Victory Dance

A few months back, while the internet had a fit over tokenism in gaming – specifically video games – I rolled my eyes and said “forget hate, my webcomic just became all female.” I’m paraphrasing (read: self censoring) to maintain this site’s PG-rating.

I’ve tried to include women in the strip periodically. Because there really are a lot of girl gamers and girl geeks, and not including women is being needlessly exclusionary. But, being a bloke, my default is drawing dudes. It’s unconscious and I’m better at it: I dislike how I draw the proportions of women, and never paid attention to “feminine” hairstyles and clothing. That and I taught myself how to draw by copying comics, which are typically a sausage fest with not particularly realistic portrayals of women at the best of times.

As such, when I outline strips, I draw men, and muscular ones at that. Whenever I’ve drawn a woman it was always a purposeful attempt to accurately represent the diversity of gamers. And typically random: whenever I realized it’d been awhile between women, I made the next figure I drew female. But in the back of my mind I was always somewhat worried that by making the speaking gamer or Dungeon Master or adventurer female it would appear like I was making fun of women gamers/ gamemasters/ or characters. Because I don’t have regular characters in this strip, the adventurers are completely generic, and it’s the situation that’s comedic, the character’s race, class, and even gender is irrelevant.

Because harassment of women is an issue and because I want this hobby I love to be better and welcoming of everyone, I opted to try and influence things the only way I could: through this tiny webcomic. (Well, that and raising my son not to be a misogynistic asshat.) I can’t change the world, but I can change how I present the world, and that’s with an increased number of ass kicking gamer girls and adventurers.

Of course, I left myself the caveat that if the strip didn’t make sense with a female character, I might change it. Which I didn’t foresee happening often.

This strip was the first I wondered at. Hence why I’m writing this blog. I waffled back and forth if the joke worked with a woman teabagging their opponent. If the absence of testicles made teabagging less apparent, and if it would just look like the character was about to relieve herself on the fallen enemy (or another more adult act). Would it be more sexist to assume female gamers don’t celebrate with a victory ‘bagging? Changing the victory action would have worked, but I liked translating the video game victory to D&D. I spend a couple hours working each strip, so I have lots of time for these thoughts to percolate.