Welcome, Guest

Author Topic: Vincents intentions regarding queer concept  (Read 4965 times)

evilseanbot

  • User
  • Posts: 114
    • View Profile
Vincents intentions regarding queer concept
« on: November 26, 2012, 03:23:42 AM »
Heya, I was curious about something:

It seems like AW is a big hit with queer people. It seems to be pretty with it for an rpg designed by what I assumed was a married hetero dude

Was this the result of intentional design decisions to appeal to those players?

For reference I am a queer lady who tries to stuff as much homo-ing out in the game as possible.

Also, its very likely this isn't a good discussion for the internet. I'd be really mostly interested in hearing Vincent's take on the subject, and if he wants other people could chime in, thats cool too

lumpley

  • Administrator
  • User
  • Posts: 863
    • View Profile
Re: Vincents intentions regarding queer concept
« Reply #1 on: November 26, 2012, 02:40:53 PM »
"Pretty with it" is what I was shooting for, so, great!

Intentional design decisions, yes. To appeal to those players, but also to appeal to anybody interested in queer rights and queer issues, including me, and to maybe prod people who aren't so with it but who are interested in the game for other reasons.

There are lots and lots of queer gamers, but most games are awfully shy about sex and gender. And by "shy" I mean hostile and appallingly regressive.

Ask me more! I'll be happy to answer anything on the subject. If I don't want to answer out here in public I'll say so.

Anybody else with questions or insight is welcome too.

-Vincent
« Last Edit: November 26, 2012, 03:07:39 PM by lumpley »

Yarrum

  • User
  • Posts: 45
  • Looks good in a gasmask
    • View Profile
    • I put apocalyptica here.
Re: Vincents intentions regarding queer concept
« Reply #2 on: November 27, 2012, 02:55:26 AM »
I was pleasantly surprised to find a game where gender and sex were pretty open. But I assumed it was because post-apocalyptic society had stopped caring about things like that. Like everyone's all, "S/he's the baddest mofo in the hardhold. Nobody's questioning hir fashion sense, or that s/he's got a girlfriend and a boyfriend."

I would like to hear from Vincent about any specific decisions that were made to be more inclusive, or force 'shy' gamers to rethink their viewpoints.

lumpley

  • Administrator
  • User
  • Posts: 863
    • View Profile
Re: Vincents intentions regarding queer concept
« Reply #3 on: November 27, 2012, 05:28:03 PM »
Sure!

But first, I'm just a moderately well-informed, somewhat out-of-date sex educator, not a queer studies or gender studies dude. I may show myself to be less with it than I think! I'll cheerfully accept corrections from anybody more with it than I.

I think the obvious place to start is with the appearance options and the special moves.

Instead of choosing your character's gender, you choose gendered components of your character's appearance. This means that Apocalypse World locates people's genders in how they present themselves, not in who they are. Same with the special moves: because they're gender-indifferent, they locate people's sexual orientation in what they want and get out of sex, not in what gender(s) they're attracted to.

So that's, I dunno, a provocative enough abstraction I guess, but here's where it gets really good: in order to arrive at your own character's gender and orientation, you have to build it yourself on top of that foundation. The idea that gender and orientation are constructs, not essential components of your personhood, is baked right into character creation. Creating a character means going along with that.

This is true even if your character's straight-straight-straight. The game doesn't basically presume your character will be straight unless you decide otherwise. No accommodation or blinkered tolerance here. The game treats straightness and cis-ness as a construction, exactly the same as it treats every other orientation and gender. It says, in effect, that straight schmraight, we're all queer here. A person can be straight if that's their kink, but it doesn't signify.

I think that this is pretty rad!

But... I've taken a couple of baby steps off my secure footing here. Somebody back me up or knock me down, please! Sean, maybe?

-Vincent

evilseanbot

  • User
  • Posts: 114
    • View Profile
Re: Vincents intentions regarding queer concept
« Reply #4 on: November 28, 2012, 12:54:41 AM »
That all sounds pretty groovy to me.

