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Homosexuality in Exalted second edition

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  • #16
    Originally posted by Pram View Post
    "Matriarch" is in
    It is, but it refers specifically to Lookshy, not the Realm. Lookshy has Matriarchs and Patriarchs.

    "Matriarch" is in the book, but only referring to Lookshy. Never to the Realm.

    ("Empress", obviously, comes up.)

    Matriarch comes up in CoCD: Blessed Isle, but only in the Lookshy sense of an elder in charge.

    Originally posted by AnubisXy View Post
    (ie the books never said something like, "Tepet Arada is one of the few male generals to have ever been held in such high regard," or, "Ragara Bagwei is the first male to have been given the opportunity to run the Heptagram.") Ultimately there was never any effort made to present these individuals, their successes and positions as exceptional or unusual in light of their sex/gender.

    Now, among mortals it's very plausible that males suffer from discrimination and whatnot, but among Dragon Blooded it always felt like the Blessing of the Dragons evened the playing field out such that it was a non-issue (if it even existed) in prior editions.
    Not to sidetrack from OP, but Bhagwei founded the Heptagram (1E and 2E) after being the only person apart from Mnemon to survive the Versino destruction (he wasn't at the school at the time).

    Exalted The Dragon-Blooded stated:

    "In the Realm, gender takes a back seat to position with the Perfected Hierarchy. Terrestrial Exaltation occurs with equal frequency to both men and women, and the Dynasty sees to it that children are trained in any and all aspects of leadership, regardless of gender. Likewise, neither the Order of Immaculate Dragons nor the Thousand Scales discriminate between genders. Even slaves are trained for whatever role their masters deem most suitable, regardless of sex."

    ****

    1E was a bit... 90s WW in its attitude toward sexual identity (even if it did come out in the early 2000s). It tried really hard to be inclusive, but it did rely a little on stereotypes.

    2E, I've voiced opinions on. It wasn't the Hitler of RPGs, but it did smart to see my favorite characters get sidelined.

    3E has been great, apart from Sesus Eschavar. But even Sesus E isn't that bad -- he feels like a real person who is a d-bag more than a just a collection of harmful stereotypes. Which is okay, because I don't want me LGBT+ characters to be saints. I want them to be humans, d-bags and a-holes. I'd just prefer it if Seuss E was an oppressive, imperialist d-bag than a gay man who hates his wife, uses magic to preen, thirsts over his close friends, wants to stick it to his mother in law, and sleeps with teenage boys.

    The characters of 3E are the best they've ever been.
    Last edited by JohnDoe244; 04-01-2021, 08:28 AM.


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    • #17
      The matriarchal thing is one of those things where I think it's certainly worthwhile to evaluate previous editions in light of your own preferences and views, but to also be clear where the line is between "This is not doing what 3e did, therefore it fails to be true to the original concepts of Exalted" vs "This edition simply had a different take, and it's self consistent".

      (To go on another hobby horse which I've long since ridden to death, the Realm is probably less powerfully militarily dominant across the world in previous editions. But this wasn't simply a mistake, where they'd undershot or undersold what they "should" have been doing, and now the mistake has been thankfully "corrected" and set right. It's that the previous editions were more interested in setting Solars up against local powers and against the Deathlords and so on, than fighting the imperial Realm, and so built a Realm that was more oriented around being dependent on client states, and had retreated more due to civil war, and had more powerful, independent local actors.)

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      • #18
        Originally posted by Blaque View Post
        I think definition somewhat matters a bit. Female-biased inheritence, a glass ceiling on men, and a bias towards men in power is matriarchal in the same way modern Earth is patriarchal. I would actually note too that the way the Realm in 3e runs is actually still fitting more to the way that the 1e book describes it than not. To me a stand-out is the level of matriarchy in the Realm feels more like say, 20th Century Western patrairhcy in the amount of bias and pressure it creates versus what I think most fantasy stuff presents it where it is basically humans living like hyenas.

        It is a bit off topic mind. But It hink that at least the implications were to have a societal bias towards women which 1e never showed and which 2e actively undermined, which is the general thing I was focusing on here.
        Those are all things that only exist in 3e. 1e made them more of a meritocracy that was still run by nepotism. There weren't any biases innate gender biases except when it came to certain individuals.

