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This. This whole game. http://www.atlus.com/dragonscrown/
also, Penny Arcade’s wonderful response:
Just keeping it in perspective….or not, as it were.
So, we’ve gotten submissions from Dragon’s Crown before, but I hadn’t taken a look at the website before- it’s kind of doubly heartbreaking, because the animation style is gorgeous. THIS COULD HAVE BEEN SO NICE
Thanks as always to Penny Arcade for the horrified laughter.
IMO. Pendulous breasts NEVER make a game sexist, a female character who is victimized, oppressed by men, or taken advantage of, or abused is sexist. If a woman is strong and powerful and has pendulous breasts well that’s just awesome AND most women in my family… You sayin the females in my family sexist just cuz we jiggle? Get over it!
Can’t women be powerful and dominate and sexy? By saying that women with huge boobs and ass are only for men’s sexually gratification it makes women like myself with naturally unreasonable proportions feel like no matter what I say or how I dress, I’m wrong. I spent most of my life being told I should be ashamed to have big boobs and to hide myself or men will have evil thoughts about me. I’m not hiding any more. I find Dragon’s Crown’s cartoonish art hilarious and I can’t wait to play.
I won’t lie, this ask really hurt me since I try very hard to be a body positive person. Here is my attempt at an answer.
First of all:
My friend pointed out that it’s important to note that there isn’t anything inherently sexy about big boobs and butts. There isn’t anything inherently sexy about any kind of body type! As she said:
It’s all about context. Sex appeal should have nothing to do with body types- it’s just that our society oversexualizes large boobs and asses the same way other societies valued small feet.
The context of this image (her absurd posture, twisted spine, objects pushed in cleavage, thrust out boobs and butt) make it painfully obvious that she is meant to be a sexual object. I really don’t know what else to tell you.
Let me be clear, I am not judging or criticizing people who want to play this game. There is nothing wrong with enjoying problematic things, as long as you acknowledge the problematic aspects of it. It’s okay to enjoy things- I’m not saying anything against you!
To be honest, I am shocked this discussion has provoked such a backlash. This is what this blog has done since the beginning. This isn’t even the first time Dragon’s Crown has been brought up here! I think that when something people like is criticized, the automatic reaction is to defend it, because the perception is that if something you like has problems, you’re not a good person. That’s not true in the slightest.
On to my main point:
There is a very important difference between real people and art. There’s always a lot of discussion about feminine agency in fiction, and it’s often an argument that it’s okay that such and such character is subservient, or a manic pixie dream girl, or a vamp, or any number of sexist tropes prevalent in the media, because it is the character’s choice to act this way, and that by choosing the lifestyle/image they do, they are making use of their own agency as a woman. If these people were real, that would be totally fine. Good for them. However, since these are fictional characters, they don’t actually have agency- their image is the choice of their creators, not them.
This also applies to the examples shown in this blog. The characters aren’t being independent human beings by dressing and looking the way they do, because their clothing is the decision of someone else. If you’ll notice, I don’t take pictures of real people and tell them their bodies don’t work that way, because clearly their bodies work that way. It’s discouraging to hear people say they have “unreasonable proportions”, since you exist! You aren’t a product of an artist. Clearly your proportions are perfectly reasonable, because you are a real human on this planet. Your body and dress isn’t “wrong”, because it’s your body and dress.
It’s great that you feel empowered by women being portrayed as simultaneously sexy and powerful. But Dragon’s Crown is a drop in a tidal wave of damaging representations produced by an industry dominated by men and often targeted towards men. What is the net effect of these sexualized representations on how women are seen in society? It’s honestly really scary to think about.
Obviously you can wear whatever you want and play whatever you want. And I hope you do! It’s your life, and you are in full control. Neither am I saying that your body type shouldn’t be represented in the media. I’m also not saying that you should dislike this game. It’s just that my job as a moderator of this blog is to identify and acknowledge the unrealistic and oversexualized artwork that is so prevalent in the media.
What another friend had to say about this:
The way that girl’s boobs are moving in that gif, how is she supposed to fight and run around when she doesn’t have much support for them in that shirt? She’s also characterized as being “weak of body” and “provid[ing] aid to friends” (helping others be powerful, and victorious, not doing that for herself) in her description, which is presenting her femininity as a weakness, not as a source of empowerment.
Basically, girls in video games who are sexy and who wear outfits that THEY feel sexy and comfortable in is fine, as is laughing at unrealistic character art. But this depiction in Dragon’s Crown is drawn to please a male audience, and this audience might find the unrealistic art and subordinate character sexy, not hilarious. How’s that going to effect a young gamer girl with large breasts, when the only feminine characters with body types similar to hers are stereotyped and oversexualized? It creates a really unhealthy dichotomy where girls feel like they either have to be oversexualized and naked, like this character, or covered up and ashamed, like you’ve said you sometimes feel. There’s no intersection of sexy, empowered, and wearing-a-reasonably-supportive-outfit-on-a-body-type-that-exists-on-real-people.
You say that you “spent most of my life being told I should be ashamed to have big boobs and to hide myself or men will have evil thoughts about me.” In short, it’s games like this that have been transmitting this message to you your whole life that tell you that because of your body, you are a sexual object.
Anyway. I’m rambling. The long and short of it is that when I criticize an image on this blog, I am ABSOLUTELY NOT body shaming real people. When I say that an image of a woman is for men’s sexual gratification, I’m criticizing that! I am absolutely not saying that a REAL PERSON is for men’s sexual gratification.
Sorry if this was long/incoherent, I’m writing this before my morning classes!