Wednesday, October 13, 2010
There I was driving though the parking lot when I happened to see a pair of Muslim women in full Burkhas walking with a little girl in plain clothes*. This got me to thinking. I was struck by the image of the girl's decidedly free garb in contrast to the restrictions of the women's. Why could she show her face, arms, and legs while the women couldn't? Well she wasn't old enough to have any secondary sex characteristics, that's why. One of the main purposes of the Burkha is to hide those, creating an air of modesty for a woman (or man, it turns out) to display in public. There is text somewhere in the Q'ran that essentially mandates this de-sexualizing. You'll have to excuse my ignorance in not being able to cite anything specific, but I'm not currently practicing any religion.
Now I've heard many people speak both for and against being forced to wear Burkhas, and was at one point in the past surprised to find myself in agreement with a pro-Burkha individual. She explained that the garment is in fact feminist in nature, as it doesn't necessarily suggest that a woman's body is evil and must be hidden, but pre-supposes that a man will be blinded by lust and looks. This is, then, a punishment or deterent for men, not women. Taking appearance out of the equation then has a calming effect on society at large. Cats and Dogs getting along and all that rot, right.
Please bear with me, this analogy will soon be over and will make a point. Meanwhile back to the women at the grocery store. After getting a good (non-creeper) look at the women I was struck by how strangely alluring they were. How is is that a piece of clothing designed to put a damper on sexuality could arouse my curiosity? To explain that, one needs only look at human nature: if given a set of rules, man will exploit them to their fullest to bleed out any advantage possible. The women's Burkhas were the style that covers everything but eyes and hands. Thinking back, it was actually the women's eyes that I found attractive- hell, downright sexy if I'm being honest. Now it was not a fluke that this was so; the women clearly wanted to create this type of reaction with their heavy eye make-up.
So here we have an instance of a rule being enforced and somebody working within the rule set to break the game. The purpose of the Burkha is to create modesty. Showing the eyes (in some designs) is allowed. Knowing this, a woman can draw attention to this feature artificially, thus being immodest while still playing by the rules. That's counter-productivity at it's finest.
That my friends is why I think comp is stupid. Ignore for a moment that comp rules sets are often based on personal bias, knee-jerk reactions, and just plain bad logic and just assume that a comped system was invoked to combat a particular perceived rules issue. This was done with the best intentions, trying to fix a game or prevent something silly from being exploited. The truth of the matter, though, is that the comp system will undoubtedly have parameters that can and will be exploited by the more savvy players. It is in our nature to push the limits of any rules and somebody will eventually figure out how to maximize effectiveness within the rules.
Picture a snake eating its tail and you get the idea. A comped event is created to prevent rules abuse thus creating additional and different rules that can be abused. If you don't believe me look at all of the playtesting going on around the net right now for the upcoming, heavily-comped Da Boyz tournament. Still don't think people are trying to push that comped rules set to the limits?
*perhaps there is a word for this that I'm missing, but what I mean to say is that she was in jeans and a t-shirt: a not-Burkha.