Arclight is... # 17

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

** Arclight is About People **

There's an aspect of Arclight that didn't strike me as unusual until recently.

If you've read these posts, then you're aware that the Arclight is a secure facility where the characters live. If you've read the first pages on, then you know that said facility is regimented in a military style - chain of command included. At the top of that hierarchy sits a character named Honoria Whit.

She's an imposing presence. Over six feet tall, stern, unyielding in her determination, and coldly dedicated to maintaining the integrity of her facility, she's absolutely lethal to anyone or anything she deems a threat to those she's responsible for. And, in case it's not obvious, she's also a woman.

Yet, never once is she referred to as "the woman in charge." She's simply "our leader" to those under her purview.

But, you might think, those mean the same thing, don't they?

They should, but they don't. Not really.

In real life, and in most fiction, a female is first and foremost a female. The words "she," "woman," "lady," etc. become qualifiers and modifiers, altering the context. Even in a world of female heath professionals, CEOs, and military generals, the default assumption of any trade beyond teacher, nurse, assistant, etc is that the person will be male. Prefacing an introduction by specifying gender comes off as a warning that you're not getting what you expect, or that the person in question is an oddity for stepping outside societal norms. In some cases, it goes so far as to sound like an apology.

I honestly hadn't realized this, but the people in Arclight don't operate like that. There's no significant gender bias for them - and why would there be? It may sound weird to think of it this way, but the characters simply don't have the time or resources to waste handicapping their society by encouraging restrictive gender-roles. When you need hands on weapons to defend your home, You're not likely to look and see who those hands belong to.

These people are trying to survive, and you don't accomplish that by discounting half the population's qualifications based on their genetic code and whether or not their reproductive organs are internal or external.

1 Chiming In:

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