Monday, March 4, 2013

The Twins of Lei-Shen could be WORSE

Around the community there has been a murmur of discontent about the portrayal of Lei-Shen's twin consorts.  These two are the only female mogu in existence - created by Lei Shen himself.
The Twin Consorts of Lei Shen, Lu’Lin and Suen, are said to be greatest of the Thunder King’s treasures. Rumoured to be the only known female mogu in existence, Lei Shen keeps his trophies close, and their combined arsenal against interlopers closer.

If you would like to read some posts highlighting why these models are just wrong, check out Nyxrinne of Touch of Death, who has an eloquent post on it: Mogu did it: possession of the Thunder King. Her  dry and engaging wit  was evident in the introduction of her post:
How to dig yourself deeper into a hole in three simple steps:
  1. Create a vibrant world with a wide range of characters, only to introduce new species with each expansion that come only in the default (male) gender.
  1. Create a female model for one of these races post-launch. Make it hypersexualised, and limit its appearance to one boss fight. Be sure to give it a name that describes it in terms of its relationship with a male character.
  1. Release a blog post in which all other bosses are discussed in terms of fight mechanics and design team influences with jokes ahoy. In the section about this new Female Fight, neglect to do this, and instead neatly justify step two with a design team within a design team. Be sure to put extra emphasis on women as trophies for bonus depth.

- Nyxrinne, Mogu Did it (27 Feb 2013)
It wasn't long before my favourite feminist, Apple Cider Mage, responded as well.  People might see her views as aggressively pro-female, but actually, ACM is merely fighting against the stereotype, the ingrained culture that we perpetuate by the little things in life and in game.  Her post was in two parts - Part I dealt more with how female Mogu seemed to be tacked on as an afterthought - and had to be a sexualised afterthought at that.  In Part II, she is responding to the use of specific words in an interview describing women ("treasures", "possessions", "trophies"), which seem to highlight that the gaming industry is still male dominated - and perhaps, as it is a fantasy game, this is probably what male gamers fantasise ABOUT.
I suspect the model choice is less a reflection of Lei Shen’s ideals and more the developers still.

- Apple Cider Mage, The Problem With Twins Part II (28 Feb 2013)
Perhaps they are right, and these sexy female Mogu really should have no place in the raid as raid bosses - why do Mogu need females anyway?  They don't procreate.  And surely there is nothing wrong with GAY Mogu if they need to have some sort of needs met.  If Mogu do experience carnal love, then they also have, other than each other, oh and their Quilien....

Well, I'm Australian.  And I'm going to do what Aussies do - and that's take the piss out of these Twin Consorts.

So let's see how Blizz could make this fight even MORE wrong and cause a general uproar.

Abilities

As the twins are based on a sun moon theme, I'll make a darkness and light phase..

Suen
  • Suen appears only during the sun phase
  • She has an ability, Flutter Eyelashes, which incapacitates all male raid members facing her for 5 seconds.  
  • Flames of Passion (OMG, she actually DOES have an ability with this name in the real fight!) is a conflag type ability with an AOE effect of 10 yards.
  • Quotes:
    "I'll see you Suen!"
    "You will not stop the Thunder King, the light of my life!"
Lu'lin
  • Lu'lin appears only during the moon phase
  • Her ability, Wardrobe Malfunction, causes all male raid members to be paralysed until female raid members picks up the fallen item and throw it back against her, covering her exposed female parts.
  • Every 30 seconds she will cast PMS, a 30 yard knockback ability that silences you for 3 seconds.
  • Quotes:
    "Don't piss me off!  This is my moon phase!"
    "My King!  Save us!"
Or... perhaps we could have them CHAINED to the Thunder king's lightning pillars, perhaps, each one wearing a school uniform and pigtails.

Or... brandishing rolling pins and saucepans as they fought us barefooted and wearing aprons.

Back to seriousness now...

As Cynwise apparently said, if these two were meant to be bodyguards, then they should dress like bodyguards.  No bodyguard, even with skin of stone REALLY needs to go around showing so much ... skin, if you will... for arrows to penetrate.  Unless of course, their object is to SEDUCE the raid attacking them.

But can you really blame the designers of Blizzard?  If you looked at a number of actual female players out there (not males playing female characters), playing female characters, what do you think they are wearing as their transmog?  Are they wearing armor and robes covering them from head to toe to prevent exposure to flames/ice/blades?  Or are they wearing cleavage enhancing, leg baring, midriff exposing gear?

They want to look beautiful.  They want to be sexy.  And it's a fantasy game - can you blame them?  When the developers look at that, what do they think we want to see?  And I bet they're all boys - and you know how dumb boys can be.

