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#51 Posted by berfunkle (146 posts) -

Is it wrong to make games that fantasize female characters? Ya, okay. Also, you might as well turn men into eunuchs and be done with it!

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#52 Posted by Efesell (4065 posts) -

@doctordonkey: Completely agree, Japan is culturally different and trying to hold Japanese games to American standards is absurd.

This isn't really sufficient to shut down these criticisms though. If you bring your product to a different market you have to understand that this is going to open it up to wildly different perspectives.

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#53 Edited by Sweetz (1126 posts) -

@acharlie1377 said:

None of this is explicitly saying "women are objects," but it normalizes the idea that a woman's physical attractiveness matters more than anything else, or that women are inherently inferior in some way.

Eh, that is far from established fact and is a peer to "video games cause violence" claims. In my opinion, that would only apply to people who can't separate fantasy from reality and if you're using anime/JRPGs to inform your real life behavior, you've got bigger problems.

Also, men throughout history have never needed the influence of media or video games to objectify women...just testosterone and an instinctual reproductive drive.

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#54 Edited by kcin (997 posts) -

love the repeated assertion that it's okay for japanese media to be incredibly sexist because japan is a different culture. there are still a bunch of women in japan who have to endure that culture, who surely resent that media. it's not a religious imperative to be sexist towards women, it's just a shitty cultural norm. it's completely fine to say that it sucks.

anyway to the point of the question: yes, lots of people feel similarly, AND yes, it is par for the course with most JRPGs. ultimately, your own ethics will (and should) guide you in making your purchasing/playing decisions. if you feel really gross about it, that's your answer.

however, it's important to allow yourself to experience cognitive dissonance about the stuff you like. you SHOULD be able to say that this thing you like has these problems, and accept that you feel two conflicting things at once. if you can square that feeling (like the game may, for example, not have a sexist storyline or dialogue but may dress the women unnecessarily scantily), go for it. if you can't (like, for example, the game kills all the queer people in its story), then you can't. while you should absolutely learn from others, the person who decides what is and isn't okay for (or with) you is you.

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#55 Posted by fatalbanana (1076 posts) -

@sweetz said:
@acharlie1377 said:

None of this is explicitly saying "women are objects," but it normalizes the idea that a woman's physical attractiveness matters more than anything else, or that women are inherently inferior in some way.

Eh, that is far from established fact and is a peer to "video games cause violence" claims. In my opinion, that would only apply to people who can't separate fantasy from reality and if you're using anime/JRPGs to inform your real life behavior, you've got bigger problems.

Also, men throughout history have never needed the influence of media or video games to objectify women...just testosterone and an instinctual reproductive drive.

It's established fact that media is extremely important in shaping society and it has major cultural influence over the people that consume it. Saying media has no impact on societies outlook on violence is absurd and is easily provable. However, that is not the same thing as saying violent media causes violence which has been proven in many studies not to be the case. The same thing can be said about representations of women. It may not cause actual crimes to take place but it does inform how women are perceived, not only in other forms of media but society at large. More to the point separating fantasy from reality is not the same thing as inheriting normalized behavior through cultural influences.

Boiling this all down to boys will be boys is missing the forest for the trees. To claim society has absolutely no impact on how we treat each other (especially without citing evidence) is just ignoring how we operate as people.

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#56 Posted by berfunkle (146 posts) -

If JRPGs objectify women, than first person shooters glorify violence, and we all know that's not true. Right?

I worry for the day when we'll see the equivalent of a comic code for video games when the only types of games allowed will be puzzle games and "realistic" dating sims.

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#57 Edited by John1912 (2503 posts) -

Lol OP sure is new to Japanese RPGs, and well, just the Japanese in general. Most everything they do is a bit sexist, and exploitative. You dont get known for your tentacle porn for nothing. If it offends you dont play it is all you can do. There are plenty of people who are not offended, and enjoy it! Even women! I personally just dont pay attention to it. Im not 10, so it doesnt do much for me.

You have to really go into gratuitous territory for me to be say well that really wasnt necessary. Also you can play & enjoy the game, and not take it out into the real world. Its fantasy.

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#58 Edited by Sweetz (1126 posts) -
@fatalbanana said:

Boiling this all down to boys will be boys is missing the forest for the trees. To claim society has absolutely no impact on how we treat each other (especially without citing evidence) is just ignoring how we operate as people.

How is that missing the forest of the trees? Do you believe that removing pandering titillation from video games is going to alter millennia of human behavior or fix problems that existed long before the advent of electronic media? Society certainly impacts how we treat each other, but media reflects society more than it shapes it. Society is shaped by people, not media.

