills and a general distaste for everybody else resulting in a feeling of loneliness and isolation, Grace is much the other way in that she's hiding within herself and is using casual sex as a way to deal with her ingrained trust issues. She still enjoys sex and I think will ALWAYS enjoy sex, but it stems from things that have happened to her that have kind of soured her on monogamous relationships for a while. She has trust and self esteem issues,which she covers up with bubbly joy and an enthusiasm in participating in casual sex. Plus, she's in a generation where that sort of thing is more acceptable (she's only 18), so that kind of adds into it as well.

The point of this case study is this:

Is she still a caricature, since she has in the end been designed to be a certain way, or has she crossed the line from caricature and stereotype into a nuanced, believable, realistic character? Or has she simply crossed into being a different stereotype?
I think the answer is kind of all of the above, because the OP kind of paints a false dichotomy; you either have a caricature and stereotype, OR you have a believable, realistic character...when it isn't that cut and dry. You can be a nuanced, interesting, realistic character that reflects aspects of society and life experiences and STILL fall into what some people would call a stereotype. Somewhat ironically, we have as many stereotypes as we do actual personality types - which kinda renders the whole point of stereotypes moot in my opinion, but that's a whole different matter - so in many ways, it's almost impossible to create a character who ISN'T a caricature or stereotype when boiled down to their bare basics.

If you have an attractive, athletic cheerleader, some would consider that a caricature.
If you have an average looking everygirl, that's a literary archetype and - thanks to more modern teen fic - a caricature as well.
If you have a bookish introvert, that too is a archetype and stereotype.
Etc etc.
Any character, when boiled down to their basics, IS a stereotype, because stereotypes and caricatures are by their very natures basic traits exaggerated to extreme levels.

So I guess the overall question is: What separates a caricature from a nuanced character, and are caricatures in and of themselves inherently bad, which is what the OP seems to be suggesting.

And I do want to hit one final thing in my random, meandering ramble:

The OP says that caricatures of female characters are "more offensive" when it's women writing them.
What right do you have to label their characters as caricatures and therefore - if I'm reading your tone correctly - "inferior?" The OP states that straight men can distil certain feminine traits into a character without a females input, but previously acknowledged that women writers also do this (according to his own definitions, of course)...and they're OBVIOUSLY having a female voice in the conception since they are themselves female. You can say that they're just "sexualising the character" in order to participate in fetishes (which, as pointed out previously, is what we're ALL doing, to some extent) but what gives anybody the authority to label their characters as bad or as caricatures based on solely that?

What makes a character a sexualised caricature as opposed to just a sex-positive character? Fetishized characters exist, of course, but the line between them is vague, ill defined...and you know what? Fetishization of a character doesn't necessarily make it a bad character. Taking a video game example for a moment, Bayonetta is definitely sexualised and fetishized, but it makes sense given the character. Bayonetta is that way because she herself decides to be that way, not because somebody else is telling her to be that way. It is, in universe, her decision. Contrast that to the jiggle physics and skimpy outfits that don't make sense in things like DOA and Soul Caliber and the cliche 90's Fantasy RPG...so the final question is kind of directed at the OP: Why is a character being a caricature or fetishised in some way inherently bad? Why can't a character be a well written, nuanced, believable character and not also be a caricature or sexualised? Because I think a false dichotomy has been created here inadvertently where people are saying that you can't be sexualised or based on a caricature and STILL be a nuanced, interesting, believable character. Human nature is so diverse that personality wise, at least, there's no such thing as "unbelievable."

More, and this is a side question, why do people find the existence of these characters "offensive?" What's wrong with them being created and played? as Mahr said; Everybody here is creating idealised characters to some extent, so what separates a well-crafted, believable character from an "offensive caricature" under your separate definitions?


Also, I apologise for the somewhat scattergun approach; I was attempting to gather disparate thoughts and points into one vaguely coherent ramble, so apologies if it comes across as a little...mismatched and unfocused, haha. :P I think my attitude towards this matter is generally in line with Mahr, Badger and Tainted, haha.
« Last Edit: August 25, 2015, 02:48:59 PM by Vergil Tanner »

Offline Erythrite

Re: Guys writing girls
« Reply #14 on: August 25, 2015, 03:34:59 PM »
At the end of the day, while some characters are definitely better written than others, all character we play are really nothing but tools we use in order to write out our fantasies. Whether you're playing as a "Slutty Woman"-archetype or not doesn't really matter, as in the grand scheme of things that character is still just what you use to represent yourself in said story.

