While reading a friend’s post on Bilerico, I came across this article related to Dragon Age’s romance with Zevran.
There are issues with race in this game. Not only is there commentary on the differences between elves, dwarves, humans, and the Qunari, but being of a different skin color will likely disappoint.
Beyond that, however, Jason Tseng notes how there exists a racial disparity in the male on male sex scenes and who gets depicted as either the bottom or top dependent on which race you play. The video (NSFW, and the captions are shown in-game, though the focus is on the sex scene itself):
Videos of human males or dwarves having sex with Zevran result in him being the bottom, whereas the roles are reversed here, for the male elf.
As Tseng notes:
I find it fascinating to observe how sexual racism persists even the gaming world. While it is true, you can be a dark-skinned elf, just as easily as a light-skinned human… the notion that races generally fit into neat sexual archetypes still persists in the virtual world is interesting. It is reminiscent of how Asian men are assumed to be bottoms unless proven otherwise. Much in the same way that in Dragon Age, all bottoms are elves, but not all elves are bottoms (when bedding other elves).
It is very curious how our own expectations and way of viewing things bleeds into the fantasy and fictions we create. Not only is race at play, but expectations of gender identity and representation. In this instance, it would be that elves are more lithe, therefore considered more ‘traditionally’ feminine in features, grace, et cetera. This would then cast them in the more perceived feminine role during sex.
In terms of game models, this means that the male elf is equated with the female models who may engage in a similar sex scene. The intersection of race and gender expectations is another point where I have to raise my eyebrows at Dragon Age, even though I love it so.