I believe that a person's behavior towards others is overwhelmingly determined by genetics and their real life interactions with those other people during developmental periods of their life, not the media they consume. I have no proof to cite, just decades of people watching and self-reflection.

I mean, let me ask you this, do you believe that pandering titillation in media has meaningfully impacted your attitude towards women? If not, why do you believe you are better or different than the rest of us?

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#59 Edited by fatalbanana (1076 posts) -

@sweetz said:
@fatalbanana said:

Boiling this all down to boys will be boys is missing the forest for the trees. To claim society has absolutely no impact on how we treat each other (especially without citing evidence) is just ignoring how we operate as people.

How is that missing the forest of the trees? Do you believe that removing pandering titillation from video games is going to alter millennia of human behavior or fix problems that existed long before the advent of electronic media? Society certainly impacts how we treat each other, but media reflects society more than it shapes it. Society is shaped by people, not media.

I believe that a person's behavior towards others is overwhelmingly determined by genetics and their real life interactions with those other people during developmental periods of their life, not the media they consume. I have no proof to cite, just decades of people watching and self-reflection.

I mean, let me ask you this, do you believe that pandering titillation in media has meaningfully impacted your attitude towards women? If not, why do you believe you are better or different than the rest of us?

Yes, society is shaped by people, people make media, people consume media, media shapes society. If the media has no effect on society why do we have educational media? How would media educate if it doesn't affect the people watching it? If large groups of people have the ability to be educated from media wouldn't that affect society and medias role in it?

To answer your last question yes, media has impacted how I interact not only with women but specifically certain depictions of women. That isn't to say all behavior directly comes from media but it informs it. Of course, biology matters and is a humongous part of who we are and how we behave to say otherwise would be absurd. However, let me give you an example, for instance, we used to publically execute people. Large crowds would form in the middle of the town square to watch another person get killed and sometimes brutally tortured. It wasn't only acceptable it was willingly cheered on. Imagine that today... That tells you that somewhere along the line standards have changed. Humans aren't biologically wired to find real violence repulsive, we disassociate, so what informs us today that tells us we should find it (certain kinds of violence) repulsive other than what we see and what we consume and what we learn?

If media is able to inform us and it is our main source of consumption how can that not alter how we see and interact with every aspect of functional society? If people of color are constantly depicted as violent criminals, not only in the news but in fiction do you think society wouldn't follow? American history would beg to differ and is a clear example of my point. (just to clarify I'm not saying media is to blame for the US's racist history I'm saying it contributed) This isn't to say media is the end all be all but it's a large factor. So if women are constantly depicted as sexy what effect does that have on its audience? It is not out of the question to say maybe this isn't the right way to do things.

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#60 Posted by John1912 (2503 posts) -

@fatalbanana: "So if women are constantly depicted as sexy"

I know Im picking a off hand quote. But this is a issue for men as well. Men and woman have different roles in sexuality, which results in men being less depicted naked, or in tight clothing. Its just a fact of life that people want to look at beautiful people. You are trying to change a unconscious response. Its wired in. Can we do it less, or better? Of course, but there will always be a part of society that wants it. Its freedom of expression.

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#61 Edited by acharlie1377 (61 posts) -
@sweetz said:
Do you believe that removing pandering titillation from video games is going to alter millennia of human behavior or fix problems that existed long before the advent of electronic media?

First, I will say that electronic media isn't the only thing that reinforces stereotypes like this; books have existed for quite a bit longer. That said, my complaints aren't about changing these problems overnight, it's about lessening them over time. After playing Xenoblade Chronicles 2, did anyone leave the street and start asking themselves, "Why are all the women so modestly dressed? Where are all the waifus?" Probably not. But again, it normalizes the idea that women aren't at the same level as men, or that they somehow require a man's help to do anything substantial. Even though it's fiction, the characters and story are meant to reflect real-life themes, and when those themes reinforce centuries-old stereotypes and misinformation, it extends these problems further into the future.

I believe that a person's behavior towards others is overwhelmingly determined by genetics and their real life interactions with those other people during developmental periods of their life, not the media they consume. I have no proof to cite, just decades of people watching and self-reflection.

It's also irresponsible to think that media has no affect on a person's personality or behavior. Entertainment affects our tastes, our sense of humor, our inspirations, our knowledge of the world we know, and our assumptions about the world we don't know; if a person is the sum of their experiences, as you suggest, those experiences would have to include everything they've every read, heard, or seen, including television, movies, and video games. Acting as if the media we consume has no effect on our personality is akin to acting like the food we consume has no effect on our health.