You can say that they're just "sexualising the character" in order to participate in fetishes (which, as pointed out previously, is what we're ALL doing, to some extent)

This is a very personal opinion, but the main reason why I have at times been annoyed by 'caricature' characters (not to say my opinion on what that constitutes is necessarily the same as that of the OP) is basically the attitude described by what I quoted.  I don't think the above generalizations pertain to me.  I consider RPing to be an exercise in collaborative writing.  My characters do not 'represent' me.  Sure, maybe each one has a little bit of me in them, but I play characters who are very far from being me, and who are by no means 'ideal' versions of what I wish I was, nor are they EVER created simply in order to participate in fetishes.  In fact I rarely write about 'fetishes' at all.  Are my characters a means of writing about 'fantasies'?  Yes, in the sense that I thought them up therefore they are a product of my fantasies/imagination.  But they are not vehicles for the kind of wish-fulfillment type 'fantasy', sexual or otherwise, that it seems the above statements would imply.  When I use faceclaims, do I pick looks that I like?  Yes, but I always make an effort not to describe my characters as unrealistically attractive and I happen to think that physical flaws are just as important as personality flaws.  I often intentionally choose people who are not necessarily 'mainstream hot' as faces to represent my characters, though often I imagine faceclaims as 'rough' equivalents rather than exacts, and if one of my characters has a 'perfect' body (which very very few ever do), you can bet there's a reason for it beyond just lucky genetics.

Now, I'm not going to say anyone is 'right' or 'wrong' for using fiction as an outlet in whatever way they choose.  However, when I write a character, I respect them.  I see each character as an individual, albeit a fictional individual, and therefore they deserve not to be objectified.  In addition, I have a certain level of integrity regarding my writing more generally that requires me to separate it from myself enough that no character is ever just a vehicle for my fetishes or fantasies.  I don't think that kind of writing is 'fun' anyway. 

So for me, the way I judge whether a character is a caricature or not is based mostly (though not entirely) on intent.  Someone may not be a very good writer, but is still doing their damnedest to write a good character.  Even if that character turns out very stereotypical, I can respect and appreciate that more than someone who is skilled technically but just writes a 'pretty cutout' to be a stand-in for all the sexual exploits they're not getting to experience in real life.  So I guess I'd say it's not about making a list of traits that are 'acceptable' or not, because when it comes right down to it it isn't about how a character looks or whether they're sex-positive or not, but about how they come across as a whole and whether you feel like they could be a real person, or if it's obvious that they're only there for one reason.  I also think a lot of this can come from the writer's demeanor and how they act OOC.  Someone previously mentioned feeling uncomfortable with writing F/F stories with men, and I definitely understand that.  I've had some men approach me for F/F stories that I would have loved to write, but their attitudes really put me off, even if on paper their characters might not have looked like glaring stereotypes.  It's a fine line and a case-by-case thing, at least in my opinion, though as previously stated, my opinion comes from my specific stance on RPing.

Once again though, not going to tell anyone they can't write however they want.  The only time I would offer my opinions to a writer on whether their characters were unrealistic caricatures or not would be if I was asked, or if I was writing with the person.

Offline Vergil Tanner

Re: Guys writing girls
« Reply #15 on: August 25, 2015, 04:09:26 PM »
I don't think the above generalizations pertain to me.


Well, note that I said "to some extent." I'm assuming that you're still creating the character with a specific story or goal in mind, correct? You're still engineering them towards a specific archetype or goal. That's all I meant; people do it in different ways to different extents, but everybody has certain story itches that they create their characters in a way that allows them to explore those cravings, whether sexual or not. I perhaps didn't phrase it as well as I could have, but that is what I meant.

I consider RPing to be an exercise in collaborative writing.  My characters do not 'represent' me.  Sure, maybe each one has a little bit of me in them, but I play characters who are very far from being me, and who are by no means 'ideal' versions of what I wish I was, nor are they EVER created simply in order to participate in fetishes.

I'm the same way; I don't see my characters as simply vehicles for fetishes, I was simply using my character as an example because I'm obviously going to be more clued-in with what my characters intent and arc is/was/will be. XD I mean, when you get down to it, Dante - Grace's brother - is not exactly who I would imagine ANYBODY wanting to be (at this point in his arc, at least). But that's creeping into possible spoiler territory. XD

 
In fact I rarely write about 'fetishes' at all.  Are my characters a means of writing about 'fantasies'?  Yes, in the sense that I thought them up therefore they are a product of my fantasies/imagination.  But they are not vehicles for the kind of wish-fulfillment type 'fantasy', sexual or otherwise, that it seems the above statements would imply.

As noted, that isn't quite what I meant...I simply meant that any characters are designed with specific stories and "itches" in mind. We all tailor our characters towards what we want from the story in some way or another.

When I use faceclaims, do I pick looks that I like?  Yes, but I always make an effort not to describe my characters as unrealistically attractive and I happen to think that physical flaws are just as important as personality flaws.  I often intentionally choose people who are not necessarily 'mainstream hot' as faces to represent my characters, though often I imagine faceclaims as 'rough' equivalents rather than exacts, and if one of my characters has a 'perfect' body (which very very few ever do), you can bet there's a reason for it beyond just lucky genetics.

