Confused about Gender

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Confused about Gender

Post by eman on Wed Sep 07, 2016 12:00 pm

In recent years I was very confused about my own gender. I'm rather more relaxed about the issue now (and I wouldn't wish the gender confusion I had on my worst enemies), but it got me thinking: why is the physical gender of every member of almost every species obvious? I say "almost" every species, but aside from trundlebugs and perhaps a few other critters not displayed in sufficient detail to show the eyelashes, every creature has its gender right out there in front. Once you know to look at the eyelashes, you can determine the gender in seconds. With the humanoid characters, breasts and hips make it even more obvious. There also don't seem to be any hermaphrodite species. Ecadems and/or Queen Snakes might be, I suppose. For a moment I thought Large Wyrms might be, or they might just be that dependent on the small Wyrms, but then I remembered Crud talking about one. Cully hasn't seen one either because as Chunner said, "They used to come up more in the old days." Female small Wyrms have appeared, distinguishable by eyelashes and breasts. One was in the subshafts as the first tutor for 3375, and one deep in the recesses of the Ring of the Unspoken Word if I remember the name right.

It's clearly deliberate, that's shown by the edit to Fizmo's appearance when readers thought she was male. What I'd really like to know is why; I can't imagine why the gender of every character needs to be right out there in front. Why not let the gender of Fizmo be a little ambiguous, and let the story clear it up? Why give eyebolts a visible gender difference at all? I could understand it if the comic was oriented around traditional morality, but there are gender-neutral pronouns, relatively many homosexual couples, finaglers, and even a suggestion of cross-species BDSM (or at least D/s). The latter is within basement society, which might otherwise be said to be less progressive (if this is a measure of progress). Admittedly, I don't recall any basement homosexuals (unless the Placettes count), but gnolls and trogs fool around which isn't really traditional morality.

I'm okay with traditional morality, and I've lived a number of years cross-gendered too, so I'm not going to object to that. I'm just really puzzled by why characters' genders are all so obvious, and why no significant species are hermaphrodites.

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Re: Confused about Gender

Post by Geoduck on Wed Sep 07, 2016 2:37 pm

(SPOILERS)

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Fair enough questions.
The use of eyelashes/colored pupils/breasts was an artistic decision, not a political one. I was trying to avoid confusion with my less-than-expert drawing skills. Maybe I went too far. I'll bare that in mind in future.

I've tried to show that Yurpsland's Human society at least is pretty tolerant towards homosexuality. I will admit so far I've shied away from doing anything with Human transgenderism... partly because I feel I could so easily be offensive about it, and partly because of plot-based reasons, which I won't reveal just yet.

As for species.. there is a race of hermaphrodites: the Helipaths. They use "he" and don't have eyelashes (maybe I should have given them some..) but they reproduce by placing a deceased individual's more-or-less intact body into a niche, whereupon a clutch of new babies begin growing inside, and eventually bud/hatch out. The newcomers do not have the deceased individual's memories.

And there are the Boogie"men". Again, they all use male pronouns and names (which they get out of a Human-made book, which is why they are Percy, Clive, etc.), and are all built along very similar lines, including growing fur/beards, but half of them are biologically female. The species is very egalitarian in regards to sex. These facts have not yet been brought up/revealed to readers, but are not in any way a secret in-universe.
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