Sunday, August 11, 2013

Crescent's Thoughts On: Anita Sarkeesian Part 3 OR How I Learn To Stop Whining And Love The Satire.

I can't tell which which one is whining more.
Okay, so last week Anita Sarkeesian has released her 3rd and FINAL video about the Damsel in Distress in her "Tropes Vs Women In Video Games" in which she contradicts herself several times, whines about simple low budget games have simple low budget plots, displayed her double standard when it comes to gender representations, throw Princess Peach under the bus once again, claim that when game hackers (most of which are male by the way) gender swap the characters it's progressive but when game developers do it it's just an excuse to use the trope, miss the point of satire and parody so completely that I wonder whether or not she was even aiming at the correct planet, and finally pitches her own idea of a game which in all honesty is as hackney, cliche ridden, and surprisingly sexist as all the games she criticizes. I was going to do the same thing I did last time she posted a video, but since several people have already done their own point by point dissection of her video (This one by Triox45 is my favorite and most accurate to what I find wrong with her: So instead I'm going to try something different. Since Anita mentioned Satire in her video not circumventing tropes, or showing that such tropes are stupid, I'm going to write a parody "analysis" using all of Anita's points and arguments to PROVE, not just show but PROVE, that Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 4 is the biggest sexist game ever published. Let's begin.

The Patriarchy latest product to oppress women.
We all know that the Damsel in Distress trope is used by video game companies as an easy motivation for their male protagonists. It's troubling because as a Damsel these women are rendered as objects by the men who are suppose to rescue them, robbing them of any chance at being heroes in their own game by saving themselves. While the Mario games have all been incredibly sexist by having Peach be rescued, how horrible would it be if after rescuing Peach, Mario goes on to rescue 4 other Princesses? That is the case with Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 4, one long Damsel in Distress adolescent male power fantasy where you play a male named Yu Narukami as you rescue 5 different kidnapped girls. In the game, you play as Yu who arrives in the town of Inaba and are tasked with rescuing girls who have been kidnapped and are trapped in a strange world inside of a television. That's right this supposedly "Mature game" has a world inside a TV. It gets worse, because when you are inside the TV, you have to deal with the girl's out-of-control emotions that you have to beat up in order get them under control. So in addition to the disenpowerment of women the Damsel in Distress trope promotes, Persona 4 also adds an addition double dose of misogyny by not only having a PMS joke, but also to justify domestic abuse.

They even depict these women as monsters. How much more sexist can you get?
To make matters worse, these women always thank the person who did violence against them, and now follow the protagonist unquestioningly. This is reflected in the game by having the ability to directly control each women in battle. This is troubling because it helps normalize the notion that the best women are most desirable when they are absolutely obedient to their man, and also paints women as stupid because thanks to the honestly lacking AI when they are not controlled. Also, after rescuing each women, the male protagonist can start a romantic relationship with each of the characters. This entire game is just one big adolescent male power fantasy that promotes the disempowerment and subjugation of women, but also polygamy, allowing the player to create their own Harem of girls. The developers even named the male protagonist Yu, meaning that You the player are doing these things to the women in the game.

This doesn't promote any negative stereotype about men.
 Now occasionally the game will throw something different to "spice up" their misogyny by having you rescue the occasional Dude in Distress, but that does nothing to circumvent the trope. There is no long standing stereotype about men being capture and rendered helpless and so there is nothing sexist about a Dude in Distress. The Developer probably just threw that in there in an attempt at being considered "forgiven" for their constant reliance on the trope. Now, you might be sitting there thinking that this was just a "One Time Thing" that they can't possibly recycle this sexist trope again, right? Well, you'd be wrong. In 2012, Atlus released the sequel to their patriarchy masterpiece, Persona 4 Arena.

Just when it couldn't get any more sexist.
Unlike it's predecessor, Persona 4 Arena is a fighting game where men and women beat each other up, and while there is nothing wrong with that it's the lazy story that is most sexist. In every single character's story mode they are trying to rescue a new Damsel in Distress named Labrys, and, in most of the story modes, you rescue her by beating her up. That's right you have to "Fight Her" to "Save Her," and she's not the only one. In the story mode whenever you run into another female character to have to fight her to make her "come to her sense." This example of normalizing domestic abuse is really troubling in light of the real world epidemic of victimized women. Twice every one second a woman somewhere is hit by a car, and it is irresponsible for game designers to be portraying this kind of violence against women. This also further limits men's ability to coop with situations. When the only meaningful means of interaction in a fighting game is fighting you are limiting a man's ability to resolve things without fighting. If only these games gave you the ability to talk to one another and form some sort of social link, then it would be not only healthy for the individual but also for the industry. Now I'm not saying these games are sexist, but I am saying that contain a lot of things that are very VERY sexist, and I want that to change. In the next part of this series, I will look at Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey and claim that because Zelenin doesn't have another female character to talk to, that she is inherently a poorly written flat character, and say that Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor's female characters are poor female role models because they have huge knockers.

Until Next Time.

-Crescent, sitting behind a stack of games does not make you a gamer.

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