Greedy Goblin

Thursday, January 27, 2011

You are perceived to be wrong!

Quick business tip: make very sure that your raid has an enchanter to disenchant unwanted loot. Maelstrom crystals are around 2K.



On Monday I posted a pretty offtopic-looking post about female and male bosses. The purpose was to troll a certain social behavior.

My major problem while fighting social behavior is that the social readers find their own social nonsense obvious, and any alternatives wrong without logical examination. It's like I'm in the land of color-blind people, and when I say "you are color blind, as you can't see the difference between this red and blue balls", he instantly replies that "they is no difference and you are stupid or bad" without looking at the prism that divert the "same color" light from the balls to different spaces.

I figured out that socials only find their own nonsense "obvious truth" while the nonsense of other social cultures and sub-cultures is found to be nonsense. The M&S is a good specimen to show the stupidity of sharing, helping and selflessness.

But to reveal another social nonsense, the self-proving bias in thinking, I need another sub-culture, as M&S don't think at all. Along came the feminists. They are good specimen not because they are wrong (I believe they are less wrong than their opponents), there are good specimen because they are very different from the mainstream, therefore their biases feel wrong, while the mainstream biases feel right (despite being equally wrong).

I expected to troll some good feminist comments to serve as examples, but the post performed way better than I expected, a feminist written not one, but two wall of texts with perfect display of the bias I want to discuss today: socials characterize the things according to their biased perceptions, then they find that the data fits to their bias, reinforcing it. The trolled feminists do the fallowing fallacy:
  1. perceive every living thing male except blood elves in string bikinis
  2. "find" that there are much more males then females
  3. whine about this injustice
In the troll post I counted the male and female bosses and found that the females are not so rare at all in the recent expansions. The trolled specimen tells exactly the nonsense I wanted her to tell: "Their official sexless status is irrelevant – I really don’t understand why people don’t understand this – because we are talking about perceptions in the first place." and "be realistic and use common sense when assigning genders"

Let me help dear Keeva: the reason why people don't understand it is that they are not feminists, so for them your biased nonsense is just nonsense (while their own biased nonsense is "common sense").

Just as the specimen says, while there is objective truth, the socials refuse to even look at it as they consider their own biased perceptions "more true". Let's continue with the example by a clear and obvious definition: "Male refers to the sex of an organism, or part of an organism, which produces small mobile gametes, called spermatozoa. Each spermatozoon can fuse with a larger female gamete or ovum, in the process of fertilization. A male cannot reproduce sexually without access to at least one ovum from a female, but some organisms can reproduce both sexually and asexually. Not all species share a common sex-determination system. In most animals, sex is determined genetically, but in some species it can be determined due to social, environmental or other factors."

Let me explain why I highlighted some phrases:
  • One has to be an organism to have sex. Creations, immortal unique beings, elementals spawned from different planes, demons from hell are not organisms, therefore cannot be males.
  • The defining criteria for being male is to produce male gametes (lot of small ones).
  • Social signaling of being male (male social roles, male social gender) exist only in some species, this is rather an exception than the rule.
Please note that everyone make mistakes, like I did with Ulduar bosses where I classified the titanic constructs Freya and Auriaya and Freya female, Hodir and Thorim male. The difference between making a mistake and being social is that you can easily prove me that I'm wrong by logic while you can't do it to a social, as he finds his own bias more important than the truth, and ready to tell it loud. Please read her article where she uses ridiculous "proofs" like titles, body image (of a non-humanoid), other NPCs talking (hearsay), or voice acting (Blizzard must recruit Old Gods to do it properly) to make every living things male to get a full list.

However I would address a more important thing than the sex of a fire elemental: ogres! There is a widespread feminist whining that there are no female ogres. It's nonsense. No lore (not even gossip quality) ever mention that ogres hide their females and we've been in their caves and saw no ogres in pink skirts. There are two explanations: ogres have no sex (hermafrodites maybe), or the body difference of males and females are unlike the differences of humans. Since they are humanoids, the second is more possible. In this case ogres are living in a perfectly emancipated society. Only personal skills and preferences affect carrier choices instead of paternalistic stereotypes. A little ogre girl has equal chance to fulfill her dreams and become Crusher, Reaver, Mauler or Brute. No one will call her a fat, hairy legged lesbian if she shouts as hard as she can "Me smash, you die!"

Feminists should love ogres and demand to make more fully emancipated races. But instead they call them male and whine about it. Why ogres "are" they male? Because having "obvious" male body maybe?


Or because they only wear loin-cloth and no top?

No. Ogres are perceived male because they are equal. The feminist (and the sexist) bias is that females are unequal, oppressed ("as they should be" for sexists). So they look at the emancipated ogres and see only males.