I do much the same, to be honest. If I can get away with it, I just don't use Faceclaims unless I stumble on one that matched what I had in my head when I created the character, regardless of whether I think they're attractive or not. Grace's faceclaim is Gemma Atkinson, but I personally look at her and am like "Meh, I can see why people think she's hot, but she's not quite my type." If I wanted to choose somebody just on hotness factor, all of my female characters would have Candice Swanepoel or Taylor Swift as their faceclaims. >.>


Now, I'm not going to say anyone is 'right' or 'wrong' for using fiction as an outlet in whatever way they choose.  However, when I write a character, I respect them. I see each character as an individual, albeit a fictional individual, and therefore they deserve not to be objectified.

You can sexualise somebody and make them a very sex-positive, sexual character and still respect them. Objectification, particularly of fictional characters that realistically have no agency over their own actions since all of their facets are being dictated to them by an omnipotent creator, is highly subjective. What some people see as objectification won't match what others thing, and I don't think there's really a way to get a "right" answer in that situation. But I, personally, don't see sexualising a character as mutually exclusive with respecting them and seeing them as an individual. Is it difficult to do both? I would say so, yes. But is it impossible? No. Again, it all goes back to how you define "objectification" and "sexualisation" within fiction, given that none of the characters actually have agency on a meta level.

In addition, I have a certain level of integrity regarding my writing more generally that requires me to separate it from myself enough that no character is ever just a vehicle for my fetishes or fantasies.  I don't think that kind of writing is 'fun' anyway.

Neither do I - I try to make characters interesting, nuanced and unique - but I don't think that detracts from my overall point that any character, when boiled down to their simplest forms, could be considered a steretype or a caricature. I suppose one way to discern whether a character is "just" a caricature or stereotype would be to somehow measure how far you have to boil them down to get to that simplistic level, but I'm not entirely sure that kind of measurement is even realistically possible, haha.

So for me, the way I judge whether a character is a caricature or not is based mostly (though not entirely) on intent.  Someone may not be a very good writer, but is still doing their damnedest to write a good character.

This much, I agree with; I think intent means a lot in any fictional medium. You can argue "Death of the author" until you're blue in the face, but if you say "the creator meant this" and the creator says "no I didn't," then you're wrong. Caricature, as noted previously by Mahr, I think it was, is largely on intent. Stereotypes can be accidental, but being a stereotype doesn't necessarily make them a bad character.

Even if that character turns out very stereotypical, I can respect and appreciate that more than someone who is skilled technically but just writes a 'pretty cutout' to be a stand-in for all the sexual exploits they're not getting to experience in real life.

And here, I disagree insofar as I don't have any less respect for the people who write "cut out" characters, as you put it; I think that's kind of unfair when you consider that those cut out characters are just being used as a means to an end in the exact same way as your complex and nuanced characters. You want to tell a compelling story with nuance and style and flair, so you create characters that fit that mould. They have a specific fantasy that they can't indulge in easily elsewhere, so they create a basic character or avatar to experience that kink or fantasy in a direct manner that satisfies that craving. Both styles have their place, and respecting somebody less because they do it is very unfair in my mind. It's the difference between going on the computer and one person decides to watch the Shawshank Redemption because they want a deep, compelling story with interesting characters and complex motives, and the other person goes and turns on "Anal Sluts 3" because they're feeling horny and feel like watching some anal porn. Both situations have their place, and neither is "superior" to the other. At least, that's my look on it; I've had a couple of cut out characters for quick and dirty one-offs before when I wanted to scratch a particular itch and didn't want to go through the effort of forging a complex character, which I used to unwind and address certain kinks and fantasies that I wasn't getting elsewhere around my more "serious" RP's. I dunno, I just dislike the trend that seems to appear that pours scorn on those "Smut-Focused" writing exercises because they're not complex and compelling, when that's not what they're supposed to be. That goes into the second part of my whole spiel, where I largely don't see the issue with those kinds of characters existing. Nobody is actually getting hurt because of them, and there are large numbers of people who want the literary equivalent of porno. It has its place, so why sneer at it when it's doing its job? Not saying YOU'RE sneering at it, I'm just saying in general. It may not be to your tastes, but let the people who are satisfied with that have it. It's not like it's hurting anybody.


So I guess I'd say it's not about making a list of traits that are 'acceptable' or not, because when it comes right down to it it isn't about how a character looks or whether they're sex-positive or not, but about how they come across as a whole and whether you feel like they could be a real person, or if it's obvious that they're only there for one reason.

