[Suggestion] Races of ... does it have to be MEN?

By on July 5, 2010 4:42:17 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Kimaya

Join Date 07/2010
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This is the one bug or idea that I haven't seen posted by someone else first, so I'm finally putting it up!

Quoth Frogboy from Understanding The Fallen, Elemental, and Middle Earth:

They’re called “Fallen” because the history books are written by men and have a man-centric bias. [...] Obviously, Elemental takes place in a totally different universe. But hopefully this helps players understand where some of the terminology comes from and how it is relatable.

Speaking of man-centric bias, Tolkein really kinda had one.  So it's unsurprising that he, like many folks, called humans "the race of men".  But it does surprise me that Elemental is calling it "races of men", given that we've gotten to the point where we realize that the essential characteristics of humanity include women, too.  Also, "The (fantasy) Race of Man" been repeated to the point of risking being more tired trope than anything.  Given all that, the race option "Men" has stuck out like a hammered thumb that got stuck into a pot of boiling oil and then caught on a rusty nail every time I've started up a new game.

Yeah, yeah, I know "that's just the way humans were called", but while it's not a huge deal, it remains a deal.  It won't keep me from playing (I've been off/on since day 1 of beta), but it's the one big scuff on this stellar game, and it's jarring every time. 

So! This isn't just a gripe, it's an honest suggestion -- Given the lore, how's this for some ideas on things that might work as a decent replacement for Men/the races of men?

  • Vitalis/the vital races (hey, it's human-centric)
  • Hominids/the hominal or hominid races
  • Anthropi/the anthropic races
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grimzag1
StevenAus
July 8, 2010 7:44:29 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

What I cannot believe is that we have humans in the game! How unoriginal! Down with tradition! Bring me monkeys! And chimps!

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July 8, 2010 7:55:05 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

It should totally be a game about squirrels vs raccoons.

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July 8, 2010 4:41:48 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Beric01,
LOL. Another feminist trying to ruin everyone's fun.


 


The race of Men in J. R. R. Tolkien's Middle-earth books, such as The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, refers to humanity and does not denote gender.




In Tolkien's writings, Man with an initial capital letter refers to any human being


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Man_(Middle-earth)

 

 

Oh god! Not a feminist! PFfft. Women having equal rights? Having less fear of unequal treatment? What will they ask for next? To wear...PANTS?!

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July 8, 2010 4:44:35 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting DamnedChoir,

I'm Hispanic and I'm not insulted by the fact that a game based on European Medieval Fantasy features White people. Now The Last Airbender...that's more something you should be upset at. An Asian-Inspired Fantasy world turned into bland nonsense by a bad director replacing A Tibetan and two Eskimos with white people.

Ugh, reminds me of what SyFy did to Earthsea.

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July 8, 2010 4:44:39 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Oh god! Not a feminist! PFfft. Women having equal rights? Having less fear of equal treatment? What will they ask for next? To wear...PANTS?!

 

Surely feminism doesn't refer to a pursuit of an egalitarian society but a pursuit of a female-dominated one? Presumably the word for the former would be a humanist?

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July 8, 2010 4:48:23 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting MagicwillNZ,

LOL. Another feminist trying to ruin everyone's fun.



Fuck political correctness.


While these assholes above me are super-diplomatic, I sort of agree with them to a certain extent. I argued heavily in a prior thread that female characters should not be gimped. However, there is sort of an established setting here which takes place in a male-dominated society. There's a certain extent where I think for game purposes such civilizations should be flexible enough to allow female characters, I think the 4th ed DnD style of both genders being split down the middle of any profession ever is sort of hard to swallow. As such, I sort of understand why they would call themselves the kingdoms of "man" as opposed to the kingdoms of "humans" and the kingdoms of "people" just sounds dumb. If there was a good term for humanity that sounded good and was gender neutral, I'd suggest we use that instead.

The thing is is that its changed from being man to at least human or its still just race of man. The more encompassing a language is the more its relateable to everyone and not just one mindset.

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July 8, 2010 4:50:21 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Kimaya,
Yeah, I made some Ironeers and they're the same regular race as the faction, which I expect is the way it's going to stay.  The lore that I read actually had dwarves as non-Men by definition, which is also Tolkein-esque.

As for all the whining about my suggestion being, to them, "feminist" or "politically correct" etc. -- it's a pity the idea upset you!  I already pointed out the obvious that Tolkein etc. were very man-centric and that Elemental is another game drawing heavily on that for canon... and also that this doesn't mean that Elemental has to make the same mistake just cause they're copying Tolkein.  Or using "cliches of the English language" or Euro-Medieval Fantasy trope or whatever the hell someone wants to point to as "that's the way it's always been so that's the way it should be".  

I actually can expect a company like Stardock to consider bucking a tired trend because that's exactly what their games have always done for me.  Filled with familiarities, yes, but in ways that are new and well-thought out to some surprising and talented detail.

