Sexism and Racism in gaming art

1. Paizo sends out holiday e-card featuring Paizo iconic sorcerer Seoni depicted as a pin-up girl.
2. Paizo fans favorably comment on the Paizo boards. Female fans included.
3. Someone links to this guy’s blog, as he has a problem with the art, saying it’s exploitive and offensive to women.
4. When it’s pointed out that he’s making a blanket statement on behalf of all women, that Paizo’s female CEO had to problem with the art, nor did Paizo’s female art director in charge of that piece of art, and that Paizo has been particularly diverse in the genders, races, cultures, and sexual orientations of its iconic characters, he makes a tangent and starts suggesting that Paizo is perhaps racist because non-white Seoni is portrayed as particularly white in this holiday card art, and that the art director “might not actually be as comfortable showing non-white characters as people think she is.” (Even though said art director is full-blooded Korean, born in Korea.)

It’s pretty silly. I mean, there is sexism in the world, and racism. And it’s really easy to see obvious negative examples of these things in gaming (several d20 companies were known for their hypervoluptuous scantily-dressed females on their cover art, for example, but fortunately I can’t think of any blatantly racist imagery in gaming books). But to get offended by Seoni? I see more skin on the beach, and I’m talking San Diego, not Miami.

Sure, you have the right to be offended (heck, I’m offended by hamburger ads that make fun of vegetarians). But if you’re a Big Strong White Male who’s getting offended about some very mild female pin-up art, aren’t you really saying, “Ladies, I’m here to defend you, especially those of you too weak and meek to stand up for yourselves and admit that you’re offended”? Isn’t that really more offensive than the art in question? The fact that you think that women who are offended won’t say so, and that you have to be their voice, their Knight in Shining Armor?

To quote someone on my boards (Arya, was that you?), “I don’t mind cheesecake if I get to see some beefcake!” We’re hardwired to be attracted to other people. Denying that is as ridiculous as denying hunger. Criticizing using attractive people in artwork to sell a product is like criticizing the pictures of tasty desserts to get you to come to a restaurant (Cheesecake Factory, I’m talkin’ to YOU).

So anyway, this got me thinking about the books I’ve written and if any of them could be considered racist or sexist. So here’s a rundown of ones that MIGHT have racist or sexist elements:
Children of the Night: Ghosts. Main character of my adventure killed in an accident after witnessing a lecherous male noble assault someone.
The Star Cairns: Investigate old dungeons created by white-supremacist culture (Suel) for studying magic. It portrays the Suel as the bad guys.
Crypt of Lyzandred: Mad dungeon of riddles run by a lich. Hmm, I think that lich may not have been white … am I saying anyone not white is evil? I don’t remember him being particularly evil. Maybe he’s “one of the good ones.”
The Scarlet Brotherhood: A sourcebook on the land ruled by the white-supremacist Suel, how they’re all evil, etc., as well as their battles with their black neighbors to the south (who have an advanced culture based on literature, agriculture, and magic). Suel = bad guys.
Slavers: Evil slavers in a racially-mixed part of the world (both in the human sense and the fantasy sense). Among the bad guys are an evil half-orc (who works for the Suel, IIRC) and an evil elf.
Dark Matter/FX: These Alternity books both include the vodun (“voodoo”) magic rules that I wrote, based on research of actual vodun culture. I believe it was respectfully done, and talks about how some practitioners use their magic for good and some for evil.
Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting: For a world that’s mostly focused on the Europe-like areas, it has its share of stuff based on Persian, Egyptian, Sumerian, and Asian cultures. Most of the most powerful characters are female.
Swords Into Plowshares: A collection of magic items, proceeds went to help a charity supporting girls in Afghanistan.
Ghostwalk: It never was obviously stated in the book, but I designed all of the regional stuff with the idea that the setting was near-tropical, like the climate of Central America. If you look at the minis I painted for my Ghostwalk campaign, you’ll see that most of them have mid-to-dark skin, reflecting what humans would look like from that sort of climate.
The New Argonauts: Um, they’re Greek. Not exactly white people. Okay, the cover art is a little cheesecakey, with Scylla topless and all, but (1) Scylla was supposed to be beautiful before her transformation, and (2) her lower half is six dogs and a snake tail, so if you think that’s sexy I think the problem is you, not the artwork, and (3) Gerald Lee’s cover art is just dang cool. :)

