q10 (q10) wrote,

an analogy

say there's this really, really popular LARP or ARG or something. sometimes, it seems like everybody is playing all the time.

you're not actually interested in playing, and have only a vague and incomplete understanding of the rules and setting, but, because the game is so popular, everybody always assumes you're playing, and gets confused (or, occasionally, angry) when you don't know how to answer when they ask about what character class you are or what spells you know.

despite being popular, this game has bunch of problems, and there are lots of people proposing revisions. they want more character classes. or they want more options for customizing your character build within a particular class. or they want to make it easier to switch to a different character class. or they want to improve the game balance with the goal of making all the character classes equally playable. this is, of course, all for the good: the game should be fair, and, to the greatest extent possible, should be fun for all the players.

but the thing is, although the proposed improved revised rules sound like an improvement, you're still just not interested in playing the game. it's not that you think it's an intrinsically bad game, necessarily - it's just not the kind of game you're interested in.

now, when you say this, the reformers act like you're one of them, which is a little weird, but whatever. i mean, you're one of them in the sense that you want the game to be well-balanced and have lots of options, because you care about the wellbeing of the people who are playing, and you figure it's better if the game is better, and in the sense that you sometimes get roped into playing, and when you do the proposed revisions make for a game that sounds less annoying to you.

but it's more than that. the proposed reformers have this whole system where they're going to invent a new character class in-game, that's used to classify people like you who don't want to play, so people who are playing can interact with you without breaking character, by treating you as a member of this class. this sounds okay (they get to stay in character, you get to have your not playing recognized), but then you're expected to memorize the name of the new class, and say it when people ask about your character build, and so on, which is not the end of the world, but seems like a weird thing to be doing if the whole point is that you're not playing the game. still, it doesn't sound so bad.

except that there's something fundamentally frustrating about how you keep saying ‘no, i'm just not playing the game. i do not have a character class. i have not allocated skill points. i don't know any spells. i am not playing.’ and it seems like people are not getting it, or are always trying to sidestep this or weasel around it instead of just accepting that not everybody has to play the game.

anyway, that's how i often feel about gender.
Tags: gender, gender (non-)identity, gender politics, metaphor

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