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    Xenogears &Sexism

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    Nikkolas

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    Post by Nikkolas on Wed Apr 02, 2014 11:46 pm

    I don't know what game you played where Bart was treated with respect. You do remember he's the guy who got his own ship thrown on him and on a couple separate occasions he attacked Fei's group because he's kinda stupid. Also his Gear has an eyepatch.

    Bart is a joke character at least half of the time.
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    Post by Guest on Thu Apr 03, 2014 12:07 pm

    What about the whole "Oh, he has no friends!" bit??? And the entire Fatima Jasper, "let's go to a tomb" thing? He's got a lot of angst and tortured shounen-hero business going on beneath the jokes. Certainly more respect, and certainly more personality than Margie.
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    Post by Pixy on Thu Apr 03, 2014 2:31 pm

    It always seemed to me like he had been intentionally written to be a giant clod who constantly makes exactly the wrong decision

    I can't really say that the fatima jasper is really a point for him, either. It's not really a part of his character. It's just a thing he happened to inherit by chance. He didn't do anything and it's not part of his personality. It could have happened to anyone and not made a difference.


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    Post by RadicalDreamer on Thu Apr 03, 2014 4:25 pm

    FEI
    "You haven't..."

    ELLY
    "You haven't forgotten what we needed to do...?"

    BART
    "Hey, lay off and shut up!"

    [Bart shakes his head.]

    BART
    "It's been a while, so don't blame me.
    ... Crap, I really forgot."

    MARGIE
    "Ya want me to open it?"

    BART
    [... Please...]

    [Margie walks up to the end of the room and a panel is descended in front of her.]

    BART
    "Oh yeah!! Hah! That's it, that's what I thought it was!"

    [Fei and Elly shake their heads.]
    Dialogue from the Fatima Jasper part.

    I gotta agree with some. Bart screws up a bit as a comic relief character (much like Reyn from Xenoblade, except less annoying and with a better design... and a better backstory *hate Reyn*). And as you see, between the two, Margie often acts as the responsible one (in other many cases, she yells at him for being a jerk).
    Also I don't necessarily agree that Margie is boring. She has some spunk. She's not allowed as much as Bart, that is true... but she's not the most annoyingly stereotypical feminine character in my eyes. Actually, she's probably one of the rare female characters who wears some pants in that game.

    I don't know what game you played where Bart was treated with respect. You do remember he's the guy who got his own ship thrown on him and on a couple separate occasions he attacked Fei's group because he's kinda stupid. Also his Gear has an eyepatch.
    Having the Yggdrasil thrown on him wasn't a joke scene, though. Id was a serious threat. And he didn't attack Fei's group because he was stupid enough not to recognize them (how could he KNOW who they were anyway). He was just impulsive but always thought he was striking down enemies (an Aveh ship *and Aveh was controlled by Shakhan* and the Goliath... which was a Kislev ship, the kingdom at war with his home country). His only legit stupid move was probably his need to slam his hands on random buttons, firing the Jasper cannon. And this "incident" ended up helping the group in the end. His Gear has an eyepatch for comedy purpose, probably. But then again, the Gears overall don't look normal/realistic. The main ones are almost all designed to have similitaries with the pilots.

    Honestly, Bart's storyline is kinda the Lion King... with giant robots (no really... "Young master", childhood friend and cousin *yes, Simba and Nala are cousins... good old kid friendly Disney* and arranged royal marriage in the family, the King dies betrayed, young prince almost gets killed, has to hide in exile in the desert, grows up and suddenly doesn't want to be king anymore, has a "talk" with his dead dad... and then he takes the throne back with help from his new friends) and I hardly see what's comedic about it. It's a noble quest with a tragic start. Yes, he's the comic relief character but it doesn't define him at all. Having that said, I find they made a disservice to his character by making him dissolve Aveh's monarchy so soon. After the speech he gave to Shakhan (about what is a good king), it was weird to see him just... give up on being king, basically giving up on his people soon after he made a public comeback.

    jrpg writing is awful - claude c. kenni
    That's nice.

    Elly's not a good soldier because she's pretty quick to go AWOL, but, idk, I always got the impression that she could take care of herself.
    Define what taking care of one self means. Because, it's true Elly was much too often a DiD... or getting killed. She DID have moments but there is ALWAYS something to weaken her in those moments. Examples :

    - fighting Fei and showing off her powers to her squad : she took drugs to be able to do that... and she ended up losing the fight with Fei on top of her and her screaming (get your mind off the gutter please). And her teammates still didn't have respect for her afterwards (which alas, isn't surprising).
    - pushing the Hecht in order to save Nortune and its people : she joined Rico and Fei, kept going when they had to give up... and she fell from above and got saved by Grahf. The Hecht still crashed in the city, I think.
    - fighting Dominia : seemed like a nice confrontation between Elly's ideals and Dominia's. Then, she has to get kidnapped. Besides, Dominia was all "you gave up your place for a man, shameful" and she was kinda right on one hand... but on the other hand, Gebler sucked and Elly did good by deserting.
    - saving Fei from Ramsus : she acted too late to avoid his injuries but soon enough to save his life.
    - trying to save Fei from Id : she either was very brave or more likely being self sacrifical for her man to dare confront Fei as Id. At the end of the day, Elly didn't stand a chance against him. But just because of his love for Elly, Fei managed to surface and stop Id. She only managed to save the day because Fei loved her. If he didn't, she would have been killed. It's kind of a reversal of the drug battle scene... except that Fei was still standing up at the end of it. But I maybe shouldn't nip pick this scene too much. Id was fairly dangerous and anyone would have been in trouble at Elly's place, male or female (except for Wiseman/Grahf... and maybe Miang).
    - daring to pilot El-Regulus despite her fears (I still don't know why the hell she scared of it btw... maybe because of that time she got injured as Sophia) to come save "the man she loves" (what about the others, Elly? lol) : started well but she got brutally beat (like, they almost killed her). So yeah... she failed and got kidnapped.
    - tried to save people during the war : ... the kamikaze way. Resulted in a bigger disaster. And this death happened more for the sake of Lacan and Krelian's character development. Besides, I think characters remember Sophia more as a martyr than a heroine of the war.
    - tried to save the world by moving Deus : yet again, she offered her own life... and YET was blocked by Krelian. Come to think about it, the whole thing is weirdly similar to FF7's ending with Aerith/Cloud/Sephiroth (Aerith wanted to save the world with Holy, Sephiroth blocked her, Cloud and the party had to battle *Cloud even has a battle alone in some sort of non material world*).

    Anyway, like TVTropes categorized her... Elly IS a Faux Action Girl. A damsel disguised as an action girl. Which always feels worst than the reverse.

    fei definitely has a lot more going on, but I can't really say he's realistic in any way, since he goes inside his head and has a conversation with three different people. when take away Id, who honestly I consider a separate character entirely, he's just kind of this average good-natured boring martial arts man who says Doc over and over and generally lacks any kind of spine. Most of the things that happen to him aren't even of his own volition, it's usually things Citan or someone else does.