So, looking back at these books, I don’t see anything particularly racist or sexist in them (i.e., promoting one race or sex as better than another). If you feel otherwise, I’d like to know. :)

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35 thoughts on “Sexism and Racism in gaming art

  1. Sadly, I’ve found that sometimes folk will look way beyond intent to find offense, more so if they’re trying to seem like they’re an enlightened protector of others. It is the hallmark of asinine, I think, often made worse when it is pointed out to them and they start to argue it in circles; as an example, white folk who complain about the N-word being used, even by African-American comedians, as if they were the first to point out that irony.

    Forgetting the fact that regional fiction is often, distinctively, reflective of the ethnic group of the area, or the area the writer is from, you only see people pointing out the negative and rarely the positive. As an example, look at the Earthsea books, they are very diverse, in culture and ethnicity, as per design of the author’s attempt to reflect the type of people who would live in such a region or area.

    Noticing someone is of African, Asian, European, or what not isn’t racism, it is when you use negative stereotypes in a substantive manner, i.e. all blacks are lazy, all whites are racist, all asians are math whizzes, that you turn something into true racism.

    Personally, it sounds like you’ve been attacked by a “Holier than thou” or “More Blessed Be than thee” or “Enlightened more than you” type who thinks that they need to be the watchdog of the world, even when no one else is offended, simply because they’re the protector of us all. *chuckles*

    It’s being offended for the sake of being offended, standard overzealous causist mentality, who just likes to lecture the hell out of folks…not that I’m doing that right now, I swear…;)

    Feh.

    Folks like this try and take the fun out of the Universe, fortunately they fail more often than naught. :D

    • To be fair, while intent to hurt *should* be what matters most on whether something is offensive or not, intent really can only take you so far; in the case of some truly offensive things, it’s not really kosher to just hide behind ignorance and call it a day.

      For example, at a school I went to, someone showed up to a school party unironically wearing blackface. Now, it’s certainly *possible* that this individual didn’t understand the implication of blackface -that was certainly his claim, it’s worth noting- that doesn’t mean he should necessarily be free of offense. Best case, people do get offended, people educate him, and he apologizes or something and doesn’t make the same mistake in the future.

      ETA: Note please that I’m not trying to defend this guy; the fact that the card is obviously parodying an iconic image and that pin-up art as a whole has been widely reclaimed by many feminists makes this sound like a case of finding offense far out-of-step with the the actual situation, and that really *isn’t* okay. I’m only just saying that when something *is* legitimately offensive, being ignorant of the implication, stereotype, or what have you is not really an aegis against responsibility.

      • While I get the point of what you’re saying, it wasn’t the point I was trying to make when I spoke of intention. I meant, literally, it is the intention of what is being said that determines, or should determine whether it is offensive or not.

        If the intent is purely for humor, than that is the intent and reading a hateful or racist message into is more the fault of the one voicing that they are offended than the one who created the piece or comment. Look at how often Robin Williams works race into his comedy, it’s damn funny and most groups, who he parodies, rarely see him as being racist, since it was not, is not the intent. Now look at Michael Richards from a year or two ago, he had a stupid moment where his comedy slide from funny to anger, obviously when he dropped those N-Bombs he might have started out trying to be funny, but it turned ugly, quick.

        Sexism, racism, and other such things are like they are because they’re usually fueled by hate, spite, and other such negative emotions. But, to paraphrase Freud, sometimes a joke is just a joke. Unless we’re going to say that Chris Rock hates African-Americans, Mel Brooks is Anti-Semetic, and Rosie O’Donnel is homophobic, as all of them have made jokes about themselves, the various groups they belong to, and everyone else, too, but they’re being funny, not hateful, and that intent should mean all the difference.

