Posted by: Jess | September 21, 2008

Theme Week Blood Elves: Stereotyping Part 1

Let’s be honest; it’s not as though we don’t talk about stereotypes a lot here at Blogatelle. Given that I feel that blood elves are subject to some of the more interesting stereotypes – they’re awfully popular, so I think this comes out a lot – I thought I would devote an entire post just to talking about some of the stereotypes that exist, never mind suggesting new ideas.

1. Metro/Homosexuality. I was giving some idle thought to the idea of Blood Elf stereotypes, and clicking around my internet, when I came upon a discussion of the sexual stereotyping of male elves. Now, while I admit that I’ve always considered the blood elf males to be arrogant, vain and quite effeminate, I hadn’t ever considered them to be a homosexual stereotype, and yet on reflection, I have to admit that this idea absolutely does exist. I would have said that it’s more of a metrosexual thing, in that they’re not interested in other males, but they take a lot of care in how they look and they act in a bit of a poncy, elitist, vain way.

Either way, whether we consider this to be good or bad, or neutral, this is a stereotype that exists. Consider that even the /silly and /flirt emotes for the blood elf males promote this idea of them being vain and a little effeminate; as a result, it’s going to be a difficult stereotype to overcome. I think it can be said that blood elves as a people are very pompous and vain, and that these traits are fostered and idealised by society – a great number of signs in lore point to that, so it’s not exactly a bad thing to suggest that a lot of blood elf males are going to act in this way. However, that doesn’t mean that every blood elf is going to act like that, nor that the logical extension of this is that there are no heterosexual male blood elves – this is a cultural norm, not a teller of sexual orientation.

2. Promiscuity. This one is largely attributed to blood elf females, and to be honest, I think most of this comes from the notion of blood elves as sexy. The models are quite attractive, and there’s a lot of people who play the blood elves – as a result, I think it’s fair to say that we notice a lot of people who play blood elves for the purposes of playing them in an exaggeratedly sexualised manner. As I’ve said in past posts, given the effects of magic addiction on blood elves, I can see two perfectly valid in-character explanations for why blood elf females would be more promiscuous than females of other races – and these explanations would, likewise, suggest that blood elf males should be quite promiscuous as well. However, as the stereotype is of the promiscuous female, I will discuss mainly females.

First of all, if we take that magic addiction is like metamphetamine addiction, it could follow that a magic high, like a methamphetamine high, could induce sexually compulsive behaviour in users. I don’t consider this very likely, personally, but if someone puts in the thought to justifying their blood elf’s promiscuity in this way, I cannot really fault them for it.

The second idea is that if a blood elf was particularly hard up for a magic hit at any time, they could turn to prostitution in an effort to gain more magic. I did once play a blood elf who, in response to my own frustrations with the number of promiscuous blood elves, played pseudo-beard to a Forsaken mage for a regular magic hit (instead of covering for his sexual orientation, it was to cover for the fact that no woman would want a decomposing lover, but it was a similar premise).

Honestly, I don’t like the stereotype of the promiscuous blood elf, but if you really wanted to play a blood elf who wants or gets a lot of sex, there are reasonable explanations as to how this could happen – apart from anything I’ve listed above, some people, males and females alike, enjoy having an active sex life. Honestly, though, why can’t we just stop with the promiscuous blood elves? It’s not really necessary, and there’s really quite enough of them. It seems to be mostly out of wanting to imagine the models in compromising or just plain explicit situations, and not out of any part of canon.

Because there’s a lot to talk about with blood elves and stereotyping, I’ll cut off here so I don’t go on forever, and continue next time. Stay tuned for more!


Responses

  1. Jess, how are blood elves going to respond to other magically based races? Obviously, I don’t think that any exist in the horde, but the succubus, as an example, is walking sex and demon-magick in one fell (pardon the pun) swoop. Could male blood elves, or even female ones for a satyr perhaps, be sexually aroused by the combination?

  2. Regarding homosexuality for the sin’dorei, this was actually a huge bone of contention during The Burning Crusade beta. They were originally much more slender, lacking the musculature of the male counterparts of the remaining World of Warcraft races. It was decided that they were too feminine, therefore resulting in a less menacing character. You can see a copy of the original Blue posting by Nethaera over at the WoW Blue Tracker.

    And the number of players roleplaying sin’dorei males that prefer males is rather overwhelming at times. I don’t remember seeing much of this prior to the expansion — with the exclusion of perhaps two notable tauren fellows who enjoyed each others’ company — but it definitely became more prominent when the Horde acquired a so-called “pretty” race. It’s a very common theme on both Feathermoon and Shattered Hand where I’ve played Horde on and off again.

    Either way, I don’t have much of a preference; it’s prevalence is almost as common as kal’dorei lesbians, which run amok on almost every server on which I’ve roleplayed. However, the stereotype definitely does exist from my experience and I’m not sure if a lot of it is perpetuated by people who adopt and roleplay that type of character or if those characters were inspired by the stereotype.

  3. I did know about the problems in the beta, but I admit, it’s something I never really think about until someone tells me – and then I have to admit that it is there, that it is a stereotype of the blood elves.

    Of course, you know how I scoff at the ‘masculinity’ of the blood elves. These are strung out addicts, they don’t have muscles!

    (I’m sorry, I slept in this morning and haven’t had a coffee yet. I’m in an odd headspace.)

  4. About number 2:
    It might be less frowned on because of the whole “90% of the population died” thing.


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