All of here in erep are a community; A community like any other. Except that what brings us together isn’t where we live or work, but the game we play. Like football fans we play the game ourselves, admire others who play, make friends, talk about the game on forums. Along the way we learn a little about each other, and we reveal some information about ourselves.
One of the hardest things facing players in eRep is gender. Despite the fact that many countries have almost eradicated sexism, homophobia and racism, the fact is that this is anything but the case in eRepublik. As an example, a few days into my term as SG I got a query from someone who made a joke which managed to be simultaneously offensive about both black people and Jews. Now the scary thing is, it wasn’t meant to be offensive, and the fact is that most people don’t see making those sort of jokes as unacceptable at all.
Similarly the eUK has a large and vibrant gay community, just like in the real world. It’s not my place to out people, but many of our most famous names and faces are gay. I’d say the vast majority of players I’ve spoken to on eRep have been either homophobic or against gay rights in areas like marriage. I’m not trying to bring RL into erep here, but you can understand why as a gay man you would be uncomfortable to tell people about your real life personality or habits for fear of persecution. I feel most sorry for people who are gay IRL and live in countries which are openly hostile to gay people. I can’t say much to them other than the eUK is happy to have you.
Which brings me to women. Now men outnumber women more than 20 to 1 in eRep, and the number of women active in the “high level gaming”, ie not just passive members of society but leaders, is even lower. Even in the eUK where we’re quite comfortable with the idea of female leaders the proportion is low: there are only a couple active in politics at the minute. One of the reasons that women don’t enjoy this sort of game is the constant attempt to sexualise and infantilise them.
Beauty contests are an invasion of people’s lives. We should be judged as players, not by what we look like in real life, our gender or what’s between our legs. We should be able to admire a player because of what they achieve not what they are. Whatever your gender, your race, sexuality, profession or home. You shouldn’t face discrimination or humiliation. Beauty contests are nothing more than objectification of women, reducing them to 2D images to be judged by the internet. That never ends well.
I know that many people will think that since it’s voluntary and they don’t have to take part we shouldn’t judge. That is true- and similarly in the real world beauty contests are perfectly fine (if a bit weird) by most people’s judgement. I’m not telling people to cover up or not post pictures of themselves. I’m saying that the community culture that ranks women by their attractiveness is the community culture which promotes sexism. Which infantilises women. Those who are participating in the contest are volunteers- the hundreds and thousands of women who join the game each day aren’t. But they’re exposed to the same culture. One where your gender makes you not an equal but a novelty.
Even as leader of the most powerful alliance in the world, the question I get asked most is “are you a woman”, shortly followed in most cases by “do you have pics”. Now this is probably funny to most of you who know me, but this isn’t just random citizens, it’s everyone up to and including Country Presidents. If you can imagine what normal women face on a day to day basis, it’s not nice. And competitions like this make it worse.
Now finally to the point: I made this argument (albeit much more briefly since I was preaching to the converted) on the UK forums. I said the UK should not contribute anyone to the “Miss Summer” competition because we should make a stand somewhere. There have been many of these competitions and the UK has never taken part. However I did quip:
I didn’t think it was very likely Butjam would go along. But lo and behold, he has balls of cast iron and, complete with makeup and dress, made a post a few days later. He actually makes quite a pretty woman. Now what is great about this is that all the people who agree with the wall of text I wrote above would vote Butjam. Those who didn’t agree would probably ridicule him for entering- again proving the whole point of the argument. These contests are the flip side of bullying, and perpetuate a prejudiced culture in the game.
However after entering, Butjam was told he could not run as he was not “female by birth”. Despite mails from dozens of outraged eUK citizens, he has been denied the chance to put himself up for public scrutiny and likely humiliation in the name of the feminist movement. For all of you out there who think that what we need is less holiday pics of players, and more females actually finding the game a nice place to stay and play, please send the organiser of the competition a PM asking him to enter Butjam.
I know this article is of a slightly more personal/crazy topic than normal, but I ask that you stick with me and help me out with this. And I hope the community proves me wrong, and shows it’s a lot more open-minded and modern than it sometimes acts.
Ps. I’m not saying you’re all sexist, racist, homophobic. Quite the opposite. I wouldn’t waste my breath if I thought it was going to fall on deaf ears. I hope you’ll all join with me in this, a small stand by our community for what is right: and seeing Butjam in a dress.
What is this?You are reading an article written by a citizen of eRepublik, an immersive multiplayer strategy game based on real life countries. Create your own character and help your country achieve its glory while establishing yourself as a war hero, renowned publisher or finance guru.