        The same goes with Paizo, they’re not trying to turn back the feminist clock, far from it, or the racial one, either. Personally, I think the jackhat in question is just trying to stir up some readership for his blog and seem a lot more important then he really is, basic yellow journalism.

        I do agree with you, though, about when something is offensive and is prejudicial that it should be confronted, firmly and with hard resolution, I just think some rational thought should apply to it, too. By many folks definitions, the humor in my family would come across as massively racist, which is made more funny by the fact that my family is a widely varied stew of the melting pot variety and we’ve plenty of ethnicity and race (I hate this term, by the way, massively, as the only race is homo sapien sapien, but I’m not in control of the argot) represented within.

  2. Things like this really bug me. The example freshest in my mind: I remember some of the same groups that jumped on the bandwagon about Star Wars: The Phantom Menace (I’m talking the ones who only complained about racism after others brought it up, and not the ones who initially took issue with it) also complained about Attack of the Clones, saying they were racist against Maori because they cast Temuera Morrison to be the template of the ‘evil stormtroopers’. That, at least, got laughed down, but to me that really proved that they were just looking for something to be offended by.

    • Even now, after a couple of centuries of white settlement, most Maoris are extremely proud of their people’s martial heritage—witness the continued popularity of war haka, for example.

      I live in Sydney, Australia, and whilst we don’t have as many people of Maori descent as New Zealand, you don’t have to look too hard to find them. When the subject came up over a beer or two, I don’t think I encountered a single Maori who had a problem with Jango Fett. In fact, most of the Maoris to whom I spoke took it with good-natured pride: if you want the ultimate warrior to rule the galaxy, who better to look to than a Maori?

      Hrumph. The trolls must’ve been talking to those other Maoris. Besides, there was a lot more to complain about in the prequel trilogy than its depiction of real-life ethnic groups.

  3. I don’t remember, but that sounds like something I’d say. It annoys me when men call themselves “feminists.” (Yes, even when Joss Whedon does it.) It reminds me of this time way back in 1997, when I was in an intarrrweb chatroom talking about some art supplies. I referred to some “hot jap markers I picked up in J-town” when this person (who I know for a fact is as white as Dick Cheney), jumps all over me for “using such an offensive and racially insensitive term.” I replied, “てめ、私の家族はマンザナルにいました。” (“My family was at Manzanar. Bitch.”)

    I know some lesbians who’d kick that guy’s ass for pretending to protect those of us too weak to defend ourselves. And “Oh, I GM for some females” is a weaselly kind of thing to try to hide behind.

    Also, that “pin up girl” is pretty mild. I got pissed off about the Mary Jane comiquette, doing Spidey’s laundry in skimpy clothes, and complete with “pearl necklace” (get it?). But as far as selling sex goes, that Paizo advert was pretty tame.

      • if I were to say “I am a feminist.” that would be me, a man, self identifying as a feminist. You said a man calling himself a feminist bothers you. I am wondering why. The first time I misunderstood your statement. The second, I don’t see that my rewording changes the meaning of your words.

      • While I think I understand where you are coming from, Arya, I do have to agree with Ronin that I am confused about what you mean. “I self-identify as a feminist” and “I am a feminist” are synonymous terms.

      • if I were to say “I am a feminist.” that would be me, a man, self identifying as a feminist.

        No, it isn’t. That would be you *representing* yourself as a feminist, which corresponds to your self-identification (assuming you are an honest person – which is not an assumption which can be made in the real world), but does not necessarily have ANY correllation with your ACTUAL identification. Perhaps the reason you seem confused by my own opinion is that you see no distinction between how one represents themselves, and how they actually behave.

