Feminine Gamification Viewpoint: cartoons
In Europe cartoons, caricatures and comics are all part of the fabric of how we tell stories. At least that is how I remember it growing up in Belgium. I grew up consuming comics books such as Suske & Wiske (also known as Bob & Bobette), Kuifje (also known as Tintin), Jommeke (I don’t believe he was translated) and my ultimate top favourite was Yoko Tsuno, who is a female engineer and the main heroine in the story. Often comic books were a commentary on society at the time and addressed some serious issues through images and text. In our newspapers and magazines, there were often mocking cartoons to make fun of a political situation, religion often one, but also celebrities, etc. and quite honestly while some of them were on edge, it would never occur to anyone to kill the cartoonist though.
Why cartoons and what has it got to do with gamification, well to be honest it is very much because of what happened at Charlie Hebdo this week and I also believe cartoons can be a great form of showing a different angle in gamification. It is atrocious to think that someone would kill cartoonists, journalists and other writers for expressing themselves through their chosen channel. Culture differs and what I find funny, somebody else may find offensive. Satire and the whole satiric media scene was and is in place to provide another viewpoint and to poke fun at regular every day themes, events and situations. It’s what previous generations have fought for namely freedom of expression and right that in my view is important to uphold.
Here is where in enterprise settings and gamification, we may have to be very honest with ourselves and look at how much censoring is going on and how much controlling of what is shared or deemed appropriate is happening. When I was in secondary school I set up the school magazine and we had a fellow student, who was excellent at making caricatures, he drew caricatures of all the teachers and this approach part aided our sell out first edition. From a teacher perspective, I went from being a regular student to being called a subversive element, because I dared question authority even though all we had done was created questionnaires where we ranked teachers, their favourite stop words and phrases and a fun image to go with. I never had that intention, but even very early gamification and caricatures were considered subversive, probably because we were taking the viewpoint of the student as opposed to the teacher.
Because of the availability of female leading characters in the comics books I read, I always believed it was normal to have a balance between male and female. My alter ego GamificationNat is based on my favourite comic cartoon, because as an engineer she comes up with smart solutions and she often calls on help from other skilled resources either human or science fiction creatures and she resolves the problem or challenge. Quite apt in my view as an analogy for what we do. When designing your gamification solution if you are using cartoons, have them appeal to both genders in your workforce. Suske & Wiske are a brother and sister, who are the main explorers and heroes in the book, which may well provide a good example for a narrative of your campaigns.
I discussed humour in gender in a previous post under this theme and I believe a lot of cartoons make you think and at the same time are quite explicit, which would cover both gender angles.
In light of what happened in Paris, I would just like to encourage you to look at how much you censor freedom of expression and how much you encourage challenging of the status quo in original ways such as satire or cartoons.
Let’s just close this post with a respectful: #jesuischarlie may cartoons, comics and satire live on!
I loved this tribute image and hope the originator doesn’t mind if it is used again to remember those that died. Image credits: Lucille Clerc