Feminism in Gaming: Queer Baiting in Elder Scrolls with Mod Loser!

Hey there, Nasties! It’s Mod Loser, Jackie, whatever you want to call me. And I’m going to discuss the Elder Scrolls franchise from a feminist perspective. Now, most people think of the Elder Scrolls series as being fairly feminist given that it has always had gender selection, the quests have never been blocked off for any identity and that the gameplay and story is rather unaffected by the choice of your race or gender identity.

Further still, many people reference same sex marriage in Skyrim as being amazing and inspirational at the time of release. That being said, while the Elder Scrolls franchise has a fairly good track record, there are some things that need to be discussed and understood. For starters, let’s tackle the approach to Gay Marriage in Skyrim.

To be honest, it is not at all as exciting or glamorous as anyone could imagine. This stems from the incredibly shallow marriage system that exists in the game. Any NPC that can be married can be married by either sex, yes; however, there is no real emotional connection to be made. You see, these characters are willing to marry you once you do specific, seemingly random quests that barely connect to their interests at all.

This means that rather than even trying for a more story driven approach to relationships and characters, like in games such as Fallout 3, this marriage system is used as a shallow attempt to draw in queer gamers. How do I know this? Well, that would be the Press on Skyrim when it released. There was a great deal of controversy and Bethesda supposedly defending the decision under a bastion of equal rights, but the mechanic instead of feeling as though it supported queer culture, was a simple marketing ploy about as deep as a puddle.

This is genuinely bad, because it set a precedent. Companies can now add in very shallow marriage or relationship options to allow for “Queer Couples,” and manipulate that in an effort to simply sell more games. Manipulating Queer People’s desires to feel welcomed and respected in shallow ways is a cruel, and shamelessly ridiculous insult to the community.

I bring this up because other games have followed in Skyrim’s footsteps. One such example is the Call of Duty Franchise, believe it or not. In Black Ops 3, you can choose to play as a woman, and there is a love interest in the story that is female. What matters though, is that the script was not altered whatsoever, the interactions are hollow, and it was an obvious attempt to say “look at this lesbian couple in our game!” Men tend to find gay female relationships sexy, and they “gave queer people representation.”

To the COD Team, that seemed like a win-win, but instead, they only baited the queer community into a cheap manipulation of our desire for basic rights and respect.

Thanks for reading today, Nasties. I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below! This has been Mod Loser, Jackie, whatever you want to call me, signing off!

Nasty Discussion: LGBT Representation vs Fanservice with Mod Knight!

Hey everyone! Mod Knight back with another Nasty Discussion! This time I’ll be taking on a topic that may seem a bit odd. Now, I’m very pro-LGBT representation in gaming! I myself am, in fact, gay; and it always makes me happy to find characters to whom I can relate as a result! However, sometimes the representation we end up getting is…well…to put it simply, it isn’t really representation, it’s fanservice. Fanservice in which two people of the same gender are put into a romantic or sexual situation for the pleasure of the player, usually geared toward heterosexual players, or as a simple way of trying to appear progressive.

More often than not, the fan service in these games tends to derive from female characters; generally with two women put into (often forced) awkward or sexually suggestive situations. Usually in such cases, they are quickly put off by the act or simply don’t take it seriously, thus allowing the (again) straight male viewer to feel more comfortable enjoying the action.

Now, I’d like to make one thing clear: I don’t hate fanservice as a whole. In the proper doses, and when done with the proper respect, it’s an enjoyable addition to games! Problems tend to arise, however, from the fact that almost all fanservice is universally female, as well as it becoming the major focus of certain characters in an otherwise fully serious story.

So, I’d like to look at two different examples of this sort of thing:

One of the first things that comes to mind when I think of an example of same-sex characters being used as fanservice is the Hyperdimension Neptunia Franchise. For those who are unfamiliar with the games, they are FILLED with fanservice. From the main character’s outfits to their movements, much of the game is centered around the male gaze. And there are numerous instances of the female cast members flirting, teasing and even kissing one another for…seemingly little reason aside from the fact that it’s something for the player to enjoy! These kinds of moments cant really be counted as representation because they often mean little outside of the moment they happen in.

Now then. An example of more positive representation can be found in Dragon Age: Inquisition. In which, there are several companions whom you can romance as a person of the same sex or sometimes exclusively as such! Now, these romance paths contain sexual and suggestive content as well. However, they go beyond that; even if the relationship never becomes truly romantic in some cases, there’s still mentions of the fact that these characters do acknowledge their sexualities. As well as emotional reactions and build up to such scenes! Not only that, but they’re meant to stimulate your emotions, not just your body.

So, overall, this is something I’ve felt strongly about. And I’m very glad I’ve had the chance to express it! While sexuality, fanservice, and enjoyment are all well and good, the proper respect needs to be shown to not only the characters themselves, but also the groups represented by them! After all, brushing aside the major implications on a character and their life regarding romance and sex can be rather disrespectful to those who live with it daily.

Thank you for reading! This has been Mod Knight!