        If I were to say “I am a homophobe” it wouldn’t make me stop liking women. There were a lot of people who voted yes on Prop 8 who claim they have nothing against gays, and claim to believe we all deserve equal rights — even as they voted to restrict gay rights. There’s a lot of people who make awful racist comments about blacks, who, when called on their racism, claim, “I’m not racist. Some of my best friends are black!”

        So, again– I encourage men to protect women’s rights. But don’t expect me to congratulate anyone on how forward-thinking they are for deciding that, oh!, you poor little creatures deserve the same rights we big strong men do, “because I’m a feminist too!”

        Yes, I’m generalizing. Yes, there are exceptions. No, those exceptions aren’t anywhere near as common as you’d like to think. Which you, as a man, would not know, not being in a position to personally experience misogyny.

        There’s also the matter where I hate, HATE, the word “feminism.” Men use the term claiming that what it ACTUALLY means is “the belief that both sexes are inherently equal.” But that word would be “equalitarianism.” Using the word “feminism” necessarily indicates that in order to promote equality, it’s the women who need help in gaining that equality. The word is itself sexist. Which makes sense when used by anti-men women, who actually mean “women are superior” when THEY self-identify as feminists…. but makes a lot less sense when used by men who feel the word means “we’re all equal.”

      • Um… I hate to disagree with you, but “self identification” has a very well defined meaning. It means who you tell people (be they others or just yourself in the privacy of your own mind) you are. You don’t have to _act_ in a manner that is consistent with what you’re saying. (Tangentially, I’m pretty sure there are a number of people out there who do tell themselves or others they are anti-homosexual but feel strong attraction to members of the same sex, but that’s a whole other issue.)

        It’s unfortunate that there are feminists out there who’ve ruined the word for you. There are definitely people who identify as feminists (both women and men) who are striving for equality together rather than just a reversal of oppression. There will always be sexism in the world, but admitting that it exists and facing it head on doesn’t have to mean that you believe one sex is more or less capable of taking part in the fight. History wasn’t fair and tradition obviously isn’t fair in many ways. There are plenty of ways a person can believe that things got into this mess while still believing in the fundamental equality of people.

      • Personally, I stick with being a humanist, in that I see the negative aspects of being a sexists, racist, or what not as insipid as it is, while still understanding the intent behind some forms of humor or the appreciation of those you are attracted to, be they of the same or opposite sex.

        But, I’m also inconsistent, in that I’m a vocal libertine who enjoys his baser nature, while trying to keep respect balanced with my lesser instincts. While it doesn’t always work, most ladies seem to “get” that I appreciate them, on all levels, even if my mouth sometimes gets me in trouble. *chuckles*

        In the end, though, I don’t get the inequality, on a contemporary level, as I feel we should have grown beyond the inadequacies of our predecessors, and that we’re in the land of freedom, so it’s about time we live up to it, too, and let each other be free.

      • “Identity is an umbrella term used throughout the social sciences to describe an individual’s comprehension of him or herself as a discrete, separate entity.” (EDIT: Granted, this is Wikipedia’s definition, so I can’t present it as fact :p)

        Seems to indicate that it’s a person’s concept of themselves, and not how they verbally represent themselves. Those two things can overlap, yes; but frequently do not. As an example, I can think of a lot of racists who know they’re racist, but wouldn’t say so in front of people. We all know the type, unfortunately.

      • Ahh, yes, those who stage whisper, at the loudest, racial stereotypes and epitaphs, even when there is no one of that group around, as they know they’re wrong-minded and feel they’re playing it safe/able to deny it if anyone is offended.

        While I do not ‘get’ being racist, I feel it is even that more cowardly to hold to such an ignorant stance and not have the courage of conviction. I mean, seriously, if you have to hide it and whisper it, with out there being any real fallout involved, doesn’t that just tell you that you’re of the wrong-minded, ignorant stance?