Oh gosh I don't actually have any other questions

Oh okay here's one: Was there reason why Apocalypse World was the game that has that queer-inclusive stuff written in in a powerful way? Some sort of timing issue or coinciding with what you wanted to accomplish in AW?

I'm thinking of it in comparison to DitV. I really appreciated the handling of queer issues in DitV because it was like "These judeo-christian-ish religious people think what you are doing right now is wrong." But I don't think of it as an approach that would have the same sort of wide-appeal.

lumpley

  • Administrator
  • User
  • Posts: 863
    • View Profile
Re: Vincents intentions regarding queer concept
« Reply #5 on: November 28, 2012, 04:04:14 PM »
Cool!

Timing: I suppose so! It's hard to explain.

Apocalypse World isn't about the future, of course, it's about the present. The apocalypse has already happened*, we already live in a world where the old systems have broken down and it falls upon us to create the world we hope for from the wreckage of the old. What are we going to make of it?

I read a really interesting piece on post-apocalypses and feminism I wish that I could find again. It had looked at a variety of post-apocalypses. In each, had power-based interpersonal hierarchies come to dominate, or had they broken down? And for each, which portion of the audience found it "grim" and "depressing"? The conclusion the piece reported was that straight white dudes tended to find post-apocalypses where power-based interpersonal hierarchies had broken down grim, where, y'know, women and people of color and queer people tended to find the same post-apocalypses optimistic, and considered the post-apocalypses where a dude with a gun or a "pure" vision took control and led with an iron fist to be the grim ones.

I wish I could find it again!

But so now, whenever a random internet person says that they find Apocalypse World too depressing, I kind of go, hm. That's interesting. The hardholder is a trap for those people, I think: the dude with the gun, the pure vision and the iron fist cannot possibly make it work, but has to rely on - defer to! - people with stranger vision and more subtle, more flexible social arrangements.

In this way it's pretty clearly of-a-piece with Dogs in the Vineyard, I think, but you're absolutely right about how the different emphasis between the games makes them appealing to different audiences.

Thanks for asking me about this stuff! I like to talk about it and I don't get much chance.

-Vincent

* In the first ever playtest, after a few sessions the players asked me when the Apocalypse had come. Like, 10 years from now, in (then) 2018? 20 years from now in 2028? I said that nah, I figured it had been Reagan-Bush.

Antisinecurist

  • User
  • Posts: 290
    • View Profile
Re: Vincents intentions regarding queer concept
« Reply #6 on: November 28, 2012, 06:00:48 PM »
The hardholder is a trap for those people, I think: the dude with the gun, the pure vision and the iron fist cannot possibly make it work, but has to rely on - defer to! - people with stranger vision and more subtle, more flexible social arrangements.

It's related, but not directly, so maybe another thread, but have you talked about this before? Can you?

I don't see it - actually, I can see how it's possible that that's what the hardholder means, but I'm not sure how it requires it.

(In general I agree with your statement, in the game and in the life! But I don't see very much of it in the hardholder.)

lumpley

  • Administrator
  • User
  • Posts: 863
    • View Profile
Re: Vincents intentions regarding queer concept
« Reply #7 on: November 28, 2012, 07:22:08 PM »
Have you played a hardholder?

(Not a dismissal! I just don't want to assume you have, or assume you haven't, in my answer.)

-Vincent

Antisinecurist

  • User
  • Posts: 290
    • View Profile
Re: Vincents intentions regarding queer concept
« Reply #8 on: November 28, 2012, 07:49:23 PM »
I feel like I have, but if so it was quite a while ago and I've forgotten most.
I've run a few games with them, but they don't tend to be popular in the games I've played - strange enough!

So, consider as I haven't played one and am working off my reading of the book and the experience with my players.
- Alex

lumpley

  • Administrator
  • User
  • Posts: 863
    • View Profile
Re: Vincents intentions regarding queer concept
« Reply #9 on: December 05, 2012, 05:20:06 PM »
Okay! So first of all, the hardholder is a dude with a plan, a gang full of guns, some walls, a vision and an iron fist. The kind of person who wants that kind of character to make the post-apocalypse non-hopeless is going to see the hardholder as a way to do it. The hardholder is attractive to this salvation-through-hierarchy player, right? The hardholder or the touchstone.