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#62 Posted by Sweetz (1126 posts) -

@fatalbanana: You're right, I've gone too far to suggest that media can't influence society to some extent - that's not a tenable position. I guess I'm just not convinced in this specific case. Growing up watching episodes of Baywatch as a horny teenager didn't cause me to believe women couldn't be the intellectual equal of men as an adult - it didn't cause me to believe it even as a teenager. I don't know that sexual pandering implicitly leads to devaluing. It's also worth noting that not every piece of games media depicts women as sexy and the media in question here is especially fantastical with only the most tenuous connection to reality. Is there really not room for ANY pandering titillation in games?

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#63 Edited by fatalbanana (1076 posts) -

@john1912 said:

@fatalbanana: "So if women are constantly depicted as sexy"

I know Im picking a off hand quote. But this is a issue for men as well. Men and woman have different roles in sexuality, which results in men being less depicted naked, or in tight clothing. Its just a fact of life that people want to look at beautiful people. You are trying to change a unconscious response. Its wired in. Can we do it less, or better? Of course, but there will always be a part of society that wants it. Its freedom of expression.

Agreed, but that isn't really the point. Should everything be made from a sense of what we find sexy? Sure certain things feel good to look at but what is that telling us about the type of media we consume? I like porn as much as anyone else but I don't need everything to be porn or have aspects of porn in it. And if we agree that porn can color the thing we are watching or even how we interact outside of watching it I would say its ok if we had less of it.

I love hot sauce but I don't want it in my ice cream. By that same token If I'm only familiar with hot sauce in ice cream that would probably color my outlook on ice cream altogether and what its use is outside of simply consuming it because it's there and I seperatley like both things.

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#64 Edited by fatalbanana (1076 posts) -

@sweetz said:

@fatalbanana: You're right, I've gone too far to suggest that media can't influence society to some extent - that's not a tenable position. I guess I'm just not convinced in this specific case. Growing up watching episodes of Baywatch as a horny teenager didn't cause me to believe women couldn't be the intellectual equal of men as an adult - it didn't cause me to believe it even as a teenager. I don't know that sexual pandering implicitly leads to devaluing. It's also worth noting that not every piece of games media depicts women as sexy and the media in question here is especially fantastical with only the most tenuous connection to reality. Is there really not room for ANY pandering titillation in games?

I don't mean to say there is no room for it, I have no issue with porn games or H manga etc. I have no problem with women being pleasing to look at in some of there depictions. The question I want to ask is why is that the main go-to option for their depiction? Can we do better for all involved and not just cater to a mans want to be stimulated?

The point to me isn't simply from a man's perspective of sexual depictions of women being devaluing to them but how woman feel devalued by sexual depictions of themselves. If you asked me the scales are tipped way more in favor how men want to depict women rather than how women want to depict themselves. Why shouldn't we take both into account and at least try to even the playing field? How we get there is an open question and that's the conversation I want to have. If we are overcorrecting and getting rid of all pandering titillation I would have a problem with that but I don't think we are even close to that happening.

I want video games to cater to more groups then what is already being pandered to and if that means arguing about depictions in an anime RPG maybe that's an argument worth having is all I'm saying. That doesn't mean who's already being pandered to will stop but maybe games can be made for more than pandering.

I don't need or want to be pandered to. That's my personal opinion and I don't hold everyone to that standard but if being pandered to in that way is important to certain people their needs are well met elsewhere and the people that aren't being pandered to can enjoy a wider range of things and not feel sectioned out of certain areas that are made specifically for the pandered (if that makes sense). Okay, I'm done babbling you get my point.

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#65 Posted by acharlie1377 (61 posts) -

@fatalbanana: I don't even think the appearance of the women in these games is the biggest issue; sure, I might not like it, but people can like what they like, and people being sexual isn't inherently an issue. My bigger issue is with how the female characters are written, how they act, and how they are treated by the other characters. The fact that nearly every female Blade in XC2 has high skirts and low tops isn't inherently terrible, but when they also are devoid of personality, and are defined exclusively by their looks and feelings toward the main character, that becomes problematic. Octopath Traveler's female characters aren't high-def enough to really be called "sexualized," but that doesn't stop 3 of the 4 of them from being characterized primarily by their looks, and not by anything else. Primrose's story isn't considered problematic because of the way she looks, it's because of the way her story is written, and how her "traumatic story" leads to her being able to seduce anyone with no repercussions for the rest of the game.

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#66 Posted by fatalbanana (1076 posts) -

@acharlie1377: Totally, I was speaking more broadly and specifically about visual sexualization because it's an easier point to argue. I agree with you though, this is a larger topic than how women are visually depicted. It's a good point, we should be talking about how they are written too.

