Gender Neutral

There was something about Beyond ( Two Souls) that I feel was a missed opportunity. It was over a conversation I had with some friends. When the night grows darker, and one decides to call it, he always suddenly brings up the most interesting discussions before he leaves. It’s a funny way of  preventing himself from going anywhere. As if there’s a part of him that forgets until last minute, the things he really wants to talk about. Then he’s stuck at the door with a yammering that lasts roughly one or three hours.

The conversation was the typical one about the state of the industry in which we care dearly about. The boobie ladies, the racial undertones, all because it’s interesting. But then Beyond ( One and a half Jodies) was brought up, by whom I can’t remember, but it was about Ayden, Jodie’s spirit animal. The thing about Aidan is that it is a ‘he’. They give identity to a spirit in masculine form since the beginning of Jodie’s childhood, and it makes me wonder why, if only a little.

Companion_Cube_p2Dustin, a friend who works in an industry where he gets to direct stories, makes a good point. If something no matter how inanimate or unknown sticks with someone long enough, an identity is given. Which is fair, and absolutely true. Everyone has something that they call a he or she ( though, with my experience it’s mostly cars, and the cars are mostly women), but Beyond ( The good, the bad and the Aiden)‘s prologue is so deep into the story, literally, that they throw away a chance for ambiguity. When you tell the audience who or what Aydin is supposed to be, that even if you go earlier into the story, there’s no need to have that  ambiguity because the audience already knows about him.

We often find ourselves in arguments about the roles of men and women in just about everything. In this case; Jodie spends so much time training to a be soldier, and you wonder how much that really matters. Her best, if not only weapon, is Aiden the little spirit boy. A lot of people who are looking for a fight over the internet will whine that even though it’s a spirit, it’s still a man helping a woman.  Aden has the potential to be anything the player wants it to be. After all, the spirits name could be for either sex. Give the player the opportunity to bond with the spirit, let the player determine what Aiden really is. That way it could be just as deep an experience for the player as much as it is for Jodie.

Giving the player the imagination is a more powerful tool than telling the player what they’re supposed to believe.

So here’s the part of the Article where I issue a challenge.

gender_neutral

With all this talk about men and women, for whatever role they should be playing in the fiction we love to consume, let’s take gender out of it.

What if you were capable of telling a story with characters you didn’t know who were who? If people were in love but you were not sure they were straight or homosexual. If a Transgender was on a journey to save the one person they can’t live without, from any kind of Antagonist. With this challenge, the sexes of those people can not be important to the storyteller.

The point of this challenge is that you, the creator of the story, should try to make something worth caring about without bringing gender into it. The characters would be thems, theys and possibly its, Because you can tell just as good of a story by leaving that up to the audiences imagination in that regard.

That’s all the challenge really needs to be.

I would also like to make it a exercise between any form of media. Though writing the story could be the easiest part, the medium in which you chose to tell it could be the real challenge. Games, comics, short films could present enough of a visual obstacle to really make you think about it.

I’m behind this idea 100 percent and for the time, am leaving it open to an audience. I like it’s potential as a Jam, give it a full week of participation, and chose to do it any way you want to. If you feel like this is a good idea and know anyone that is interested, get the word out and then it’s potential to be an actual jam rather than a ‘try whenever you feel like it’ challenge. We could discuss the rules, we could flesh it all out, have a good time.

In the event of no jam at all, (though never say never) I can only hope that this inspires you to tell fascinating stories, and I look forward to you sharing anything that you come up with.

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