The point of this post is not to bash feminists. It's to use them as examples to prove that "obvious" and "common sense" is nothing more than echoing social biases. Only based on scientific definitions and logic can we reach good results.

42 comments:

Squishalot said...

"Obvious" and "common sense", by definition, the social norm. The definition of 'obvious' is that the majority of people would perceive it in X way. Common sense, again, is the 'common' perception (though ironically, it's colloqualised in such a way that means 'good sense').

Where it breaks down in the hands of most people who use it online is that they assume that their view of the world is the obvious perception of it, and that their thoughts and opinions are 'common sense' (i.e. good sense). This criticism applies equally to feminists, internet trolls AND goblins.

Anonymous said...

Gevlon's states that what defines a male is the production of many mobile gametes. By this standard, many of the raid bosses he lists as male do not qualify.

The only bosses on the list where we have evidence of both secondary (male) sexual characteristics and children are Aran (Medivh is his son) and Hodir (Sons of Hodir, though this is questionable). The rest are declared male on the basis of titles, appearance or some other reason. But none have evidence for the production of gametes according to Gevlon's standard.

Aljabra said...

"ogres have no sex (hermafrodites maybe)"

There are known orc/ogre hybrids(http://www.wowpedia.org/Rexxar).

Gevlon said...

@Anonymous: if someone belongs to a sexually reproductive race and has the characteristics of a male of that race, he is male, even if not reproductive. So if a boss is a human or an eredar, and looks like a male, he is a male (just like an infertile human male is still a male).

However if someone is NOT in such a race and don't look like a male, he is NOT a male.

spinksville said...

Interesting.

I think the feminist bias is to assume that non-feminists would assume most sexless entities were male. (And whenever you are making assumptions about what some other group is thinking, you're on thin ice.)

Squishalot said...

@ Gevlon: You classified Flamewakers as male (Lucifron, Gahennas, Shazzrah, Sulfuron, Majordomo Executus, etc.).

Please explain how you conclude that Flamewakers are a sexually reproductive race. Although there appear to be both male and female models, there is no evidence that they are sexually reproductive.

Your choice to include Flamewakers appears to be 'common sense', not based on 'scientific definition'.

Gevlon said...

@Squishalot: How does flamewaker come to be?

Elementals are spawned from their plane (water elementals from water itself). Old gods are eternal, always been here. Constructs are built. Demons are like elementals from a demonic plane.

So unless you claim flamewakers to be one of those, only one option left, reproducing species.

Anonymous said...

Gevlon, would you consider taking the original post of this thread apart:

http://us.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/1965619619

Enjoy.

Aljabra said...

@Gevlon
"Demons are like elementals from a demonic plane."
In fact, most of Warcraft demons are not like that (with few exceptions, like voidwalkers or infernals). Demon we can meet in WoW once was some kind of normal species, later corrupted by the fel energies. There are no information, if they retain they capability of sexual reproduction after that, but most of them quite obviously had it before (like satyrs, who was night elves in the past).

Garlickjr said...

How a huge nerdlore war is this thing.

Demons are clairly non reproductive race. They have to be summoned to this plane, like elementals. Elementals are not sexuals, ergo demons neither. People should try to understand that this is a fantastic world habitated by other things than biological things, that ARE also living things. Because it's a fantastic world. It has its own rules.

BUT!

Sylvanas is not female. "She" is undead. "She" was summoned to this world by necromantic forces (as demons by fel energies, elementals by elemental magic, etc). It can't reproduce, not because of any damage or malformation. Because undead, as a race, can't sexually reproduce. Ever. They need to summon minions or free undead by necromantic energies used by death knights, valkyries, necromantic mages (Kelthuzad) or other gender-less entities (the first Lich King, tortured Nerzul' spirit).

Then, Naxxrammas and ICC should all count as "genderless" (except from the gunship battle, where the boss, as Saurfang or that other dwarf, are males).

Common sense can't be prove, because is based on perceptions and subjectives propositions. Ok. But it exists. A lot of people act acording to it. So the conclusion should be "Know the social common sense of your environment, and use it in your profit. And to provoque other bloggers. Also, demon thongs"


(Gevlon, can you tell us how many comments you have to delete because they were sexual jokes about demon butts, undead tits and other bizarre things, so people like me don't feel so alone?)

Anonymous said...

If what you're discussing is whether WoW is enforcing male or female stereotypes, then it makes little sense to use a biological definition of sex if it doesn't correspond to what players perceive. That being said, a good many people believe this, and then concludes that they can determine the 'perceived gender' of every boss, because obviously all players agree with them, right? I'm not all that interested in the issue of gender roles in WoW, but you're completely right that 'obvious' and 'common sense' is usually more of a statement of "this is what I think, and I can't believe anyone would disagree" than a statement of actual truth, but I don't think people are always aware of that.

Okrane S. said...

