Binders Full of Women: Collecting All the Ladycards in The Witcher – part 5
11. Rozalind Pankiera
All my notes say is: “She had a FISH in her wardrobe!!!” If I remember correctly, this one took me by surprise with the sex, as she didn’t ask for gifts, or need to be rescued. No, she’s a bored noble girl with an overprotective father, and she wants a quick thrill from some random dude who beat up her dad and broke into her bedroom. Oh, what the hell, I’m okay with that. I don’t even care that she’s meant to be my best friend’s girlfriend, if she doesn’t.
12. Blue Eyes (& courtesanal clones)
New explorable area means new brothel! (Every fantasy city must have one at minimum every 500 yards, it’s the Law.) And a new friendly sex worker known only as Blue Eyes, who also seems to have some identical clones working elsewhere in the district, but they give the same card, so I won’t count them separately.
Speaking of her card, it shows her rolling around in a giant pile of gold coins, like a sexy Scrooge McDuck. Just in case we’d forgotten that these ladies are cash-obsessed gold-diggers out to drain you of every last penny, and not, y’know, people getting paid for performing a service like anyone else. Does popular media portray chiropractors in this way? No, it does not.
13. Town Clerk
One of the identical clerks in the Town Hall will sleep with you, if you figure out that she doesn’t want compliments or polite come-ons, she wants to be called a naughty girl, and (judging by her card image!) spanked. This is fine so far as it goes: respecting your sexual partners can still include engaging in consensual (super-softcore in this case) BDSM roleplay. What got me was that she still demanded a diamond. There is this constant theme that women do not engage in sex for their own pleasure alone, they have to get something ELSE out of it. It’s one thing if the lady is, like Blue Eyes, doing this for a living, but we see it even in cases that are presented as casual, desire-based sexual encounters.
Under the commodity model, female sexuality exists for men, not for the women themselves. Men must purchase sex because women are presumed to gain little pleasure from sex, and, in many societies, lose perceived “purity”, thus they require recompense of some kind. Meet Noblewoman!
Everything about the way she approaches you for sex screams that SHE is attracted to Gaspard, and he would be doing her a favour if he relieved her sexual frustration. In case you can’t read what she’s saying in the screenshots, it’s: “I know witchers are inhumanly effective, and for coin, they’ll undertake any task.” and “So physical and rough, unlike my husband. I enjoy men like that.” Gulliver responds with: “You have an assignment for me, m’lady?”
Surely, surely, you might think, it’s clear in this case that female desire is a real thing, and she needs no additional bribery. By framing it as a “task”, she actually implies that she might reward him financially, which would make… it would… (you can just feel the developers recoiling screaming at this implication as they see it coming) …it would make Garfield himself a sex worker! PEARL CLUTCH: ENGAGE. Yeah, obviously that’s not going to happen (PROBABLY GAY OR SOMETHING), so the game backpedals rapidly and inserts the “Give Gift” option into the dialogue. For you to give her something, naturally.
She wanted a body part from a slain beast to prove my manliness so I gave a ham sandwich. She wasn’t having it, though. I think I gave her a claw, in the end. You can insert your own joke about that, I’m out.
OK, not quite out: one more thing. When gamers are being taught that women usually only want sex when they can make a profit from it, is it so surprising that they start seeing real women this way, too? And start believing that sexually active women must have a self-serving secret agenda? I’m not blaming The Witcher specifically (at least it also contains counterexamples!), but don’t tell me that this stuff exists in a vacuum and has no effect on how people think.
15. The Queen of the Night and her Daughters
You meet a man who says that his sister has been kidnapped by vampires, but when you find her, it’s Blue Eyes from earlier, and she says she’s very happy with the vampires and doesn’t want to go home. It turns out that the entire brothel is full of ’em, and their leader, the Queen of the Night offers you a choice that was already pretty gross when Abigail tried it: let us live, and you can totally bone us! All at once!
Sigh. This is still a horrible rescue-reward trope, and you literally have to kill them or screw them, you can’t just let them live out of the goodness of your heart. “Sorry I cheated, babe, but I had to fuck them to save their lives!” Ugh, Shani’s never going to buy that, I’m doomed. Oh, and if you are that special kind of gamer who likes to fuck women and then kill them anyway, as with Abigail, fear not, you can do that too!
I’ve been thinking, though.
Okay. What if, right, what if… bear with me… what if Gesserit’s interactions with women represented an interrogation of the Woman as Monstrous Other concept. Powerful women in charge of their own sexuality are often considered monstrous and unnatural. Consider Abigail, the reviled witch. Morenn. The Queen of the Night and her daughters, who as vampires are the classic examples of hypersexualised, hypersexual women, deviant because of their ravenous sexuality, monstrous due to their insatiable (blood)lust. These women that Grover encounters are monstrous in some way, or seen as such, and he has the choice to extend
his cock sympathy towards them, or reject/kill them.
It is a key feature of The Witcher that you are constantly being asked to decide if people are Human or Monster. Every time you enter combat, you must analyse your opponent and choose a sword: the steel
cock sword for fucking killing humans, or the silver cock sword for fucking killing monsters. Greenhilt himself is cast as between two worlds, both human and monstrous. One of the frequent choices you are making in the game is: who do you identify with, humans or non-humans?
In the case of the vampiric brothel, we are explicitly asked two things. Firstly, do we trust the word of a woman, or do we assume that her male relative knows what’s best for her? Secondly, do we trust a female monster who claims that she is rational and benevolent, or do we kill her to be sure? To support and trust the woman, you must also support and trust the monster. The feminist choice is the pro-monster choice. Male is to female, as human is to monster. In sleeping with all the many women that he does, is Gunther expressing his… heh… solidarity with the feminine? Is all the sexing, in fact, A FEMINIST ACT?
No. Because lots of the sexings invoke really misogynistic tropes. And there is a nasty undertone at times that Garfield is “taming” the monstrous feminine with his masculine rod of reason – for instance, the sex-card for the vampires shows one of them naked and chained around the neck. But I do like this idea, and wish it was less in my head, and more in the actual game!