And I'll stand by my above assertion that that "one reason" isn't necessarily bad. Although, I will note that several of my cut-out characters that I've utilised in the past were based on real people. Humans are a diverse bunch, as I've noted...I would be willing to wager that no matter what stereotype you came up with, you'd be able to find SOMEBODY who fit it. What was the term? "Reality is unrealistic." I think that fits rather nicely, because what "feels" realistic isn't necessarily always so. XD

I also think a lot of this can come from the writer's demeanor and how they act OOC.  Someone previously mentioned feeling uncomfortable with writing F/F stories with men, and I definitely understand that.  I've had some men approach me for F/F stories that I would have loved to write, but their attitudes really put me off, even if on paper their characters might not have looked like glaring stereotypes.  It's a fine line and a case-by-case thing, at least in my opinion, though as previously stated, my opinion comes from my specific stance on RPing.

I agree; it's always on a case by case basis, since coming up with hard rules on this sorta thing is inevitably never going to go anywhere.

Once again though, not going to tell anyone they can't write however they want.  The only time I would offer my opinions to a writer on whether their characters were unrealistic caricatures or not would be if I was asked, or if I was writing with the person.

Oh, I do the same. There are definitely things that bug my bear when it comes to writing, but as long as it doesn't affect me....live and let live, to each their own, takes all kinds, hakuna mutata, etc etc. XD

Offline eBadger

Re: Guys writing girls
« Reply #16 on: August 25, 2015, 05:52:07 PM »
My characters do not 'represent' me.  Sure, maybe each one has a little bit of me in them, but I play characters who are very far from being me, and who are by no means 'ideal' versions of what I wish I was, nor are they EVER created simply in order to participate in fetishes.  In fact I rarely write about 'fetishes' at all.  Are my characters a means of writing about 'fantasies'?  Yes, in the sense that I thought them up therefore they are a product of my fantasies/imagination.  But they are not vehicles for the kind of wish-fulfillment type 'fantasy', sexual or otherwise, that it seems the above statements would imply.

I don't think 'fetishes' was the best term, but I believe every character is created to express some aspect of ourselves, or to explore something beyond our experience; or usually both.  Wish-fulfillment is a vast simplification, implying that we want all these things to happen to us; I think it's better to say we would like some insight into the Other.  I think imposing our own experience, personality and values upon our characters in some way is inevitable. 

In addition, I have a certain level of integrity regarding my writing more generally that requires me to separate it from myself enough that no character is ever just a vehicle for my fetishes or fantasies.

I'm not sure how that would be possible, or why I'd pursue it if it were.  To begin with, they'd have to be someone I didn't care about, doing something I have no interest in, within a setting that defines boredom. 

Offline Nachtmahr

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Re: Guys writing girls
« Reply #17 on: August 27, 2015, 05:17:47 PM »
Well, I'll say that I could probably never separate a character from myself and engage purely in the, as you say, 'Collaborative writing' for the sheer sake of just writing something. I'd really much rather write on my own than write with or as a character I didn't like. I don't see why one would write as a character that does not either represent yourself or serve as a vessel for certain fetishes you would like to explore. Why someone would go ahead and write a story in collaboration with another person from the perspective of a character they did not like.. Well, I just don't see the logic there to be honest.

It's liking riding your bicycle and suddenly having the choice between two roads, one being far more comfortable and easy to go down in addition to leading you to a place you want to go, whereas the other is bumpy, tough and dark, leading to a place you have no real desire to go to. The choice, in my mind at least, seems obvious!

Why you would choose to do something that you do not enjoy for the sheer sake of it I just don't understand.

I respect the fact that you may enjoy collaborative writing simply because you're working towards something with another person, neither of you sure exactly where it's going to end - But I cannot fathom how you would go about separating yourself from it or your characters on a personal level, and instead focus entirely on simply writing with no gains or goals in sight. But maybe I'm just not seeing it, or maybe we have different tastes - Who really knows?

My point still stands though: There is a definite hypocrisy in saying that males writing as female characters is somehow worse than doing it the other way around. A statement like that really doesn't make any sense, and I think it's up to you personally to make sure your male partner who is about to embark on a journey in which he will be playing as a female, plays his female character in a manner that you find acceptable. It doesn't really matter whether it's a man playing as a woman or a man playing as a man - There is never any shame in telling someone that your writing styles or ideas for characters are not compatible.

And again, the most important argument I think is: What defines a woman to such a degree than any deviation from the norm would be considered a caricature? In my opinion no two snowflakes are alike, and while some characters are definitely less 'real' than others, I don't think it could ever really be considered "Offensive" as the OP put it. If anyone ever offends you with the way they go about things you should probably just tell them and look for other partners. If you are offended by the way someone writes their fictional character I fear you may have missed the point of fiction altogether to be honest.

