Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes Girls’ Night

So, I didn’t pick the title, that was a Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes forum user named JynErso42. But she has a post up on the Galaxy of Heroes forum that resulted from a conversation that mainly took place between the two of us.

If you’re not familiar with SW:GoH, it’s a tablet/smart phone game that’s a bit Magic the Gathering- or Pokemon-esque. The narrative sets you up as a player of a combat game at the HoloTables in a Cantina in some unspecified portion of the Star Wars galaxy. As you play your battles, you earn pieces of equipment (or pieces of pieces of equipment) that you use to equip your characters. You also earn “shards”. These shards enable you to “unlock” heroes you don’t yet have or to promote characters that you do. You also earn experience points. As you level up as a player, you can also level your characters up to the limit of your player level.

While naturally, there’s some fun to be had in actually playing out the battles, in “winning”, a great deal of the fun is simply in collecting the different characters and experimenting with them. JynErso42 – far more knowledgeable on the SW story-verse than I – noted a distinct lack of women or female characters. She posted to the boards noting that at the time of her message there were 91 male, masculine, or gender-unspecified-droid characters and 19 female or femininely-gendered characters. This seemed particularly odd to her since this ratio is, in her opinion, even more skewed than the source material from which SW:GoH draws. Apparently the books and even past games have been more gender-diverse.

EA/Capital Games – the programmers of SW:GoH – aren’t entirely unaware of this. They ran a brief event last year focusing on women characters. However there is nothing to indicate ongoing attention to the disparity or even to the many great women characters of the SW galaxy. JynErso42 wants to do something about that.

The suggestion won’t make any sense to those who don’t play the game, so I won’t discuss it here, but if you do play this fairly fun and greatly popular game, you might want to head over to the official game forums and lend your voice to a suggestion to move EA/CG towards greater emphasis on both its existing female/femininely-gendered characters as well as the many great characters in the SW source material that have yet to be translated into collectible toons.

I haven’t pushed for the portrayal of trans*, non-binary and/or complex genders because all the characters that have shown up in the game have existed in some form or other in the movies, books, TV series, and previous role-playing games, so I believe we’d have to get those portrayals into the books, movies & TV series first, but if you like you should feel free to push for those portrayals and I’ll back you up. It may ultimately be more productive, however, if you focus that effort on Disney itself.


Front page of the EA forums for SW:GoH is here.

I haven’t been able to figure out exactly where to send feedback on the Star Wars source material.

Modeling Gender & Sex Without a False Middle

There have been many attempts to create a model that simplifies gender, sex, and sexuality enough to easily communicate important concepts without either simplifying it so much that the concepts are lost altogether. Now that we know something about social models, let’s look at a model I shared some time back on Pharyngula’s (now obsolete) Thunderdome.

The model came up in response to the suggestion of the Genderbread Person as a teaching model. As I noted then in other words, the metaphor is not the concept, so all models will fail to communicate some aspects important to a concept. The question is whether there is a better metaphor available. As a teacher or someone attempting to articulate a concept, the responsibility is still on you to know the limits of the metaphor and be able to address questions, ambiguities, and extensions. If you aren’t aware of a metaphor’s limits and able to address them longhand, using any model is risky. If you are, any model is adequate, but the models that minimize those longhand conversations are better than ones that only somewhat reduce them.

It’s with this in mind that (many years ago) I abandoned the Genderbread Person and adopted a different model, one that permits a shorthand visual model to combat multiple myths at the same time.

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