Posts tagged femshep
Posts tagged femshep
You got it, nonny!
Here’s the thing: in pretty much every feminist discussion of the Mass Effect series, you’ll see a reference to the fact that the dialogue for the male and female versions of Commander Shepard is pretty much identical across the board. In reality, there are some small differences, and I think it’s pretty telling to see what Bioware’s writers chose as ways of distinguishing between male and female Shepards. Let’s draw on a few specific examples:
In the first game, Shepard needs information from a washed-up, embittered, extremely drunk C-Sec officer named Harkin. When the male version of Shepard approaches him, Harkin’s dialogue is “Alliance military. Hmph. I coulda been a marine, you know.” For a female Shepard, it’s, “Hey there, sweetheart, looking for some fun?”
In the second game, Shepard gets recruited by a mercenary gang to help kill Archangel (which is, of course, all part of Shepard’s plan to rescue him from said mercenaries). When the male version of Shepard approaches the Blue Suns recruiter, the recruiter greets him with, “You three look like you could do some damage.” For a female Shepard, it’s, “Well, aren’t you sweet? You’re in the wrong place, honey. Strippers’ quarters are that way.”
In both cases, the dialogue is unavoidable, and the possible responses range from brushing it off to outright threatening the jerkwad in question. In both cases, the dialogue reverts back to the male Shepard version almost immediately, with no permanent repercussions. Keep in mind that these are virtually the only differences between male Shepard and female Shepard’s dialogue in the entire 50+ hours of gameplay between the two games.
The end result is a pretty uncomfortable message: even 170 years in the future, even decked out in heavy armor with a grenade launcher strapped to your back, your femininity is a joke, and people are still gonna target you for it. Hell, aliens are gonna have the same attitude. And hey. That stings. Because video games like this one, where you’re playing a quasi-superhero who runs around saving the galaxy, are basically power fantasies: you can subsume your own day-to-day worries in the death-defying, wise-cracking adventures of Commander Shepard. Except, if you’re playing as a woman, even your power fantasies come with a little asterisk, a footnote reminding you, again and again, that you don’t quite measure up, that as powerful as you are, weak and miserable people will still see themselves as stronger.
I remember reading an article about how Bioware made the female version of Commander Shepard such a fascinating and well-fleshed-out character more-or-less by accident, and I think these examples bear that out. The writing that’s specifically for a female Shepard has these weirdly nasty implications.
For instance, in the romance subplots, a female Shepard can get together with Kaidan in the first game, and then pick someone else in the second game, leading to a confrontation in the third. Likewise, a male Shepard can get together with Ash in the first, someone else in the second, and then the same sort of confrontation ensues in the third. When Kaidan confronts a female Shepard, it’s for “cheating”, and none of the available dialogue options allow her to do anything but lie or apologize. When Ashley similarly confronts a male Shepard, he’s able to point out that she stepped away from the relationship every bit as much as he did. Only a male Shepard gets to come out of that conversation with any sort of moral high ground, despite the fact that both relationships broke off in exactly the same way.
So, y’know, I think it’s a bit disturbing to look at these examples and see what the writers decided would be worth changing when it came time to write dialogue for a female Shepard. It’s pretty telling, for an essentially blank-slate character, to see what’s being coded as inherently “feminine”.
I don’t think the answer is to eliminate all gender-specific dialogue, either. Cookie-cutter “Mrs. Man” characters still run into the roadblock of dude-as-default, after all. There’s a scene unique to female Shepards in Mass Effect 3 that sort of wobbles into slightly stronger territory, where Shep has a brief heart-to-heart with Eve, the female krogan. The writing itself is pretty cringe-worthy and feels a bit like the sort of conversation guys imagine women having when they’re alone, but the point stands that Eve recognizes Shepard as a sympathetic role-model, a kindred spirit, when faced with her own patriarchal culture. That’s a relatively positive way to acknowledge the character’s gender: recognizing that she’s well-placed to offer encouragement to someone that a male Shepard wouldn’t have been able to help in the same way. It adds to the power-fantasy, doesn’t detract from it, doesn’t undermine it.
In the end, what I’d love to see is more player characters who aren’t “fem-” versions of anything, who are female player characters by default, who have narratives written for them rather than for the dude on the cover. I’m getting tired of constantly having to slip on someone else’s ill-fitting armor if I want to play.
I am literally reblogging this for the anon hate. Bring it, motherfucker.
I seem to be late to the party on this excellent post, but I can’t help but reblog it. I’ll admit, when ME3 first came out, I wasn’t initially aware of the Kaidan cheating thing, just because I never broke up with him in my playthrough… but after seeing it and seeing the Ash version I had to agree that it was a very odd choice on Bioware’s part.
The one good thing about characters saying sexist things to Femshep is that often I can either beat the shit out of them or sometimes outright kill them afterwards (hey, what can I say, I’m a vindictive person); but the fact still remains that the dialogues are incredibly unbalanced between male and female, which is odd considering you’ve got alien races where this kind of human sexism might not necessarily exist. They could’ve indicated how backwards humans still were in the future by having just the human males remaining sexist but some other races being a lot more equal about it.
But adding to the topic of imbalance, I’ve mentioned several times before that I’ve always been disappointed in the scrawny female build Shepard has had through the games. If she and Maleshep are supposed to be equal, then why give her such a drastically different look? Little bird arms, a smaller frame, and just overall not a very believable build for someone who has clearly gone through military rigors for a long time. They should have had a body type choice in the character customization, maybe even similar to how SWTOR does it. SWTOR gives you something like 3-4 differing frames to choose from, and I really liked being able to pick the really sturdy, built body (I think it’s like the farthest choice on the list) for my female bounty hunter, because that reflected my vision of what she should be.