        But, I’m a smidge too much of a humanist who even sees the term of race, when used with homo sapien sapien, as being easily replaced with a more accurate term like Haplo group or ethnic origin, or what not. I blame my expecting too much from human beings for such issues. *chuckles*

      • I see where you’re coming from, and while I don’t disagree, I can’t say I agree either. To be honest, I don’t really care if people hate others on the basis of race, gender, religion, or whatever else– so long as they don’t commit any acts of violence, or social, political, or economical bias. It is the nature of humanity for people to distrust that which is unfamiliar. If people manage to control themselves to an extent that they can prevent themselves from acting on their less rational impulses, they earn a certain amount of respect from me. I think Avenue Q said it best:

        (Princeton) You’re a little bit racist!
        (Kate Monster) Well, you’re a little bit too!
        (Princeton) I guess we’re both a little bit racist…
        (Kate) Admitting it is not an easy thing to do, but I guess it’s true, between me and you, I think
        (Both) Everyone’s a little bit racist, sometimes
        Doesn’t mean we go around committing hate crimes!
        Look around and you will find, no one’s really color blind
        Maybe it’s a fact we all should face
        Everyone makes judgments based on race!

        (skip through dialogue and some chorus repeats)

        If we all could just admit
        That we are racist a little bit,
        Even though we all know that it’s wrong,
        Maybe it would help us get along!

        (skip through MORE dialogue and chorus)

        Everyone’s a little bit racist- it’s true
        But everyone is just about as racist as you!
        If we all could just admit that we are racist a little bit,
        And everyone stopped being so PC
        Maybe we could live in harmony!

        —-

        I blame my pessimistic utter lack of expectation of anything decent out of humanity, for my issues. :)

      • Nah, there is a huge difference between pessimism and realism, I think anytime anyone expects something then they are setting themselves up for being let down, thus setting themselves up to turn into a pessimist. But, if you simply wish for something better out of folk or hope for something better, without truly expecting it, then you are generally capable of avoiding becoming a pessimist, thus being a realist.

        As for the ability of humanity for disrespecting its self, on so many levels, I have a simple maxim in life: Freedom of Speech does not equate to Freedom from Being Punched in the Throat.

        Basically, people can say and believe whatever they want, but the moment it goes from expression to action then they should not be surprised when folks react to them badly. Be it the law or an individual or group of individuals defending themselves.

        In fact, this statement cues the music for anecdote from the odd life of Robert N. Emerson, Esq.

        Back during my spiritual exploration, when I was heavily into neo-Celtic and Druidic practices, I began to wear a necklace with a Druid’s foot on it, which is a traditional name given to a pentagram that is woven, as opposed to a solid and flat pentagram. Anyhow, this was shortly after I was discharged from the Marines, so not only was I in good shape, but my hair had not been cut in over a year and, thus, hung down past my shoulder, in one solid length. So, with my hair like this, often pulled back at the top, I looked like, as my mother put it, redneck biker/samurai. *chuckles*

        Now my reason for this setup is because the image often makes certain folk think I’m one of them, in this case it was a skinhead who was shouting at some gay folks in an equality parade back in the early 90s. Total stereotype, too, of a low echelon skinhead, in that he was skinny, short, bald, and loud. Anyhow, he was yelling all this filth, turned to me and thought I’d be on his side, as I guess I looked a bit Teutonic at the time, until his eyes locked on my Druid’s Foot. Now, I guess I should have shared the fact that Druid’s Foot is not a five-pointed star, but a six-pointed star and looks like a Star of David.

        Needless to say, runty the wonder dork, decided it was a good idea to now pick a fight with the “Jew” he just found, while shouting his idiom of ignorance.

        I’d like to say that I felt bad, even a little bit, that this guy didn’t know that 1) I was a Marine, 2) Currently worked as a bouncer at strip clubs, 3) had just broke up with a girl I really liked, 4) really hate him for his views. However, I wouldn’t lie to you all…I didn’t feel bad, at all, when I picked runty up and stuffed him, head first, into a rather small garbage can. It was made all the worse, I think, for runty, as his “associates” laughed at him and didn’t seem to want to go attack super “Jew.”

