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A Superheroine’s View

November 10th, 2004

Playing, as I do, a number of female characters in City of Heroes, I’ve encountered my share of other players (presumably male, presumably young) hitting on me.

I don’t quite understand this. Surely, computer savvy folks should have some clue that there’s absoultely no reason that a digital avatar should in any way resemble the person on the other side of the screen. And besides, if I looked anything like “Ms. Mesmer,” I most definitely wouldn’t be stuck in the basement playing a computer game on a Saturday night.

It’s a weird feeling. I’ve rarely been hit on in real life, and only once by another guy. (I was working stage crew on La Cage Aux Folles.) It does give me some sense of what it may be like for certain women, fending off unwanted, uncomfortable advances.

Last night, I was playing “Rachel Sullivan,” my psychic defender. (She’s a psychic who defends, not someone who specializes in protecting palmists and astrologers.) Some guy made a comment about my character, which, despite being delivered in what I assume to be “leet-speak,” left me with the impression that he thought I was hot. (I replied, “Are you speaking in binary?” to which he had no answer.)

With that in mind, I submitted the following op-ed piece to the “Paragon Times,” the fictional newspaper that appears in the back of the monthly comic book that goes to City of Heroes subscribers. Keep in mind that this is written as if it were being penned by “Ms. Mesmer.”

Heroines of Paragon City, you’ve all had it happen to you: comments about your revealing costume, offers to “team up” that don’t include cracking Skulls. Most male heroes are virtuous, of course, but there are always a few less interested in your assets than your–

Look guys, we can’t help that we all look like swimsuit models. We don’t have the option to put on a few pounds. And it’s true that many of us wear skimpy and/or skin-tight costumes, for reasons ranging from ease of movement to temperature control. That’s not your invitation for inappropriate remarks in the workplace.

If you want our help on a difficult mission, remember that we’re every bit as worthy of respect as any muscle-bound, mutagen-fueled uberdude. Keep your hands where we can see them, and keep your comments to yourself.

Wonder if it’ll see print. I kinda doubt it, since it might be seen as an acknowledgement that their virtual world isn’t necessarily friendly (or rather, is a bit too friendly) towards women.

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