Oberon wrote: gobe wrote:
Oberon wrote:In short, there's no reason at all that homosexual love should be any less prevalent on Erfworld than any other kind of sexual conduct. The relationship between Jillian and Wanda is only one example of this.
I agree with your general point, but I have to say I don't agree with that detail.
There's an excellent
reason why homosexual love should be less prevalent on Erfworld than any other kind of sexual conduct. In our world, and in our fiction, and in our game worlds, straight love is more common than homosexual love - even when taking away imperatives due to culture, reproduction, laws, etc. Just the way people are born, there are more naturally straight people than gays, transgenders, bisexuals, etc. put together. And we know that Erfworld is mostly based on our own world, culture, fiction, and game worlds. Hence, this is no proof, but I give you a good reason, at least, why it wouldn't be as interchangeable as you claim.
Your reason seems to boil down to "the readers aren't made up of equal parts homosexuals and equal parts heterosexual, so the fictional world shouldn't be, either." For what underlying reason? To not scare away potential readers who might be uncomfortable with such a story? That may make sense for an author who is afraid of scaring away some readers, and thus some revenues, but it doesn't necessarily make sense for the world the author has constructed. And I'll prefer an honest portrayal of the natural social consequences of a childless, birth-less, marriage-less, venereal disease-less culture to one which panders to the majority of our culture any day.
And as for your assertion that straight love is more common that homosexual love in fiction, that may be true in general, but it is certainly not true in all cases. You may wish to read The Forever War or any of Rice's Sleeping Beauty trilogy.
The argument that non-straight/queer sexualities and non-binary gender performances are less "common", and even sometimes frowned upon (such as Trammenis' Signamancy) in Erfworld - and that despite all the arguments Oberon pointed out quite nicely in his post - is all due to Erfworld reflecting the very trends of pop culture (current, american-ish pop culture)... is a sound argument (sadly...). It doesn't make much sense to have such biases considering there are no actual downsides, but many other things in Erfworld barely make internal sense yet are as such because they derive from Stupidworld.
However, the assertion that there are just "naturally" more straight people than "anything else" in the world is very flawed. Once again, I will point to Oberon's insightful reply, but I want to stress that we are all influenced by those factors (sex being linked to reproduction, diseases and risks of pregnancy, cultural and religious biases...) and our own very human tendencies to try and fit everything in orderly boxes, and to reject outliers that don't fit in our views. Fear of ostracization and internalization of prejudice will easily funnel a lot of people into the "straight, gender-conforming" box. Though, in the absence of duress, they might have "naturally" developed much differently.
Not just talking sexuality here; for instance, it is believed roughly 1%-1.7% of children born are intersex - their genitalia/chromosomes do not fit the definition of neither "male" nor "female". (It varies even more because there are actually more than one system to define sex!) These people will nevertheless be made to fit into the "male" or "female" category, which in some instances will entail "corrective" surgery.
No need to be very well-versed in history or social sciences to notice that is considered "natural" here and now and what was considered "natural" at various other points in time or around the globe keeps on changing.
Now, for as much as Erfworld is a great story and Robb is an excellent writer (working with amazing artists), it can never be a true portrayal of a word without our own Stupidwordly biases because it is a work of fiction. Erfworld doesn't exist in a vaccum and Robb cannot help but be shaped by his life experiences, is environment, the media he's exposed to, etc.
It's a dang good story nonetheless, but, for instance, I am not surprised in the slightest that the comic has had multiple canon and overt same-sex relationships between females, but not between males as of yet.
This ties in with lesbians being better accepted by the amorphous blob that could be labelled the "heterosexual male" demographic - which is considered the default demographic in our society (you can throw in white, christian, american...) - because of the sexual titillation factor. On the other hand, males engaging in same-sex relationships is a lot less accepted, often decried as disgusting and "unmasculine".
These are rough generalizations, I know, before anyone claims "but that's unfair because not all heterosexual males are bigoted and people of other genders and sexuality are also bigoted!" But the result is there nonetheless.
Even open-minded writers with tons of open-minded readers can't help but be affected by social pressures and tropes.
So I guess, we can argue and argue forever on these forums, but in the end, Erfworld will lean towards a heterosexual/gender-normative narrative despite having no reason to be, mechanic-wise, for the simple reason that it is made by Robb (and a lil' by collaborators) who live in a world/society which currently leans towards the very same things. As much as I would like it to be free from such constraints. Who could ever write such a thing? Everyone is a fallible human affected by the world.
I guess I can only hope the story keeps heading in a more and more open-minded direction... Oh well!
/end rambling, sorry this is why I should keep only posting a few times per year