Posted by: Jess Riley | December 15, 2008

Seduction of the Innocent

It was a strange line of thought that got me to this post, but I couldn’t help but post it, since it was on my mind.

Let me just quickly summarize my thoughts up to this point: the other day, I was joking around with Sean, as I am inclined to do, and he made a joke about his Undead Warrior and my Undead Death Knight getting involved in a relationship. (His warrior is staunchly against Death Knights, as well as very devoted to his wife, and my Death Knight has barely any sexual orientation to speak of, but that wouldn’t get in the way of the fanfiction writers if we were, you know, more well-known.)

Then I thought, you know what would be awesome? If my Death Knight made some kind of joking comment to his Warrior, implying some kind of sexual or romantic attraction. He’d flip his lid at the thought, surely! That’d be a lot of fun.

But my mind didn’t stop working there. I started thinking about homosexuality and sexual orientation and how socially acceptable that kind of thing would be on Azeroth. What do humans think of homosexuality? What do orcs think of it? Gnomes? Trolls? Dwarves? Tauren? The gears in my head started ticking over, and frankly, I’m not sure where it’ll stop.

Often, when I don’t know something about attitudes in World of Warcraft, and I can’t find a decent answer anywhere in lore, I look to similar societies in the real world and extrapolate from that. With orcs having a very Spartan feel, I can imagine their attitudes would be quite different to the humans, who evoke more of a medieval Europe feel to me, for example, and as a rule, the Undead don’t have much sexual attraction to anyone, male, female or otherwise.

So, how do they approach this subject?

First of all, I think it’s important to point out that on the whole, this probably isn’t an important issue, and any discrimination towards homosexuals in society will probably be ignored or overlooked by most people for reasons of social acceptability, much the same way that attitudes towards men and women are overlooked in the name of not giving one or other group the shaft.

But, alright, here’s some thoughts; cultures throughout history have had very different views on this issue. The Romans are famed for their behaviour, let us not forget, and while I would hesitate to say that there are any races in game that evoke this aspect of the Romans, I simply wish to emphasize that different culture groups will have vastly different opinions and practices. The upperclass Victorians would probably clutch their pearls at what the Romans did in their bath houses, and that’s not even breaking the surface.

The thing is, though, I’m using a lot of words here to avoid the very basic point: I have no idea. It’s not something that comes up in lore a lot, and while you can extrapolate from real world cultures, no two people are going to have the same ideas. And then, on top of all that, most people are going to want to slide over the issue because they don’t wish to offend anyone.

So, I put it to you, the readers. How do you think different races view homosexuality? Do you think this is important to think about? If someone made a lewd joke to one of your characters about homosexuality, how would THEY react? Have you ever given it any thought, even?

I’m curious about this, now that it’s on my mind. So, tell me how you play it!

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Responses

  1. I’ve given it a little thought in the the past, on a purely meta level.

    I figure it mostly depends on the individual player’s levels of yaoi fangirl/yuri fanboy/other. Author appeal at its finest.

  2. As a side-note, I’d like to point out that saying “that wouldn’t get in the way of the fanfiction writers” is rather redundant. There’s no known force in the universe capable of stopping fanfiction writers from shipping.

  3. Quick rundown of the races…

    Night Elves: With their society, I’d imagine different sexual lifestyles could be completely natural. Animals do it, they wish to preserve the balance of nature, therefore, if you feel in such a way and you’re not forcing or hurting anyone, it can’t be that wrong. Also, I can see them having a culture that espouses warrior love.

    Dwarves: They’re carved from stone and things are the way they are. Male and female go together and that’s just it.

    Gnomes: Gnomes wouldn’t even define a sexuality. They’re curious, playful, experimental and inquisitive. Who has time for labelling and restrictions?

    Humans: Just like in real life, it would depend where you were. Places or organizations bent on purity, such as the Scarlet Crusade, would want “traditional,” while other places may feel there’s more important things to worry about.

    Draenei: I imagine it would be rare, and kind of weird, but the Draenei seem so very “good will towards men” that they would follow the idea of no harm, no foul.

    Orcs: Warrior society could again go with warrior love. As well as being shamanistic, the natural aspect works in, but non-hetero relationships would probably not be the norm.

