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Fixing the Wu-Keng

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  • #16
    Ohh, boy..
    Here goes..
    Apologies to anyone I offend with this!

    First of all 'forced' or 'shoved into a mystic role' is not how I as a Native shaman born-to-Changing Moon (what many Whites would call a third-gender or Two-spirit) perceive my situation; I feel blessed and unique, rather than coerced.

    Secondly, Eldagusto, the Wu Keng are not truly trans. The subtext makes it clear that the Ju Ak is looking for males to force them into degraded, dysphoric situations and to torment them. The reason no female Wu Keng are chosen is that being forced into the role of a subjugated woman in demonic concubinage would be less traumatic to a person comfortable as a female. (admittedly, there would probably still be trauma, but the Juk Ak seem to be aiming for the violation of their thralls' inmost nature. I always felt the Ay Ma ensured this via discreet Mind Magic searches of the prospective 'girl's' mind to ensure that the Patron wouldn't be dissapointed.) The implications seem to be less of the Wu-Keng-as-trans than Wu-Keng-as-demonic-toys-and-victims. It seems to be how Juk Ak/ Infernal Patrons operated in general judging by both the Wu Keng sections and Infernalism Path of Screams. Its terrible and horrific, of course, but its less a slur on trans and more that Chinese culture saw a man being 'forced' to take on the role of a woman as degrading throughout much of history. Finally, demons lie, full stop. They have no intention of freeing the Wu Keng, term of service or no term of service. Its just amusing to dangle the notion of freedom and dignity and watch them dance, so far as the Juk Ak are concerned. Again, its hideous, but pretty consistent with how the demons of Asia are seen behaving in 1000 Hells.

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    • #17
      Originally posted by grayhoss View Post
      Ohh, boy..
      Here goes..
      Apologies to anyone I offend with this!

      First of all 'forced' or 'shoved into a mystic role' is not how I as a Native shaman born-to-Changing Moon (what many Whites would call a third-gender or Two-spirit) perceive my situation; I feel blessed and unique, rather than coerced.
      No offense taken. And apologies! I overgeneralized a lot in that post. The implication that these roles only exist in society as a way for people to escape from otherwise inevitable abuse is pretty shitty (and very pessimistic), upon reflection. I'll try and be more nuanced in the future.

      As for the dysphoric nightmare situation, I did get that impression from the original text. It's a case of men being degraded and feminized by demons, made into concubines. However if I were to rewrite the Wu Keng I think it would be better if they weren't all being tormented by macho demons who have a sadistic humiliation kink.
      Last edited by 11twiggins; 06-12-2018, 05:26 AM.

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      • #18
        Originally posted by grayhoss View Post
        Ohh, boy..
        Here goes..
        Apologies to anyone I offend with this!

        First of all 'forced' or 'shoved into a mystic role' is not how I as a Native shaman born-to-Changing Moon (what many Whites would call a third-gender or Two-spirit) perceive my situation; I feel blessed and unique, rather than coerced.

        Secondly, Eldagusto, the Wu Keng are not truly trans. The subtext makes it clear that the Ju Ak is looking for males to force them into degraded, dysphoric situations and to torment them. The reason no female Wu Keng are chosen is that being forced into the role of a subjugated woman in demonic concubinage would be less traumatic to a person comfortable as a female. (admittedly, there would probably still be trauma, but the Juk Ak seem to be aiming for the violation of their thralls' inmost nature. I always felt the Ay Ma ensured this via discreet Mind Magic searches of the prospective 'girl's' mind to ensure that the Patron wouldn't be dissapointed.) The implications seem to be less of the Wu-Keng-as-trans than Wu-Keng-as-demonic-toys-and-victims. It seems to be how Juk Ak/ Infernal Patrons operated in general judging by both the Wu Keng sections and Infernalism Path of Screams. Its terrible and horrific, of course, but its less a slur on trans and more that Chinese culture saw a man being 'forced' to take on the role of a woman as degrading throughout much of history. Finally, demons lie, full stop. They have no intention of freeing the Wu Keng, term of service or no term of service. Its just amusing to dangle the notion of freedom and dignity and watch them dance, so far as the Juk Ak are concerned. Again, its hideous, but pretty consistent with how the demons of Asia are seen behaving in 1000 Hells.
        Well thing is that would be fine if they at all addressed it, but they don't. If that was the case they should still have a use for those born as female, even if its some other Caste or sub group in the craft, as it stands they just ignore it. And the thing is the Wu Keng wouldn't all cope the same way. A lot of the magic comes from forcing them into a position whether they want it or not, but why would they all view it the same way. For instance the Wu Keng in the Ascension novel would qualify as Trans, she very much accepts the way she was raised and is comfortable with it. There would be room for others in the group who for instance take upon their Wu Keng role, as a business person when they need to apply magic, or like how you had real life magicians revolve their life around a certain trick, like that Chinese Magician in the Prestige who fakes having a limp his whole life just so nobody can question it that he hides a fishbowl in his robes.

