Wanna know something funny about modern third-wave feminism – it is SO fucking sexist. Not just against men, although there is that. But it is also sexist against women too. In the extreme! Modern feminism is the most demeaning belief system I have ever seen, because it basically says, “hey ladies! You are so oppressed in every way! You have no agency in your lives, sexually or otherwise! All you are is just a tool of men!” You go to a high-powered career woman and tell her that, I figure that she’s going to give you at the very least a very ugly look. I know a gal who, if you called her a tool of anyone, she’s going to punch you in the face. That woman has a mean right-hook. I would know. I’ve been on the receiving end more than once. Anyway, modern feminism demeans women.
So when I see them making an article talking about the new Final Fantasy VII remake, I am inclined to think that I am about to listen to a long and rambling list from them all about why women are lesser in comparison to men. This article is from The Mary Sue, a lovely and totally biased and echo chamber publication that I know never reads any feedback that isn’t from the echo chamber. So here’s a link to the article, now let’s talk about it.
There was a time in my life where I would have said Final Fantasy VII was the best game I’d ever played. I’ve finished it more times than I can count, I used to own as much merch as my poor display cabinet could possibly hold, and I’d rarely be able to play a JRPG without thinking “FFVII did it better.”
Why does EVERY feminist article begin like this? They have to make sure to establish that they are gamers, in a way that is so blatantly forced. After all, among people who are fans of RPGs and JRPGs, this is a contentious issue. A lot of people think that the love of Final Fantasy VII is overhyped. I myself think that while it is an excellent game, people’s putting it on a pedestal is a little much. Personally, I think that Final Fantasy X is better. But that’s just me, and I own that. I’m fine with that. So yeah, I am incredulous of this person’s love of it, just because this seems like they are going out of their way to make this a point to remember.
But time and experience changes everything, and on my last playthrough a few weeks ago, everything wrong with the game became painfully evident.
Looks like someone discovered third-wave feminism recently, and it colored their outlook on something they loved. There’s a great article in The Onion about feminism and enjoying things that I recommend you check out (linked here). It’s so fitting.
You might be thinking that I realized that I was a prisoner of nostalgia, or that the gameplay aged terribly.
Valid criticisms, but I know that won’t be the case.
What’s happened in our industry over the past year has opened my eyes to the problems in games, and that included my formerly beloved FFVII. I look at Tifa and realize now how over-sexualized she is; less a character and more a caricature of womanhood made to pander to teenage boys that can’t appreciate a fighting woman unless she’s also a sex toy.
Where do I begin…? For starters – yes, because lesbian and bisexual women don’t exist. Unless they can be your shield. I am just baffled at how much these people are excluded from conversations like this. Social justice apologists take the position, “but Lucien, they weren’t designed for them!” Your point? My gay as the day is long lady-friend loves all kinds of female characters in games that weren’t designed to appeal to her. Does that invalidate her opinion? If we are going to break everything down to what it was designed to appeal to, then Gregory House on House M.D. appeals only to misanthropic atheists, right? Oh, wait, I have a very religious friend who likes his character and wishes she could debate him about religion. If he were real, that is. So let’s circumvent the apologists by saying that if you are going to exclude women who are sexually attracted to other women from this conversation, then just admit that you’re prejudice and let’s move on from there..
Next, so all of her character traits just up and vanish because she’s sexy. Am I the only person who sees how sexist that is? These people claim that I and those like me just break her down to a sex object. No I don’t. None of us gamers do. You know who I see doing that – you! Because you have chosen to believe that everything about this character means nothing because of how she looks. If ANYONE is eschewing all the traits about her in place of how she looks, it’s you. It’s always you! It’s always feminists! Time and time again, I see feminists doing this shit. All in the name of “equality,” of course. Naturally. Because if their sexism can be wrapped up in a good cause, then it’s fine, right?
I see Tifa as an old friend of Cloud. They made a promise together, and she has been waiting to see it through. She did kind of end up getting friend-zoned because of Aerith, but that’s how it goes. She is a strong fighter, but her character is weak on defense. A character you have to use sparingly, but can be quite the hitter. You see her and, “titties! Titties in a video game! That’s wrong!” Yeah, and I bet you are the same person who sees a girl walking down the street in her underwear with the word “slut” painted on her stomach and see that as empowering. Fucking hypocrite.