In short, "Fuck the way it's 'always' been done. Do it your own damn way because it makes a better, more original game."  Does their way have to be my way?  Of course not, I'm not on their team.  But while forumites getting even a polite level of bent out of shape because someone's suggestion is different from what they'd prefer may be "traditional internets", it remains damn silly.

Seconded.

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July 8, 2010 4:52:31 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Mandelik,



Quoting Kimaya,
reply 20
As for all the whining about my suggestion being, to them, "feminist" or "politically correct" etc. -- it's a pity the idea upset you!  I already pointed out the obvious that Tolkein etc. were very man-centric and that Elemental is another game drawing heavily on that for canon... and also that this doesn't mean that Elemental has to make the same mistake just cause they're copying Tolkein.


Yeah, yeah!

Bad Tolkien was too man-centric! He should have thought people in the years 2010s would want to rewrite History and give women a place they never had.

How many women in the armies of Ancient Greece, Ancient Rome, in medieval armies, with the conquistadors, in the army of Napoleon, during WWI and WWII?

How many women fought in plate armor waving swords?

 

We don't need neither stinkin' retro-feminism nor political correctness crap!

Yeah! And how many platoons storming normany had dark elves?! Or how many of the fey tribe were slaughtered and raped by the conquistadors?! And how many...oh...wait...

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July 8, 2010 4:53:49 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Annatar11,

and also that this doesn't mean that Elemental has to make the same mistake


Why are you assuming that it's a "mistake"? As was pointed out above, "human" and "woman" both have the word MAN in them, which makes "The Race of Man" a fairly accurate generalization as a more flavorful fantasy name besides "Human".

The more steps we take away from gender binary the better. That's why its important.

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July 8, 2010 4:55:03 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Rincewind57,
Can I suggest a radical solution? We instead have 'chaps'. There can be 'good chaps' and 'bad eggs'. Thereby circumventing all of the political correctness issues whilst being simply splendid terms to use in their own right.

Sounds good Mr. Pratchett.

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July 8, 2010 4:56:33 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Rincewind57,

Oh god! Not a feminist! PFfft. Women having equal rights? Having less fear of equal treatment? What will they ask for next? To wear...PANTS?!


 

Surely feminism doesn't refer to a pursuit of an egalitarian society but a pursuit of a female-dominated one? Presumably the word for the former would be a humanist?

No. feminism is not about a female dominiated society. You can suggest semantics, but that is not what it has been used for politically.

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July 8, 2010 4:59:44 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

The more steps we take away from gender binary the better. That's why its important.

It's a video game, not a model of society. It's intended purely as a form of entertainment. It is the absolute *last* thing you should look to to "take steps away from gender binary".

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July 8, 2010 5:17:06 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Annatar11,

The more steps we take away from gender binary the better. That's why its important.


It's a video game, not a model of society. It's intended purely as a form of entertainment. It is the absolute *last* thing you should look to to "take steps away from gender binary".

Really? So being more accessible to someone's experience is less important, than, say...hidden pictures of family trips? I realize you were probably using an extreme to make a point, but it doesn't work. A video game's appeal is based on many things, and one of them is for the player to be able to relate to the game. You can have a game about some alien life form trying to keeps its egg sac safe, for example. But we can all still relate to the instinct to protect, importance of children, etc. Even if its in an intellectual and not emotional way. Having a "race of men" can cut out some of that relateability. It is also not a trivial choice of words, but easily changed, so I do not see the big deal in the OP making the request/suggestion.

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July 8, 2010 6:06:30 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting TheBirthdayParty,

The more steps we take away from gender binary the better. That's why its important.

I can't believe you people take time worrying about this crap.  It's thinking like this that had volunteer firefighters who requested to be mobilized to assist with Hurrican Katrina being sent by FEMA for a week of "cultural sensitivity and diversity training" instead of... you know... helping.

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July 8, 2010 6:49:11 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

No. feminism is not about a female dominiated society. You can suggest semantics, but that is not what it has been used for politically.

 

I'd argue that over the last 10-20 years feminism has changed from its noble beginnings and now has indeed been perverted into a desire for a female-dominated society. I'll leave it at that though, not wanting to get into a full-on debate about this. Arguing about terminology, historical context etc notwithstanding i of course would like it if everybody could be treated equally, with no descrimination of either gender, so I'll leave it at that point I hope we can agree on .

 

I think I shall leave this thread before I get into a heated discussion. I hope everybody is enjoying the beta and look forward to perhaps playing some of you at the eventual multiplayer modes .

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July 8, 2010 9:21:38 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Wintersong,
That somehow someone "enlightened" tied "mortal" to "human" doesn't mean that "mortal" has anything to do with "natural" and "unnatural".

Biblically it does, old testament stuff.  You're just jealous you didn't think of it first Wintersong.