    I would disagree that Fei is generally spineless (he's not EXACTLY at Shinji Ikari's level). He has weaknesses sure but... let's say his behavior sometimes surprise me when I go back to the game. I mean, remember that time he jumped off a cliff (just like that) to get to Vanderkaum's fleet and Maitreya was really dumbfounded and even commented on Fei's "gung ho" behavior ? Or even stole a motorcycle ? I mean, moments like that make his character... not really too boring in the end. I guess I think he has more nuances than most of the other characters (I read that about Type 9, they can behave like many types of the enneagram... therefore being kinda lost sometimes). Also, I tend NOT to separate Fei and Id (and the coward) myself (and "3 different people"? They're all HIM... except maybe the blank slate Khan created but otherwise, they're all Fei). Id is part of Fei's character. He represents all the pain and hatred inside him, the pain and hatred the coward part doesn't know how to handle. It's not like Id was some outsider. Funny thing about Id... well the id in general... apparently, the id of the Gut Type (8,9,1) is 8... and 8 are about power and control... totally Id and Grahf in short. Things like that make me wonder if Fei's most influential wing is the 8 in fact (wing 8 brings energy to Type 9).
    So, you said he's not realistic ? Meh, he's realistic enough for a mecha/anime character from a sci-fi/fantasy video game. You can even say the same thing about Cloud. Their issues don't take a conventional form (lol) and they have supernatural powers. But does it mean you can't believe in those characters and their problems and find them really interesting within their own stories ? Even relate a bit to them ? I sure know I related to Fei at some point.

    citan is I guess the worst character in the game since he is a giant mary sue who knows everything and can do everyhing.
    I hated the guy until I realized he was a spy (which explains a lot about him "knowing everything" and having various skills). Then I loved him. And now, people made me realize that he's a huge troll and I love him even more. Though, I agree that they should have toned down the genius thing. Why would HE be responsible for the majority of Gears. And so many stuff besides that. They didn't have more smart scientists in Solaris ?
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    Post by Pixy on Thu Apr 03, 2014 5:06 pm

    yeah, I like margie.

    The scenarios that surround bart aren't comedic. He himself is. Like, all this stuff is happening to him just because he is of royal blood, but he pretty consistently makes bad decisions even when sigurd tells him not to. "young master don't fire on the thing"

    "young master why"

    "young master no get your hands out of there"

    and then he rubs the back of his head and says "Whoops!"

    and everyone says "oh bart!!!"

    - fighting Fei and showing off her powers to her squad : she took drugs to be able to do that... and she ended up losing the fight with Fei on top of her and her screaming (get your mind off the gutter please). And her teammates still didn't have respect for her afterwards (which alas, isn't surprising).
    - pushing the Hecht in order to save Nortune and its people : she joined Rico and Fei, kept going when they had to give up... and she fell from above and got saved by Grahf. The Hecht still crashed in the city, I think.
    - fighting Dominia : seemed like a nice confrontation between Elly's ideals and Dominia's. Then, she has to get kidnapped. Besides, Dominia was all "you gave up your place for a man, shameful" and she was kinda right on one hand... but on the other hand, Gebler sucked and Elly did good by deserting.
    - saving Fei from Ramsus : she acted too late to avoid his injuries but soon enough to save his life.
    - trying to save Fei from Id : she either was very brave or more likely being self sacrifical for her man to dare confront Fei as Id. At the end of the day, Elly didn't stand a chance against him. But just because of his love for Elly, Fei managed to surface and stop Id. She only managed to save the day because Fei loved her. If he didn't, she would have been killed. It's kind of a reversal of the drug battle scene... except that Fei was still standing up at the end of it. But I maybe shouldn't nip pick this scene too much. Id was fairly dangerous and anyone would have been in trouble at Elly's place, male or female (except for Wiseman/Grahf... and maybe Miang).
    - daring to pilot El-Regulus despite her fears (I still don't know why the hell she scared of it btw... maybe because of that time she got injured as Sophia) to come save "the man she loves" (what about the others, Elly? lol) : started well but she got brutally beat (like, they almost killed her). So yeah... she failed and got kidnapped.
    - tried to save people during the war : ... the kamikaze way. Resulted in a bigger disaster. And this death happened more for the sake of Lacan and Krelian's character development. Besides, I think characters remember Sophia more as a martyr than a heroine of the war.
    - tried to save the world by moving Deus : yet again, she offered her own life... and YET was blocked by Krelian. Come to think about it, the whole thing is weirdly similar to FF7's ending with Aerith/Cloud/Sephiroth (Aerith wanted to save the world with Holy, Sephiroth blocked her, Cloud and the party had to battle *Cloud even has a battle alone in some sort of non material world*).

    well, Maybe I don't remember enough of xenogears, but are Elly/Sophia literally the same person? Like, the same exact personality?

    The difference between Lacan/Fei always made me think that although they are incarnations of the same soul, they're essentially different people.

    i definitely don't like the scenarios surrounding elly and other peoples' treatment of her. Like, the squad of 'gebler goons.' renk acknowledges her combat prowess but still is like "nah not taking orders from you lol cya xD"

    I will maintain that I think Elly is a competent person, but she is always thrown against odds that are very stacked against her, for some reason. Often she is combating forces that nobody in the cast could beat at the time (those two guys who never show up again at the crucifixion scene who she blasts with dbz powers, the hecht, id,) but for some reason it's ....almost always her. I think Fei is the only other one who's ever thrust into battles against unbeatable enemies.
    But it's pretty weird and kind of disgusting that Elly is the one who is constantly having these things happen to her, especially the 90 second beatdown scene at chu-chu crucifix town. I don't think this has any bearing on her as a person, since anyone else in the cast except maybe fei in LIMITER OFF MODE would have gotten wasted as well.... but...what the frack....

    (and "3 different people"? They're all HIM...

    I meant that you have conversations with three different personalities with their own sprites ;p. I'm gonna be honest. I have no idea what this type 8, 9, etc. stuff is. I know Id is literally a part of Fei, but he is his own character in of himself. And once Fei regains control of Id, his personality doesn't really change. I might have been a little hard on Fei, but, Idk, maybe it's because I have interacted with a person with DiD irl, so it's hard to take him seriously. As far as identifying with him or relating to him, I didn't, really. *shrug* I found much to relate to with 'billy lee black' though.


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    Post by Yikari on Tue May 06, 2014 3:12 am

    I doubt I'll be able to add something that hasn't already been said, but I feel the need to point out that sexism works both ways. Just as there is too much of :eek2: JAPAN! :eek2: when it comes to the female part of the cast, male behaviour stereotypes can be just as facepalm-worthy.

    I mean, being so absent from your family that you are unable to recognize your son is not pulling your leg when he tells you your wife is torturing him when you are out of the door? Really? Thankfully, it is portraited just as it is - fucked up beyond measure and in no way an acceptable behaviour, so there is that. Doesn't make Citan's interactions with his family look good though. I understand that there were likely some cut scenes and the good doctor is not quite as bad as Fei's father, but if things are to be taken 'as is' in the released version of the game, him not spending time with his daughter on-screen even once looks really iffy.

    As for Elly... While I approve of them subverting the usual 'strangled with the red string' (to put it in tvtropes speak) JRPG/anime rote with the reveal that the female lead does not somehow fall in love with the protagonist each and every time but is compelled to do so regardless of her will, the way Fei reacts to it bothers me.

    He grew to like her in a romantical sense, okay (even if I feel the way it was presented looks like an asspull out of nowhere - like it usually does in games, unfortunately);

    and found her sexually attractive on top of that. But continuing with the whole 'we are the main pair of the plot' business after the reveal he got from Zohar's inhabitant? The fact that he (seemingly, likeliness of cut scenes is very high here) continues as if he wasn't told that Elly's behaviour is not her own raises some very nasty implications.

    (Yes, Elly admitting that suicidal behaviour when there are people that care about you is bad and she shouldn't have done that repeatedly in the end may indicate that she will abandon the guidelines set by the system with enough time and the main pair may actually have a relationship that doesn't involve mind control, but it still seems wrong on too many levels.)

    Oh, and there really wasn't any reason for their age gap to be lessened so much and Elly start pining for Fei, IMHO. Some of 'Fei' may have found her sexually appealing and even followed through on that, but 'motherly behaviour as seen by a ~6-year old' Elly was supposedly made to adhere to does not include boinking even if Herr Freud told you otherwise. <img src=" title="Very Happy" /> If you are going to take an axe to the traditional genre conventions, then don't stop and backtrack halfway - go for full squick and make it so in those cases Elly was unable to decline any advances in case she didn't feel like it for whatever reason (or even properly take umbrage in case of rapist behaviour) because 'unconditional love' was part of the package too.