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#68 Edited by John1912 (2503 posts) -

@john1912 said:

@fatalbanana: "So if women are constantly depicted as sexy"

I know Im picking a off hand quote. But this is a issue for men as well. Men and woman have different roles in sexuality, which results in men being less depicted naked, or in tight clothing. Its just a fact of life that people want to look at beautiful people. You are trying to change a unconscious response. Its wired in. Can we do it less, or better? Of course, but there will always be a part of society that wants it. Its freedom of expression.

Agreed, but that isn't really the point. Should everything be made from a sense of what we find sexy? Sure certain things feel good to look at but what is that telling us about the type of media we consume? I like porn as much as anyone else but I don't need everything to be porn or have aspects of porn in it. And if we agree that porn can color the thing we are watching or even how we interact outside of watching it I would say its ok if we had less of it.

I love hot sauce but I don't want it in my ice cream. By that same token If I'm only familiar with hot sauce in ice cream that would probably color my outlook on ice cream altogether and what its use is outside of simply consuming it because it's there and I seperatley like both things.

Well, you are taking the extreme proposition in that what you consider wrong is what is right for everyone. You also are fixated on how men and women are presented in media. As I said men and women have different roles, or mostly polar roles in sexuality, and how we appeal to one another.

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#69 Edited by Seeric (329 posts) -

It's about par for the course for more mainstream JRPG's, though Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is an especially egregious example. I'd say it generally started happening around the PS2 era, partially because RPG's started leaning more towards "generic anime" settings over "generic European medieval fantasy" settings and partially because they started being marketed more towards teenagers/adults instead of younger children. This isn't to say that sexism in RPG's was virtually unheard of, RPG's are flooded with "fragile, nurturing healer" stereotypes and exceedingly few of them are male, but it started becoming more blatant around then.

I've watched enough anime and played enough video games (and Western games are easily just as guilty as Japanese games) to build up a fair bit of tolerance for this sort of stuff as long as the rest of the product is good, but there's definitely nothing wrong with pointing out problematic parts of things you like or an issue which is so prevalent that it saps some/most/all of the joy away from other elements.

All that being said, there are still plenty of JRPG's, which have significantly less creepy pandering than Xenoblade Chronicles 2, they just tend to be more niche. Falcom games tend to be at least 'okay overall' with their female characters. Dragon Quest was also already mentioned and anything else on the more whimsical side of the spectrum is likely going to be pretty low on characters dressed in chainmail bikinis and the like. As for Octopath, I haven't gotten around to playing it myself, but my understanding of it is that people were working themselves up over the early parts of Primrose's chapter and the path they were worried it would go down rather than the way it actually ended up playing out. Depending on if you're using JRPG to mean "strictly an RPG made in Japan" or "has some sort of turn-based combat system", there are also plenty of great indie RPG's which don't fetishize their female cast, such as Jimmy and the Pulsating Mass, Cosmic Star Heroine, Star Stealing Prince, and (it's even from Japan) Demon King Chronicle to name a few.

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#70 Edited by Yesiamaduck (2477 posts) -

I have a high tolerance for this stuff in JRPGs but the moment I triggered the friendship moment which basically has Pyra being told that in order to get a man she needs to act like a maid (not delivered with any malice, all innocent and cutely written) and then proceeds to act ditzy and subservient and got congratulated for doing so I completely lost interest.

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#72 Edited by Sweep (10523 posts) -

EDIT: I initially wrote this on my phone and then moved over to my laptop so I could re-phrase some of it.

One of the things that has always bugged me about this discussion is the argument that this is simply a cultural difference, and that "Japanese culture" is synonymous with "heavily objectified female characters" - as though the whole of Japan was unified in support of busty anime-girls in bikini armour. This is an illusion that western men propagate to justify their own fantasies; The truth is that many Japanese people are just as upset and alienated by this portrayal of women in Japanese media. There's plenty of reasons why Japanese companies continue to design characters this way; for example lax government regulation of pornographic content, or that (this is an actual trait of Japanese culture) many Japanese people are typically less outspoken, and often deeply embarrassed about discussing anything remotely sexual or private. There's also truth to the notion that it's been going on so long that people have come to terms with it, even though they know it's problematic.

If you thought Japanese families would hang out on a sunday and watch Darling In The Franxx with grandma, sorry to break it to you but people who obsess over scantily clad anime girls in Japan are not exempt from social criticism - it is more broadly accepted sure, but mostly among the target demographic of horny young men (and young women who are swept up by association). It's fair to say it's tolerated elsewhere, but there's still plenty of unimpressed Japanese people rolling their eyes.