    Troll: Tribal, the equal-opportunity antagonizers could also be equal-opportunity lovers. I imagine wild troll orgies full of ritual and sacrifice and, perhaps, bloodletting.

    Undead: Do the undead even desire sex anymore? I imagine they would miss it in a sort of “oh, I enjoyed that once” way, but…I can imagine they would more have strong friendships at the most.

    Tauren: Once again, very nature-focused. I cannot see them censoring alternative lifestyles; however, with how much the need to rebuild their clan size, I can imagine them seeing it as a waste.

    Blood Elves: This could swing either way (badum pish). They’re so feminine in both genders it’s possible there’s no real restrictions, or the men could be bordering on the edge of insanity in trying to preserve their masculinity.

    Just my two cents.

  4. Sagaril – I regret that my characters will never be famous enough for twisted fans to ship them.

    Bellwether – I agree with you solidly on the orcs and with several of your other points; otherwise, I have a few disagreements, but I don’t want to get into them in a comment. Perhaps I’ll follow it up in a later post.

  5. Conversely, if NE and Tauren are into what is natural, they might have an even stronger opposition to what appears to go against it.

    Ultimately I suspect that how one views the races on this topic will mirror what one personally thinks on the subject and what faction they play

  6. When it comes to this subject, as far as I know there is no lore to support any stance on it. We can assume the purity factor in the Light might dissuade such relationships and we can try to judge how it be supported, with the cultures each race emulates. But in the end, this really is one of those issues where you can do anything you like (within reason) as no one can tell you in any degree that you are wrong or right.

    Now for me, most characters I have thought up (and will play as soon as I get my hands on WoW again) are straight. What characters aren’t, are bisexual. Personally, I never thought much of playing a homosexual for one reason or another but probably mainly because I myself am straight. So I go the bisexual path, playing it safe while at the same time still being able to delve into new territory. And no I don’t just do this for females, I am not one of those guys who plays with sexuality just for…um those kind of reasons. I do so to add depth to my character and to play with my own curiosities on the subject. So I have both male and female characters who are bisexual.

    As for how I treat such relationships, I treat them as I do any as I would in my own life. I never thought of what my race may feel on the issue, because my characters are usually the more open minded types so its never an issue. But now with this entry, I shall surely think of it more. Deciding which of my characters be for or against or simply indifferent to the issue. As well, as even explore making a character homosexual in the future.

    @ Bellwether

    Generally, like Jess I do agree on your points for the races. However, I shall go into what I think since I can’t follow up as Jess can.

    Night Elves: I would say that while their nature love may promote such free love. Like Amaxe pointed out, there love for nature may make them oppose what is “against” nature presuming they consider homosexuality against nature. But I will say, what with how their society is shaped. I would say homosexual relationships amongst females probably be more prevalent and accepted than with males.

    Trolls: They are very sexist. Looking to females as baby makers and nothing more. So with that (even though they are changing thanks to Thrall) I doubt they be too keen on such relationships.

    Undead: While yes, they have no sexual urges or desires what with them unable to feel such biologically or even do it, even if the memory of it all made them what to continue such. It doesn’t mean they still would not have relationships, it just mean the sex part would be cut out. So if a human was homosexual while living and remembers such, then they be homosexual as an undead. With the hard part being finding anyone who can literally stomach being with an undead.

    Tauren: Like with the night elves, they possible could be against it heavily. If not, they still may be against it because of the simple fact that their kind was always on the edge of extinction. And one of the main reasons they survived was surely heavy amounts of procreation (which probably was greatly encouraged) so its doubtful they support that kind of relationship. But now that they can rest for once, at best they probably no longer openly disprove of it but still wouldn’t approve of it either.

    Everyone else, I agree with wholeheartedly for the most part. Though I must say, I don’t know one way or the other with blood elves or draenei. Though I think they probably be like humans are mostly. Course, with draenei being aliens…who the hell knows what goes on in their beds lol.

  7. Awesome. ^^ My idea on what is “natural” was actually for homosexuality; there are plenty of occurences of homosexual activity within the animal kingdom. 🙂

  8. Damn it, now you’re just making me look like a cynical idiot who refuses to look beyond what ideas he came in with.

    Which I am, but there’s no need to call attention to it.


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