    EDIT:

    I happen to disagree with the 'Dominia is butch-looking' statement. She got hit with an unfortunate case of 'anime design' almost on the level of 'thong armor' stupidity and got most of her lines replaced with 'I'm a hammy villain chewing the scenery, also racism and derp' deal, and gets relegated to comic relief duties, yes, but that one I can't agree with. Contrary to the genre conventions she does not appear to be a short, thin, frail underage fairy (gag boobs optional), but that does not make her 'butch-looking', IMHO. She just doesn't look like a little girl for once, that's all.

    As for being overly confrontational coupled with tendency to get physical when angry, I've seen plenty of women IRL dispensing cuffs liberally at the slightest of annoyances - not even real anger - regardless of age and appearance so I'll have to 'nope' on that too.
    RadicalDreamer
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    Post by RadicalDreamer on Fri Oct 24, 2014 4:48 pm

    Looking at what's happening these days in the gaming community (Gamergate and stuff), it kind of explains a bit the shocking (to me, they were) reactions I witnessed on gamefaq about this game and sexism.
    Some gamers cannot stand that games are now subjected to the same criticism as any piece of art (movies, tv shows, books...). Which is a bit ironic... since it's Xenogears we're talking about.
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    Post by Reichu on Sun Mar 01, 2015 2:56 am

    Due to the weird formatting, I couldn't read through everything as much as I wanted to, but I did want to say that this thread felt very much like "home" to me. It is absolutely REFRESHING. Invigorating!

    I recently got the "gater" vibe from posting on GameFAQs myself. The forum I've been a regular at for over a decade has also been infected with these sorts of people. You really can't express a critical feminist viewpoint anymore without triggering a whole flock of idiots (and inevitable mentions of tumblr). Sigh.

    Back to Xenogears, I suppose! As much as there is to love above the game and the world it creates, sexism is absolutely one of its flaws. Aside from the cringe-worthy stuff in the game itself, there is this bit in Perfect Works, which effectively dispelled any illusions I might have still had at that point:

    (pg 234)

    The secrets spoken of by maidens

    In the desert submarine the Yggdrasil I, there is a bar set up in front of Sir Maison. Always visited by those "desert men" as a place for them to gather, these days the soft laughter of maidens sounds in the air. It's Margie and Elly.

    At the height of the heavy fighting, there was never a scene in which the two could just talk. However, if they had been granted peace long enough, inevitably their talk would have made its way to love ... Mostly that between Elly and Fei as it as it grew deeper. and after awhile most definitely the topic of Bart would have blossomed ...
    In the words of the great Slappy Squirrel, "Somebody shoot me."

    I wonder, how much would Xenogears have to "compromise" itself (if at all) in order to correct its sexism? Would much of actual importance need to be changed? Would anything be lost other than Takahashi's (and whoever else's) woefully outdated ideals?

    (......Does anyone else wonder how Elly manages to trip and fall when her body at the time is purely symbolic and there is absolutely nothing to trip and fall on?)
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    Post by katimus_prime on Sun Mar 01, 2015 2:22 pm

    Sorry for the formatting problem again. Any time there's any kind of quote or apostrophe or backslash, things die. >_<

    As much as I like this game, and am glad it exists, I'm not going to defend the sexist parts of it. I'm still a little more perturbed by the way it holds romantic love over any other kind of love in just about all of its imagery and events, but I'm sure if I started playing it again, I'd go through it with a much more critical eye.

    I think it'd be a pretty big feat to remove Xenogears of its very overt sexism just in trying to disengage every female character from orbiting the male characters they're attached to. I think the only girls who don't fail the Bechdel Test are Primera, Midori, Maria Balthazar, Miang and maaaybe Emeralda, but I'm not an expert on the Bechdel Test and it's been a while since I've gotten out of Nortune in a replay. Disengaging Elly from the Perfect Woman nonsense would require a pretty hard left-turn that would have to at least re-write almost every part of Disc 2.

    Seeing as there's a history of violence and unfair idealization of women in a lot of eastern culture (foot binding, mutilation of females' female parts in order to remove them of pleasure), it was probably so ingrained in their society that "just wanting to write a love story" seemed innocuous. Feminism is at the forefront of a lot of things these days, and although I think the most radical parts of feminism aren't going to stick if progress is made, I appreciate that people who were once a lot more moderate about it are much less likely to sit back and say "lol, boys will be boys tho," these days. (I'm currently struggling with the gender politics in my own webcomic because I started in on it writing myself into it as a guy, but that's got nothing to do with all this.)

    Being polite and shutting up has allowed a lot of social progress to backslide. I'm hoping Xenoblade X comes out a little more forward-thinking because of this movement. There was a lot of pushback against Xenoblade 1 when Chuggaconroy started his Let's Play of it and a lot of folks on tumblr started making noise. A lot of females tend to get shoved around, but Xenoblade's characterization was apparently pulled from a lot of old Japanese archetypes. Still, it was nowhere near as overt as Xenogears in terms of sexism, at least in my opinion.

    I got a little tl;dr. Sorry about that!

    Here's what I think, logistically, it would take to un-sexism a lot of big things in Xenogears:


    • Disengage Elly from being viewed as the smaller of the Two Pieces.
    • Have Fei be the one that dies once in a while.
    • Have the aggressive parts of female characters not be construed as negative.
    • Have mercy and compassion and healing not be traits "for girls only."
    • Let the girls fight if they want to fight - even FF4 got this right.
    • Yui Uzuki better fleshed out.
    • Humanize or better explain Miang.
    • Explain Deus much, much better in terms of godhood and gender/sex.
    • De-couple at least some of the Neo-Elements from Ramsus romantically.


    This list would be longer if my memory of Gears weren't iced over except for my interest in Ramsus and the characters connected to him. I suck. ^^;


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    Post by RadicalDreamer on Sun Mar 01, 2015 3:17 pm

    @Reichu wrote:
    Back to Xenogears, I suppose! As much as there is to love above the game and the world it creates, sexism is absolutely one of its flaws. Aside from the cringe-worthy stuff in the game itself, there is this bit in Perfect Works, which effectively dispelled any illusions I might have still had at that point:

    (pg 234)

    The secrets spoken of by maidens

    In the desert submarine the Yggdrasil I, there is a bar set up in front of Sir Maison. Always visited by those "desert men" as a place for them to gather, these days the soft laughter of maidens sounds in the air. It's Margie and Elly.

    At the height of the heavy fighting, there was never a scene in which the two could just talk. However, if they had been granted peace long enough, inevitably their talk would have made its way to love ... Mostly that between Elly and Fei as it as it grew deeper. and after awhile most definitely the topic of Bart would have blossomed ...
    In the words of the great Slappy Squirrel, "Somebody shoot me."

    I wonder, how much would Xenogears have to "compromise" itself (if at all) in order to correct its sexism? Would much of actual importance need to be changed? Would anything be lost other than Takahashi's (and whoever else's) woefully outdated ideals?

    (......Does anyone else wonder how Elly manages to trip and fall when her body at the time is purely symbolic and there is absolutely nothing to trip and fall on?)

    Ah, yes... this part from Perfect Works that completely throw the Bechdel test out of the window. I felt the same. Surely those girls can bond over something more than boys ? Damn, I wish Margie had been playable (thus having more friendship moments with Elly... and Billy *I'm sure him and Margie got along really well*). I like the idea that she would have been Andvari's co-pilot with Bart (à la Xenosaga 3). It would have fitted the "gotta help one another" theme the game has going on (and the Fatima treasure belonged as much to her as it did to Bart).

    I get it that if this was the case, there would have been frictions with Nisan and Queen Zephyr because of what happened to Sophia in the past (gotta avoid losing important and inspiring figureheads in critical times) . Especially in Disk2. But eh... conflict is good (that said, once the people began to morph into wels, I understand why Elly and Margie needed to stay in Nisan for a while... but it would have been neat to have female characters added to the team to make up for this *YUI UZUKI as a guest player please*... then after Elly gets taken away, there would be some arguing in Nisan over Margie's desire to help the party and Agnes would take care of Nisan, waiting for Margie and the group's return... something like this).