The actual question that remains to be answered in order to swing the perspective into one bias or another is understanding how the game world should be perceived.

Which parts of the game world is fantasy and which of it is a projection of human society?

Are the elementals, ogres, titans, raid bosses, faction leaders purely just that, or are they intended to be more? In the World of Puncraft (Harrison Jones, Haris Pilton etc) we can be safe to assume that a big part of it is simply human society projected into easier to digest figures like elves, dwarves and elementals. This is where feminists are right to project their biased assumptions. It just means that the developers of the game are making parabolas using fantasy creatures to represent human society and they are doing it in an anti-feminist way.

On the other hand, the other biased assumption, that things are exactly what they are pictured to be (i.e. elementals don't have sexual reproduction functions) also has validity. Of course elementals dont have a sex and statue-like creatures made of stone like Auriaya can't be considered as male or female. If you look at the game without making any sort of analogy to the real world you can easily draw this sort of conclusion.

Riptor said...

@Aljabara: It’s “Sex” in term of Ogres being Male and Female at the same time and choosing/being one or the other when procreating.
I although agree with Gevlon on Ogres being an equal Society with Males and females being so alike that we are unable to tell them apart (Names are also perceptive. Maybe for Ogres “Grombark” is a typical Girls Name…).
As for Hybrids.. Imagine e certain Orcs surprise, when after a lost Battle one of these massive Orge Crushers grabs him by the hair, says “Me now take cute Orkse to cave” and then turns out to be a female…

Also I find it counterproductive to demand equality based on Gender and not Skill. Take Ogres of example. The Feminists would probably demand that 50% of all Crushers and Brutes have to be Female while I would propose, in terms of equality, that every Ogre, regardless of gender, should be able to become a Crusher or a Brute if he so chooses.

Grim said...

Do you have trouble figuring out which public restroom to enter because the stick figures on the door do not produce any gametes?

If it looks male, its male. That's not just the feminist view. Her argument that "most people will assume that X is male" is perfectly sound - for a drawn character in a video game, unless there is some official statement from its creator, consensus is all that matters.

This is proved again and again by various details that some of your supposedly undecided characters have. Barons, Lords and Princesses aside, Thorim had a wife! But hey... that doesn't mean he produces gametes, so lets just go with undecided, amirite?

And not every single demon/construct/whatever needs to have a wife to communicate that he is male. Game designers were not grown in barrels, they know what gender they are drawing.

P.S. The underrepresentation of females in positions of power stems from wacraft's medieval-fantasy roots. In a world where people settle territorial disputes with axes and shields, brute strength has to increase success rates.

Aljabra said...

@Garlickjr
"Demons are clairly non reproductive race."
First thing, they are not the race at all. There are many races among demons. Demon is the kind of affiliation with fel energies, not a race.

"They have to be summoned to this plane, like elementals."
If someone summon an orc from Outland to Azeroth, does that make that orc demon?

"that this is a fantastic world habitated by other things than biological things, that ARE also living things."
Still, most of the demons in that world have all the traits of a living thing of biological nature - except those, not covered in any canonical source, like reproduction, which can be quite possible for the demons of a same race.

Squishalot said...

@ Gevlon: Your conclusion is no stronger than my proposition that they are created and non-reproductive - neither of us have any evidence. As a result, the scientific approach would be to exclude, because you have no evidence of sexual reproduction.

Casper said...

Dear other commenters: arguing about whether that or other boss is indeed male or female is immaterial to Gevlon's central point.

"Only based on scientific definitions and logic can we reach good results."
Good results in what?

Science can only answer questions about "what is". From the statement that something "is" cannot, in a logical manner, be drawn a statement, that something "should be". In other words: there is no such thing as a scientific world view, science cannot assign values.

I would risk the hypothesis that being biased or unbiased is not the function of holding belief A or B, because anyone who values something holds a belief. Rather it is based on how much cognitive resources (time and energy spent thinking) you can or are willing to spend to get to know the truth.

chewy said...

But Casper you assume there is one absolute truth. Philosophers have been arguing about it's existence or not for many centuries. I would submit that we have no way of knowing if there is even an absolute truth let alone what it is or how we realise it.

(Hence faith and religion).

Anonymous said...

Wait... Where is the whole discussion about there being absolutely no Asians or Black people in World of Warcraft lore?

Clearly, as a woman, I'd like to point out that feminists are morons, and simply whiners. After all, Oprah needs an audience.

If Blizzard wanted to make the whole game with Human Males, who cares?
They don't owe anyone anything.

Lord of the Rings, and the whole Story of Middle Earth which has spawned so many fantasy stories after, which involve orcs, elves, dwarves, and the likes of gnomes, demons and dragons... That Lore is based on the perception of an English white individual (Tolkien).

