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Posts Tagged ‘Gender’

Sometimes it’s just too difficult to be equitable with regard to gender. It’s not a matter of being sexist, it’s a purely technical choice to stick with male or masculine pronouns/examples/characters/test subjects.

The funny thing about this defense is that it’s often true. Technical difficulties such as money, time, or toolset limitations get in the way of gender diversity, at least in the case of video games, and surely with some of the other examples above. Fortunately, we don’t have to take point with the truth of the matter to reject the claim as a valid or appropriate policy for addressing gender exclusivity. The point is precisely that it is difficult because for so long (i.e. most of recorded history) it was not necessary to consider the rights, interests, or unique concerns of women themselves, because women were for men. Things are more convenient when you ignore half the species… but this is not a good reason to do so.

You can see this echoed in an admittedly select example from gaming history. Industry Gamers reported yesterday that Peach wasn’t included as a playable character in New Super Mario Bros. Wii because it would take extra effort (time/money/etc) to make her skirt move appropriately. Dynamic, fluid things in general are difficult to capture in video games because of the way toolsets work. When you’re plastering a skin on a collection of polygons, movement is limited to the programming of the polygons. It does indeed take special programming to have things like long flowing hair, draperies, or otherwise non-rigid textures, since the technology has evolved without these features being seen as central. Although soft hairstyles and draped fabrics are often associated with femininity, and heteromen like femininity, other physical manifestations more directly related to masculine interest in the sexual use of women have taken priority. (more…)

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