    How much would Xenogears need to compromise to be more female including/positive ? Well... I don't see Xenogears losing much if it was less sexist. In fact, I think the story would only improve. We're talking about a story about humanity's emancipation, after all.
    However, I think some things would need to stay as they are : the antitype self-sacrificing side, women being hosts to Miang/Deus's will, the many dead mothers of the game...
    But other things could change a bit (for the better) and not change that much the overall story :

    - Alice surviving (Dan can die instead  Twisted Evil ) and becoming a party member (or going to Shevat with Yui for a while)... Note that it was originally to happen... but Xenogears' writers didn't want a love triangle to form (it is silly imo, especially if they developped Alice beyond a mere love interest... I mean, imagine how complicated her relationship to Fei would be after he killed her family... this is kinda interesting to explore knowing she had feelings for him, unlike Dan... it wouldn't be similar to Melia loving Shulk or Allen loving Shion... it would be interesting and eventually, she would naturally move on and find her own path in life *emancipation theme*).

    - Rue Cohen from Nortune would be a more involved minor villain and she would return in Disk2 when the group (or half of it, including Rico of course) has to get the ship to fight Solaris. Also, Latina would be a dependable good friend of Rico and she would help (think Tifa to Barret... sort of).

    - the Element girls would have more backstory to them (Tolone in particular could be interesting, she's the only cyborg of the game... how did she come to exist... how old is she compared to her comrades... Seraphita could be treated as more than a comic relief but a real beast *she's the actual leader of the group, in part because she's the strongest* with a happy go lucky facade and a past where she would have been subjected to abject racism, Dominia had the most focus in the game but more could have been shown I guess... Kelvena would be the least interesting in the end but I like to think she was Elly's best friend and that it killed her inside to fight against her). And could maybe become playable near the end when the time is come to defeat Deus for good. But they wouldn't just disappear. Perfect Works's illustrations makes me believe they would become part of Yggdrasil's crew. And I think it would have been neat to develop them in a sidequest (the end goal being to get back a runaway Ramsus).

    - female characters would have more fitting designs as fighters (well, I'm talking about Elly and the Element girls mainly... give them pants at least, flying suit-like pants). And Elly's Gear wouldn't be so pink and farting little hearts (her Gear would be more red-ish... and not fart hearts).

    - Claudia, Maria's mother... would be recognized. You wouldn't know she's Seibzhen's actual brains if you didn't read Perfect Works. In the game, it was all about Nikolai. Maybe it would have almost been more interesting and dramatic (and less convoluted) to have Maria's mother herself kill/finish Achtzehn. And in disk2, have Maria release her mother (and father) when she gets her Omnigear (she didn't for lack of time/money), hence making her story last longer.

    - talking about Maria. She would be a mechanic. Not something as extreme as Lynlee from Xenoblade X (or why not) but at least, give the girl something more to do in the group. She would also meet her grandfather in disk2 (missed opportunity there, Xenogears). And her relationship with the queen would be more developped. As well as her relationship with the Uzuki family. A few other bonds would been nice to see developped (with Bart *teasing*, Billy *bit of a crush* and Rico *some kind of weird fatherly bond, not sure how to explain it*... Elly as well *conflict/trust issues*).

    - talking about the Uzuki family... Yui Uzuki would be a bigger help. Poor woman only got to stay in the kitchen for the whole game. Litteraly. And then, she was cut off from the game (alongside Jessie). We know she's a badass and I wanted to see this at some point. In my headcanon, she also had a real job when she was living near Lahan : she was a teacher. If Alice survived, Alice would have been her protegee. And when she got back to Shevat, she took back her job under the queen.
    By the way, I once read a pretty cool fanfic where Citan and Yui were just agents pretending to be a family. It was interesting. But I like them being a real couple with a psychic kid in canon, of course.

    - it would be made more obvious that Miang is a complicated entity (maybe Deus itself just would like to know what its like to have feelings... taking over human bodies with feelings and thoughts probably made Miang a bit more curious about the human race). And it would have been nice to have a flashback about the host Ramsus possibly fell in love with. It's probably best to keep things ambiguous after Ramsus killed Miang though. Like the Karen/Miang situation was a bit ambiguous too. And it's fine. It makes for fun fandom discussions.

    - Elhaym's creation would be less about "creating a mom and human shield for a little boy" and more about the Wave Existence counting on his own creation to guide and protect the vessel of his own godly powers. This is a subtle difference that gives Elly more agency. And talking about agency, Elly would be a more competent soldier. Yeah, Fei would still need to help her (as being taken by surprise by a monster while you're tired and lost and being knocked unconcious by a dinosaur is understandable... I just wanted Elly to fight a bit during the Rankar attack) but let the woman fight instead of just being passive/being a human shield. It's not bad that she's self-sacrificing (a lot of heroes are) but I wanted to see a more competent side from her as a soldier (even if she doubts herself).

    And that's all I can say for the parts we see or are likely to see in the game. I have my headcanons about Billy's mother, Bart's mother, Rene and Roni's mother, Emeralda's role in Episode 6 (I would have liked her to be the heroine)...

    EDIT : I like your suggestions, Kat. Also, yeah... the problem with the one winged angels symbolism is that it is more interpreted as a romance thing. But it can be seen differently, imo. The angels being gendered represent the two biological parts of humanity : male and female. Of course, it ignores some aspects of humanity like people being born with male AND female parts. But I guess I see it as a symbol for "female + male = baby", the cycle of life basically.
    But the angels weren't used ONLY for romantic love in the game. It was kind of used for Bart and Sigurd (two brothers, two male friends). You can argue that it wasn't meant to (because Bart and Margie were the ones supposed to unlock the doors)... but the thing is... it happened. And it is meaningful. Also note that Soraya Saga created the Fatimas. She had a different point of view than her husband.


    Last edited by RadicalDreamer on Sun Mar 01, 2015 3:59 pm; edited 1 time in total
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    Post by katimus_prime on Sun Mar 01, 2015 3:38 pm

    ^ Totally digging your suggestions as well, RD!!!!

    I also really would like to see more girls in pants and less girl things painted pink or magenta. Nothing wrong with girls in skirts and pink, but...almost every female that isn't wearing a skirt is wearing an only slightly elongated shirt and leggings or tights. That was a design that also progressed into Xenosaga and Xenoblade. People don't have to be butch to wear pants! Even the Elements girls are practically wearing bathing suits with gloves and boots.

    Also of note, the feminine forms of the mecha are enough to infer the assignment of female without a disney princess paint job. Part of the reason I'm conflicted in my disdain for Miang (which is solely attached to what was done to Ramsus) is that, she has the most dignified color schemes applied to her mecha, and the most beautiful female forms in the game. Indigo, white and gold are my favorite colors, and they use them very nicely on all of her designs. I even really like the touch of red in C1 Vierge. Even though Miang is still given the long miniskirt and leggings treatment with her main costume, it still seems much more dignified than any of the other female costumes.

    The Neo-Elements are given much less of a girl paint-job, but aside from Dominia and Cherubina, they're seen as much of a comic relief as DBZ's Ginyu Force and their emphasis mecha-wise is to become the G1 Elements combiner, which isn't female in form at all. It makes me wonder if the original Elements once piloted these gears?


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    Post by Reichu on Sun Mar 01, 2015 5:15 pm

    RadicalDreamer, I like all of the thought that you've put into this. Very enjoyable read. And katimus_prime, great responses as well. It's going to be hard to reply to all this! Will take multiple posts, I imagine.

    One touch that might be refreshing would be to make half of the Gazel Ministry women. I suppose they already might be and there's honestly no way of knowing, but I have the feeling that this isn't the case. The cryptic councilwoman is so much rarer than her male counterpart. The secret society of shriveled old men who talk in code amongst themselves is established cliche. (This would also solve the logistics problem of where exactly additional people came from after Kadmoni converted all its internal biomass into human bodies. Maybe.)

    I'm still trying to make sense of the whole "Antitype" deal -- lots of notes from some very dense parts of the game to wade through and organize, not to mention the "clarification" provided in Perfect Works. So I currently don't have any useful thoughts on that front.