        Also as a side note. The issue with dragon blooded being gay wasn't that they considered it morally wrong but rather that the dragon blooded were meant to represent their marriage as a unified bond to the mortals of the blessed realm. It was basically just dragon blooded being forced to conform to as a form of propaganda to the mortals of the blessed isle. Most couples were apathetic at best and disdainful at worst at having an arranged marriage that usually meant nothing to them. Almost all the dragon blooded in the blessed isle have lovers on the side. If I remember correctly both 1e and 2e pointed out it was preferable to have a same sex partner because they wouldn't have bastard children that way.
        Last edited by Epimetheus; 04-01-2021, 06:27 PM.

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        • #19
          Actually, Exalted: The Dragon-Blooded does say there is some minor discrimination against men.

          "There is some persistent discrimination against men, but it's more of a glass ceiling than a genuine limit - men are generally paid slightly less, promoted less frequently, and treated as somewhat irresponsible, but individual circumstance often differs from the norm. Ultimately, the fact that a character is one of the Dragon-Blooded will have a much greater impact on his role in Realm society than his gender."

          Given the context of this was that it was presented in a sidebar claiming that the Realm was gender neutral, I don't think 1E did a bad job of portraying it. We see some minor bias, like in Ledaal Kes's backstory, but we also see male fleet admirals, dominie, leaders of the Wyld Hunt etc. It's no more galling than a story about female CEOs, Secretaries of State, and Vice Presidents set in the modern USA. The books say the Realm is gender neutral but men face very minor stigma, then it shows men facing very minor stigma. If the books claimed the Realm was a matriarchy and men were actively discriminated against, then, sure, the portrayal would have been bad. But the books never once claimed that.

          Inheritance is gender neutral, but matrilinity existed in 1E. Jewish tradition holds to matrilinity, and that's a patriarchal culture -- saying kids belong to their mother is not the sign of a matriarchy.

          2E dropped the matrilinity (it explicitly included great house bloodlines based in the father's great house) and the sexism against men in MoEP: The Dragon-Blooded. 3E didn't "introduce" these concepts, it just brought them back from 1E.

          But really, seriously, this deserves its own thread at this point. We're supposed to be talking about the erasure of homosexual characters in 2E.


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          • #20
            Originally posted by Epimetheus View Post
            Most couples were apathetic at best and disdainful at worst at having an arranged marriage that usually meant nothing to them.
            All Editions have described the idea that the process of negotiating the marriage involves exposing the prospective couple to one another and seeing if they get along. Apathy and disdain makes for unstable households.


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            • #21
              Originally posted by Blaque View Post
              The textbox in the 2e DB book was extra-clumsy on the whole "The Realm hates effeminate men" thing. Which when trying to present things as matriarchal or whatever, is pretty fucking yikes.
              I actually considered this part way worse.
              Mortal women might have been forbidden to the lusty Dragon-Blooded men but everyone (and everything) else was fair game, and historians claim that the frequency of homosexual relations among the Dragon-Blooded dates back to this period.


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              • #22
                Originally posted by Isator Levi View Post

                All Editions have described the idea that the process of negotiating the marriage involves exposing the prospective couple to one another and seeing if they get along. Apathy and disdain makes for unstable households.
                And yet there have been more then a few pairings that were done for the greater house then their children.

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                • #23
                  Originally posted by Epimetheus View Post
                  And yet there have been more then a few pairings that were done for the greater house then their children.

                  We get a small few examples in supplementary fiction of difficult pairings, but the established baseline is that the greater House sees the practical benefit of spending time trying to ensure that the prospects will get along, and particularly avoid cases of them actively despising one another. Like, what is the benefit of a union that doesn't actually cooperate going to be?

                  Perhaps in this Edition more than ever. Leftover children really can only ever come from a married couple actually having an enthusiastic sex life.


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                  • #24
                    Originally posted by Lioness View Post
                    I actually considered this part way worse.

                    Tapdancing Christ I forgot about that line.


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                    • #25
                      Originally posted by Isator Levi View Post


                      We get a small few examples in supplementary fiction of difficult pairings, but the established baseline is that the greater House sees the practical benefit of spending time trying to ensure that the prospects will get along, and particularly avoid cases of them actively despising one another. Like, what is the benefit of a union that doesn't actually cooperate going to be?

