After the recent declaration on MRAs by PS+ I feel safe enough starting a topic regarding this matter. Please be aware that due to the sensitive nature of this thread, it will be heavily moderated (though not by me). The point of this thread is not to critisize or point out flaws in others, but rather to share and reflect or even ask for advice. There is no "right way" to do things, but it just might happen that by discussing these issues you yourself will feel you can do it better (or differently). Eclipse Phase is a very intriguing setting, taking place in a not-to-far-off future where body-swapping is possible. The core book has touched briefly on what this implies for issues like gender and sexuality but hasn't really delved deep into it. I sometimes feel as though the authors wanted you to consider your own beliefs and expectations regarding these matters and then regard the current-day world through "transhuman" eyes. So let's start with Gender. The concept of gender is very complex and quite deeply ingrained in us. Even in a transhuman world with body-swapping, gender will probably be very important to many people and they will assosciate themselves with a certain gender identity. It's very important to many people today and I doubt new technology will change that (so quickly). However, I imagine there will be a lot more gender fluid and androgynous people than is common today. The lifelong social problems and depression that transsexuals often face is something I think will only be present in certain very conservative communities. Since most people are still born with one sex or another though, there [i]will[/i] be transsexuals, even if it's much easier to do something about the situation in a transhuman future than it is today. My questions then would be; do you see things differently and what have you done to represent gender in the Eclipse Phase society. From my own games, I have had a couple of characters (NPCs) who could be described as "transsexuals", that is they assosciate very strongly with one gender and it being the opposite of the sex of the morph they were born and raised one. For one of them, November, the gender transition was more slow as she started out identifying as a man but after having spent a lot of time in a female Fury (being one of the first to get them), starting to feel less and less like a man and more gender neutral until with the help of the player character finding out that she actually didn't like male morphs anymore and felt quite comfortable being referred to as she. For others the road has been more clear-cut, like Samantha the hacker who always knew he was a man but couldn't change until he was old enoiugh to make the choice himself. Since he was a bit of an anarchist (and eventually moved out to Rimward), he decided that while he didn't like his female birthmorph, he still liked the name Samantha and decided to keep it. He thought that gender-based names were a really stupid idea anyway. I have some others stories like that, including a completely gender neutral (and asexual) AGI and characters who change gender identity depending on the morph they are in. Even if these things are more commonplace in Eclipse Phase they certainly aren't today so by including characters that "break the current norm" I hope to show to my players how different things are in Eclipse Phase rather than jus describing it. Then there's also the matter of stereotypes and possible sexism. I personally loathe stereotypes and thus I hope that my various NPCs show a vide range of personalities regardless of their sex or gender. If anything I think that many of my "main NPCs" have tendency to be women simply because I feel that makes them more interesting. I don't think this is only because I have a deep-sated love of femininity (which I do) but mostly because women don't feature in prominent roles in stories today as often as men do. The majority of all media have men as the main characters (majority doesn't mean all) and as such I guess I feel a bit fed up by that. I've already seen too many male ship captains, or retired hero fighters or up-and-coming rookie or whatever. By placing women in these roles instead they feel more fresh again (because you know, gender DOES matter today). However, I often try to be as even in numbers as possible if the player(s) encounter a group of NPCs (I had an anarchist anti-pirate ship that consisted of 3 men and 3 women, with the Captain and ship mechanic being women). Nevertheless, the numbers for important NPCs does skew a little bit towards the female side. One other thing I try to do these days, regardless of game system, is that unless I already have a character concept in mind that requires the NPC to be a certain gender (or sex) I roll a die for it. This is done on occassions when encountering a group of random people, roll X dice and let them decide the gender. This is to avoid the "default to male" syndrome that plague many GMs as well as the "men are expendable mooks" issue. Moving on! Sexuality is another interesting issue to explore in Eclipse Phase. Even more than gender, sexuality is sort of a "sliding scale" and has a tendency to change during a persons life. In a world with body-swapping I've imagined that any prejudice as referring to various types of (sentient-oriented) sexuality is more or less compleetly absent in all but the most conservative places. Most people will probably still identify as "heterosexual" but I've assumed that bi-, pan- and polysexuality is much more present than it is today. Perhaps this is also in part because I feel that if we removed all the bias against non-hetero sexuality in our society today, more people would both find that they can be attracted to the same sex and feel comfortable admitting such. Nevertheless you can be quite sure that in my games there'll be NPCs with all kinds of sexuality,which can rival any Bioware game in diversity. Again, rather than just saying that "it is present" I try to actually show that some (or many) of the NPCs have various types of sexuality. Even asexuals are present, one of the major NPCs of the last adventure for example (and now a contact of the PC) is an asexual male. Then there's the matter of sex in general, also a very interesting topic. Today I feel society makes too big deal of sex, which interestingly enough both shames people that have too little and people that have too muich. Everytime I see a movie or TV-series where there is an outrage that a character hasn't had sex in *gasp* six months! I can't help but shake my head in disbelief. I haven't had sex in years and certainly don't feel that my life is in ruins because of it. I've sort of assumed that even in more conservative places like Earth Orbit, people are more relaxed towards matters or sex, making both more and less a deal of it if that makes sense. I think people in the Eclipse Phase world have more sex in general, but feel it's not as a big of a deal as we make of it. Anyway, enough talk from me. How do you represent gender and sexuality in Eclipse Phase? Is your portrayal coloured by certain stereotypes? Do you have an even representation of sex and gender among your NPCs (or characters)? Would you like help and advice for how to improve or change your portrayal (in one direction or another)? Do you have any tips or tricks that can be helpful for the rest of us?
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