From men being portrayed as lumbering, power-hungry oafs to women being portrayed as sweet and obedient sexual servant doing everything they are told, this site is flooded with stereotypes - And that is how it'll always be! The reason we RP as these stereotypes is, I believe, because we know they are not real, and that the only way we will ever encounter them are through fiction.

I wouldn't want to meet half of the characters I play in real life, for many of them are very dark and cruel stereotypical creatures, ranging from sadistic and cunning vampire lords to violent werewolves - But within the confines of an RP it is safe for me to explore these concepts and what acting like this actually makes me feel.

Just look at Non-Con fantasies! It's all about living out a fantasy we wouldn't actually want to live out. No one wants to be assaulted like that, for if they did it would not an assault. The thought, however, can be tantalizing and intriguing, and thus we look for safe ways to explore it. Yet another case of someone playing as a character that represents themselves in a situation they would not other want to or even be able to be in - Such as a man playing as his ultimate sexual fantasy of a potential woman that he knows most likely doesn't exist.

In conclusion, since I've rambled for too long already, I honestly don't see why there would ever be a problem with men playing as exaggerated, stereotypical and highly idealized female characters representing their own personal fetishes. I cannot see any situation in which you would be forced to interact with people who do this if you outright take offense to it - You're 100% free to just not interact with these people if they somehow offend you, and 100% free to not start roleplaying with them if their style or suggested characters turn you off. Being upset about this is like being upset about the rain: You can either stay inside and realize that scolding it isn't going to do anything, or bring an umbrella with you and just ignore it. Being upset, angry or offended by the way people roleplay and how it is different from your own style and taste is a waste of time. Time you could instead have spent looking for partner who do things in a way you find more agreeable.

It genuinely feels to me like something such as this can only be a problem for you if you've decided that it should be your problem. It's so easy to just shrug it off and ignore it that you really have no right to complain.

(And to be fair, you really don't have a right to complain about how other people write and what characters they like to play with or as. So long as no rules have been broken, other people's business is their business.)

Offline Vergil Tanner

Re: Guys writing girls
« Reply #18 on: August 27, 2015, 05:51:20 PM »
I pretty much agree with everything Mahr just said (there are a few quibbling points, but the sentiment is one that I agree with), though I need to add that a certain degree of disassociation is good, simply because it allows you to write things being done that you may not necessarily do yourself. For example, I hate playing rape scenes because I get a bit too involved with the character and can't properly disassociate enough to make it not squicky for me. I would love to be able to write those scenes at length, simply to explore the psyche of somebody who would do that sort of thing, but it's not something I can manage because it's so divorced from the kind of person I actually am that it makes me uncomfortable even THINKING about doing something like that. So a certain degree of disassociation is good when writing, because it lets you explore things that you wouldn't actually do. It also makes it easier to take criticism of your character, since you can divorce yourself enough to say "They're not insulting ME, they're simply criticising my character," which is a distinction that a lot of people have trouble with (I myself have fallen into that trap every now and then in my own RPing life, unfortunately).

Offline Erythrite

Re: Guys writing girls
« Reply #19 on: August 27, 2015, 06:07:19 PM »
And here, I disagree insofar as I don't have any less respect for the people who write "cut out" characters, as you put it; I think that's kind of unfair when you consider that those cut out characters are just being used as a means to an end in the exact same way as your complex and nuanced characters. You want to tell a compelling story with nuance and style and flair, so you create characters that fit that mould. They have a specific fantasy that they can't indulge in easily elsewhere, so they create a basic character or avatar to experience that kink or fantasy in a direct manner that satisfies that craving. Both styles have their place, and respecting somebody less because they do it is very unfair in my mind. It's the difference between going on the computer and one person decides to watch the Shawshank Redemption because they want a deep, compelling story with interesting characters and complex motives, and the other person goes and turns on "Anal Sluts 3" because they're feeling horny and feel like watching some anal porn. Both situations have their place, and neither is "superior" to the other. At least, that's my look on it; I've had a couple of cut out characters for quick and dirty one-offs before when I wanted to scratch a particular itch and didn't want to go through the effort of forging a complex character, which I used to unwind and address certain kinks and fantasies that I wasn't getting elsewhere around my more "serious" RP's. I dunno, I just dislike the trend that seems to appear that pours scorn on those "Smut-Focused" writing exercises because they're not complex and compelling, when that's not what they're supposed to be. That goes into the second part of my whole spiel, where I largely don't see the issue with those kinds of characters existing. Nobody is actually getting hurt because of them, and there are large numbers of people who want the literary equivalent of porno. It has its place, so why sneer at it when it's doing its job? Not saying YOU'RE sneering at it, I'm just saying in general. It may not be to your tastes, but let the people who are satisfied with that have it. It's not like it's hurting anybody.