                      Perhaps in this Edition more than ever. Leftover children really can only ever come from a married couple actually having an enthusiastic sex life.
                      I didn't say all of them were like that just that most, maybe apathetic is an extreme way of putting it but most of them are only doing it out of obligation.

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                      • #26
                        I’ve seen it alleged exactly once that there was one frequent 2e writer who deliberately set out to make Creation more socially regressive. Anyone know anything about that?

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                        • #27
                          I don't think 2e had many consistent writers, did it? So it seems kind of unlikely that one person could have a major influence on the 2e line as a whole, across different books. (Even if we had a clear meaning of what making Creation more "socially regressive" meant in this context. Was adding the Lintha into the setting, or aforementioned Realm misandrist prejudices making it "more socially regressive"? I dunno.)

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                          • #28
                            Originally posted by JohnDoe244 View Post
                            I can't think of anything where they out and out erased a gay character,
                            Well, except maybe Azure Path, the lover of Ophilis Ses who was replaced with a son, arguably implying heterosexuality
                            Originally posted by JohnDoe244 View Post
                            2E (which launched with a promo in direct competition with D&D and took Exalted from a super-niche game to it's highest level of popularity)
                            This is actually super helpful to me. I had completely forgotten about that promo, but it will fit in well in the introduction of a paper I am writing.
                            Originally posted by JohnDoe244 View Post
                            Unless you meant it as an interesting observation rather than a complaint. In which case:

                            You are correct. I noticed that too.
                            Yeah, it was just an observation. I have read the books several times, but I have never before been actively looking for LGBTQ themes, so I assumed that everything that was explicit in 1e was as explicit in 2e. I was surprised that it wasn't and I wanted to share that.

                            I am neither trying to fix anything or trying to stir shit. Recently, I critized The Systematic Understanding of Everything for shitting too heavily on 2e, but I do think that it is worth discussing its flaws.

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                            • #29
                              Originally posted by Sith_Happens View Post
                              I’ve seen it alleged exactly once that there was one frequent 2e writer who deliberately set out to make Creation more socially regressive. Anyone know anything about that?

                              The allegation I heard was not that people were switched orientation, but tat said writer ensured if the orientation was unstated it was confirmed as heterosexual.


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                              • #30
                                Originally posted by Epimetheus View Post
                                most of them are only doing it out of obligation.
                                The flaw I find in your reasoning is the assumption that obligation is typically a thing people engage in reluctantly, if not continuously struggle against. Looking at the Scarlet Dynasty holistically, one might assume that a majority of its members respond to an upbringing that trains them to treat their obligations with enthusiasm. That's the sort of thing people can manage in real life, and one might read into the capabilities of the Terrestrial Exalted that they're pretty good at it. That a Dynast's childhood involves social Charms frequently being employed in the lessons they're given about the importance of their duties.

                                That in addition to the references to how courtships are protracted to assess compatibility, that a priority is based on the parties actually liking one another.

                                And just the general social environment. A man of the Scarlet Dynasty is typically not being sent off to live as a stud in a gilded cage to some lecherous older spouse. You're being partnered up with somebody close to your own age (who may very well be a quite impressive specimen of the Dynasty), valued for personal talents that you'll be expected to employ frequently, with the potential for reward and prestige in doing so.

                                Marriage is still an adventure, and one does not need to go along with that grudgingly. Gay Dynasts might be the more begrudging area of that, but not in all cases. Perhaps even not in most cases, if the spouse your mother lines up is sufficiently compelling and the prospects in the new household are high enough.

                                The Great Houses might enjoy the melodrama of the lovers who stoically (and with just enough reluctance for a moving soliloquay) set passion aside for duty, but I feel as though the milieu of the Realm's Dragon Blooded would be one in which love struggles to be the more compelling impetus against the pragmatic benefits of a standard household (not least because ultimately, House elders will prefer to placate then alienate the Exalts who have their hearts set).

                                And then you get the interesting intersections like Kes and Szaya, where they might have greater platonic love for one another than any romantic love for anybody else, and marriage conforms to the baseline while still being what they wanted.


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