It's fine if you enjoy the way women are frequently portrayed in Japanese media, but to pretend it's not problematic because "Japanese people are cool with it" is ridiculous. Own your shit.

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#73 Posted by BongChilla (353 posts) -

While I agree that some of these games portray woman poorly, there is a drastic difference in the way media is handed in the west and the east. I can easily imagine a forum thread in Japan saying how the Fallout games which are insanely popular in the west are frowned upon in Japan for obvious reasons. We don't relish the idea of nuclear winter but we have zero issues with playing games that bask in that. I can imagine that people in Japan don't really view woman in the same ways that these game portray woman, its an art style and it goes no further than that.

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#74 Edited by jamjyo (103 posts) -

Man, people are delusional if they really think what OP is saying is somehow "enforcing western culture down Japan's throat".

Most Japanese people don’t consider these games to be “their culture”, and they will nod at OP's criticisms, while shrugging at y'all's "defenses". Yes, there are many horny animes and games in Japan, but they are criticized in Japan all the time, and otakus who can’t seem to live without them are shunned from society all the same.

There was a famous interaction between a Japanese novelist and the director of Your Name, which is quite hilarious. (the novelist basically called the director a horny virgin). This is one of many examples of how huge the discrepancy between otakus and non-otakus are in Japan, and compared to most JRPGs, the movie wasn't even that fan service-y (it still is tho).

Also, even Japanese otakus/creators are starting to voice concerns on how much their products are relying on fan services rather than actual creativity. There’s a reason why so many established & genre-defining creators are trying to stay away from such things as much as possible (Nintendo, Ghibli, FROM, etc...).

Basically, weebs != Japanese people/culture

Edit: @sweep already made the same exact points just two posts above. Haha, sorry.

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#75 Posted by ToTheNines (1671 posts) -

@sweep:

What’s way more worrying to me is people like you pretending to be an arbiter of the overall moral consensus. People don’t need to own “their” shit just because people like you say so. It’s so arrogant that it baffles me.

Is some of this shit gross? Probably. But I don’t think a lot of it is pretending otherwise. It’s up to the consumer to vote yes or no when it comes to this. If you don’t like it, don’t support it.

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#76 Edited by jamjyo (103 posts) -

@tothenines said:

@sweep:

What’s way more worrying to me is people like you pretending to be an arbiter of the overall moral consensus.

I mean... The person literally said it's fine if you enjoy these games? What's "worrying" you so much?

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#77 Edited by IBMer (45 posts) -

Man, this is an annoying thread. So many bad takes from people who don't live in Japan, to the point I signed up just to call some of this crap out.

Men are sexualised/idolised as well. Why does everybody think it's OK to complain about Lara Croft being heavily "idolised" yet nobody says shit about Nathan Drake or Handsome Ripped Male Protagonist #231? Metal Gear Raiden's Skin Tight Ass.

It's OK to dislike the style and cleavage, as a male I personally don't care for it but I have seen a fucking lot of women/girls here very into it and I have never seen a country with more visible female gamers or nerds. Stop judging this country from your western lens. There is an over abundance of females here that love getting into some of the most ludicrous T&A showing cosplay imaginable.

Actually, it's awesome, I can go to a game centre and see guys and girls playing competitive Tekken or Gundam at 3am. Guys still outweigh girls but I appreciate the diversity here (well, not racial diversity... country is 98.5% Japanese).

This is not to say sexism is not a problem, domestic violence is higher than the average here but not too different to the US or UK and overall it's safer for women with less rape and violence.

One thing I have seen repeatedly is that women who cheat, are viewed as much worse than men who cheat, and this reminds me of the 'Becky' situation specifically. When men cheat, it's often laughed off, when women cheat, it's considered more shameful, exceptions exist.

But yeah, anime? Anime is not the place to start bringing up views on women in Japan. Stop using anime as a means for cultural critique because there are many strong female characters that shit over males and it is problematic to ignore actual problems in reallifein favour of getting annoyed over a character having "too much" cleavage.

The author of that post is not Japanese and the main point is about porno mags being on display at a waist-height shelf in convenience stores. Schoolgirls are sexualised heavily in porn, though actual schoolgirls are not forced to wear such short skirts and many choose to do so. There is a wide variation in skirt length.

As observed on many numerous occasions, men and women feel awkwardly incapable of participating in joint activities.

This is largely tied to adolescence and they grow out of it. With that being said, I see many, many junior high school (or younger/older) boys and girls mixing in activities together. Don't know what the author is bringing this up for as it's not fact.