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July 8, 2010 10:11:40 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

look, i think that whatever the story calls for is what should be used.  not everything has to appeal to everyone, and not everything has to make everybody feel comfortable.  sometimes a story, setting or whatever is not fair or equal or stuff like that.  if people are refered to the races of men then so be it.  maybe the historians in the game thought women were lesser creatures and lifted men to a higher ideal.  there is nothing wrong with this, if someone disagrees with it, thats GOOD.  it makes you think, but it shouldn't change the way the character thinks, this would make very boring characters.

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July 9, 2010 1:27:37 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Stmorpheus,
look, i think that whatever the story calls for is what should be used.  not everything has to appeal to everyone, and not everything has to make everybody feel comfortable.  sometimes a story, setting or whatever is not fair or equal or stuff like that.  if people are refered to the races of men then so be it.  maybe the historians in the game thought women were lesser creatures and lifted men to a higher ideal.  there is nothing wrong with this, if someone disagrees with it, thats GOOD.  it makes you think, but it shouldn't change the way the character thinks, this would make very boring characters.

The main point though is the OP shouldn't be given shit for commenting on it. Some of the responses are not acceptable.

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July 9, 2010 3:09:49 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting RogueCaptain,

Biblically it does, old testament stuff.
Don't get me wrong, but not my kind of fantasy literature I'm not sure that Lord Relias knows about the Bible. Neither Procipinee knows about it.

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July 9, 2010 8:41:55 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

It's just terminology ffs. There is the Egalitarian trait as well as the ability to choose without penalty whatever gender we want. It is like saying "That ape was sure manlike." then complaining that the sentence is discriminating. I'm not trying to speak for everyone, but who gives? When they start giving the women worse stats we might start shouting unfairness. Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words can never hurt me...

(I know that the Egalitarian trait costs a point even though it doesn't give a direct benefit. The decorate land spells cost mana and research without a direct benefit, yet no one is complaining that the game is against planting flowers.)

The culture of the game is based upon the medieval setting (or indirectly via other fantasy settings that are) where the women did not fight, yet had power (if less than men). And from the point of the antagonists they most often view it from a perspective of war thus to them only those who fight matter. From what I remember of LotR (long since I read the books or watched the movies) the humans say people of Gondor, Rohan, the West, etc. whereas elves and dwarves and orcs call them the men. And I find it hard to believe it is to discriminate women.

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July 9, 2010 11:17:56 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I like binary gender.  And it's good for society.

If you happen to be a lesbian, you may feel pressure from society to conform; but, for the vast majority of women, who are not lesbians, binary gender roles provide a healthy environment for them to develop.

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July 9, 2010 1:17:55 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

When people refer to the "race of men" the generally mean men and women. Its just the way the language is used.

People read too much into these things. You can find them anywhere if you want to.

 

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July 9, 2010 1:45:13 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Gosh Stardock, you sexist pigs.  Now that you've called a faction the Races of Men, might as well go all the way and throw in beating up prostitutes ala GTA and adding in an ability to force your queen to make you a sandwich. 

Quoting Beric01,
LOL. Another feminist trying to ruin everyone's fun.

 

 

 

Exactly.  Even if this "problem" was rectified today, next week someone would complain that there is no transgender representation in the game or have some other gripe about PCness.  There are already plenty of women in the game to my understanding; female citizens, soldiers, and even sovereigns.  The game has more gender equality than real life (which is great in my book), but it's not enough because women aren't explicitly included in the name of the faction?  

Races of Men just sounds cooler, especially compared to the suggestions in the OP.  That's the only reason I can imagine for Tolkein and Stardock to use the term, not because they were sitting around wondering "Hmm, how can we marginalize women today?".  Tolkein's world also had women who were powerful, wise, skilled, and in leadership positions.  If someone can't distinguish between aesthetics and true discrimination and one little thing sticks out "like a hammered thumb that got stuck into a pot of boiling oil and then caught on a rusty nail" (really?) it shouldn't fall on Stardock IMO.

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July 9, 2010 1:45:53 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Annatar11,
Why not "Meatbags" instead?

 

Or Carbon Lifeform.


Wait...that might be TOO generic

 

Besides, if I want a female kingdom/empire, can't I just:

 

-Create a female soverign

-Take Egalitarian for my custom faction

-Hire only female NPCs

-Design female warriors

 

Done and done, right? So if you wanted an Amazonian type faction - wouldn't this cover it?

 

Oh and as far as the name of the race - it doesn't matter. I don't see it as some kind of veiled attack on women. I mean...seriously?

Reminds me of those arguments that women are being mistreated because it's not called a "womanhole" or "personhole" but instead a "manhole". I've always thought genderized nouns were silly, though. Actor? One who acts. Why do we need "actress"? Waiter? -er = one who, not male who - so why do we need "waitress?"

So maybe I don't "get it" but I don't see how Elemental is slamming women because of the race name.

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July 9, 2010 1:52:38 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Carbon Lifeform

V-Ger used Carbon Unit, it's definitely fitting

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