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Thursday, September 5, 2013

Feminist Friendly Facts about Overwhored

"Wait, what?" I hear you say. Yes. Believe it or not, I was amused when looking over a few checklists and tests for feminist friendly works, and it turns out Overwhored somehow manages to pass a whole bunch of them.

Now before you flip out, I'm going to mention to things in advance. 1: There's always some sperglord who flips the fuck out at the very mention of the WORD feminism. I would quite explicitly NOT encourage you to douse yourself in gasoline and play with a box of matches, but I wouldn't be too sad if you did. 2: I'm not some jumble-brained tumblr social justice blogger. I happen to actually like women as people in spite of the game I've made, and I find the fact that this has somehow managed to pass a number of pro-feminist tests amusing. I'm going to be pointing that out, but don't ever expect moralistic rants from me.

Pretty much nothing is going to make it past the basic premise of the game - that is, you're a guy that uses mind control to turn women into sex slaves - but funny enough, that ALSO doesn't erase the fact that somehow my game treats women better than a huge amount of fiction.

Bechdel Test: 
Two women speak to each other about something other than a man. 

This one has been passed several times over already, often in the dialogue concerning objects or things, and there are only going to be more examples of it passing over time. Especially during the flashback sequences I'm going to do later where you'll see the heroines during their full glory.

Basically any time any two characters talk about ANYTHING in the story other than the Overmind, this test is passed, since most of the characters are female. It helps that the Overmind himself doesn't talk much.

Plot Significance: 
A female character is featured prominently in the plot as something other than a love interest who is there to be loved.

All seven heroines have their own story, and I've posted a few here, edited for spoilers. Their actions before they met or first fought the Overmind have real significance in the story. The fact that they become his "love interests" later on doesn't really change that. Moreover, even after capture they're all going to have some major individual driving momentum in the plot. When you eventually make it to Chianina or Nanshe's city or some of the others, you will see that even after capture, they do in fact have lives even outside being the Overmind's sex slaves.

Moreover, most city leaders are female (the towns I'm making now have more female leaders) and actually there's a lot more being planned. Nor are all prominent female characters going to become sex slaves. (A lot probably will though, because that's the point of the game.)

The Finkbeiner test sounds indecent and amusing, but is a gauge for gender neutrality in journalistic articles. Though it isn't meant to apply to games, I'm gonna try it anyway!

To pass the test, the journalistic article must not mention:
  • The fact that she’s a woman
  • Her husband’s job
  • Her child care arrangements
  • How she nurtures her underlings
  • How she was taken aback by the competitiveness in her field
  • How she’s such a role model for other women
  • How she’s the "first woman to..."
1: I rarely mention the fact that the female characters are female at all outside the sex scenes, and I don't think I really even explicitly mention it much there, since you can see their gender quite clearly with your own eyes. Other than using "heroine" as a descriptive term or describing how the Overmind's magic works only on women, it's rarely mentioned at all.

 2: None of them have a husband and the Overmind doesn't count. Funny that. It's unlikely that I'll ever have the Overmind explicitly steal a woman from her husband/boyfriend (slave owners don't count). NTR/Cuckolding is not my fetish and is something I rather dislike, so you're HIGHLY unlikely to actually see that in the game.

3: This one is currently passed, though I will have some characters mention how they'd rear children in the next release (in a context appropriate scene), and some will be able to get pregnant. So I don't think it'll be passed in the game as a whole, but it won't be an issue for most characters. It certainly won't ever be a major part of the game.

4: Well most heroines will fail on this account because most of them are going to have underlings in some capacity, though Iskis, Kael, and Alexia will pass with flying colors. Christie, for example, will eventually lead your armies. Knowing how various characters run things is important in this game from a storytelling perspective, so there's no way out of this one. Skree will never have underlings, so yay Skree! The naked nymphomaniac batgirl is truly a pillar of feminist virtue. (tongue-in-cheek-sarcasm intended)

5: Really most of the heroines and main characters have utterly dominated their field of expertise. Fairly, I might add, through legitimate skill and hard work (as you'd see in Branda's history). I don't honestly think any of them were 'taken aback' by the difficulty of getting there; they're heroes. It comes with the job. I've never had them say anything like that and probably never will. (Though I reserve the right to have them speak with tongue-in-cheek sarcasm about anything.)

6: Being heroines becoming a role model comes with the territory, but few of the heroines are ever going to actually talk about that. Not that they're really role models at this point in the story anyway.

7: None of the heroines are firsts. They aren't the first women to kill the Overmind. They're simply the greatest heroes of their time, and Branda, for instance, looks at Femcinnatus as a big inspiration, but primarily for historical reasons.

