Gotta say though, when they announced not all the LIs would be bi I knew we were going to fall back on stereotypes.
Bi LIs? Iron “he’ll sleep with anything” Bull and Josephine “From Antiva which really just explains everything doesn’t it’
Gay LIs? Gang member and an outcast.
Het LIs? Hahaha well. You see where I’m going with this. SUCH PURITY MUCH VIRTUE.
Yeah, why would people who are part of a sexual minority ever be pushed into poor situations or be ostracized I mean that never happens right? Clearly they’re not trying to represent the real life struggles these people go through, right? (Also, Josephine’s from Antiva, big whoop, she seems like a pretty down to earth and badass girl, they’re not having her act like Zevran.)
And sweet jesus, how the hell do you get that from the het LIs? Both Cullen and Cassandra are bigoted assholes who think their religion is the best thing in the world and will kill happily or imprison the people their Chant tells them are inferior. Seems to me that’s a stereotype in itself.
Okay, let’s talk about this for a minute.
Assuming that all non-het people are pushed into bad situations or ostracized is a stereotype in and of itself, and it needs to be erased. Not all bisexual characters need to have sketchy, morally bankrupt backgrounds. Isabela is badass. Zevran is badass. Leliana is badass. You know what these characters also have in common? They’re rogues. Two of them are assassins. One of them is a pirate. They are not paragons of virtue and while that’s okay on its face, it represents a greater problem in the representation of non-heterosexual characters.
That you had to even qualify your statement about Josephine with “they’re not having her act like Zevran” only proves my point because you’ve recognized the pattern of non-heterosexual characters that Bioware has presented in the past. For the record, I am deliberately leaving out Dragon Age 2 for the time being simply because although David Gaider has confirmed that all of the LIs were written to be bisexual, there were years of arguments about how it didn’t “make sense” for everyone to be bisexual, and as such I’m not including them for the time being.
And as for Cullen and Cassandra, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. They are members of the predominate religion in the world and despite how you may feel about the Chantry (and don’t get me wrong, I fucking loathe the Chantry) they are still seen as morally correct within the context of Thedas. Also I’ve never seen any indication that Cassandra is bigoted, but that’s okay.
Let’s look at Dragon Age Origins for a minute. Four LIs. Two heterosexual, two bisexual. The hetereosexual LIs have incredible plot significance, whereas the bisexual LIs can both be killed or not recruited at all. This, along with the fact that the male heterosexual LI is literally a virgin prince and the male bisexual LI grew up in a whorehouse plays into stereotypes about promiscuity and virtue that bisexual peoplehave unfortunately been subjected to for their entire lives.
Representation matters, and what would really be nice is if the representation of non-heterosexual characters didn’t fall into such predictable patterns. Not all non-heterosexual people in Thedas are subjugated or ostracized, but those are the only ones we ever meet in the games, and I, for one, am disappointed in that.
My post was glib because I was in a bad mood and frustrated, but that doesn’t mean that my point isn’t solid, or that I’m the only one who has noticed these patterns.
As I’ve said before, I’m not criticizing these characters—I’m criticizing the tropes and stereotypes that the writers are using when creating them, because those stereotypes and tropes are indicative of real world biases and prejudices that are harmful to non-hetereosexual people.
For the record, the Empress of Orlais is non-straight, confirmed in The Masked Empire. Not all non-het people in Thedas come from underprivileged backgrounds, and it would be nice if we could have them in our parties now and then.
Not to mention the fact that LGBT people are disproportionately economically disadvantaged because of homophobia. And homophobia in our society very clearly has its roots in Christian anti-Roman polemic, which was later doubled-down on during the Victorian era.
There’s literally nothing in Thedas remotely resembling these cultural factors. And the lore also explicitly states that homophobia isn’t a cultural force in Thedas the way it is in the modern western world. That the only people who care about compulsory heterosexuality are nobles who have to produce heirs, and that the rest of society doesn’t actually care.
There’s no reason the Chantry should mirror the homophobia common in modern Christianity. There’s no reason why people who have vocations in the Chantry would be default homophobic. The only reason why anybody would think it’s more “realistic” is because they think that homophobia is a natural default state of humanity and there has to be reasons why a society is NOT homophobic.
Which is fucked up.
I’m 100% certain I will never be okay with what went down and what I did in Season 2