    Some additional comments regarding Elly:

    A possible route to take with her "Gebler Goobers" (Renk et al) would be to just make them snarky and insubordinate, not sexist. Say, they've heard rumors that Elly got her rank on account of her dad pulling strings, so they're not immediately inclined to give her any more respect than they absolutely have to. However, they quickly change their tune when they see Elly actually is competent. She doesn't have to go out of her way to impress them or prove herself to them; she just acts like the pro that she is.

    With the Rankar encounter, a more advanced graphics engine would be able to show that Elly put up a fight. Maybe she put out one of the dinosaur's eyes, but it was too little too late. (This still requires some justifying how Fei would be able to last more than a few seconds without being mauled, though...)

    Elly should definitely keep her gun throughout gameplay. However, since having two firearms specialists in the game might be redundant, I say keep the rod in some form, as well. But make it less of the ineffectual sort of thing you'd expect a white mage to carry around, and more a serious melee weapon, like a cop's club. Elly could thereby use both short- and long-range attacks in addition to ether. Speaking of which, for someone with an "infinite" ether response, there isn't much of an excuse for her high failure rate. If that mechanic has to be included, at least make it an improvable statistic.

    I agree that women should remain hosts for Deus's will. There is a lot of interesting stuff that can be done with this, IMO. On its face, it seems to go hand-in-hand with the archaic notion of placing disproportionate divine punishment upon the female sex, as in seen across multiple times and cultures. However, this does not mean that the story actually endorses this social attitude, only that it is commenting upon it. The game as it stands, while ultimately liberating Woman from this fate, does so in its usual "unfortunate implications" way: Fei gets to symbolically beat the crap out of Miang's genetic factor while Elly ineffectually floats on the sidelines.

    Not to mention, at the end of the game, Miang seems to be at the beck and call of Karellen at this point, despite being an intrinsic part of Deus. Exactly what lets Karellen "merge" with Deus and become the king of the hill? What puts him in such a position of power and privilege that he can overwhelm a force of Deus' magnitude? What stops him from getting absorbed, or if not just spit out? The original humans couldn't control Deus, and I'm seriously supposed to believe that a guy who couldn't technologically progress without the aid of Zeboim antiques (Zeboim, who aren't anywhere near as advanced as the original humans!) can boss this thing around?

    I don't remember there being any concrete in-story logic for this, and the only possible explanation I can conceive of is that Karellen was able to take advantage of Deus' weakened state somehow... but wouldn't Miang have been able to see right through him and put a stop to that shit early on? The way things turned out, Karellen just handed Deus' yoke on humanity over to Fei with reckless abandon, apparently to prove some kind of point, but damned if I know what it was. I guess another possible explanation is that Miang just wanted to be set free, and maybe had come to some sort of agreement with Karellen that he would enable her destruction once he got what he wanted. If that's so, though, it should have been much more transparent.

    What was I talking about...? Oh, the Miang Factor. Optimally, Elly should be the one to break the link. If that's somehow not possible, at least let her and Fei fight the last battle in unity, perhaps invoking the angel motif and bringing things full circle.

    For greater thematic resonance, it might be interesting to bring Soraya's original concept of a "an AI with a female personality" back to the fore. But after spending way too much time writing up a tumor of text intended to explore my thoughts here, I have come to the conclusion that I should try again later...
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    Post by Arylett Charnoa on Sun Mar 01, 2015 7:56 pm

    This conversation is probably beyond my scope, but I would like to add my own tidbits.

    When I first played the game, I noticed that there were A LOT of female characters. And I mean, A LOT. More than in anything else I've played. Because I was reading all of the female dialogue aloud (with my fiance reading the male dialogue), I found my voice becoming absolutely parched by the end of the whole thing. So I mean, that has to count for something, doesn't it? It seemed a bit less sexist than other things to me because of that. So many ladies doing so many things.

    Of course, I agree with the sentiment that most of them didn't really get to do very much on their own. And that the game definitely does have sexist undertones. Elly did kind of seem... a bit useless, didn't she? In both plot and battles. I wanted to use her, but she was just so much less powerful than everyone else. I still used her anyway though.

    And I REALLY hated the way that she was just forced out of your party at the end there and effectively got to do a big fat nothing but get saved by Fei. Elly was my favorite character and I was extremely displeased to see the way she was treated later on. Particularly with the fact that she was a high-ranking member of Solaris, but never quite showed much military competence or backbone.

    I don't really agree though with changing Elly's Gear's design. I'm probably biased because I loved the way it looked, but it really isn't all that bad. It's pink and feminine, but there's nothing outright bad or sexist about things being feminine. I myself am pretty feminine. Though I do think that the whole thing with hearts was really unnecessary.

    Also, compared to pretty much... every other video game series out there, the female designs and outfits are relatively tame. Sure, Elly is a bit skin-tight, but I don't see her outfit as completely implausible for a fighter. To me, it looks pretty good as a futuristic space military officer uniform and with some slight modification, I could easily imagine it also being on a male. Also, everything except her head is effectively covered up, so it gets loads of bonus points for that. I find these designs to be really progressive, to be honest. The Elements are the same as well. At least, what I can remember of them.

    So yeah, there you go. I do agree with most of the changes presented here beyond these things I've said though. Especially the thing about Yui. I mean, c'mon! If she got CITAN to like her, she has to be some kind of awesome badass.


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    Post by Yikari on Mon Mar 02, 2015 7:42 am

    Hmm... If you wanted to have Elly display some of the grit, prevailing and raaaargh! usually associated with an action movie lead instead of the character that routinely need their bacon bailed out of some trouble or another during her encounter with the dino, then, assuming a hypothetical full-on remake of Xenogears, you will need a carefully weighted escape sequence.

    Think of it like the one FFVIII has in the beginning - the one with the spider bot. You meet an enemy that you can't defeat at the time. You can fluff about, but, ultimately, their hp can't be exhausted by the means you currently have. The same can't be said for your character. This has some interesting potential to be turned into a gameplay section instead of just a plain cutscene, even if it involves simply shooting up some of the local wildlife and running the hell away to give it some easier prey to eat. (Unless of course it's after Elly because of her - unexplained at the time - super powers; in that case trying and failing to draw its attention away with an easier meal could add to the narrative.)

    Gotta agree with Arylett above on Elly's outfit design. If that's overly girly, then could we have some more of that, please? I regularly have to wait until everybody leaves home to play the games I like since the SNES era because all of these well-oiled half-naked guys and gals on the screen insisting on practically rubbing their crotches on the camera all the time as it is, goddammit. Things like a form-fitting full-body glovesuit are a breath of fresh air at this point.

    Animations could be argued about, however. While not half-bad by any means (can't remember any 'this looks like it will break a person's knees' poses off the top of my head), the 'recovery from prone' one looks h-doujin material, definitely.

    Although, if it is supposed to be a sci-fi flightsuit, then it could show some of its high-tech nature sometime. Going with the above assumption of a full-on Xenogears remake, it could, for example, puff up and become all buoyant when she gets dumped in water.

    XXX

    I'd prefer for Miang (the potentially recurring in every woman one) to not get eradicated in the endgame.

    In that case the Epilogue could show off how this being is doing now that Deus is no more and there is no longer any long-term overarching directive to work towards. Just an... existence, with no life goal enforced from somebody else, until this branch of humanity is no more.
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    Post by RadicalDreamer on Mon Mar 02, 2015 10:47 am

    @Reichu wrote:
    One touch that might be refreshing would be to make half of the Gazel Ministry women. I suppose they already might be and there's honestly no way of knowing, but I have the feeling that this isn't the case. The cryptic councilwoman is so much rarer than her male counterpart. The secret society of shriveled old men who talk in code amongst themselves is established cliche. (This would also solve the logistics problem of where exactly additional people came from after Kadmoni converted all its internal biomass into human bodies. Maybe.)

    I had forgotten about this but you're absolutely right ! It never made any sense to me that they were all male. And maybe they weren't. But we don't really know and most people will assume they were all men.