Yeah, I mean, I wouldn't say that I'd have any less respect for someone as a person if they wrote that sort of thing, or that it can't exist or even that it's 'bad' or 'wrong', just that I wouldn't want to engage in it and personally have trouble respecting things that are 'smut-focused' in general as an 'art form' or whatever term you want to use.  If I was in a group game with someone writing a caricature-character just for smut, that would annoy me.  Does it annoy me when I see that sort of character in things I'm not involved in?  Sometimes, though I'm quite aware that's probably me being too judgmental about the issue and falling into the 'my preferences are the best preferences' trap.  Even so, I wouldn't actually say anything to those writers unless my opinion was invited.

 
I'm not sure how that would be possible, or why I'd pursue it if it were.  To begin with, they'd have to be someone I didn't care about, doing something I have no interest in, within a setting that defines boredom.

I don't see why one would write as a character that does not either represent yourself or serve as a vessel for certain fetishes you would like to explore. Why someone would go ahead and write a story in collaboration with another person from the perspective of a character they did not like.. Well, I just don't see the logic there to be honest.

I think this is a misinterpretation of what I meant by 'separating myself' from my characters, though, maybe not.  It could just be a difference in opinion/preference.  I'll try to make myself clearer:
I generally don't write characters that I don't like (some of them are sadistic and utterly unlikable in most ways, but I still find something to like about them), and I don't think that separating yourself from your writing/characters means that you have to write characters that have NOTHING in common with you, or that you don't like.  What I meant by separating myself from my writing is that none of the characters ARE me, or are avatars of me, or are people I like to pretend I am.  I think badger might be on to something with the sentiment that every character represents some facet of the writer, because I do think all of my characters have a little bit of me in them, though often I don't know exactly what that little bit is, and don't spend a lot of time reflecting on what this or that character is meant to represent for me; I just write them and try my best to make them their own people.  Some of the best moments for me are when I feel like I can actually hear the characters talking; telling me what they're going to do rather than me deciding what they would do.  The most gratifying thing for me as a writer is really feeling like my characters have come to life in a way that's somewhat separate from me, even if they do exist in my head.

As far as writing with a purpose in mind, I call that plotting, which I love, so I'm not sure where I gave the impression that separating myself from my characters and/or not making them vehicles for fetishes or fantasies meant that the stories they're in have to just ramble with no gains or goals in sight, unless the argument is that any plot is a personal fantasy that the writer is living out thus the character is the vehicle for it, which I suppose I understand theoretically, but it seems like an odd, semantic-arguing stance to take, if that's the case.  Besides, when characters really become their own entities in my head, sometimes they completely throw aside my plots because they turn out not to be in character, and I adore those moments and personally think they often make my stories better when they happen.

I absolutely enjoy all of my writing and never argued that people should do things they don't enjoy.  I WOULDN'T enjoy writing a character that was purely a vehicle for a fetish.  That's just my personal preference.

Back to the initial issue though, I'm not sure the OP was saying that female caricatures were actually more offensive, but rather that, in his experience, they were more common than their male counterparts, though as he can't really comment on it right now, I can only speculate.  I certainly wouldn't argue that female caricatures are any more or less offensive, but I do think that there might be a basis for arguing that they're more common, at least in certain places and in certain mediums, since as I said in my initial post, I think there's a sort of deeply ingrained idea that it's more 'okay' to objectify women.  For example, how often have you seen a group of characters in a movie/TV show/book/whatever where there was only one female character, and her main character trait seemed to just be the fact that she was female and many of the men were attracted to her?

And on a completely unrelated note, I love eBadger's avatar.

Offline Vergil Tanner

Re: Guys writing girls
« Reply #20 on: August 27, 2015, 06:25:35 PM »
Yeah, I mean, I wouldn't say that I'd have any less respect for someone as a person if they wrote that sort of thing, or that it can't exist or even that it's 'bad' or 'wrong', just that I wouldn't want to engage in it and personally have trouble respecting things that are 'smut-focused' in general as an 'art form' or whatever term you want to use.  If I was in a group game with someone writing a caricature-character just for smut, that would annoy me.  Does it annoy me when I see that sort of character in things I'm not involved in?  Sometimes, though I'm quite aware that's probably me being too judgmental about the issue and falling into the 'my preferences are the best preferences' trap.  Even so, I wouldn't actually say anything to those writers unless my opinion was invited.

It definitely is a trap, but different things annoy different people. I for one am fairly laid back about that sorta thing, and if there's a writer or a character I dislike for whatever reason, I just don't interact with them and let them do their own thing. But that's just me; I'm too lazy to get angry for any noteworthy length of time. XD

I think there's a sort of deeply ingrained idea that it's more 'okay' to objectify women.  For example, how often have you seen a group of characters in a movie/TV show/book/whatever where there was only one female character, and her main character trait seemed to just be the fact that she was female and many of the men were attracted to her?