Just because he wasn't worried about including black/asian people in his Fantasy Stories, doesn't imply he was a racist.

The same view applies to Blizzard's choices regarding races and genders. It's based on Warhammer, for the most part, and warhammer is based (indirectly) on Tolkien's Middle Earth (like so many fantasy stories).



Gevlon, I understand that you find it interesting to analyze the idiocy of feminist behaviour, but I have absolutely no idea why you even waste time pointing it out. You're also being extremely polite at not pointing out that they're also Morons (and, who knows, probably Slackers as well).


Leave the idiots be.
There are so many idiots everywhere, and so many great things to discuss (even when it comes to philosophical matters, somewhat related to WoW). Don't bother discussing morons.

They won't change, and stating the obvious won't lead you anywhere. You get no "profit", you get nothing out of it (you can reach your own conclusions without having to waste time posting about it), and you could instead post about something useful to your wonderful viewership (which includes me).

You don't owe me, or anyone else.
But I'm fully aware you care about keeping your viewers interested. Trust me when I tell you that posts about economy, raiding, PVP, and some philosophical studies on "effort" and "skill" are the top topics you've mentioned in your blog.

Don't waste time with feminists/morons. Everyone knows. And those who don't, won't change.

Casper said...

back @Chewy
Yeah, well... if there's no truth then there's no bias. Problem solved.

Jana said...

I can reduce it all even further.
All creatures in WoW are nothing but Oracle database and various file data represented as colorful pixels.

And a data row or a set of them, even if it contains a field 'sex' with some values, can't technically have a sex in any biological sense.

As much as I have observed, the NPCs reproduce according to their spawning area and timer data or a copy of an NPC boss gets 'reproduced' into a 5 man or a raid instance as instance gets created on the game server.

Anonymous said...

I don't really see the reason why you needed to create such a huge example instead of just quoting halo effect, opinion bias, the fundamental attribution error etc and illustrating it with smaller examples.
would have been more to the point and people might have talked about that message instead of just staying at the one example that you over inflated.

Garlickjr said...

@Aljabra
" First thing, they are not the race at all. There are many races among demons. Demon is the kind of affiliation with fel energies, not a race."

Yes, there are corrupted eredars, fel orcs, etc. Sargeras is a titan corrupted by nathrezim's demonic presence. You can say a lot of the bruning crusade corps are a compendium of races all over the universe. But a warlocks imp is a demmon that is summoned from the fel plane. The nathrezim become also corrupted for using fel energies, wich they gather from... the fel plane. You can make a point here because wowwiki says in a line that nathrezim are demons, and in the next line says they're a race of an unknown planet. But still, the succubo you summon it's not an alien corrupted by fel energies, it's just a been of pure fel energy. As an abisary.

"If someone summon an orc from Outland to Azeroth, does that make that orc demon?"

Does that orc come from a demonic plane, or from another planet? Bingo. Keeping your logic, Ragnaros is not an elemental lord, it's just a dude high on fire.


" Still, most of the demons in that world have all the traits of a living thing of biological nature - except those, not covered in any canonical source, like reproduction, which can be quite possible for the demons of a same race."
So if somethings seems to be alive, it has to be alive? Then am I torturing my pc playing porn in its face?!

Your logic is "That demon seems very femine. So maybe it's a woman". Why a demon, a thing form another plane, has to have the same genders that living thing on this plane? That's what I am talking about the rules of a fantastic world. Fantasy is based in the real world, that's why you get demonic thongs and stone tits. That doesn't mean that it has to have the same rules.

PD: Wowwiki says about nathrezim too: "They are suspected to be the only race known to be originally demonic (although another kindred race, the Tothrezim, is mentioned in the RPG books") Kind of messy.

Orenja said...

Funny, just yesterday I had a long talk about how much I dislike people being stubborn and refusing to listen to and acknowledge other's arguments even if they do not agree with them...

So while I agree on 'fanatic feminists' being inconsiderate and hard to listen to, it is important to note that that is not a problem of 'feminism' itself. Rather there are people in this line of thought that can be criticized - as pretty much everywhere.
However I had to learn during last term at university that I greatly misjudged this school of thought.

Feminism has a lot of very important, very modern and very true ideas and should be heard and discussed. The only problem is - as usual - those people that are unwilling to acknowledge that their arguments are not good enough to hold up against criticism and are unwilling to modify and remedy them when confronted with and presented with other arguments; people that simply don't listen to arguments but have already come to the conlcusion that their theories are infallable. I hate these people.

However that's no reason to disqualify feminism itself (I'm not sure if you're saying you do). Also, I don't think that feminism has more people like this than other schools of thought; they might be more visible (e.g. because they have to fight against the already existing theories and can't just lay back and know they're acknowledged already anyhow), but I don't think they're of a higher number

Ophidian V said...

