Out of character interlude – year one

You ever read Batman Year One? It’s pretty sweet.

A year ago yesterday I started this blog mostly as a joke and here still we are so I guess the joke is on me at this point. The origin is that my D&D group and I were talking about Dave the Commoner and we jested that we should each start a blog of the same kind with the other four NPC classes. Someone else was doing one for the Warrior and Adept seemed too “easy” so I went with Expert over Aristocrat because I wanted a rogue-like character.

Originally it was titled the Erotic Endeavors of Ela the Expert because I thought it was funny. Several people told me that they hated the title but I wouldn’t change it because I’m stubborn like that. But then one day a dude sent me a message about the erotic stuff he wanted me to write about and that finally motivated me to change it to a more appropriate title.

I’m pretty sure that half my “followers” are bots and I doubt that anyone reads regularly – as one of my buddies said “I just check in every few weeks to see who Ela is screwing over that day” but I have gotten some feedback. And by some I mean literally six or seven messages. I found this feedback perplexing.

Half the messages were from guys (ostensibly) who said that they liked the story but they didn’t like that it was about a female character. They said it was unrealistic for a woman to be shifty and murderous and cold blooded. One of them said that the only way they could read it is if they pretended that Ela was a man.

The other half of the messages were from women (ostensibly) who said that Ela was unrealistic because women aren’t like that – they’re empathetic and want to help people and aren’t murderous con artists. Furthermore, portraying women as such was bad for society and playing into negative anti-feminist stereotypes.

I didn’t know what to make of this feedback but after a very brief consideration of bailing I decided that I didn’t need to care about it because even if it was harmful it’s such a small scale that it didn’t matter. But then one of my friends pointed out that it doesn’t matter how small your reach is if what you’re doing is bad then it’s bad (they were making no comment on if the blog was bad or not because they don’t read it). But I decided that I like writing it so if I’m a horrible person I guess that’s just what it is.

I play D&D for real as well (or did before Covid) and whenever I’m the DM the feedback I’ve gotten is “I like playing your campaign (you have to say that first because DMs are fragile) but all your campaign worlds are awful places full of awful people”. I’ve never really understood that because I don’t consider my campaigns “dark fantasy” they just seem normal to me, but clearly my normal is awful to everyone else. My point is this, I don’t think it’s a gender issue so much as a issue of me making everything horrible.

Anyway I hope Ela lives long enough that this blog goes at least 479 days so it will be one day longer than Demolition’s first reign as tag team champions. Remember when they first came around and everyone dismissed them as a second rate Road Warriors knock off? But then by the end of the 80’s people thought that the Road Warriors were a crummy knock-off of Demolition? I do.