September 8th, 2011

Objects of Public Consumption

I was over at “The Mary Sue” reading about the new Liara statue that Bioware has deemed proper for healing gender relations *COUGH*. A comment by KirbyBits caught my attention as to why it was improper to put up FemShep to a vote. Then it clicked, the reason why I hate Final Fantasy X-2, Ar Tonelico and a few other games.

The fact that these bodies don’t belong to the characters, the fact that they are up to be objects of public consumption, or the consumption of the male character/s in the game and the presumed male gamer. Again women’s bodies are simply there for men to dress and undress to their desires.

FF X-2 is all about playing dress up with the three women, and the fact that the content of the game I’ve heard has been deemed “not that serious” in tone more or less proves that it’s just a fanservice game for men to live out their desires of dressing and undressing the women of the game.

Same goes with Ar Tonelico, the CORE of that game is putting the women in costumes that they even state IN GAME they are uncomfortable with and are being harassed about. Yet the man in game which is an extension of the male gamer presumably controlling the character.
Those character’s bodies are not their own, they are up to be consumed by the men. Even the concept of the Reyvateil is to be consumed by the men “Sing for me! Wear this! Let me get into your mind!” The simple fact that some ask nicely and some don’t is irrelevant. The creators have decided it’s a necessity for the women just to simply LIVE. Their bodies HAVE to be consumed in some way.

Now many are going to point out all the other “dress up games” on the market. However those games are targeted at girls/women and the women in them are not presented as “goods”. The characters themselves are either an extension of the female player or a character that has come to the character for advice/tips on what to wear. The difference is that in FFX-2 and Ar Tonelico, the characters don’t get a choice, they aren’t an extension of the female player in a setting that calls for dressing up, nor do they get a choice on what to wear.
As the PC/Player the character IS YOU and you choose what YOU are wearing. In a fashion game for girls, it’s not about dressing up to please a main male character or the male player. The other women that ask for fashion tips or come to the fashion store are not displaying themselves for any man, they do it for themselves.
The other games are set up to please a man in some way. With FF X-2 there is no “main” female character since they all are in the party and the player can do what they want with the women to gain some form of combat advantage.
This is also where Ar Tonelico III fails horribly. Not only are the women’s bodies not considered their own (as well as their spirit/soul, you can change their personality too) you get to UNDRESS them against their will. Most will say consent has been given, however considering they have no real CHOICE in the matter they MUST consent, which is not valid consent. For you see, they get undressed to get an attack/magic boost and if you don’t undress them you don’t get that boost and thus storywise they can be seen as “selfish” and not wanting to help the party. Out of game you probably lose a HUGE bonus to the damage and it’d be like not using songs in the first game. (I also have a feeling that one of the Reyvateils DOESN’T want to get stripped and there’s a whole story arc to convince her to take her clothes off in some way “FOR THE GREATER GOOD OF AR CIEL!” or some bullshit like that.)