Gender and Sexuality
At their sublime best, magical girl shows are a joyful ode to being a girl. Team-based shows like Sailor Moon or Pretty Cure 5 showcase a literal rainbow of girlhood, with the message that there are many wildly different ways to be a girl, all of them thoroughly awesome. Sexism is simply not a major element of the theme; magical girl stories have very, very few ‘Girl Power Hooray, We Beat The Man’ moments because they are not written through the lens of ‘girls are normally less powerful than boys.’ When a magical girl rescues a boy, the boy is almost always grateful, not embarrassed. Conversely, powered males don’t whine because they lost to girls (though they occasionally whine that they lost to meddling kids; in coming of age stories, ageism is not uncommon), and they also don’t protect magical girls because they’re girls. There's rarely a notion of living up to the expectations of male authority figures, or fighting a stubborn war against sexism. Girls rock and everyone knows it.
There's a place for boyhood, too! It's important to note, though, that when some of those powered males dedicate themselves to protecting the magical girls important to them, they have reasons like love, or justice. 'Because she's a girl' is never a reason to protect someone. This all isn’t to say that we’re pretending sexism doesn’t exist, but the average character in the setting, be they hero or villain, does not discriminate by gender.
In fact, there's a place for many kinds of boy-and-girlhood.
Everyone, even straight, cisgendered everyones, chooses to interact with gender differently. What femininity and masculinity mean to you, and how they shape your identity, is one of your most personal and inviolable choices, but for many people, it is essentially an invisible choice. If what you choose is close enough to society's expectations, it may never occur to you that you made it at all. But for some, this choice is uncommon enough that it draws attention. Unfortunately, some of that attention is outright hostile, and that will never be tolerated on Battle Fantasia. But much of it is simply confusion.
If you're not sure how to deal with unfamiliar gender identities, just remember: “self-identification." Most everything that might seem confusing comes down to the simple principle that you and you alone have the choice of your own gender and sexuality. Biological sex is not even as visually significant as it seems; shave everyone's head and put them in Christmas sweaters and you'll come to understand just how much of the gender identity we project is cultural rather than innate. So don't worry about some set of mysterious rules. Just pay attention to how people self-identify, and if you're unsure, ask!
There is a second choice related to gender that everyone gets to make on their own terms, and that's the gender of their romantic partners. As far as anime goes, magical girl series tend to be pretty friendly to gay relationships, but problems remain, with same-sex couples generally forced to remain just below the level of open acknowledgment in the story that their straight counterparts enjoy. This, of course, will not be the case on Battle Fantasia.
Handling these relationship dynamics well isn't just about remembering that queer relationships exist, though; it's also about being sure to treat everyone involved like people, rather than objects for someone else's enjoyment. To use a blunt example; it's okay to think lesbians are sexy, but it's not okay to treat lesbian characters like a show for people who are into girl-on-girl. Not only does it almost certainly go right past our rating, but it's also pretty dehumanizing and rude!
Similarly, extra care should be taken when dealing with gay male relationships, or queer characters on their own--be it by sexuality or by gender identity--in general. Queer characters can be funny just the same as straight characters! If you're using these elements in a character primarily for humor, though, you should probably rethink it. That anime sometimes does it doesn't mean it's a good idea. You are free to use these elements in your RP, even--we wanted to give a little background, but we trust our players to be mature and kind.
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