I no longer chuckle at the hatred towards Yuffie, because it’s not only unwarranted but serves to further detriment the stories of minorities and those that want to save their culture from unrestricted capitalist growth (more on this later).
Oh wow. So, generalize, much? After all, where is this hatred of Yuffie? Citation, please! She was popular enough to end up in Kingdom Hearts right from the beginning. There is a TON of fan-art out there. Sure, Rule 34 applies, but still. But you are forcing this conclusion on us to make the argument that we hate minorities and want to tie this in to “unrestricted capitalist growth.” By the way, I am NOT reading more about this later. Listening to someone who clearly doesn’t know shit about anything try and explain capitalism is like watching a channel dedicated to knitting (linked here).
Lastly, and most offensively, is the treatment of women in the game. Cid is an alcoholic (what do you think he meant by “tea” in that notorious scene?) abuser of his assistant, Shera, and there’s a silent endorsement on the part of the other characters when they refuse to acknowledge or confront him about his disgusting actions.
Yeah, Cid has flaws. Do you just want characters who have none? Is that it? I think back to that “game” that Sarkeesian pitched in her Damsels in Distress videos. A protagonist without character or flaws just saving the world. Cid has flaws. Maybe he should be called out on it. But you tell me – if you know someone who is a drunk with a temper problem, how would you confront them? It’s not an easy thing to tackle. Character flaws serve to humanize them. That’s why we like them. Frank in Life is Strange is a drug dealer and kind of a scumbag, but you find that underneath all that there is a sensitive side that wants to do the right thing by the girl he loved, and just live a life where he can be comfortable. There are letters that indicate that Frank and Rachel Amber’s relationship was more than a little ugly, at times, but it was clear that he was trying to be good to her. A good game can not shy away from the dark stuff, but make still part of a larger part of who they are.
And Aerith? Probably gaming’s most celebrated and best-known refrigerator trope.
Has someone been watching Anita…?
One of the few female characters in the game who is not sexualized, whose powers are non-violent, who has a respect for culture and growth, and who has actual character development is killed in an extremely brutal way just to serve as a motivation for Cloud, who is a literal blank slate in the game.
Wow. What a wonderful way to just ignore the so much about the characters. Aerith was killed trying to save the Planet She wants to get the materia, Holy. With it, she can stop Sephiroth. But he kills her to stop her from getting it. She didn’t know that she already had it, which makes the whole thing that much more tragic. And Cloud is a blank slate? Yeah, I guess, if you ignore the entire game. Makes me think that you never played it. He’s a soft-spoken, very misanthropic character. He is part of Barret’s rebellion because he is looking for a battle against Shinra, and because Tifa asked him to be. He can’t remember his past, and what he does remember is a lie. Cloud is a depressing character, but he still has character. Aerith’s death wasn’t “a motivation,” you ignorant fake. It’s a tragic ending to a very well-loved character, and shows just how much of a monster Sephiroth is, killing a defenseless person in cold blood.
I think I’m done with this. It’s clear that this person can’t critically analyze a game. The article goes on to imply that Hojo raped somebody. Citation? There is none. Of course there’s not. It’s The Mary Sue, after all. If they were able to cite sources, what a wonderful world it would be. They just want to shove their viewpoint in your face, and have that be that. The post goes on to talk about how Tifa is nothing but a “fighting fucktoy.” Hi, Sarkeesian-groupie. Again, can’t help but think that it’s YOU who gives her that designation, not me. But that’s none of my business. Then she goes on to say that Yuffie’s culture needs to be celebrated. Okay, so her fictitious culture in a fictitious universe needs to be celebrated more. Alright, I guess. She says little about her people, because they are a very shadowy bunch. There’s a reason for that, if memory serves. Oh, and she then makes a point that us EVIL people in western capitalist societies are denigrating Asian people or some stupid bullshit.
Am I the only one who finds it so weird that these people, who claim to love gaming so much, want to strip everything away and shove it into archetypes that they can hate ad nauseum? I can’t be the only one. To Heck with context or characters or any of that. Third-wave feminism works by just finding something you don’t like about something, and generalizing it so that everything about that work is about that. Fucking genius. No wonder these people have to stay in university settings. Out in the real world, we laugh these pompous little prigs off-stage.
Until next time, a quote,
“Look, I don’t care about your politics.” -Cloud Strife, Final Fantasy VII