    @Reichu wrote:A possible route to take with her "Gebler Goobers" (Renk et al) would be to just make them snarky and insubordinate, not sexist. Say, they've heard rumors that Elly got her rank on account of her dad pulling strings, so they're not immediately inclined to give her any more respect than they absolutely have to. However, they quickly change their tune when they see Elly actually is competent. She doesn't have to go out of her way to impress them or prove herself to them; she just acts like the pro that she is.


    Mostly yes. But I think it's not really surprising to meet sexism in the military (especially in Elly's situation, where she's rather young with a high ranking father). It's a sad but realistic struggle. But I think we needed to see a moment where Renk and co. began to actually respect her as their leader. Because those guys come back in Disk2 for one scene and suddenly, it's like they're Elly's close friends when they treated her like crap in Disk1.

    @Reichu wrote:With the Rankar encounter, a more advanced graphics engine would be able to show that Elly put up a fight. Maybe she put out one of the dinosaur's eyes, but it was too little too late. (This still requires some justifying how Fei would be able to last more than a few seconds without being mauled, though...)

    I don't think we needed better graphics. Just a couple of gunshots would have done the trick. Instead, we just hear Elly scream. Neither her or Fei had any good chance against the Rankar without a Gear anyway (well, maybe Elly could have roasted him with her Ether powers but I imagine that those things depend on the character's emotions and health... and Elly didn't seem in top form, not to mention how her experience with Drive probably caused her to feel uncomfortable with her considerable Ether powers, just like Fei with Gears).

    @Reichu wrote:Elly should definitely keep her gun throughout gameplay. However, since having two firearms specialists in the game might be redundant, I say keep the rod in some form, as well. But make it less of the ineffectual sort of thing you'd expect a white mage to carry around, and more a serious melee weapon, like a cop's club. Elly could thereby use both short- and long-range attacks in addition to ether. Speaking of which, for someone with an "infinite" ether response, there isn't much of an excuse for her high failure rate. If that mechanic has to be included, at least make it an improvable statistic.


    Completely agree. I kind of imagine that her rod is a bit like Reno's in FF7, actually. She's not the only character I wish could have several equipable weapons. It would have been nice if there were some sort of fighting gloves (or any of the things Yuri uses from the Shadow Hearts series) for Fei and Rico too. In the end, Citan is the only one who got to fight in different ways (kung fu and with a sword).

    @Reichu wrote:I don't remember there being any concrete in-story logic for this, and the only possible explanation I can conceive of is that Karellen was able to take advantage of Deus' weakened state somehow... but wouldn't Miang have been able to see right through him and put a stop to that shit early on? The way things turned out, Karellen just handed Deus' yoke on humanity over to Fei with reckless abandon, apparently to prove some kind of point, but damned if I know what it was. I guess another possible explanation is that Miang just wanted to be set free, and maybe had come to some sort of agreement with Karellen that he would enable her destruction once he got what he wanted. If that's so, though, it should have been much more transparent.


    I like to think Miang and Krelian were actually secretly on the same page. That, as the two mastermind villains, they were in agreement with each other. I think I remember another discussion on the "why can Krelian approach Deus and modify it with nanomachines without getting a serious ass kicking"... And the only thing I can think of is that Miang just trusted him. Trusted him to revive Deus and make it better. And maybe he understood her secret wish. Whatever it is... I'm pretty sure those two "got along" the best out of the villain cast.

    @Reichu wrote:What was I talking about...? Oh, the Miang Factor. Optimally, Elly should be the one to break the link. If that's somehow not possible, at least let her and Fei fight the last battle in unity, perhaps invoking the angel motif and bringing things full circle.


    Not commenting on this specifically but... wasn't Elly able to control Deus at the end of the game ? The group kind of comment of it and urge Fei to go after her.

    @Arylett Charnoa wrote:
    When I first played the game, I noticed that there were A LOT of female characters. And I mean, A LOT. More than in anything else I've played. Because I was reading all of the female dialogue aloud (with my fiance reading the male dialogue), I found my voice becoming absolutely parched by the end of the whole thing. So I mean, that has to count for something, doesn't it? It seemed a bit less sexist than other things to me because of that. So many ladies doing so many things.

    That's weird. I often considered Xenogears as a sausage fest for the most part. There ARE ladies but I can't shake the "sausage fest" impression. I mean, if you look at the main team, you have : a badass teenage male priest, a badass adult male doctor, the male teenage/young adult hero, a big adult guy, a hotheaded teenage/young adult prince... and then you have the young adult heroine, two little girls (one being an early 13/14 years old teen) and a pink hamster. Then consider that only the heroine gets developped consistently (Maria's story stops too soon and Emeralda doesn't get much... and Chu-Chu... is a terrible joke)... while not being available as a playable character for the whole game. At least, FF7 had two adult heroines + an energetic (and fishy... I do like Yuffie despite her robbing us) 16 years old ninja girl (though one of them dying reduced the number, unfortunately... and in the end, FF7 is also a sausage fest... later FF games improved on the female/male balance, just like the Xeno games did).


    @Arylett Charnoa wrote:Of course, I agree with the sentiment that most of them didn't really get to do very much on their own.

    Yep. Especially as they had potential.


    @Arylett Charnoa wrote:I don't really agree though with changing Elly's Gear's design. I'm probably biased because I loved the way it looked, but it really isn't all that bad. It's pink and feminine, but there's nothing outright bad or sexist about things being feminine. I myself am pretty feminine. Though I do think that the whole thing with hearts was really unnecessary.

    It's not the problem. I love Aerith very much in FF7 and always defended her when she got attacked for wearing a pink dress and being feminine. The problem is... Elly's Gear is military. It's incredibly out of place and sexist to see such things in a military context. Same reason I talked about the Element designs and Elly's stockings (and non tied Rapunzel hair while I'm at it).

    @Arylett Charnoa wrote:Also, compared to pretty much... every other video game series out there, the female designs and outfits are relatively tame. Sure, Elly is a bit skin-tight, but I don't see her outfit as completely implausible for a fighter. To me, it looks pretty good as a futuristic space military officer uniform and with some slight modification, I could easily imagine it also being on a male. Also, everything except her head is effectively covered up, so it gets loads of bonus points for that. I find these designs to be really progressive, to be honest. The Elements are the same as well. At least, what I can remember of them.


    Won't argue with you that other games can be worse (playing Planescape Torment atm and laughing at the npc "high class" women dressed with a single thin piece of fabric).
    It's just me being used to stories involving the military and finding the Xenogears female military designs unappropriate. If you want a point of reference, I can point you to Full Metal Alchemist's military designs. Those are appropriate looking. I'm also fine with Evangelion's suits.
    That said, I do like Elly's design overall. I just wish her outfit looked more like a full suit than a dress with stockings. I did some drawings and believe me, her design wouldn't need to be changed that much. Miang is sort of fine because she often appears more as an aide than a fighter on a mission. I kind of consider her outfit like a dress uniform (women in the military *can* wear skirts when they put their dress uniform on).

    The elements girls are a bit more tricky... mostly Seraphita (white panties on top of her outfit... ehh) and Kelvena (frilly dress). Then look at the Element guys, illustrated by Soraya Saga... and none of them look out of place.
    Non military female characters look fine. Though it would have been nice of the team/Yggdrasil crew to give Emeralda proper clothes lol... (poor kid *but then again, PW says that Emeralda tore the clothes given to her by Solaris/Krelian because she didn't like them... maybe she'd prefer to run around naked... considering she's not human, can morph into different things and spent the major part of her existence floating naked in a tube*).
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    Post by Reichu on Mon Mar 02, 2015 3:31 pm

    @RadicalDreamer wrote:I think it's not really surprising to meet sexism in the military (especially in Elly's situation, where she's rather young with a high ranking father). It's a sad but realistic struggle.
    I suppose it depends on whether it would be better, here, to imitate reality, or model a new reality. One of the things fiction can do is show people what is possible, so they don't feel chained to a oppressing world and can aim for new heights. In an alternate reality, you can show women in traditionally male positions, and have the world treat it as perfectly normal -- if she's judged, it's as an individual and not as a woman.