Surprised this hasn't been mentioned before but there's an API function for determining sex. It gives male, female and 'neuter or unknown'.
You can use this to give you the sex of a unit your mouse is over:

/run local sex = { "neuter or unknown", "male", "female" }; DEFAULT_CHAT_FRAME:AddMessage(UnitName("mouseover") .. " is " .. sex[UnitSex("mouseover")] .. '.');

Unfortunately, I had a quick visit to the Dunemaul ogres in Tanaris and couldn't find any females. Only males.

In Nagrand it was the same. Interestingly, it was quite hard to find anything female in Nagrand. Even the clefthoofs and elks were all male that I seen. Elementals were always neutral or unknown, as were demons, unless the demons were models that looked female in which case they were female, or named elites/minibosses in which case they seemed to be male.

Of course, this was only quick look and not meant to be a thorough investigation so it might be misleading, and I didn't do any at all in Northrend (mainly because I couldn't remember where there was ogres there). Obviously, the bosses in instances would be a lot more useful.

Wilson said...

"There are two explanations: ogres have no sex (hermafrodites maybe), or the body difference of males and females are unlike the differences of humans."

And how do you explain the fact that there are no ogre children running around their caves and villages while we slaughter the adults? There's nothing in the lore that suggests that they are hiding them. Could be that ogres reproduce through mitosis. Could be storks bring them, already full grown and armed. Or (gasp) it could be that Blizzard didn't want to go to the expense of developing more ogre models than it needed, and so it made a business decision to only develop a few (warrior, caster, HKM), all of which happen to look like Chris Farley (who, I am fairly certain, had male gametes).

Garlickjr said...

@Grim
"This is proved again and again by various details that some of your supposedly undecided characters have. Barons, Lords and Princesses aside, Thorim had a wife! But hey... that doesn't mean he produces gametes, so lets just go with undecided, amirite?"

The final boss of ICc is the Lich King, and I can't find any record of his coronation neither of the limits and population of ITS kingdom. Did the title of king make LK a true king?

Bernard said...

Most of the debate centres around the numbers and what constitutes 'male'/'female' in terms of representation.

As fun as this discussion is, it's ultimately meaningless.

I'm a strong advocate of gender equality IRL, but WoW lore is a fictional construct. It does not represent 'an ideal world'/'a balanced world'. None of the characters are intended as role models for children.

Imagine the outrage from feminists if there was a raid with only female bosses!

Aljabra said...

@Garlickjr
"But still, the succubo you summon it's not an alien corrupted by fel energies, it's just a been of pure fel energy. "
Still, even succubus do have race name (Sayaad), and there are no indication, that they normal form is pure fel energy - at least, no one seen one in that form, and they do leave corpses behind if killed (NPC ones). They probably have they ways to rebuild they body later, but that doesn't mean anything in context, as they don't go about without it.

"Does that orc come from a demonic plane, or from another planet?"
To answer this you'll need to define demonic plane and point the principal difference between it and another planet. Yet in WoW lore even Twisting Nether (closest thing they have for demonic plane) is just another place you can go into, you can even observe it in some locations. Most likely you won't be able to live there, but you can't live on Jupiter as well, and it's just another planet. You can't survive in space on your own, and yet there are nothing "demonic" about it.

"Keeping your logic, Ragnaros is not an elemental lord, it's just a dude high on fire."
Well, in some aspects he is (depends on definition of "elemental lord"). Still, the point was about the reproduction cycle, and Ragnaros quite obviously have none - he had born with Azeroth and will die with is as it's integral part, he won't have offspring (he can create some elementals, who he can call children, though, as Al'Akir or Therazane did) and don't have any parents.

"So if somethings seems to be alive, it has to be alive?"
Demons of WoW don't "seem" to be alive, they ARE as alive, as alive, any human there. Only thing that is different about them is that you can't kill them permanently, but in the same time, you can't do it to a human as well, as it's undisputed truth of that world, that humans have a soul, can maintain some kind of existence even after being killed, and can even be brought back to life as good, as they were.

"Your logic is "That demon seems very femine. So maybe it's a woman"."
No, it is not. I simply point, that considering the way how demons in WoW universe come to be, it can have some sex or another, I don't dismiss that possibility just because it's a demon. And it doesn't really matter, how it looks - as in case with the ogre females, it just can be male, that look exactly like human female. Another race, another rules.

"Why a demon, a thing form another plane, has to have the same genders that living thing on this plane?"
It doesn't [b]have[/b] to have same genders, but there are no indication, that it [b]can't[/b] have them. That "another plane" is good excuse, as long, as you don't visit them on daily basis, in your own "this plane" body (as you do in WoW with elemental planes).

Grim said...