I also have a personal test, which isn't necessarily feminist but is one of my personal pet peeves:

The Not-River-Tam-Or-Buffy-Waif-Superasskicker Test.

I love Joss Whedon, don't get me wrong. I love Firefly and Buffy. But it bothers the hell out of me that you have pretty waifs or supermodels effortlessly beating up everyone. If a woman in my game is supposed to be strong, I prefer that she have some muscle on her or is at least well built. Branda, for instance, doesn't have a lot of visible muscle definition, but she's definitely not a twig (and there's that potion) and is well built. Honestly she reminds me of some girls I knew in the army who were strong but curvy. Audr is short, stacked, and looks as strong as she is, since she's a Dwarf. Heck, even the mage Nanshe has nice abs.

I do have the artists hold off on super-muscle to maintain a broad appeal, but I personally am fine with ladies with good muscle definition.

Something about the whole concept of the waif-superheroine just strikes me as off and probably vaguely sexist, somehow. I'm not sure why, but I relegate it to the uncanny valley of writing concepts.

Believe it or not I do try to give women a fair shake in my game, and if I notice something has a disturbing subtext (other than, you know, the main premise) I'll work to correct it. I'm not perfect; I'll probably screw up in that respect a few times. Help me make sure those moments get fixed.

Considering the main premise I don't expect a lot of women to play my game, but in the event that they do I'd like it to be a game that gives women a fair shake. If nothing else, that's just good writing. Treating women like props and love interests that are just there to be there is piss poor writing, and I don't want to engage in that.

I'm not going to try to defend the basic premise of the game. It'd probably still be viewed as sexist even if the main character was female and the slaves were male (which is a potential idea for a future game I've toyed with). That's just how it goes; you're either going to like mind control or not. But as far as things go, I'm going to work hard to keep explicit sexism out of the game to the extent that I can. Not because I'm a white knight, but because I actually like women as human beings and most importantly, because I want to do a good job writing.

So if you see something you like; comment on it. If you see something you don't, comment on that too. I do listen to your feedback and want to hear it.

In other news the hiatus is over; I'll give full details on what work I'm currently doing on Monday! Have a good week!


  1. as long as it's not overdone muscle can be sexy.

    1. I agree. There is not enougth hentai of women who look strong.

  2. I'm loving the writing so far. Just don't drop the funny.
    Humor is hard to write, but you do it spectacularly.

  3. Replies
    1. Good news about the end of the hiatus though.

    2. I figure a lot of people won't give a fuck, but I write these non-Monday posts entirely for my own entertainment. Anyone else getting entertained is just a nice bonus.

    3. They are entertaining most of the time.

  4. Certainly an interesting perspective. I'm glad you've thought about this.

  5. I'm glad your taking the time to write love interests as people, rather than just another conquest. I look forward for the next release.

  6. There is good reason some people take issue with feminism, but I do get your point about being unreasonable ragey about it.

    That being said.... there's a feminism friendly test out there for games O.o?

  7. You know I had an interesting idea. What if the Overmind eventually get's a female who voluntarily joins however their is a small barrier with her. (or maybe a large one)

    She has cursed armor that prevents her from removing it even from her face. So she's a character who joins the Overmind to find a way to free herself from the armor.

    Either that or it could even be a heroine with the armor. It would be interesting to have a love interest that the best intimate contact you can have is to run a hand over her armor. or just cuddle up to her steal platting.

    that would be an interesting character.

  8. ...Didn't see that coming.

    Still a good read!

  9. My dear friend sorry but your argument is invalid. Passing the Bechdel doesnt make your stuff feminist. Real feminist porn not-male gaze genuine female and other sexuality, which means not-centered around male pleasure. The fact that in the game they are slave and the Overmind and implie a power reliantionshipp which no equal.( Bdsm and kink are something diffrent.The slave doesnt trully belon to heir/his dom rather just give the control of somebody else) Character have to give their realt and not force consent. Forced is nost consent. Sorry if you want be reallt feminist-friendly porn, you need to re-think all your want and no just reproduction patracial trophes

  10. Huh. I cannot say I expected to read this from the same person who wrote Snow Daze.

    "Considering the main premise I don't expect a lot of women to play my game, but in the event that they do I'd like it to be a game that gives women a fair shake. If nothing else, that's just good writing. Treating women like props and love interests that are just there to be there is piss poor writing, and I don't want to engage in that."

    Guess you stopped giving a fuck when you realized you could make twice the money writing generic misogyny, huh?