    Neon Genesis Evangelion gets this aspect down pat. It acknowledges classic gender norms, since social memes don't disappear overnight, but they don't really matter. Two of the highest-ranking people in Nerv are women, and, on the job, they are taken very seriously. No insubordination, no attributing their failures to being female, nothing. I really don't think the show would have gained anything from having the male staff blow them off and make disparaging remarks behind their backs. It's so much more freeing to see a world where this behavior just doesn't happen. (Another example off the top of my head is Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.)

    Not commenting on this specifically but... wasn't Elly able to control Deus at the end of the game ? The group kind of comment of it and urge Fei to go after her.
    I'm not completely sure what was going on there, to be honest! Deus apparently "deactivated", and then, after the Wave Entity got ready to bust out, Elly is attributed with moving Deus out into space to minimize the damage. I'm not sure if this is actually controlling Deus or using psychokinesis or what. Xenogears confuses me...

    The problem is... Elly's Gear is military. It's incredibly out of place and sexist to see such things in a military context. Same reason I talked about the Element designs and Elly's stockings (and non tied Rapunzel hair while I'm at it).
    Absolutely, on all accounts. Who wouldn't have trouble taking Elly seriously, given Vierge's design? The lack of pants, too -- this was an easy target in Dark Id's LP and/or Rope of Robots, I forget which.

    I'm also fine with Evangelion's suits.
    The operator outfits, anyway, could use some help. The men get pants, the women get skirts with white leggings underneath. Sigh.

    Then look at the Element guys, illustrated by Soraya Saga... and none of them look out of place.
    Here's a link for anyone who, like me, had managed to miss it previously. Very Happy (But speaking of Tanaka-san, some of her outfit renditions are worse than the final version!)

    @Yikari wrote:I'd prefer for Miang (the potentially recurring in every woman one) to not get eradicated in the endgame.
    I got the impression that she HAD to be destroyed, otherwise she would keep working toward Deus' resurrection. I'm not sure how you resurrect something after it's been destroyed, so I guess she would manipulate humanity into rebuilding Deus from scratch. I probably need to check my sources here, though. (I tried browsing through Perfect Works but now my head just hurts... Getting my notes in order might be better.)
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    Post by Yikari on Tue Mar 03, 2015 2:48 am

    @Reichu wrote:
    I got the impression that she HAD to be destroyed, otherwise she would keep working toward Deus' resurrection. I'm not sure how you resurrect something after it's been destroyed, so I guess she would manipulate humanity into rebuilding Deus from scratch.

    Guide technological progress to try and repeat the feat of Deus' construction? Always possible, I suppose, although being set free of this compelling goal would fit the general tone of the ending more, IMHO.

    XXX

    One other thing I forgot to mention yesterday:

    I think Elly's parents get killed off too quickly. Coupled with (what seems like) a lot of skipped scenes, Elly's going off the rails and becoming more and more like the archetype then the person she grew up to be doesn't really get shown at all.

    I think people that knew her for a long time - like her parents - and people in the main party and those around them would collectively freak out when faced with Elly's change in character.
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    Post by Kire-Kitsune on Tue Mar 03, 2015 1:20 pm

    I wanted to comment on the nature of the problem as opposed to the full analysis at hand for a moment. While I agree that the sexism in the game is certainly present I feel it is prudent to distinguish between intentional and unintentional sexist behavior. Speaking as an artist who has written and drawn his own comics since elementary school, it is insanely easy to slip into stereotypes that conform to negative social norms. Personally, I am certainly no sexist. In all, I agree with the points raised by feminism. (Even if I do believe the people going on about it can occasionally reach Malcolm X levels of extremism.) However, as the opposite sex, I have difficulties writing females. There is a genuine wall between how I would think and act and how some of my friends would.

    This is not to say there is any kind of deficiency in that difference but that it is just that: A difference. I cannot even claim to make use of the male gaze, seeing as how I'm homosexual and make a conscious effort to not sexualize a character unless it is a particular trait of the character. (I'm certainly not going to dress a prostitute up as Hilary Clinton, now am I? As honestly hilarious as that sounds.) Often I have found myself hitting a brick wall because I have accidentally caricatured a female character in some way.

    Being aware of a problem does not always present the answers to the problem, unfortunately. I think that's why Soraya Saga's influence has often balanced out Takahashi's work. He is a more cerebral, story focused writer. I would argue that he may not always consider the characters before their roles in the grand scheme of things. Saga, on the other hand, is more intent on exploring the elements of their humanity as opposed to what makes a human human. This can lead to tons of elementary stereotyping, even within an otherwise solid narrative.

    Cultural conditioning is always an factor as well. Again, from my perspective, I am fairly masculine in many ways. I have the usual male interests, mecha, action flicks, swords and guns and all that wonderful violence-drenched media. However, on the flip side, I have many feminine qualities behind closed doors, Especially in the presence of my Fiance. These extend to the way I interact socially as well, being that I've always been the proverbial den mother of my friends and family. So even with these factors I find it difficult to write a female character without pratfalling into stereotypes or coming off as disingenuous.  

    In closing, I must question to a point if unintentional sexism should be considered when taking apart a layered piece of work such as Xenogears. In many ways, the overriding themes of the game argue against the sexist stereotypes within the game and even make a case for the abolishment of such concepts. So when does intent rule over implementation?

    That got a little too long, lol. Sorry. Just to be clear, I am not arguing against discussing the issues with the game, because they are certainly there. I just wanted to explore the topic in a diffrent manner.


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    Post by Arylett Charnoa on Tue Mar 03, 2015 2:21 pm

    @RadicalDreamer wrote:That's weird. I often considered Xenogears as a sausage fest for the most part. There ARE ladies but I can't shake the "sausage fest" impression. I mean, if you look at the main team, you have : a badass teenage male priest, a badass adult male doctor, the male teenage/young adult hero, a big adult guy, a hotheaded teenage/young adult prince... and then you have the young adult heroine, two little girls (one being an early 13/14 years old teen) and a pink hamster. Then consider that only the heroine gets developped consistently (Maria's story stops too soon and Emeralda doesn't get much... and Chu-Chu... is a terrible joke)... while not being available as a playable character for the whole game. At least, FF7 had two adult heroines + an energetic (and fishy... I do like Yuffie despite her robbing us) 16 years old ninja girl (though one of them dying reduced the number, unfortunately... and in the end, FF7 is also a sausage fest... later FF games improved on the female/male balance, just like the Xeno games did).
    Well, I read the dialogue for every human female (and the Wave Existence, because we thought it was fitting that it would have a female voice. That's kind of my head canon here) in the game. (So I'm not counting Chu-Chu) In the main party, yes, it was a complete sausage fest. However, let me list all of the ladies of significance:

    Elly/Sophia, Maria, Seraphita, Kelvena, Tolone, Dominia, Miang,  Emeralda, Queen Zephyr, Margie, Elly's mother. Whilst each individually didn't contribute very much to the story, eleven is a WHOLE LOT for me to have some plot relevant dialogue. We've read aloud all of the games we've played, and in most of them, I rarely get to open my mouth. However, I often had to speak in scenes with all of the Elements, Elly, and Miang. It was a much more equal reading than usual. So I was pretty impressed with that, the fact that so many ladies had a more relevant and recurring role in the story. Yes, it's still a sausage fest, but when I think to those other games... it at least attempts to have females contribute a bit more to the plot.

    @RadicalDreamer wrote:It's just me being used to stories involving the military and finding the Xenogears female military designs unappropriate. If you want a point of reference, I can point you to Full Metal Alchemist's military designs. Those are appropriate looking. I'm also fine with Evangelion's suits.
    Yeah, I've seen FMA's designs. They do look more realistically military, like people who could be in a real life military. But I think that as Xenogears has a more futuristic setting in Solaris, the futuristic aesthetic is what was being focused on for the uniforms. Their intention to me was to make them look more like SPACE than MILITARY. Of course, I'm just kind of able to easily accept the outfits as being some weird space military suits. Although I do think that Evangelion's suits look more... futuristic space and military than Xenogears.