@Garlickjr
Of course not. He was called the Lich King because he was a true king (held dominion over large territories and many underlings). As for the coronation - play Warcraft 3: The Frozen Throne and in the end of it you will see a cutscene where Arthas picks up the Lich King's crown and places it on his head.

Can you name any prominent entity in WoW (all raidbosses and NPCs of any significance qualify) that is named something it is not?

Garlickjr said...

@Aljabra

I can't really define quiet well the "demonic" plane because there is not any lore truly especific, but using the ingame mechanics, it's something quiet similar to the earth plane, where Deathwing hided all this time. Other similar plane is the fire plane, from where Ragnaros was first "semi" summoned by Thaurissan.

The only being known to be in the twisting nether is Sargeras, trapped since the end of the Ancient War.

Al'akir actually had a son, wich was eaten between Ragnarock and its minions. Elemental lords can reproduce, asexually (as cells).

Maybe you're right. If summoned demons being npc left corpses when they die and not just banish to their realm, they actually can have gender. What it's prety sure is undead don't have one. In my first comment I wanted to point out that too.

@Grim

The Lich King is nothing like any king. There was never any human or non human king in warcraft's lore that was urged by extreme evil to wipe all the living things just to arise them as slaves. The Lich King doesn't have any people or nation to rule over, as any necromancer ever had. A monarchy is a form of government: you can't govern what can't oppose, because undead are not even slaves (the last have no type of politic power, but at least they have their will: the former don't)
What you see in the final cutsence of WIII is a death knight minion, wich soul is trapped in Frostmourne, fusing its body with a tortured spirit that resides in a cold helmet and becoming a new being. Then it sleeps for 5 yeas, wake up and says "YO IMMA LICH KING, HATERS GONNA HATE".

Yogg Saron and Deathwing refer to them selfs as the god and the aspect of dead. They are not. None of them was imbued of that duty (Deathwing was, from the aspect of earth, now it's just a crazy dragon)

Anonymous said...

http://static.mmo-champion.com/mmoc/images/news/2009/july/10128masks2.jpg

And yes, there's an obvious "non-canon, was only made to troll the players" rebuttal.

But which is more likely, given the available evidence: that Blizzard deliberately decided to make ogres sexually monomorphic and some artist screwed up on the masks, or that they just don't give a shit and all in-game ogres so far are male?

Symbolsix said...

Gevlon,
I would like to bring into question whether the biological definitions of "male" and "female" are sufficient for the purposes of this discussion. This was a central assumption of your argument and I feel that it is in error.

I propose that there is a socially constructed understanding of feminine and masculine, correlated to be distinct from the biological definition. Further, I say that for the purposes of games, stories and politics, it is this non-biological understanding that is significant.

To support this claim, I would like to cite the Greek and Norse (among other) religious traditions that involve deities who take on such roles as "wife," "husband," and so on. Now, these entities may have reproduced sexually, but the modern theory of reproduction (involving gametes) hadn't been developed by the fall of these religions, much less their heydays. I don't think it is reasonable to classify them as non-gendered, but the don't seem to fit the biological definition of "male" or "female."

On a closely related point, Thorim and Sif in Warcraft (like their Norse inspirations) are stated to be husband and wife, despite being constructs. Blizzard therefore intended *some* sort of difference between them, and based on their in game models (I'm making the assumption that Sif's would be the same as Freya's), that difference seems to be meant to be something very close to gender.

From a more technical standpoint, the types of things that Gevlon contends are genderless (constructs, demons, etc.), are things that don't exist in the real world. Therefore, I feel like a real world, biological definition of gender is flawed on first principles. Though humans (and other races) on Azeroth (and Outland) seem to display sexual dimorphism, and reproduce sexually, we have no way of knowing whether the mechanics of that reproduction involve ovum and sperm (I suspect Blizzard hasn't even considered the question).

If we tried to apply a modern biological model of disease to Warcraft, either the model or our understanding of the game would quickly break. Why do we suppose that a biological understanding of gender would prove any hardier?

Aljabra said...

@Garlickjr
" it's something quiet similar to the earth plane, where Deathwing hided all this time."
I did mentioned the elemental planes already. Earth elemental plane is Deepholm, zone, very well accessible to non-elemental and non-demonic players. Along the Hyjal questline you visit Fire plane, Throne of the Tides is in Water plane, and Throne of the Four Winds in Air one. Simple mortals go to the elemental planes as if they own the places, so there are nothing that special about them.

"The only being known to be in the twisting nether is Sargeras, trapped since the end of the Ancient War."
Twisting Nether is described as "Home to an infinite number of malefic, demonic beings who sought only to destroy life and devour the energies of the living universe.", so I highly doubt, that Sargeras is alone there.

"Elemental lords can reproduce, asexually (as cells)."
Son of Al'Akir, Thunderaan, never had the chance or capabilities to get his father place, so it's not really reproduction - with reproduction children supposed to be able to take they parents place in the world.