        The racist world should feel lucky that I’m not James Bond Villain Rich ™, as they would be right on my boredom list, right up there with N.A.M.B.L.A.. *chuckles*

  4. Someone needs to get over themselves. I hope that this guy NEVER turns on a TV, let alone tune in to anything on the CW!

    Personally I think that the Gaming Industry (RPG P&P) has for the most part gone out of there way in the last 10-15 years to correct a lot of the old bad habits. With companies like White Wolf, Paizo and WotC leading the charge. If he wants to complain he should look over at some or the Video Game companies.

    As for this comment

    “To quote someone on my boards (Arya, was that you?), “I don’t mind cheesecake if I get to see some beefcake!” ”

    I second that ! :)

  5. As I pointed out in his blog, but feel it’s worth reiterating here…

    Yeah. When I saw the art in question, I immediately made the mental connection between the Christmas card and the nose art of bombers and fighters in the 40’s and 50’s. It was obviously an intentional pastiche, and as such was as much an irony-laden reference to said pin-up art as anything, no?

    Honestly, this whole tempest-in-a-teapot reminds me of nothing so much as the hubub in a lot of disabled-rights groups over Tropic Thunders’ use of the word “retard”. Somewhat lost in all the outrage was the fact that Tropic Thunder is a satire and in the specific scene where they used the retard-word most prominently, the movie was needling Hollywood’s depiction of the mentally disabled as overly patronizing.

  6. Is it shallow of me that the only problem I had with the holiday card is that Paizo didn’t send me this hot piece of art like they did last year as a print out? :)

  7. My greatest concern at this point in time is that I spent way too many words even talking about this on Paizo’s boards, giving the whole issue more legitimacy than it deserved.

    I guess its a fine line between addressing something so that its actually been addressed, and giving someone the spotlight that they are desperately trying to stand in.

  8. Well, I finally weighed in with my opinion, over at D7s, as his opinion on beefcake commanding respect irked me, a bit. *chuckles* Not that a lot of what he has been saying hasn’t irked me, this was more the last little straw dropped onto the camels back.

      • Beefcake does not command respect, I mean, seriously, Fabio is a giant Himbo that graced the cover of a lot of bodice rippers in his day, but no one respects him.

        Beefcake and cheesecake, since as far back as I can remember, are usually used to identify female and male models, or a particular style of art that you’d see on various magazine and book covers, or as vehicular art, or what not. Sure, mileage may vary on what is obviously a personal thought or opinion, but equating beefcake to commanding respect is out of touch, in my opinion.

        I don’t run to the muscle-bound male-model with his shaved chest for help in a crisis, the thought doesn’t even cross my mind, nor does it enter my mind that such imagery commands respect. Generally, models entice a lascivious response because that is how they make money, by looking attractive, and the respect moniker never even enters the picture.

        As for exploitive material and imagery, well, in my not so humble opinion, there is a huge difference between viewing such imagery and acting out on any potential negative urges. There is a vast difference between having impulses and acting out on said impulses and if all we do is insulate ourselves from this impulses, instead of dealing with the inability to control them, then you are just creating a bigger problem for the future with a mediocre band-aide for today.

        I have played role-playing games for over twenty-five years now, as well as viewed all sorts of material that could be considered questionable or exploitive, yet I have never even been tempted to engage in such activities, as I am a reasonable and sensible person, with a proclivity to rant and rave from time to time.

        Personally, I think it weakens a society to not consider its self strong enough to survive the existence of something that a segment of the society finds offensive, as legislative morality always fails and it treats the People as if they are too weak, too stupid, and incapable of handling anything difficult.

        Look at the folly that is the War on Drugs, which steams from the mistake of Prohibition of Alcohol and the organized crime infrastructure that it created. Look at the ignorance of gay marriage bans, book burnings, and other such insanity, all of which steams from one segment being offended by something, to the point of feeling outraged by its mere existence.