One of the major convenience store chains announced a few months ago its intention to cover with plastic the adult-related publications in its magazine sections. The goal is to render sexually explicit magazines less visible, and thus protect children but also all customers who would prefer not be exposed to such materials while shopping for daily groceries.

Which is 100% fair, however, this did not catch on and Family Mart, Lawson and 7-11 (the biggest stores) still have them on display.

@sweep said:

many Japanese people are typically less outspoken, and often deeply embarrassed about discussing anything remotely sexual or private.

Japan is chock-full of red light districts and full of services for people to get their rocks off and if you are to look up Japanese Man Yuta's YouTube channel, you'll find no shortage of Japanese people who speak very candidly about all sorts of embarrassing matters. e.g. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tVL6g0sGSZA

@sweep said:

It's fine if you enjoy the way women are frequently portrayed in Japanese media, but to pretend it's not problematic because "Japanese people are cool with it" is ridiculous. Own your shit.

Japanese media is very varied with plenty of strong female leads. Don't know what you're getting at unless your metric is limited to pervy games being released on Steam.

I haven't seen a single relevant critique of Japanese culture in this thread, just a load of people insinuating that anime tits mean the entire country thinks of women as nothing more than, tits.

And while we're bring up issues of 'progressiveness': Japan has far more trans, crossdressers and other 'genderbenders' on national TV than the west ever has.

I'm not looking for a debate or another forum membership so I'm logging out now. Someone just needed to chime in who does live here because yes Japan has sexism but it's a more inclusive place (for genders at least...that's another issue entirely) than people in the west often give it credit for.

peace.

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#78 Posted by ToTheNines (1671 posts) -
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#80 Posted by Sweep (10523 posts) -

@sweep:

What’s way more worrying to me is people like you pretending to be an arbiter of the overall moral consensus. People don’t need to own “their” shit just because people like you say so. It’s so arrogant that it baffles me.

Is some of this shit gross? Probably. But I don’t think a lot of it is pretending otherwise. It’s up to the consumer to vote yes or no when it comes to this. If you don’t like it, don’t support it.

I don't think me pointing out that there's alternate perspectives is indicative of me being "an arbiter for the overall moral consensus". That seems dramatic. I don't think I'm the first person to say "if you like something which has issues then be aware of them rather than deny they exist" is revolutionary or arrogant, either.

It sounds like the problem here is that it's me saying it. If you have a personal issue with me and you want to talk about that then you're welcome to send me a PM. Otherwise tone down the aggression, please.

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#81 Posted by ToTheNines (1671 posts) -

@sweep said:
@tothenines said:

@sweep:

What’s way more worrying to me is people like you pretending to be an arbiter of the overall moral consensus. People don’t need to own “their” shit just because people like you say so. It’s so arrogant that it baffles me.

Is some of this shit gross? Probably. But I don’t think a lot of it is pretending otherwise. It’s up to the consumer to vote yes or no when it comes to this. If you don’t like it, don’t support it.

I don't think me pointing out that there's alternate perspectives is indicative of me being "an arbiter for the overall moral consensus". That seems dramatic. I don't think I'm the first person to say "if you like something which has issues then be aware of them rather than deny they exist" is revolutionary or arrogant, either.

It sounds like the problem here is that it's me saying it. If you have a personal issue with me and you want to talk about that then you're welcome to send me a PM. Otherwise tone down the aggression, please.

Okay, maybe I did come at what you were saying a bit too aggressive and dramatic. For that I apologize, honestly.

I'm just not entirely certain that these issues are as inherently problematic as "we" deem them to be. If we take the western market as a future example, I think these games and their problems will become more and more niche as a result rather than being the norm. Because people with views similar to your own, well they grow up to make video games catering to people with similar views and so on. Will there always be people who like scantily clad females in their grand adventure rpgs? yeah most likely. Is that problematic? I personally don't think so, IF it's a niche thing or if there exist other alternatives.

As to owning up enjoying these games/media and labeling yourself a pervert (if thats at all what you were saying), I don't think that is necessary. If these games don't stray too far outside the social norms or more importantly the law. So obviously people are allowed to disagree with you when it comes to what is acceptable or not.

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#82 Posted by acharlie1377 (61 posts) -

@ibmer: I think the larger issue isn't the way these women look,but how they act. Obviously, what people find attractive and in good taste varies from country to country and even from house to house, and I don't want to say "this is how women should look like, this is how they should dress, and nothing else is alllwed!" That said, when games written and developed predominantly by men consistently portray women as dependent on men, or defined exclusively by their looks, that goes from "difference in tastes" to "offensive misrepresentation." I don't want to say that this is part of Japanese culture, or that Japanese culture is sexist in some way, because I don't think that's the case; I'm specifically calling out the developers of these games for portraying women as needing to be submissive in some way to be desirable.

