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Anti-Feminism in VNs

Clephas

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I'm an obsessive VN player, and I doubt there are many here who could match my experience. However, there is one issue I've more or less deliberately closed my eyes to when it comes to VNs... and that is the sheer amount of anti-feminist propaganda inserted into untranslated Japanese VNs in general. There are a number of major, really obvious examples of this, and I'll go ahead and describe them for you.

1. The 'female teacher who never gets married because she acts too much like a guy' archetype. This isn't even a heroine archetype. It is just a side-character archetype... but literally the most common non-heroine, non-protagonist one in existence other than the 'idiot friend' one. How is this anti-feminist? First, it assumes women with certain qualities - hard-working, focused on their jobs - aren't attractive. Second - and more insidious - it assumes that all such women should want to get married, so it is something of a double-whammy.

2. The 'strong-willed heroine who becomes completely submissive the second she and the protagonist become lovers' archetype. This is perhaps the most insidious of the heroine archetypes when it comes to this issue. This is more or less a manifestation of the hidden widely-held Japanese male belief that even the strongest woman secretly wants to be dominated by a man. Yes, there are plenty of otherwise strong-willed women that use mild SM as stress relief, but the same can be said for men...

3. Otome games. Yes, I know some would protest this, but it is really obvious, when you play them. First, almost all otome game protagonists are easily-dominated wilting lilies or women who become so the second they meet a strong, handsome man. Second, even those that aren't spend a ridiculous amount of time being 'rescued' by men (Damsel-in-Distress Syndrome). Third... exactly how many otome games do you see that appeal to women who prefer to be dominant, in general?

There are any number of such themes, archetypes, and concepts that demonstrate this little reality, but it is something you should probably keep in mind when you think you are going a bit over the edge playing moege, thinking real women might be like those on the screen. Remember that while some women really do fill the archetypes, they are exceptions, not the rule. At the same time, assuming that they should fulfill those roles/archetypes is one habit we probably shouldn't import from Japanese otakus, despite our taste in games, lol.



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Would you say there is actual anti-feminism propaganda in these games or are they cases of inadvertently using sexiss tropes? I don't know how much these discussions occur in Japan, see, so it'd be quite soemthing to learn these games actively try to suppress strong female characters for one reason or another.

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It is more of an indication of the fan-trends when it comes to male-oriented VNs.  Fanservice is a tradition in the moe-industry, after all.  However, with otomege, at least some of it is deliberate.

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The entire concept of moe is sexist.  It's pretty self-evident.  VNs largely cater to male sexual fantasies.  And ironically, the ones catering to female fantasies are just as bad about it.  As long as gender stereotypes exist, sexism is inescapable.  Yet a world without gender roles is probably a world desired by very few, as it would deconstruct the mating ritual we call "dating".

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lol... I'm more bothered by otomege than by the male-oriented games... we male otakus tend to have twisted fantasies about women and gender roles, after all.  Otomege... are disproportionately anti-feminist, if you consider that most people are balanced between S and M and most otomege assume the protagonists are M, as opposed to most male protags in male-oriented VNs being S.  Every once in a while, you come across a well-balanced or aggressive female protagonist - like in Sanzen Sekai Yuugi - but those are pretty rare.

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The entire concept of moe is sexist.  It's pretty self-evident.

 

I wonder about that. It's not a gender-specific term, although the usage is more commonly related to girls. But, heck, it can be applied to animals. Korean has a loosely related concept, "aegyo", which is an act of cuteness and that can be performed by either male of female people.

 

It's not inherently sexist, unless you are willing to say that the desire to protect, cherish and nurture something or someone is sexist.

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Meh, the whole sexist/feminist thing irks me to begin with. Especially when it comes to games. Recently, this huge incident I'm sure you've all heard of happened in the Western Video game world, that started questioning if games are sexist, and how feminists were being "abused" for standing up for their rights or something.

 

Anyway, my point is: Games, like any form of entertainment, are designed to satisfy the fantasies of their target audience. Especially Visual Novels. Thus, I don't see why or how portraying women the way most men fancy them as being wrong. Visual Novels are nothing more than a fantasy, and if you think real people should fit your fantasies, then you have some big issues...

 

Men are portrayed pretty unrealistically in many romantic novels targeted at women. But I see that as only natural, I mean that's why people go to imaginary world, right? To see a world that can satisfy whatever desire they have. Calling them out on that because they're "sexist" sounds pretty ridiculous to me.

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If you think about it, games like this and mostly, games are dominantly played by men, so their target market supposedly was guys. It would really be hard to create a game without taking sides or exaggerating something, otherwise it would be boring. Actually, you have a big point and this is also serious (if you play seriously) but I don't see this being that bad and having an effect irl, as even the male and female ones are drastically unrealistic. (Insanely biig oppai, some H-scenes has the man go 10+x without going flaccid.)

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