Then in play, for the hardholder to actually make her hierarchy function on her own strength, (a) she has to roll 10+ on every single wealth roll, AND (b) the MC has to present no threats that violence can't solve, AND (c) the MC has to offer no opportunities that violence can't seize. As soon as there's a threat or an opportunity that hot or weird is better for than hard and sharp, the hardholder's relying on the anti-hierarchy - the skinner, the brainer, the hocus, the savvyhead - for help.

Does this make sense? It's not that the hardholder has to represent power-based hierarchy. It's that to a player who wants power-based hierarchy to give hope to the post-apocalypse, the hardholder is a setup. In Apocalypse World, power-based hierarchy is not a good route to hope.

-Vincent

Antisinecurist

  • User
  • Posts: 290
    • View Profile
Re: Vincents intentions regarding queer concept
« Reply #10 on: December 05, 2012, 05:40:57 PM »
I think, were I to play a Hardholder, it'd not be as intended, and that's probably the disconnect, for me. I can see what you're saying, though, completely! It just seems strange to me.

- Alex

lumpley

  • Administrator
  • User
  • Posts: 863
    • View Profile
Re: Vincents intentions regarding queer concept
« Reply #11 on: December 05, 2012, 06:05:34 PM »
Uh, no, no, that's not what I mean. Your take on the hardholder, whatever it is, is perfectly legit, perfectly "as intended."

So look. Here's Anne. She feels that what the post-apocalypse needs is a strong, ruthless leader with a gang, rules, walls, and enforced hierarchy. Which playbook looks good to her? The hardholder.

Here's Beth. She feels that what the post-apocalypse needs is a central meetingplace of ideas, supplies, and services, where people mingle and exchange to their mutual benefit in relative security, non-hierarchically, and whatever power exists, it should exist to serve this flexible collaboration. Which playbook looks good to her? The hardholder.

There are a million possible hardholders. I'm only talking about Anne, the player who wants a violence-enforced hierarchy to hold the future together. I'm NOT saying that the hardholder needs a player like Anne. What I'm saying is that a player like Anne is more likely to play a hardholder than she is to play a skinner or a savvyhead, right?

-Vincent

Antisinecurist

  • User
  • Posts: 290
    • View Profile
Re: Vincents intentions regarding queer concept
« Reply #12 on: December 05, 2012, 06:39:13 PM »
Alright!
I'm in total agreement, then (and have been all along, funny thing).

My phrasing in my last post can be reworded, something like "I'm not much like Anne, so seeing the hardholder from her POV threw me for a minute.", not if and whether I'm playing the hardholder "right" (as if there's such a thing!).

Now, from that angle, it seems clear and pretty interesting.

- Alex

lumpley

  • Administrator
  • User
  • Posts: 863
    • View Profile
Re: Vincents intentions regarding queer concept
« Reply #13 on: December 05, 2012, 06:47:14 PM »
Excellent!

-Vincent

jadanol

  • User
  • Posts: 19
    • View Profile
Re: Vincents intentions regarding queer concept
« Reply #14 on: December 10, 2012, 08:07:44 PM »
Wow, this stuff about power based hierarchy and queer issues. Clueless, hetero, white guy that I am, I had always found the apocalypse as presented here to be a very exciting concept, despite its endless want and desperation. Like it had a spirit of adventure even when exploring the landfills for something to sell or eat. But I never understood why I felt that way. It has a lot to do with that line "What are you gonna make of it?"

Perhaps the post-apocalypse truly is the great equalizer.
Operator (Cool+2, Hard-1, Hot+1, Sharp+1, Weird=0;Easy to Trust, Eye on the Door;Gigs (Honest Work, Companionship, Surveillance)