OK, so the twins are possessions.  They are owned, like dogs, like Quilien.  But, remember, that this is a story.  Just as in real life we know that your'e not supposed to be going around casting pyroblast at people or heroic striking them just because we can, we know that women are not possessions.  People stand up against these injustices every day.  That kind of behaviour is not tolerated in normal society - well not MY normal society.  It is that we RECOGNISE and ACKNOWLEDGE that these things are not the normal that keeps the fantasy from bleeding into reality.  Also, this is the villain.  He's supposed to be doing bad things.  This is bad.  Bad guys keep slave girls.  Good guys don't.

This is the thing - we can't have the same story every time.  How boring would the story be!  We will see suffering.  We will see injustice.  But we should also see the heroism, the fairness, the struggle, the battles, the conquests and the defeats.  And we do and that is what makes a great story.  If everything was perfect, nobody would want to read it.  Or play it.


20 comments:

  1. I get rather sick of hearing the feminist double standard on these things. Look at how Lei Shen himself dresses -

    - bare chested
    - skirt/kilt thingy
    - shoulder guards
    - mantle/crown
    - wristguards

    What are his consorts wearing?

    - bra/bikini
    - skirt/kilt thingy
    - shoulder guards
    - mantle/crown
    - wristguards

    And what are Lei Shen's defining lore features? He built an empire with magic, titan technology & bio-experimentation. Yet what does he look like? A hulking muscular giant. No problem there though, because men are never sexualised/idealised, right?

    As to why they are consorts, it could range from being a status symbol (ie. the only mogu females are his), jealousy of the organic races, or the next step in his flesh-shaping experiments. Until the full details of Ra'Den are out it's too early to say.

    No doubt there is a bit of fan service going on, but that happens both ways all the time. Just look at the first boss we'll be fighting on monday - Loin cloth, wrist/ankle guards ... biceps the size of a small house.

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    1. Fighting on wednesday I mean

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    2. I think people are more upset at females being treated as objects or possessions. However, I do agree with you, when have you ever seen a fat male raid boss?

      Lets hope our tanks and lagging on Wednesday :)

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    3. I'm fairly sure men can, and do, fight their own battles regarding the physique of male models. The male blood elf was bulked up due to male outcry, for example. Feminists are not obligated to write about male issues - and their omission of them doesn't actually mean they disagree with your criticism of Captain Muscular showing all around Azeroth.

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  2. "Her ability, Wardrobe Malfunction, causes all male raid members to be paralysed until female raid members picks up the fallen item and throw it back against her, covering her exposed female parts."

    ROTFL! If only!

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    1. Oh my God I broke myself laughing so hard! I was thinking the same thing: Politically Correct villains would be a bit boring, but still....still! Ah well. Navi, you made my day!

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    2. I know, I was being totally politically incorrect, but it's just so ridiculous I have to laugh.

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  3. Hehe, the Flutter Eyelashes and Wardrobe Malfunction made me lol the second time too, Navi! I noticed you were FAR more tame in your choice of emotes and phrases than we were in our conversation previously, though. ;)

    Okie, so I understand that a woman fighting in a plate bikini is hardly realistic, but this comes while talking about a world with dragons and Old Gods and giant talking bugs and panda monks. Really? Are we going to go for fantasy or realism? If it is realism, I am so out. ;) I do not people games that feel like real life for very good reason.

    The other thing that confuses me about this is the slave thing. If Lei Shen's slaves were serpents - no biggie, obviously since the Mogu already do that left and right. If his slaves were Pandaren - wait they were! Where is the stink about that! If his slaves were mindless stone creatures - oh, they did that too.

    The Mogu are about enslaving everyone. The enslaved all of Pandaria at one point. They are back with the intention of doing it again.

    Cause an uproar about that! Just hate him and kick his ass.

    Honestly, stories, even game stories, are about characters you love and characters you love to hate. No one loves and remembers boring PC characters. People remember villains who raise their hackles and and inspire a sense of "OMG! This villain MUST be stopped!" What is the point of fighting them otherwise?

    The Old Gods and Deathwing wanted to destroy the world - the Old Gods are still plotting even, I am sure. The Burning Legion wants to destroy and convert. The Lich King wanted to make everyone undead and under his control. Lei Shin is about dominating everyone and everything in his path.

    Use your hate of Lei Shin and go stop him!

    ~ Effy

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    1. I didn't want to start a furor! Besides, I did tell you before, when we're chatting together you bring out the worst/best in me LMAO!

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    2. Serpents and mindless stone creatures are not real and they do not represent anything that is real. I should note, however, that there are quests to save the serpents.

      The Twin Consorts are essentially the only representation women, the real group of people, get in this tier, save one member of a predominantly male team with the Troll Council, and we don’t get to give them the same chance we give a bunch of enchanted lizards. They’re enslaved, yes, and we band of heroes come in and kill them.

