September 7, 2012

Being a female in a JRPG isn’t so bad?

Posted in video games tagged , at 2:19 pm by riulyn

I just read an article about everyday sexual harassment so this came to mind. As much flack as JRPGs get for making creating a lot of female characters with little/no personality and ridiculous proportions to make them look sexually appealing to heterosexual males, the treatment that these characters get isn’t actually too bad most of the time compared to girls in real life. Of course, when I’m talking about JRPGs I’m talking about the standard types where the adventure ends up saving the world. Not those visual novels like School Days…

Anyway typical JRPG girls are:

1. Sheltered princess, usually lacking in real-world experiences. May be used in hostage situations, in which she may be shackled but otherwise kept rather comfortably. People are almost always on her side.

2. Priestess or healing maiden. Usually not a great physical attacker, but respected/necessary for healing abilities and knowledge. Sometimes a target for kidnapping but usually also not treated harshly.

3. Tomboy who tends to have a fiery temper, will also tend to be he person to cheer the party up when things get tough. May get some verbal criticism that may border on harassment, but usually not.

4. Mysterious girl. Many times she wears ridiculous clothes, which may be noted [and emphasized by camera angles] but otherwise not used as a means to actually harass someone.

5. Others I’m too lazy to type up.

See a theme here? Unlike real life, girls in JRPGs really only have to fear great danger from monsters, diseases, war, and kidnapping by people who need money/power. In comparison to real life, there is a much lower rate of sexual harassment, abuse, and rape. Girls don’t have to fear walking down the street alone. The appropriate person (usually a male) who does more than just say “that girl is smoking hot” is usually branded as an awful person, not the girl.

In addition, look at all these girls who have opinions that are respected! You happen to be the best sword-wielder in the game? Men are like “I want to be as awesome as she is!” and not like “she must be secretly a man because only men can be strong”. You happen to be the smartest person in the area? You happen to be good enough to save the world? Let’s all help you, not try to say you can’t do this and that because you are a girl. Yes, there is still the whole “guys tend to be seen as protectors” mentality but if a girl can kick ass, no one sees that as a bad thing.

As much as JRPG creators may be misogynists, they sure treat the ladies in game a lot nicer than in real life.


1 Comment »

  1. Robert said,

    ha! i never really thought about it like that. I think that I’ve seen more than a few anime and JRPG characters that are absurdly proportioned or seem to pander to their core audience that turn out to be respectable characters within the game world. A lot of time the entire world ignores the clothes. I kinda think that the Japanese don’t see the sexualization of women (or men, i guess) to be disrespectful all the time. Then again, i don’t think I have the proper knowledge to venture a guess beyond that.

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