"What it's prety sure is undead don't have one."
True, as undead are not living beings, they are constructs, mechanisms, just made of dead bodies instead of metals or other materials, and they "reproduce" through non-sexual means.

"The Lich King doesn't have any people or nation to rule over"
Wrong, he do have multiple. In fact, it was amazing at first, how many living willingly serve the guy, who promised to kill them all.

"They are not."
Yogg-Saron is, by default, a god, as well, as C'Tun and several others. They are called Old Gods not just for show. And they don't need anyone to imbue them with some duty. God is not a duty, it's level of authority.

Braille said...

@Garlickjr
"Maybe you're right. If summoned demons being npc left corpses when they die and not just banish to their realm, they actually can have gender. What it's prety sure is undead don't have one. In my first comment I wanted to point out that too."

This is where a lot of the sticking points are being met: Gevlon's definition, while following the official rules, is too specific and narrow when applied to ideas like feminism, especially when those ideas are being foisted onto a fantasy world based loosely on medieval Europe.

I take more of an "I think therefore I am" approach to classifying males and females. That is, if a character perceives themselves as one or the other, than they are. Their own perception of themself defines them. And where that cannot be determined, the society they belong to and interact with can be called upon to judge by their perception the characteristics of the individual.

With the undead in WoW, you really have to distinguish between the mindless undead like ghouls, skeletons, and zombies, and the self-aware undead such as the Forsaken. The Forsaken have been clearly described in WoW lore as having the same personality, experience, and intelligence as the original living being they were resurrected from. If they were female in life, they still perceive themselves as female in death, and act accordingly. The same is true for male Forsaken.

So while my DK's ghoul clearly has no gender, Sylvanas sees herself as herself, only with a physical condition of "undeadness" added. To her, it's as if she has a disease that's made her this way. Having a disease that makes someone infertile doesn't remove their gender.

Take that definition to the other characters of power and you can see a clear male or female bias in their portrayal.

Also, I agree that a creature must have a physical form in order to have a gender. So, any elemental or demon that disappears/dissolves upon death would be an immaterial being, and therefore can't have gender. If they leave a corpse upon death, they should be considered. So, for demons, an Infernal or a Dreadlord would have no gender (dissolves upon death), but a Succubus or a Satyr would, since they leave a corpse.

That brings up an interesting idea, though. As far as I can tell, the mechagnomes and stone dwarves don't seem to have any female forms, but their curse-of-flesh cousins clearly have males and females. So one could make an argument that the machagnomes and stone dwarves had perfectly gender-neutral societies, but their cursed cousins had to create a society that made a place for both genders.

It's interesting to see how these two societies differ given that their origins are so similar.

Dwarves appear to have a fraternal, monarchy type of society, very much like Medieval Europe. Women are treated with respect, but aren't in many high-ranking positions.

Gnomes, on the other hand, don't seem to place much weight on gender, rather they prize intelligence and ingenuity above all else. They almost work like a large research facility. rather than a governed body. So you see a great deal more respect toward females within gnome society. In fact, females in gnome society don't seem to have a specific, separate "role" at all: they can be found in every role that a male gnome can be found in. Further, the king of the gnomes isn't the king because he's a male, he's king because he's the smartest gnome, a point that is made many times throughout gnome lore, and fits well within the context of the "research facility" society they created for themselves.

IrOn TuRtLe said...

Since we are throwing out definitions from wikipedia, here is another. "In biology, an organism is any contiguous living system." This would seem to cover elementals and demons just fine, and possibly the constructs in Ulduar as well. So, what objective definition are you using to classify these as non-organisms? You say that "Creations, immortal unique beings, elementals spawned from different planes, demons from hell are not organisms, therefore cannot be males," but you offer no justification for that other than your own opinion. It looks to me like it is you who is relying on a self-proving bias.

Campitor said...

I fail to see, even if sexism did exist in the game, how adding more boss level sex parity would help the feminist cause. I mean this is a game about killing things that involve demons, werewovles, and undead. You have to know your audience when trying to target your message. Trying to enlighten a bunch of sexist,crotch-grabbing,misogynist by adding more lead female characters is akin to trying to enlighten a bunch of whale hunting fishermen by painting pictures of "Free-Willy" on the side of their ship.

There is a saying "To a hammer everything looks like a nail". A sexist male player will only see a female to exploit, especially since they have to kill her to get the purple loot. So is that what feminist want in the game? A bunch of men beating female avatars to death on a consistent basis?

I think the game is a poor context to try to establish gender parity in the real world and will do little to really effect real-world change.

And I think only when an all-women development team arises, and creates their own MMO, will females be represented more fairly in a game.

Azuriel said...

