On Sexuality and the Healing Blade

June 5, 2010/4/0
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A few days ago, we woke up to the sound of concern.  It seemed to be permeating from our comments board.  In particular, this one:

You folks are businessfolks, right? You’re interested in selling as much stuff as possible, right? I read about Healingblade in The Scientist, immediately thought of how much fun it would be to play this game with my kids, but one look at the artwork snuffed that ambition right out. Any chance of making an edition without the T and A, or maybe just cranking it down a degree? Seriously, why flip the bird to an entire market? I’m sure there are many others out there who’d buy it for kids except that all the breasts and buttucks make them uncomfortable.

All valid points, sir.  Let’s start off with the obvious.  We are businessfolks, but, really, just barely.  I mean, seriously, who waits until their stock is about depleted and then drops a story onto the intertubes only to have hundreds of potential customers bump up against a ‘sold out’ sign? Uuhhh, that would be us.  We’re more a bunch of guy and gal docs that happen to have a little too much free time on their hands, that happen to be excited about learning in new ways.  As for the T&A?  There’s no way you could have known this, but on the box we clearly state that the lower limit of ages that we feel comfortable handling this stuff is 13.  Yes there’s T&A, but no less than your average Lady Gaga or Rihanna video.  Perhaps most importantly though, two of the most sexed up characters happen to be abstract representations of sexually transmitted diseases – T. pallidum and N. gonorrhea.  At what age should kids start learning about these particular conditions?  Well, I’ll defer to my public health colleagues on that one.

But we’re not completely absolved here, as Carlso Hernandez magnificently iterates:

N.B. I do worry, slightly, about the male-subtext here: what, only male and lesbian warriors get the pox? A small detail, but the semiotics of the game seem to me important beyond just political correctness; they might create misleading subtexts for the diseases and treatments they characterize. So be careful with your text and art, fellas!

This was something that we completely overlooked and are supremely glad that it was brought to our attention.  You’re absolutely right, Carlos – our art would suggest that only sultry women act as honeytraps pertaining to the transmission of STD’s.  This of course is ludicrous.  There is gender equality with regards to STD’s and our art, by a glaring oversight, does not accurately reflect this.  We will be working to balance this in future editions of THB, and appreciate your bringing this to our attention, sirs.  If you feel strongly about this either way, consider heading over to the Healing Blade FB group and commenting on this issue.