Alternate romances in Mass Effect 2.
In that lovely, awkward conversation with Mordin, femshep has some extra dialogue that never saw the light of day. It appears that at one point, Tali, Jack and Miranda were all romance options for femshep and some dialogue was recorded to that effect. Sadly this didn’t make it into the final game.
And broshep isn’t left out! He surprisingly has something to say about Garrus during this conversation.
16 seconds long.
#everything i've ever wanted #mass effect #WHY
#adorableeee #masters of sex #masters of sex spoilers #maybe
15 DAYS OF DS9
DAY 04: Favorite Friendship
Jadzia Dax and Benjamin Sisko, the ultimate friendship.
#NOOOo #literally my favorite friendship out of everything #star trek #ds9
my bra is making me itchy and i want to take it off
but if i do, my boobs will be super cold. :(
TEN FAVORITE BSG RELATIONSHIPS
└ 01. Kara Thrace + Lee Adama
"Are you sure I’m what you want?"
"Yeah, you’re what I want. I just don’t think I really knew it until I said it out loud just now. […] Mostly because I was afraid to admit how much I needed you. How much I needed anyone."
"Friendly reminder to post your rant about femShep dialogue changes."
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.
#this is so good #and important!! #i was talking about this with two of my male friends and they were like #'silly clare there will still be hormones in the future!!' #massive eye roll #like that excuses misogyny #long post warning #mass effect