        Personally, I see no offense in finding someone attractive and looking at them, just as I do not see offense in said person feeling upset by it and saying someone to the person and asking them not to stare. The issue occurs if the person does not stop staring, once asked to stop, as opposed to them staring, in the first place, being the issue.

        Personally, I thought the image from Paizo was nice, as it looked like the old pinups that you’d see the late Bettie Page do. Sure, some folks found her offensive, just like some folks find Playboy to be offensive, as opposed to tasteful, and there are even folks who find the Suicide Girls offensive, even sexists, all of which I, personal, find odd.

        Now, in an effort of full disclosure, I am a white male, in his mid-thirties, who by no stretch of the imagination could ever be called affluent, and I find woman attractive on many levels, of which sexually is one of, and I’ll never make an apology for it, as I think women are generally strong enough folk. But, I was raised by a very vocal, strong willed, independent, and all around cool single mother, so my perspective is prone to being bent, however I avoided being a serial killer, per profile, so I consider it a win. *chuckles*

      • To me, as always, intent is more important then perception and assumption, so I do not believe in punishing those who are civilized for the actions, be it actualized or in potential. By that thinking, guns should be universally outlawed, due to the potential of a few to use them negatively, as should any non-inclusive thought system, belief, philosophy, ideal, so on and so forth, ad nauseum.

        The fact that such imagery exists, in spite of the inability of those with impulse control issues, or generally ignorant people, does not say that it is not really wrong or an issue, instead it shows the difference between those who can handle it and those who cannot. All removing such imagery does is remove it, it solves not one single problem, it probably makes it worse. Although this is my personal view, I am fairly certain that sexual crime within various religious groups and their hierarchy is increased in those groups that have celibate clergy, thus making them external toward society, while those who allow for marriage in their clergy have less.

        Now, we could either outlaw all religious, since it obviously can lead, in potential, to such issues, or we can let people be spiritual leaders while still having corporeal based lives and families.

        *shrugs*

        Whenever something is repressed in the group, because of the fact that some cannot handle their [insert vice here], it rarely fixes anything. I think an informed and reasoned society is much better than a shielded and stifled society, or else you are going to create the Morlock and Eloi paradigm, which is not a good idea, either.

        As for the whole slave girl motif, race should not matter, at all, so long as the intent of the peace is positive, not negative. If the goal of the piece is to promote the enslavement of a race, the negative objectification, in actual not assume, then the piece has issues. But, if the piece is just a piece, with art being just art, then there is nothing wrong with it. I’d rather see examples of real history, rather than have it glossed over and sanitized, simply because it reminds us of our mistakes and, hopefully, keeps us from making them, again.

        Fiction is fiction, just as Harry Potter doesn’t promote neo-paganism, satanism, homosexual agenda, or any other bit of wingnut thought, neither does men and women, wearing skimpy outfights, while they run around the known and unknown world killing folk and taking their stuff.

        Now, if you really wanna worry about art that promotes negative behavior, wait for a picture that outright says, “Thanks for supporting our company, we hope this picture gives you an erection and makes you rape.”

        Paizo’s intent in the picture is obvious, as it is a piece of fantasy art, in a stylize pin-up, with a cartoonish female figure in provocative clothing. If you see offense in it, as well as others, I am fairly comfortable in guessing that, by far, you are in the extreme minority and that it was not Paizo’s intent or desire to do so.

        I feel that turning society into an over sensitive, political correct entity will only succeed in dumbing us down, making it worse, and retard society, instead of enlighten it and move it forward. There is a lot of art out there, which truly is art, that was inspired by some cultures that, by today’s standards, are very backwards, callous, and demeaning toward various segments of society, male or female, but that doesn’t make something any less artistic.

        If I could link to it, I would, but there is another company provided peace out there of a beefcake Santa and a cheesecake Mrs. Claus, with her curled up around his leg in what you could, easily, call a Howardian pose, ala Conan, and while I’m sure some could find it offense, I find it enticing and enjoyable without the urge to sow my rapine urges.

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