That's....debatable. It was definitely the case even twenty years ago, but nowadays anybody who thinks that is very quickly "corrected" by a lot of angry voices, so it's hard to go through the day without seeing SOMETHING related to "It's not ok to objectify X!" Forgetting the grey areas for a moment (for example, models, strippers, pornstars and many other professions pretty much make their living off of objectifying themselves, and I don't see anything wrong with that as long as they have that choice), I don't think many people are under the impression that it's "more acceptable" to objectify men than women. In SOME cases, I think an argument could be made that it's LESS acceptable in today's society. I mean, taking your example, how much young teen fiction has a male character that the female moons over who doesn't seem to have any personality other than "Stand there and look pretty from afar." It's a common trope for both biological genders, to be sure, but it isn't necessarily "more acceptable" to do it to women. Take the Coca Cola advert, for example; a group of females are enjoying a coke, then see a hunky gardener or groundskeeper or something mowing the grass. They shake up a coke, roll it to the guy, and he opens it only for it to spray in his face and over his shirt. So, he takes said shirt off, and the camera lingers over every dip and cranny of his muscular, chiselled chest, and the girls openly oggle him. Personally, I don't see an issue with that advert. It was amusing, especially with the guys smirk like "Haha, I left you speechless, now I'm gonna walk away like a smartarse." And largely, everybody agrees; it's a vaguely amusing advert, now let's move on. Now reverse the genders, with a bunch of guys tricking a female into taking her top off and then oggling her openly when she does. Feels a bit....weirder, doesn't it?

Now, I'm not getting into gender politics here. I don't necessarily agree with the logical conclusion of the above argument, I'm largely playing devils advocate. But my point is that I don't necessarily agree that it's "more acceptable" to objectify women over men, just because doing it to women is more likely to earn you a verbal slap upside the head. It varies from person to person and area to area, but I think on balance, it's just as acceptable to objectify men as it is women, socially speaking, especially when you consider that a lot of the time, the two genders are objectified in fairly different ways.

So....honestly, I don't see the whole "deeply ingrained idea that it's more okay to objectify women," simply because it ISN'T socially acceptable, and if you openly do it, you get a LOT of criticism. That's kinda the definition of "socially unacceptable," isn't it?

All that being said, I don't want to get into massive gender politics debate. Please. I just wanted to make the point that I don't necessarily agree that it's "more acceptable" to objectify women. :P

Offline Erythrite

Re: Guys writing girls
« Reply #21 on: August 27, 2015, 06:37:32 PM »
I feel like the very reason we have that strong reaction nowadays (from some people) against objectifying women though is because it's been acceptable for so long, and only now are people realizing that something needs to be said/done about it, and you don't get rid of the deeper mindset as easily as you might eradicate it on the surface.  So online where we're mostly anonymous and don't have to face up to the consequences of our actions as much as offline, and especially in fiction, the objectification of women can, in some cases, run rampant.

I don't really want to get into a debate on gender politics either though, and I especially don't want to get to the point where I come close to pulling out the 'as a woman' argument because that's just annoying for everyone involved, so I'll just say that you make a fair point that I don't necessarily disagree with, but I still think objectification of women is more accepted in certain mediums/circumstances.

Offline Vergil Tanner

Re: Guys writing girls
« Reply #22 on: August 27, 2015, 06:50:55 PM »
Oh, I completely agree that it's a reaction to a long held belief, though again, I would note that it's not like the objectification of men is a new thing either. Yes, the objectification of women runs rampant in some areas - especially under the guise of anonymity, as you noted - but the same could be said of men in certain sectors. HOWEVER. I do agree that this is neither the time nor place for such a debate, and such a conversation, if had in the wrong way, inevitably devolves into "Well my side has it woooooorse!" which is utterly banal and does more to damage the conversation than anything else. Equality shouldn't be a competition over "who has it worse," and it shouldn't be a matter of "sides," after all. It should just be "These are the issues, let's sort them out." Of course, the world we want to live in has no impact on the world we ACTUALLY live in, or I would be a billionaire who could fly and make people - men and women both - orgasm by smiling at them. Actually, scratch that last one. That could get....inconvenient, if I couldn't control it. XD

I agree, though again, I would suggest that there are certain mediums and circumstances where the reverse is true. It's a complicated issue, of course, and it will never have a simple answer. But, we can keep trying, eh?

