Gender Pronouns in MFZ

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Gender Pronouns in MFZ

Postby Joshua A.C. Newman » Wed Apr 30, 2014 3:15 pm

You'll note that, in MFØ materials, the singular neuter pronoun is "they", not "he." When discussing a frame, I usually use "it".
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Re: Gender Pronouns in MFZ

Postby Ced23Ric » Wed Apr 30, 2014 4:34 pm

Joshua A.C. Newman wrote:You'll note that, in MFØ materials, the singular neuter pronoun is "they", not "he." When discussing a frame, I usually use "it".

Sometimes these details do get lost in translation. From a German standpoint, a frame is a male object, and "he" is the only applicable pronoun. There is no gender-definition past a predefined one. We don't perceive a car as female, but "neutral" or male, just as we perceive Mecha of all sorts as male. Ships are female, etc. pp. - the German language uses these pronouns based on assigned gender, not because it is discriminatingly sexist. A frame pilot would be he/she, based on their gender, whereas a frame would not be perceived as anything but a gender-neutral thing with a male pronoun.

Hope this makes some sense. I'll go over the thing again and will see about that.

PS: What is the perceived gender of a frame? The English language uses "the", which gives no indication of gender.
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Re: Gender Pronouns in MFZ

Postby Joshua A.C. Newman » Wed Apr 30, 2014 4:44 pm

A frame, as an inanimate object, is "it". If you're really talking about the pilot, and you don't know who they are, it's "they". Otherwise, you refer to them with the pronoun they identify with.
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Re: Gender Pronouns in MFZ

Postby Ced23Ric » Wed Apr 30, 2014 7:16 pm

Joshua A.C. Newman wrote:A frame, as an inanimate object, is "it".

Thanks. I'll proceed to make sure that frames use that pronoun, whereas players use the neutral "they".

PS: Did you know that D&D used "she", almost exclusively, for their class descriptions in 3.0 and 3.5? I always found that peculiar.
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Re: Gender Pronouns in MFZ

Postby CalaveraJoe » Wed Apr 30, 2014 7:19 pm

If you want to pick bits over it, you should technically refer to people with "he or she," or "his or her," as is appropriate for the sentence whe you do not know the gender. Many RPGs elect to use a single gender for the entire text for simplicity's sake. A few will alternate male for chapter, female for the next.
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Re: Gender Pronouns in MFZ

Postby Batzorig » Wed Apr 30, 2014 7:42 pm

CalaveraJoe wrote:If you want to pick bits over it, you should technically refer to people with "he or she," or "his or her," as is appropriate for the sentence whe you do not know the gender. Many RPGs elect to use a single gender for the entire text for simplicity's sake. A few will alternate male for chapter, female for the next.

I think the singular 'they' is a better way to go when a given person(human or otherwise) may be male, female, non-gendered, or a different gender altogether :mrgreen:
I remember learning the 'he or she' method in school, but I can totally see why it would be worth breaking that rule.
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Re: Gender Pronouns in MFZ

Postby Dukayn » Wed Apr 30, 2014 7:54 pm

"he/she" or "his/her" is fine, but clunky. "They" or "their" works just as well, is completely neutral, and is slightly more elegant.

On the note of non-English languages, having studied French for 8 years back in the day, yeah it's not as simple as saying something is neutral, because a whole ton of words have an assigned gender that you can't get past. "War" for example in French is "la guerre" - female. You can't just decide it's not, it's part of the language. So I can see where Ced is coming from. That said, this is in English and the neutral stuff needs to be applied as per Joshua's guidelines. All good.

Ced23Ric wrote:PS: Did you know that D&D used "she", almost exclusively, for their class descriptions in 3.0 and 3.5? I always found that peculiar.

I've noticed that in the past, too. I didn't find it peculiar, I just figured they're trying to make it more friendly for females to get involved in, as it's a particularly male-centric pastime.
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Gender Pronouns in MFZ

Postby woodwardiocom » Wed Apr 30, 2014 10:13 pm

Ced23Ric wrote:Did you know that D&D used "she", almost exclusively, for their class descriptions in 3.0 and 3.5? I always found that peculiar.


In the v3.5 Player's Handbook, they use the pronoun appropriate for the character pictured in the accompanying art. (E.g., the iconic monk is Ember, who is female, so "she" is used for the monk class description.) I think that's their rule across most of their books.

When I was writing for Steve Jackson Games, I had to obey their house rule that the correct pronoun for people of unknown gender was "he". Since that rule was invented in the 19th century by sexist men for sexist reasons, I made an effort to always write my examples in the plural. Instead of "An adventurer can use this spell to change his hair color," I'd write, "Adventurers can use this spell to change their hair color." The one time I got away with "she" was when I was describing someone using a pair of magic boots that were explicitly women's boots...

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Re: Gender Pronouns in MFZ

Postby Dukayn » Wed Apr 30, 2014 10:40 pm

woodwardiocom wrote:
Ced23Ric wrote:Did you know that D&D used "she", almost exclusively, for their class descriptions in 3.0 and 3.5? I always found that peculiar.


In the v3.5 Player's Handbook, they use the pronoun appropriate for the character pictured in the accompanying art. (E.g., the iconic monk is Ember, who is female, so "she" is used for the monk class description.) I think that's their rule across most of their books.