      Meanwhile, the story of the enslavement of the Pandaren is told in a way that is respectful and serious, and resolves with the enslaved Pandaren finding the strength of body and spirit to rise up and gain freedom. It’s a story of hope. It’s a story that is told well, and it’s because of this particular strand of story that I think there is a drive to kick the mogu back hard.

      Lu’Lin and Suen do not, unless they’re adding something quite major in the live release that they didn’t put out on the PTR, have a story handled in a sympathetic manner, or even a story that makes a great deal of sense. I’ve yet to see any lore reason for Lei Shen to lust after the generic western tits-and-arse look when his people don’t appear to have natural-born women at all. There is no gravity to their story, simply. They are not played as a serious representation of Lei Shen’s enslaving tendencies.

      It’s not about being PC. You can write about terrible things in a way that respects the severity of the matter, even if you address the whole thing with humour, and that’s how you write stuff that’s compelling and memorable. This is memorable only in that it’s logically facepalm-worthy and not in any way original.

      And yeah, I agree - I love fantasy and I don’t want my cartoony-colourful game getting all real-life gritty on me. But of course I’m going to raise a brow when my gender is, yet again, played as wank material.

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    3. Do you think that if free them from then enslavement that it would make them a little more palatable? That is quite a nice idea.

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  4. I've always felt that senior management at Blizzard is basically a bunch of aging frat boys, with Samwise playing the John Belushi role. Explains so many of the choices they make. A couple of observations from back when I was writing NMR. One, there are far more male raid bosses than female, probably because they default all bosses to male and then insert a few females here and there. Two, whenever they create a new race, if it is going to have both sexes, they always design the male first. It would be so refreshing if just once they'd do it in the other order.

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    1. I'm not even sure it's necessary to have more female villains. If you look at real life, how many females are villains, and if you look at why they are villains, are they not about bitchy sorts of things? Males have much simpler reasons to be evil - power, greed, obsession. I know females are much more complex, and a lot of female evil comes from love spurned, jealousy, greed, power and imagined insults. But I seem to remember lots of female raid bosses, but really, it doesn't matter to me if they're male or female, because the sex of the bosses doesn't matter, it's the fight. I'm surprised that fights with insects and arachnids aren't all females because in nature the females are the bigger and more aggressive ones.

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    2. "If you look at real life, how many females are villains"

      Um. Elizabeth of Bathory spring prominently to mind. Livia wanders through, chatting with Octavia and Theodora. Mary I says hello but is off to hobnob with Marie ... one cannot help but suspect that any lack of female villains in history is down more to opportunity than ability and proclivity. :p

      "I know females are much more complex"

      ...

      A lack of willingness to vocalise who one is to all and sundry does not make one less complex Nav. <.<

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    3. I am not saying there are no villains who are female. I am merely saying that is it necessary to have an equal number of female villains as there are male? Perhaps culture affects that too because oppressed women cannot become tyrants. It just seems there are more "forces of good" females embodied in stories - like fairy godmothers, than there are male (if you don't look at princes rescuing princesses... which again takes us down the path of helpless females).

      Ugh, this conversation is spiralling on me!

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    4. But if your going with fairy tales you can't forget the evil stepmothers and the ugly and evil stepsisters! And it's not just Cinderella who had those. Handsel and Gretel's stepmother insisted that they just lose the children. I'm sure if I dug out my big book of Grimm tales I'd find quite a few examples of evil bitches.

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    5. True but how many GOOD male spirits are there? And I'm not talking heroes, I mean elves or angels or spirits...
      But you're right, there are heaps of evil women in stories! How could I forget all those evil stepmothers and witches!

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    6. I haven't actually done my research on this, but, er, based on what I can think of off the top of my head, I suspect women generally occupy the hugs-and-make-it-better role where good spirits are concerned, while men are more voice-of-conscience or hard-but-necessary-truth-giver types. Like the Ghost of Christmas Past in A Christmas Carol.

      That said, I mostly read older faerie tales, so when you say "spirit" I think of malevolent things more often than not.

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  5. Eek, don't give them ideas. Otherwise this:

    "Or... perhaps we could have them CHAINED to the Thunder king's lightning pillars, perhaps, each one wearing a school uniform and pigtails."

    Will be coming soon to a raid near you!

    (Was going to write a serious response about my personal issue with the whole thing but realised it's basically an essay in it's own right complete with literary references so rather than clog up your blog will post it sometime this week :P).

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    1. I look forward to reading it :) I know a lot of people have personal issues with it and the internet is there for all of us to have a voice - even me who seems to be a little different from everyone else.

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