I had a really interesting debate today with people about RPG worlds and the way that bigotry in them is justified. An awful lot of game worlds are brutally sexist whether it be through chainmail bikinis, male dominated power structures, or other degradations of women and much of it is defended as being realistic. Realistic, in this case, means that it is a really inaccurate but culturally normal portrayal of the way in which some people see European centric medieval culture in order to justify sexism. Is it true that way more men that women were in power in medieval Europe? Yes. Does that have anything whatsoever to do with how a fantasy world with dragons, teleportation, and fireballs should be or is organized? No.
In the GM section of Heroes By Trade I talked about this and emphasized that the most important thing to do was to make sure that all the players were happy. If your world design made people (most often but not at all limited to women) unhappy then you did it wrong. However, I included a justification for a non male dominated world if someone was really looking for one.
Characters with inborn power (which includes all player characters) have equal combat prowess and other talent regardless of gender so the serious sexism that exists and existed in the real world did not develop in the world of Heroes By Trade.
Of course you didn't need this justification. Saying "the world we are playing in doesn't work that way" is plenty. After all, magic and frostbolts and flying and such, even if you ignore the fact that the real world has an immense variety of different cultures which have very different standards for the way that people relate based on gender.
However, I concluded that even providing that justification was an error; I was wrong. The idea that women being unequal is realistic and therefore worth considering as a fundamental game structure is bullshit. There is only one rule: Have a good time. That's it. Make it realistic isn't a rule or even a guideline and the idea that feminine oppression is somehow necessary for things to feel realistic is misogynistic in itself. If you are willing to accept flying across a mountain on a pegasus without losing immersion then clearly you can accept people all being treated as people in the same way.
Instead of staying home we go out to smite evildoers. Instead of getting cut by swords and dying from infection we rest awhile and then keep on going. Instead of being in a world where people are systematically discriminated against we play in a world where such discrimination does not exist. None of these things make a good reality simulator but they all make the game more fun and that is the whole point. Screw realism... give me fun every damn time.