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#83 Posted by suntoria (67 posts) -

@ibmer: Hang on a second. How in the world can you try to compare Nathan Drake to Lara Croft?

You don't hear people complain about Nathan Drake because he has never been sexualized the way Lara has. Those 90s Tomb Raider ads were quite something...

Also try to remember when male characters are 'ripped', its often because of the MALE power fantasy. Not for the female gaze.

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#84 Posted by IBMer (45 posts) -

@suntoria: Well, not everybody is a dashingly handsome perfectly proportioned guy like most male protagonists. Yet it's always female characters being lambasted for not being "realistic" or representative of the average woman.

"male gaze" or not, men make up for a much bigger part of the gaming sphere and demographics are gonna be catered to whether we like it or not. That's just business.

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#85 Posted by lyisa (486 posts) -

A lot of the ways JRPGs are sexist are the same ways that Western video games are sexist. Like, it is strange to point out that the designs for blades in XBC2 are revealing or provocative, but a lot of the time this is missing more problematic elements of video game design that are damaging to women. I think it is totally okay to avoid playing games that make you feel uncomfortable, but treating the problem itself being sexuality is missing the point. The problem is when depictions of women reinforce harmful stereotypes, expectations, or otherwise disempower women. For instance, XBC2 actually does do this, not through the way women look, but by deriding the more dominant personality in Pyra/Mythra. It creates a sense that having a dominant, confident personality such as that Mythra had is a bad thing.

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#86 Posted by Sweep (10523 posts) -

As to owning up enjoying these games/media and labeling yourself a pervert (if thats at all what you were saying), I don't think that is necessary. If these games don't stray too far outside the social norms or more importantly the law. So obviously people are allowed to disagree with you when it comes to what is acceptable or not.

Naw, we just got our wires crossed :)

I never meant to imply that enjoying this content makes you a bad person; I played Xenoblade Chronicles 2 and I really enjoyed it! But I definitely think some of the female characters are needlessly sexualised and/or objectified. I appreciate that my opinions aren't always going to line up with how other people feel, and I'm sure there are women out there who feel empowered by these characters and who would strongly disagree. Regardless of whether we agree or not though, it's an important discussion to have and be aware of, because (without wanting to be too dramatic myself) the way people are represented can be insidious if we're not sensitive to it.

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#87 Edited by IBMer (45 posts) -

@acharlie1377: No problem, I don't really agree that any of it is a "problem" but I see the lame tropes, honestly most JRPGs are dumb like that in general to me. The better JRPGs in this world have some very good female characters (Persona!!) and the lesser ones rely a lot on the saving the process trope, it's tired but I don't think we need to eradicate it.

I would also hazard to guess a lot of this comes from the ...fact that women are (_biologically_) weaker than men and there's an innate desire for many to protect women which may contribute to these characters that need saving being created. But that's just me going quasi philosophical, although I do think that has some truth to it.

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#88 Edited by Efesell (4065 posts) -

Persona is getting an awful lot of big ups in this from this thread and it's like... yes they make an effort to ALSO make them good characters but they very much are trying to have it both ways at all times.

Whole lot of strong characters that will also quite often find themselves in ridiculous combat bikinis protesting all the while but still bein' there.

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#89 Posted by Epidehl (667 posts) -

@lyisa: The amount of anime that I've seen that have a woman with some kind of intense/"dominant" personality and refer it as a "bad personality", or have a comment along the lines of "She's attractive, if it wasn't for that personality", is staggering. It's bad every time.

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#90 Edited by IBMer (45 posts) -

@efesell: So what if they are wearing a bikini, some of the most horny anime and manga fans and/or doujin writers in Japan are women, pretending those people don't exist doesn't seem good to me. It's not nice when you aren't part of a core demographic and feel left wanting, but you don't have to engage with it.

I also don't remember being forced to use combat bikinis in any Persona game, the only thing I can think of is Panther's cat suit.

Some people just like seeing characters they like dressed in sexy outfits for a change. It's not for me, but never crossed my mind as 'gross', it's just pandering and making the most out of popular characters.

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#91 Edited by Efesell (4065 posts) -

@ibmer: It's true the bikinis are all optional costumes putting it more on the player but in a degree of infinite wisdom they often include little snippets of dialogue showing the characters being visibly uncomfortable with the idea. I seem to recall Panther hating the suit as well, for that matter.