I don't particularly disagree with your overall point, but wow, your philosophical arguments are terrible.

"However I would address a more important thing than the sex of a fire elemental: ogres! There is a widespread feminist whining that there are no female ogres. It's nonsense. No lore (not even gossip quality) ever mention that ogres hide their females and we've been in their caves and saw no ogres in pink skirts. There are two explanations: ogres have no sex (hermafrodites maybe), or the body difference of males and females are unlike the differences of humans. Since they are humanoids, the second is more possible. In this case ogres are living in a perfectly emancipated society."

The third explanation is that Blizzard designers never bothered to add female ogres in-game, an explanation you dismissed for apparently no reason. Other than it torpedoing your argument, I suppose.

Although Wowpedia isn't a primary source, the section on Female Ogres says: "Ogre females have not appeared in the games and only a few have been mentioned in the lore. The few ogre females mentioned in lore include the unnamed wife of Tharg, who died by the claws of the black dragonflight. Chief Ogg'ora was a female ogre sorceress and former leader of the Fire-Gut ogres.[13] One of Gro'ach the Wise's commanders among the Duskbelch ogres was a female barbarian named Vaxar.[14]"

There is a daily JC quest called Ogrezonians in the Mood that says: "I was supposed to receive a shipment of jasper from Azeroth Express, but I just heard their ship crashed into some tiny island called Ogrezonia. I worry about the crew, as the giant female ogres on the island are rumored to perform horrible rituals on men who happen upon their island. My work must go on, though, and we need those gems. I've heard great things about your skill as a jewelcrafter - could you deliver three jagged jaspers by the end of the day?"

So female ogres exist lore-wise. That male and females look the same and thus represent a perfect feminist counter-argument is YOU falling into the very same logic trap you accused others of at the beginning of the post. It is entirely possibly, again, that Blizzard simply never bothered with a female ogre model, and that explanation is at least as likely, if not moreso (based on past experiences within the WoW universe, e.g. worgen, Gnoll, Tuskar, etc), than concluding without a basis of anything that both ogre sexes look the same.

Despite all that, given what we have glimpsed of ogre society in-game, it is likely that ogres indeed do have a perfectly emancipated society insofar as the leadership is determined by power, not sex. It's possible there are a different set of rules for female ogres (can't know for sure until Blizzard specifically says "this one is female" or "they all look the same"), but given ogre intelligence and the fact they seemed fine with female humans/etc becoming their leader after a show of power, it seems like their society would be that of equal opportunity.

Grim said...

@Garlickjr
"undead are not even slaves (the last have no type of politic power, but at least they have their will: the former don't)"

Sylvanas says hi!

Dan said...

Purely as speculation, many people have theorized that Ogres may become a playable race for the Horde. This is an entirely likely scenario. If that were to happen, your argument about emancipation will be proven invalid.

However, I do believe that this falls more under retcon than anything.

Hymir said...

When I see Ogre, I only see a male, facial features(there is a difference, if it were female it would be slightly softer), voice, movement, etc makes it seem male, you can blab on about having no sexual glands or being whatever, also there is PLENTY of quests to do with ogres, other bosses you've put as no gender, where they are refereed to as "HE".

Sthenno said...

You can't just go to the dictionary for definitions. In real life there are no immortal beings that don't reproduce, so we have no need to sexually classify them.

Even, however, using sexual reproduction for classification we know that elementals can be male or female. Theradras is Therazane's daughter. That is proof that elementals can be gendered. That being said, I don't think we should jump to the conclusion that the typical model elementals are either male or female - our humanoid sex characteristics don't apply and they may be sexless drones. Perhaps only important or powerful elementals actually have genders.

Saying Titan constructs can't have gender is ridiculous. Can dwarfs not have gender? Or is it just that the curse of flesh was nice enough to impart gender? Why are the old gods so interested in making things one sex or the other?

Anyway, none of the discussion of what we think it should be matters because, as Ophidian V pointed out, the game actually defines the gender of every NPC. Since it is a game, and the creators invented the world, they get to decide what counts as male and female, not our real-life dictionary.

Of course I think that all of these complaints go to further Gevlon's point. Obviously, Gevlon is a human, and he sees the world through his own biases. If his point is that we should see beyond our biases and look to real evidence (in this case the in-game gender determining macro) then it doesn't actually matter whether he is right or wrong about what is male or female, only that he is willing to give up his previous wrong ideas when empirical truth of the matter is checked.

In this way, I have a problem with only one part of this post:

"[S]ocial readers find their own nonsense obvious, and any alternatives wrong without logical examination." *All* of us find our own nonsense obvious. Logic itself is an empty system that means nothing without axioms and that cannot examine its own axioms. No appeal to logic or science lets us escape all of our underlying biases, we just have to keep trying and know that a lot of the time we will be wrong because we are stupid.