Role Playing and Sexism

Online role playing, as a writing form, has seriously come into its own in the past decade. I remember hopping online back when everyone was congregating in AOL chatrooms and, unsurprisingly, most of the role playing I saw going on there was either animal role playing or cybering (typing out sexual acts, one of the most noted forms of role playing). These days, we’re a long way away from those chatrooms—role playing can be found anywhere with a text-based posting system and with as much diversity as all 500 or so cable channels. Especially in my life, role playing has taken a huge role in shaping my writing style as well as who I am as a person; I’ve improved in character building, I met my girlfriend and a wide majority of my friends through role playing, and I even offer to help others in building their own characters. I also help run a role playing site, so my co-admin and I experience the good as well as the bad of the community. And let me tell you, when role playing gets bad, it’s really bad.

Only 90's kids remember.

Only 90’s kids will remember.

If one were to ask what the worst part of role playing is, or rather, what’s the worst thing to run into, I’m sure that a solid eight times out of ten, people would mention something about Mary Sues in all their overpowered glory. However, this would be incorrect. First of all, Mary Sues are fantastic and should be protected at all costs. That aside, one of the largest problems to plague the role playing community, at least from a forum-based standpoint, is the manner in which male characters are held in higher respect than female characters.

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No, Seriously. Let Me Tell You

If you’ve been following what I’ve been writing on here for any length of time you would have heard me bring up the webcomic Homestuck, each time ending whatever explanation I may have put with “it’s complicated”. And it is, but at the same time I believe that’s it’s one of the most defining pieces of art of our generation. So, to further expand on the explanations that I couldn’t provide, I have some links for you guys today. Let them tell you about Homestuck.

A couple days ago Brian Lee O’Malley, the author of the popular series Scott Pilgrim, conducted an interview with Andrew Hussie, the author of Homestuck. Both being moderately similar in topic and style, it’s not only a wonderful conversation between like-minded people—discussing everything from work schedules to shipping—but also an eye-opening look at internet culture and how it not only influences modi of storytelling, but how people relate to each other and the characters on a different, and perhaps confoundedly closer, level than ever before. Give it a read at the Comics Alliance here.

On the complete other end of the spectrum, we have this video which I think is how many people feel when reading Homestuck for the first time, or just from hearing about it from Tumblr or their friends. It’s hilarious not only because how confused they are, but how some parts of that confusion ring so close to home.

No matter which side of the coin you may fall concerning this series, it has to be conceded that the internet is becoming a huge part of entertainment and with that comes not only memes and feels, but also a sociological bridge to other cultures and subcultures. I believe that more technologically savvy entertainment is paving the way for future endeavors, whether they use it by advertising or entertainment. Homestuck‘s importance is its place in the evolution and acceptance of this trend.