Just a bit of... yeah we can see how this is not great. I mean we're doing it anyway but we understand.

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#92 Edited by IBMer (45 posts) -

@efesell: I'm sure a lot of us know women that wear clothing they complain about for being uncomfortable, e.g. heels and skirts on night outs, although can't remember if Ann found the suit uncomfortable because of the fit or just what she looks like in it...

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#93 Posted by Efesell (4065 posts) -

@ibmer: I suspect the nature of the complaints in these specific circumstances are abundantly clear..

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#94 Posted by indure (104 posts) -

@the_nubster said:

@justin258: I'll come forward and say I've only played the demo of Octopath Traveler, but having a character who is restrained, humiliated, and held back because of her gender (being used as a prostitute, abused sexually and physically because she presumably couldn't find another profession to let her get where she needed to be in life), and then having her special interaction with the world be """""charming""""" people is incredibly fucked up. Forcing her to use the thing that's holding her life back to advance in the world is something that crosses a lot of lines that I am not at all comfortable with, coming from a game which doesn't at all acknowledge the lines that it's attempting to cross. I don't really care if it gets better later, but presenting Primrose in that light from the get-go is so ignorant and gross that it immediately killed any interest I had in the game.

This sounds like a common trope seen countless times in Western stories, and one that I actually think makes for compelling characters. The character you describe here is identical to Maeve from Westworld.

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#95 Edited by Seeric (329 posts) -

There's also a world of difference between a character "wearing a sexy outfit" and a character being deliberately framed in an objectifying way. When a character is clearly embarrassed by or otherwise extremely uncomfortable with what they're wearing, when the character constantly just happens to find themselves in situations where they need some sort of romantic advice from a bland teenage male protagonist, and especially when the camera frequently pans and zooms over various parts of a character's body, that's not just a character "being sexy", it's a company making the deliberate decision to make that character into an "object of desire" for their primary target audience.

To be clear, if someone wants to be turned on by video game characters that's fine and I don't think many people have a problem with that in and of itself, go ahead and do your thing. However, I do think it's incredibly disingenuous when people act like they can't understand why the content that they find arousing might make other players uncomfortable or when people pretend objectification simply doesn't exist when it's very easy to see it happening in a whole bunch of games if you simply pay attention to how the camera moves when focusing on some characters compared to others (the camera's not exactly taking every opportunity it can to zoom in on Nathan Drake's crotch and/or butt). I also think it's a bit silly to throw your hands up in the air and go "well it's marketed to teenage boys and sex sells so that's that, better stop playing this genre or games altogether" when there are plenty of examples out there of games where objectification isn't present or is, relatively speaking, extremely minor.

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#96 Edited by fatalbanana (1076 posts) -

@john1912:

"Well, you are taking the extreme proposition in that what you consider wrong is what is right for everyone."

I'm not talking about what is wrong and right at all.

"You also are fixated on how men and women are presented in media"

Yeah, this is what this discussion is.

"As I said men and women have different roles, or mostly polar roles in sexuality, and how we appeal to one another."

Agreed, my point is men are catered to more than women in video games. Men's want to be sexually stimulated is well met elsewhere, do we need it all over video games?

More spaces where more groups of people can play a wider range of things without feeling alienated by the kind of stimulation men like sounds like a good thing for video games to me.

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#97 Posted by FrodoBaggins (1842 posts) -

For me it all comes down to the type of game I'm playing and the tone. Like, no I don't want Ellie in TLoU2 prancing round in a bikini, tits bouncing all over the place. But in a game like XBC2? hell yeah, give me those boobs. We still have a long way to go as an industry and society with stuff like this but I do enjoy some scantily clad women from time to time.

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#98 Posted by Welding (324 posts) -

Yeah. It's messed up.

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#99 Posted by berfunkle (146 posts) -

I don't want it jiggling in my face. I like an understated sexiness in my video games. You know, like whats-her-name from Horizon: Zero Dawn.

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#100 Edited by BisonHero (11532 posts) -

@frodobaggins: Whatever your position is, I don't think you explained it very well. Blatant fan service would obviously be extremely out of place in The Last of Us, because the game is somber in its themes and because Ellie is very much underage. But what about Xenoblade Chronicles 2 makes it more appropriate to have fan service? If you're ok with fan service in JRPGs because JRPGs have fan service, I think that misses the point of the discussion people are trying to have here.

Edit: misread TLoU2 as TLoU, I guess Ellie is probably an adult in the newer game, oh well, doesn't significantly change my point