And oh, I LOVE hearing that card being played in conversation. It usually comes out when I'm trying to point out that men do, in fact, have issues as well. Not that their issues are worse or even as bad as womens, just that they exist. I had one person say "I'm a woman, so I know more about womens issues than you!" And I was like "....yeah, and I'm a man, so I know more about mens issues. I thought that was why we were having the conversation; to learn more about the other persons point of view. Where do we go now? We're playing chess, and we both have lost everything but our Kings! You wanna keep going in circles, or reset the board?" XD XD

Offline Nachtmahr

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Re: Guys writing girls
« Reply #23 on: August 28, 2015, 04:14:58 AM »
Well, I'll admit that I probably did misinterpret and exaggerate your point Erythrite! Sorry about that. ^^'

I of course see now what you mean, and that you in fact did not mean that there should be a 'Firewall' so to speak between you and your character to ensure that you are not associated in any way or have any personal connection. I think we actually agree, albeit in a somewhat abstract way.

And then of course there is the fact that, yes, whether or not you like playing a character that is simply just the embodiment of a certain fetish you have is entirely a matter of personal preference.

Tentacle monsters come to mind - Usually these tend to be bland and purely physical creatures playing with much, if any, personality or ability to communicate beyond basic sympathy or apathy. I, however, have been known to dabble in this and I have found that it can actually be rather amusing to play a 'character' that is essentially a completely blank slate, void of any personality. What makes it interesting though is probably the fact that whenever you then do inject some characteristics it's in the form of unsuspected acts of cruelty or kindness that are completely out of left field for you partner.

In conclusion: Simple characters are amazing if written in a manner where they are allowed to develop, in my opinion.

But let's look at my absolute favorite stereotype when it comes to characters I love to play: I like to play what I'll affectionately refer to as 'Anime-Shy' despite me not being all that big on anime. For those in the know, these are characters that tend to act like, for example, Hinata Hyuuga from Naruto. Extremely shy characters, socially removed from others and suffering under an oppressively poor self-image and self-worth. Some people are going are going to groan at the mere mention of characters like this - That blush and fidget if you as much as greet them - and others quite like them. It's a criminally overused female stereotype in anime, the 'Useless until she finds her inner strength'-type of girl, but it's none the less a stereotype that I adore in an RP-sense, although I would feel a strong sense of sympathy for anyone who felt like that in the real world.

I like playing characters that are either cosmically strong or extremely weak and 'useless'.

- - - - -

Now, another point Erythrite makes that's completely valid for as long as we can all stay civil about it: Yes, feminism and gender equality obviously has something to do with it. If you outright said "I want to play as/against a useless female" chances are people would react very negatively towards the idea or you outright. As someone who enjoys the 'useless'-archetype: Trust me, it's a minefield sometimes.

One thing we see that does end up being both frustrating and somewhat unintentionally funny every now and again is men standing up to defend women's rights in ways even more passionate than hardcore feminists, and they often end up choosing the wrong battlefields.

This, however, goes back to a point I made previously: There is more than enough for you to be offended by in terms of gender equality and how women are presented to you, so turning to fiction first is really a waste of time and it only diverts attention away from what really matters, and what really matters is actual equality in the real world, and not some guy who gets off on playing an exaggeratedly sexual woman in a story on a relatively obscure online forum. :P

In conclusion: It seems we all, in our own way, agree that stereotypes are okay, and if you don't like them they're so easy to avoid that it ends up not really being a big issue. There is no need to enforce equality on fiction, and any resources spent on trying to do so could have been put to better use elsewhere. Focusing on stuff like '50 Shades of Grey' and what not and trying to make it a scapegoat for real misogyny and abusive relationships only dilutes the severity of the real issues and it diverts our attention away from the real world.

I do not mean to put words in anyone's mouths of course, but that's the vibe I'm getting. We seem to have an understanding of one each others opinions to the point where I think we can pretty safely say: No, guys playing girls (Even stereotypical ones) is not a major issue and is not offensive to anyone who isn't looking to be offended. As a matter of fact, it's probably a healthy symptom that so many men are willingly exploring their feminine side and the female mentality as a whole, even if it can be misguided or removed from reality. (^.^)

Offline eternaldarkness

Re: Guys writing girls
« Reply #24 on: August 28, 2015, 01:36:05 PM »
Not entirely relevant to the discussion at hand, but you guys made me think: This thread brought up a thought for me that I hadn't even consciously considered until I read some of the very well thought-out conversation here: I rarely ever play female characters, even in situations where a character would be better served as female, because I am deathly afraid of getting it wrong and offending someone. It really is a self-reinforcing loop: I am afraid of getting it wrong by being bad at it, so I don't try which means I'll never get better.

Another thing this thread brought up is an inexplicable loathing I have for writers who flat-out tell me I can't even try writing a female character. I know, everyone has the right to choose writing partners as they please, but when I see a game that is female only and absolutely will not entertain male writers writing as female characters I actively make it a point to never, ever play anything with the writer who made that request. It's silly, it's immature, but it bothers me that much, and probably contributes to me never writing female characters and in all likelihood never getting any more comfortable doing so.