        And yes Demons lie and manipulate. But they have to abide by the word of their agreement, if not the spirit. Otherwise what would be the point of forbidding Time and Spirit so they find a shortcut to their contracts end, if the contract didn't actually have an end.


        Addressed to whoever earlier in the thread mentioned the Wu Keng just rebelling from their oaths with the help of other Infernalists, I don't think that would work as well from a story point of view. It ignores a lot of important plot elements to just go off the rails. Better to let the Craft's contract come to a head and the craft evolving/fragmenting with it. I mean why would they wait centuries in servitude and warp their whole lives and those of their inheritors only to break their own sworn oaths right when the contract is about to expire... that sounds more like what the Yama Kings would try to temp them into doing.

        Or are we going to just Genocide the Wu Keng because its better to ignore them due to them being "problematic"? Didn't they do that with the Neo Nazi Biker Thule Cult of Mages? I mean even though that sounds like a perfect group for NPCs. That is another thing, the Wu Keng were pretty much designed as NPCs, like pretty much all Infernalist splats, problems mostly arise when they decide to make them only half NPCs...


        It is a time for great deeds!

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        • #19
          Perhaps this is from Revised's rendition of the Wu-Keng but my understanding was the reason why the demons force biological males to crossdress was because it balanced their yin (feminine) and yang (masculine) energies?

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          • #20
            Originally posted by grayhoss View Post
            Ohh, boy..
            Here goes..
            Apologies to anyone I offend with this!

            First of all 'forced' or 'shoved into a mystic role' is not how I as a Native shaman born-to-Changing Moon (what many Whites would call a third-gender or Two-spirit) perceive my situation; I feel blessed and unique, rather than coerced.

            Secondly, Eldagusto, the Wu Keng are not truly trans. The subtext makes it clear that the Ju Ak is looking for males to force them into degraded, dysphoric situations and to torment them. The reason no female Wu Keng are chosen is that being forced into the role of a subjugated woman in demonic concubinage would be less traumatic to a person comfortable as a female. (admittedly, there would probably still be trauma, but the Juk Ak seem to be aiming for the violation of their thralls' inmost nature. I always felt the Ay Ma ensured this via discreet Mind Magic searches of the prospective 'girl's' mind to ensure that the Patron wouldn't be dissapointed.) The implications seem to be less of the Wu-Keng-as-trans than Wu-Keng-as-demonic-toys-and-victims. It seems to be how Juk Ak/ Infernal Patrons operated in general judging by both the Wu Keng sections and Infernalism Path of Screams. Its terrible and horrific, of course, but its less a slur on trans and more that Chinese culture saw a man being 'forced' to take on the role of a woman as degrading throughout much of history. Finally, demons lie, full stop. They have no intention of freeing the Wu Keng, term of service or no term of service. Its just amusing to dangle the notion of freedom and dignity and watch them dance, so far as the Juk Ak are concerned. Again, its hideous, but pretty consistent with how the demons of Asia are seen behaving in 1000 Hells.
            Yes, but as the only craft specifically defined by the requirement to cross traditional gender boundaries, they unfortunately come off as representative of East Asian transgender shamanic traditions. And cis men made to dress as women by an authority figure or because they’re perverse is unfortunately how transphobes see trans identity, so while “that’s not actual trans people” may be true for us who know better, it comes off as the setting’s backward and ignorant representation of assigned-gender-crossing animistic customs, regardless of intention.

            Maybe if stronger focus was put on trans and two-spirited Dreamspeaker characters this would not be the case (though i’m skeptical going in about many cis writers’ handling of the subject - i’d ALSO want strong representation for trans mages whose gender identity has nothing to do with their paradigm), but as it stands the Wu Keng do come off as transphobic garbage, regardless of what feelings were in the original writers’ hearts.

            I mean, it’s not “Ace Ventura Pet Detective” level transphobic, but it is “Silence of the Lambs” level transphobic - with its throw away line about how Buffalo Bill isn’t “really” trans, but wants to be, in an effort to make it ok, but not changing how the story plays right into the “predatory gender fetishist” narrative.
            Last edited by glamourweaver; 06-13-2018, 11:31 AM.


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