I went back and revamped Kiva yet again, after seeing Ele’s marvelous wave bob hair mod. I think I’ve managed to make her “cuter” than she was before, with a more rounded face that seems prone to looking a bit more tender in scenes with smiling, which is nice. She and Kaidan certainly look adorable together. :3
I think my Kiva 2.0 is a nice change of pace… maybe I’ll stick with her for a while.
Thank you Ele for the wonderful hair!
1) State your Tumblr URL and the general part of the world you hail from.
2) When did you first start playing Mass Effect, which game in the trilogy did you start with, and how did you get into it?
3) Console or PC?
4) Do you enjoy playing Mass Effect 3 on multiplayer mode?
5) Do you prefer Femshep or Broshep?
6) State your Shepard’s full name and list any nicknames he/she has
7) Your Shepard’s Personal History, Psych Profile, and Class. (ie Colonist, War Hero, Soldier)
8) What does your Shepard look like?
9) Briefly explain any Pre-Mass Effect headcanons you have for your Shepard’s origins.
10) What is your Shepard’s favorite armor? Customizable or not?
11) What color is your Shepard’s armor? Why?
12) Spell Color (colour?):
13) Does your Shepard wear a helmet most of the time? Which kind? Why?
14) List your Shepard’s favorite method(s) of attack
15) Describe your Shepard’s personality in exactly five words
16) If you play the romances, who is your favorite love interest in all three games?
17) Describe this love interest in exactly five words
18) Explain why your Shepard loves this person, in one sentence or less.
19) Why do you, the player, like this love interest the best? Is it different from why your Shepard does?
20) If you couldn’t romance your favorite love interest, and you weren’t allowed to leave your Shepard single, who would you pick as an alternate LI?
21) Who is your Shepard’s best friend? Why?
22) What is your favorite mission (including DLCs) to play, out of all three games? Why?
23) Which mission is your least favorite? Why?
24) If you had to be one of the Mass Effect aliens, which one would you pick? Why?
25) If you had to be any of the NPCs in the game, which would you choose? Why?
26) Briefly explain your silliest or strangest headcanon
27) Briefly explain your post-Mass Effect 3 headcanon(s)
like for real out of all the Sheps I’ve seen, and I’ve seen some fantastic Sheps, I have never seen a black femshep
I’ve seen 1 black manshep (who was fucking amazing)
but never any femsheps. the femsheps I’ve seen have all been…
I tried to post Rachel Shepard on the BSN once and actually got a “Yuck, gross.”
People are assholes.
Rachel is gorgeous!
To add a few reposts of my own screenshots; I give you Velvet Shepard.
Mass Effect 2 incarnation
Mass Effect 3 incarnation.
She is my favorite.
/working on fanfic
I’ve taken screenshots for a lot of people. Out of over 40 Shepards that aren’t mine that I’ve worked with, I can count the number of black Shepards on one hand.
My own black femshep, Ava is shown below.
I think black / mixed femsheps are way more common than people think… I’ve seen quite a few of them on here, including my own, Kiva *cough* I really haven’t seen many black male shepards at all, though… I think it’s unusual how the fandom hivemind seems to think Hale’s voice totally fits with a POC Femshep, but perhaps that Meer’s voice doesn’t go quite as well with a POC Maleshep? I honestly don’t know.
(and posting anything on BSN is just asking for a headache, lol)
one of the many things I love about having a POC Femshep is that I can describe her as having creamy almond-mocha skin and have her be beautiful and delicious-sounding at the same time
"The mind of the subject will desperately struggle to create memories where none exist…"
It was like a dream… like falling through space in slow motion. Careening, almost. The ship, damaged, yet still miraculously functional. The passenger, alive with a flicker of life, yet clinging to it.
It was so like her to go it alone, much to his dismay. She didn’t want to place anyone in danger, especially him. She told him she would return… she didn’t let on that she had no idea if she could.
He held out for five years until he couldn’t wait anymore. Drowning in doubt, fear, and the determination to find her one way or another, he took his ship, the one they stole together from that crime boss such a long time ago, to follow her path.
She knew her trip would be a lengthy one, so against her better judgment, decided to freeze herself in carbonite. She had no way of knowing that her ship would be hit by an asteroid, one that hadn’t shown up on her long-range course projection while she was under… and without her trusty droid to course-correct and reset her carbonite chamber, it was going to be a long, long ride.
It had been a tasteful affair. Short and simple, the way Shepard would’ve wanted it. After everyone had said their piece and paid their respects, he was left alone in the empty apartment… silent as a tomb, just Kaidan and a vid that Liara had found marked specifically for him, one that she hadn’t viewed out of respect for Shepard’s wishes. The contents were for his eyes alone, and he never told anyone what was on the vid, all the way to the end of his days.
"She was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last forever, I was wrong.
The stars are not wanted now; put out every one,
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun.
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood;
For nothing now can ever come to any good.”
- excerpt, “Funeral Blues” by WH Auden
Happy Birthday, Commander Shepard!
Today’s Shep’s birthday, let’s all celebrate! (Well, I mean, technically she’s not even born yet, but let’s celebrate in advance! lol…)
I can think of one guy who’s already slyly planning some more… intimate celebrations…
EDIT: A number of people have been asking me for my Femshep’s face code… here it is, give ‘er a whirl!
Adventures in Weekend Boredom Part 2 - Electric Kaidan Munny Boogaloo
I finally got the last coats of paint on Femshep and Kaidan, and then slathered on a generous amount of Mod Podge to seal and protect my lil’ beauties, and it gave them a nice shiny sheen. A lot of work, but I think they turned out all right ^^