This is exactly correct. But that's also a choice they made, to have more female character art than male. That probably has 2 reasons: 1) to try and bring more females into the fold by having them more represented and 2) guys like looking at girls more than other guys (in general, please don't think I'm discounting the gay population).
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Re: Gender Pronouns in MFZ

Postby StubbsPKS » Thu May 01, 2014 11:09 am

Ced23Ric wrote:PS: Did you know that D&D used "she", almost exclusively, for their class descriptions in 3.0 and 3.5? I always found that peculiar.


Vampire: The Masquerade uses She the majority of the time when describing vampires (both PC and NPC) as well.

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Re: Gender Pronouns in MFZ

Postby Joshua A.C. Newman » Thu May 01, 2014 2:09 pm

This is a particular challenge that all practitioners of the nerdly arts are facing right now. As far as MFØ goes, what I care about is that we don't normalize inherent traits, like masculinity or heterosexuality.

You'll note that there are more female characters in Rapid Attack than male (with one genderless), and that's in part because I want the game to welcome feminine players; I'm not worried about masculine ones.

Woodwardiocom, awesome. They're favoring a sexist, classist, and literally Victorian affectation over hutching Chaucer. If I have to choose a side, I'll choose the one with funnier dirty jokes.
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Re: Gender Pronouns in MFZ

Postby Foghammer » Thu May 01, 2014 5:32 pm

I ain't tryin' to rustle any jimmies here, but I feel like focusing so hard on the issue of gendered pronouns is far and away from what people should care about if they want to play a game.

I don't care if all of the pronouns are male or female, I just need to get a grasp of what's being talked about in the text; that's why I'm reading it, to know what to do.
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Re: Gender Pronouns in MFZ

Postby Ced23Ric » Thu May 01, 2014 5:59 pm

Joshua A.C. Newman wrote:You'll note that, in MFØ materials, the singular neuter pronoun is "they", not "he." When discussing a frame, I usually use "it".


Replaced all pronouns with gender-neutral versions, where applicable. There is no skin of my back for it, and if this is perceived as being more politically correct, so be it - doesn't bother me none. The association of "frame" and "male" was purely from the German point of view, as that'd be a frame's gender in that language. Another point that does me no harm and was easy to fix. At the end of the day, the path of the least offense comitted is often the easiest and it'd be unnecessarily obtuse to insist on a polarized gender-projection. Thanks for the pointer, Joshua.
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Re: Gender Pronouns in MFZ

Postby Joshua A.C. Newman » Fri May 02, 2014 1:23 pm

Foghammer, I agree. That's why I have these principles.

Ced23Ric, "Political correctness" is a Leftist, ironic joke that is now only used by Right Wingers, who don't understand irony. Sorry to be picky here, but calling acknowledgment that robots and humans are not men "political correctness" ignores the feelings of all non-men*. I can tell that's not what you mean by it, but this isn't a matter of fitting an ideological mold. It's a matter of assuming that everyone interested in the subject matter is a person and that they're welcome to play.

*I'm not talking about robots.
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Re: Gender Pronouns in MFZ

Postby Foghammer » Fri May 02, 2014 2:07 pm

Joshua A.C. Newman wrote:It's a matter of assuming that everyone interested in the subject matter is a person and that they're welcome to play.


Which has more to do with the attitudes of the gamers playing the game and not the authors of the print material. Subtle actions like using "she" more often than "he" are not going to make sexism vanish from gaming -- you need to address those issues directly. Admirable intentions aside, the effort doesn't balance the "profit."

At any rate, I feel like this is going to need its own thread.
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Re: Gender Pronouns in MFZ

Postby woodwardiocom » Fri May 02, 2014 3:14 pm

Foghammer wrote:Subtle actions like using "she" more often than "he" are not going to make sexism vanish from gaming -- you need to address those issues directly. Admirable intentions aside, the effort doesn't balance the "profit."


My last words on the topic: Foghammer, If you ask around, I think you will find that your indifference to the inclusion of "she" is a position held by lots of men, and very few women.

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Re: Gender Pronouns in MFZ

Postby Ced23Ric » Fri May 02, 2014 4:23 pm

Joshua A.C. Newman wrote:"Political correctness"

I meant no disrespect or ... ignorant dismissal by that. I attempted to use the term as I understood it: more inclusive and open to the people, correct from a moral standpoint of social fairness.
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Re: MFZ: Rapid Attack (Un)Official Errata and FAQ

Postby Foghammer » Fri May 02, 2014 4:55 pm

woodwardiocom wrote:My last words on the topic: Foghammer, If you ask around, I think you will find that your indifference to the inclusion of "she" is a position held by lots of men, and very few women.

No need to let it drop now. I'd like a chance to rebut... I think this is important, not only for this community, but for gaming as a whole.
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Re: Gender Pronouns in MFZ

Postby Joshua A.C. Newman » Fri May 02, 2014 6:39 pm

Ced23Ric, yeah, I can tell that you're not using it dismissively, and thanks for your explanation. I don't think it's ever really meant that, but I'm all for being inclusive. This is one of those stumbly points between languages where connotation has a really big impact.

You should hear me speak Italian. I'm told I sound like Jar-Jar Binks. I'm lucky if I get as far as faux pas and don't hit bizarre alien first.
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Re: Gender Pronouns in MFZ

Postby gusindor » Fri May 02, 2014 10:54 pm

A little tangential, but this guy has good stuff to say about gender pronouns.
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