Uaithne

Staffing Gender, Sex, Pronouns

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Uaithne    432

Hey guys, I've seen the RP community on this part of the internet move towards having characters and members provide "pronouns" rather than saying sex or gender.  I understand that for the members, but I'm not sure about the characters.  When I'm RPing with a member, pronouns are useful because then I know how to refer to that person.  But when a character is interacting with another character, knowing gender/sex seems more intuitive to me.

 

The last couple games I've played, the characters had to have biological sex stated for the sake of the RP, but in my new one, it's not going to be that big of an issue.  This is a bit of a "new" topic for me.  So I'm just a bit uncertain if I have characters state sex/gender instead of pronouns if it's going to throw everyone into a fit.

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Freya    164

For me I prefer pronouns, simply because sometimes it's not that easy to determine what sex or gender someone is. Some people are very androgynous by nature, or chooses to dress that way, other's may be transitioning or have not yet started or are finished.  And it's also less confusing for those who might choose to play trans or other sort of genderqueer characters. For example a trans man's biological sex would be female, but his gender would be male, but whether his appearance is more masculine is feminine depends on whether he has chosen to be open about how he really feels and dresses like a man, uses a binder, etc. and whether he's started undergoing transitioning (not I'm not an expert on this area so forgive me if I make mistakes). Here pronouns are easier. And I'm not certain how gender is more intuitive than pronouns? As someone stating they're agender seems to be very similar as stating their preferred pronouns are e/eir or they/theirs.

 

And I think maybe you're more referring to their appearance? Whether they look female or male. Which is more up to the avatar or the player's descriptions to communicate. I have a character that is agender, but through my descriptions and their avatar I've made it clear that they're slightly feminine in appearance, which means that most other characters refer to them by female pronouns IC until my character corrects them. But I've also played them on another site that due to the time period it was set in they went in for dressing masculine and looking like a man, or well boy, and I always made a point to describe that to players who hadn't interacted with them before and adding small hints like that they didn't have stubble and such. Players knowing that my character was biologically female there wouldn't have helped them much. 

 

In the end I don't think anyone is going to throw a fit, or maybe I'm fairly relaxed about it despite my preferences lying with pronouns. I just don't see how gender/sex would be more intuitive than pronouns. 

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Uaithne    432

@Freya, the reason its more intuitive for me to go with sex/gender for characters is because the characters will find out through play what pronouns to use for people.  If they refer to someone as the wrong pronoun because the person looks one way but uses an alternate pronoun, good for more in-character conflict.  I see your point about the ones who don't distinctively fall into one category or another.  What do you do on sites that request sex/gender?

 

When it comes to using the avatar for appearance, I don't trust it 100%.  There are times I use a PB, but my character doesn't look totally like that celebrity.

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Hysteria    64

When it comes to this sort of thing, I always thought mentioning the physical sex of the character was logically better than mentioning the pronouns of the character. Pronouns can be told in character or in a tracker-like thread that contains extra fun or interesting information, wheras the biological sex would be more important when concerning where the character stands in society, where it falls in a site gender/species chart (should your site have it) and whether or not another character would be sexually attracted to them. Since, you know romantic attraction is all well and good but parts still matter when pairing up two charries. :P

 

So in short, Biological Sex (ie. gender) is good information in general, whereas pronouns seems like extra semi-helpful information that can be put somewhere else should people really care that much. Heck, it could even serve as just a thread subject or interesting mini-plot point. Real people in real life don't smear their pronouns all over themselves like honey, nor do they expect people to know them right off the bat. That's not how being social with a stranger works. People make mistakes with pronouns, but it's rare someone mistakes biological sex.

 

Even with androgynous folks - very few can fully pass as the opposite gender, and those who do...well, that's a special case. A very sexy special case. ;)

 

As far as gender goes...I'll try to keep this light: I believe that identity is important. What you believe in, what you don't believe in, and how you see yourself are all valid in some way, shape, or form. However, I do not believe that identity is worth bragging about nor do I believe one part of an identity (ie. gender identity) makes up an entire person's personality. So mentioning things like pronouns in a section that's supposed to sum up a character seems a bit...shallow to me. Why not make it like real life? Roleplays aren't dating sites.

 

Heck, even when dating people don't find out I'm Genderflux --- most of my friends still don't know, because as important as my identity is to me (a real person in the real world) I don't think it's important to just tell people about it. People who identify as their biological sex don't tell folks, "Yo I'm a girl". It's just weird. I mean it's one thing to be prideful but it's another to be arrogant about it.

 

Don't even get me started on the whole "Invalidating others opinions because they don't believe in the identity that you do" crap. Why does others opinions on how you see yourself and the world even matter...? I have one friend in particular who has flat out told me I'm crazy for my identity, and I STILL enjoy late night talks with them to this day. Even if we disagree on almost everything. It's just part of life.

 

Keep in mind I say "you" as a general audience and not as a direct assault.

Anyway...

 

Oh look, I said I'd make it light and I rambled. Whoopsie ~ 

 

But hey, overall, that's just my "tiny" opinion.

Edited by Hysteria
Typo, clarity
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Uaithne    432

Thanks for the insight, all. I like seeing a variety of thoughts.

 

For the time being on my site, I have it so that people can put sex or gender or pronouns. The only reason is because it's in the mini profile, and you can't do pronouns for members and sex for characters. Ah, well.

 

But I'm still interested in hearing people's thoughts.

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Morrigan    6,276

@Uaithne Actually you can. It requires some fun and creative mini-profiling javascript but it's definitely possible! I recently started tooling around with Jcinks stuff and am having fun putting together separate profiles. I have even successfully hidden unnecessary fields from character accounts and hidden character fields from OOC accounts.

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CovertSphinx    443

I opt to let the profile creator handle the Sex/Gender/Pronoun issue however they want. They can call the field whichever they prefer, and even list multiple ("Sex - Male, Gender - Female" ) if they want. Then again, this only comes up in the actual profiles on my site, as what people do with their personal miniprofiles isn't a concern there. 

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Jinx    4

I like the trend OOC since some aliases are harder to interpret than others, and I don't like misgendering people when I can help it. As far as IC goes, if you need to know their pronouns...you could read the narrative the player writes and use what they do.

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featherstone    35
On 17/08/2017 at 9:39 PM, Morrigan said:

@Uaithne Actually you can. It requires some fun and creative mini-profiling javascript but it's definitely possible! I recently started tooling around with Jcinks stuff and am having fun putting together separate profiles. I have even successfully hidden unnecessary fields from character accounts and hidden character fields from OOC accounts.

 

Not sure about jcink, but on MyBB you can absolutely have different fields for different usergroups.

 

As for the original question. On my first board, I had (still have) "gender" as an app field. You could put whatever identity you deemed appropriate for your character. I never asked about one's physical attributes, for the same reason I didn't ask for other features that weren't immediately apparent. You tell me what you consider relevant, anyway.

 

On my new board I have pronouns for both IC and OOC profiles. OOC, so that I know what I should call you. IC - same: I often write ST posts where I say "As he walked past x, he could see y", so knowing pronouns is practical for that.

 

Other aspects of one's identity are covered by a char's description. If the point is how a character would appear IC, that goes under Appearance, not under sex or gender. When I meet you, I don't see your "gender", I see how you look, and that's what I need for RP purposes.

 

 

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Uaithne    432

Now that we're talking about it, it occurred to me that I've only seen one site (not including sites with aliens) that had characters with atypical pronouns. I suppose so many of us fear we will exclude people or others will look unfavorably on us if we aren't "inclusive" even though no one seems to really need this option. (Some people do, but clearly a negligible number.)

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