    @RadicalDreamer wrote:
    It's not the problem. I love Aerith very much in FF7 and always defended her when she got attacked for wearing a pink dress and being feminine. The problem is... Elly's Gear is military. It's incredibly out of place and sexist to see such things in a military context. Same reason I talked about the Element designs and Elly's stockings (and non tied Rapunzel hair while I'm at it).
    Ah, well, that does make sense.

    @Reichu wrote:Then look at the Element guys, illustrated by Soraya Saga... and none of them look out of place.
    Here's a link for anyone who, like me, had managed to miss it previously. Very Happy (But speaking of Tanaka-san, some of her outfit renditions are worse than the final version!
    So this IS a thing! I've never seen it before, but it does prove my point that Elly's outfit is pretty gender neutral.

    @Kire-Kitsune wrote:In closing, I must question to a point if unintentional sexism should be considered when taking apart a layered piece of work such as Xenogears. In many ways, the overriding themes of the game argue against the sexist stereotypes within the game and even make a case for the abolishment of such concepts. So when does intent rule over implementation?
    Well, I do agree that it isn't really fair to be blaming Xenogears exclusively for the unintentional sexism. Their creators, just like the rest of us, are unconsciously influenced by it as you said. By discussing these problems and unintentional sexisms, we're really just kind of opening up a lens to the bigger picture. Meaning that we shouldn't blame them for the problem at large. It takes loads of conscious effort not to fall into it, and even then, somebody somewhere will think you've fallen into it.

    However, I think that execution is more important than intent, and I don't really think there is quite a time when intent rules over execution. The Xeno series is kind of full of all of these grand intentions that to me, never get executed quite correctly or in any satisfying way. Most of this isn't really their faults. Yet all most people see of any work of fiction is its execution. And every work of fiction will have those sorts of flaws in its execution, just like every work of art. We all have these grand intentions that sometimes, no matter how good we are, we don't know how to make them happen exactly as our brains specify. So whilst we shouldn't fault them entirely for society's issues at large, we should consider this unintentional sexism still. There wouldn't really be anything to discuss if we discounted the flaws in the execution anyway, because there's not really a surefire way to know what sexism was intentional other than just speculation. And also because I get the feeling that most people don't mean to be sexist when they're writing stories like these. It just kind of happens.

    Sorry if that didn't make much sense. I'm not really used to having these sorts of discussions and my opinions on this matter are kind of nebulous and all over the place.


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    Post by Kire-Kitsune on Tue Mar 03, 2015 2:44 pm

    I fully agree that execution, more often than not, is more important than the intentions behind it. (Even if I tend to go by "It's the thought that counts,") You make a good point that flaws merit discussion, as there are no perfect works of art. Especially not Xeno, which is as flawed as any great work can be. I do think however that some people can blow these things way out of proportion which is why I'd rather consider that the author screwed up. Takahashi's later work seems to confirm this. (Though, for the sake of brevity and my own sanity, I will not get in to KOSMOS's android-battle lingerie or Sharla's ever-cleavage, lol) Though, Vierge's design looks like Sailor Moon by way of Zone of the Enders, so, shit. lol And in regards to your opinions, they are perfectly coherent. No need to apologize. To be honest, I have little opinion on the sexism present in the game other than that I recognize it. I can't help but feel little towards it because I tend to get sucked into the whole thing, so most of it is fridge realization after the fact, even now. Except that Fei is a dipstick. That I always notice.


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    Post by Yikari on Sun Mar 08, 2015 8:37 am

    @Kire-Kitsune wrote:...KOSMOS's android-battle lingerie...

    That one never fails to raise my blood pressure, and not in a good way.

    I'm not even sure why. That kind of art design in video games - for both genders - have been present in my life since (at least) I've first played Golden Axe II at the age of about 7-8 years old, and it didn't really went away anywhere since then.

    And yet here I am sitting here, wishing more characters were drawn like Ziggy and Juli - characters that are, IMHO, not anywhere near 'unattractive' or 'bland' in their appearance, but still not an exercise in 'how much fetishes can we stuff a single human figure with'.

    Various developers' insistence on stuffing it all into 3D graphics seriously underequipped for showing wide expanses of open skin probably helped though. Seriously, it's like the senseless rush for the third dimension all over again, only people tried for it well into PS2 era and later and thus had ample foreknowledge of how it would look but did it anyway.

    Or maybe it's just oversaturation and my mind simply goes for what is more rare?

    Sorry for being off-topic. Embarassed
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    Post by Kire-Kitsune on Sun Mar 08, 2015 7:37 pm

    I wouldn't say that's off-topic entirely, as it is a symptom of the issues established in Xenogears. It's one of my only real problems with Xenosaga, seeing as how KOSMOS is otherwise well-handled and respectfully written. She's not a sex driven character so I don't understand why she, a battle android, needs a friggin' garter belt and obvious cleavage/butt showing. It's ridiculous. (Add on to that the whole Mary Magdaline thing and we have a somewhat offensive turn as well, lol)

    It's also sad that I find many other elements of her design appealing-her eyes being particularly striking. KOSMOS is like an excellent character design fighting against overwrought costume design. Except, ironically, in the least liked game where she was most sensibly dressed. Part II. Go figure.

    http://img1.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20120522113131/p__/protagonist/images/4/44/Xeno3.jpg

    That is a pretty good reimagining of the first outfit. It keeps here feminine form without needlessly showing off skin, instead accentuating her form. I find that far more effective as it maintains sex appeal without attaching a miniskirt to a hardened battle android.

    It reminds me of the Catwoman design in Batman the Animated series. Sleek, sexy and cool-not gratuitous for no reason other than pleasing fan boys. Like the Halle Berry Catwoman. Ugh...I can feel vomit coming up.


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    Post by Ben on Mon Mar 09, 2015 5:09 am

    I just wanted to throw one thing out here:  While I do think a lot of the sexist elements of Xenogears are unintentional, I don't think there's any question that for Xenosaga, KOSMOS looks the way she does because sex sells.   If teenage boys are the primary target of your game, battle lingerie makes a lot of sense.  If you want to be taken seriously as a work of art (which I think Takahashi certainly wanted for those games), it's detrimental to the quality of the work that was done.   I don't think that makes Xenosaga inherently bad, it just makes it sexist in some aspects, which is a fair critique.  This isn't just a gaming issue either, it's one thing that bums me out about anime as well.  That's one reason I always liked Leiji Matsumoto, he was insanely progressive for someone working in the era that he was, let alone in the medium of anime.  Of course, one of his first works with a female lead was Queen Millenia, which was cut short due to low ratings, so I don't think there's any question as to why fan service is so prevalent in anime and videogames.


    Also, I still have the rough draft of that essay I mentioned earlier at the beginning of this thread, I am going to finish it someday.  I started a new job and have more free time now, so I'll probably be more active here as well.  There is just a lot of ground to trod in terms of Xenogears and the Gnosticism connections that hasn't really been covered (that I still need to learn more about Gnosticism to flesh out), I need to finish it before I get hit by a bus or something.
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    Post by RadicalDreamer on Mon Mar 09, 2015 9:43 pm

    @Kire-Kitsune wrote:I wanted to comment on the nature of the problem as opposed to the full analysis at hand for a moment. While I agree that the sexism in the game is certainly present I feel it is prudent to distinguish between intentional and unintentional sexist behavior. Speaking as an artist who has written and drawn his own comics since elementary school, it is insanely easy to slip into stereotypes that conform to negative social norms. Personally, I am certainly no sexist. In all, I agree with the points raised by feminism. (Even if I do believe the people going on about it can occasionally reach Malcolm X levels of extremism.) However, as the opposite sex, I have difficulties writing females. There is a genuine wall between how I would think and act and how some of my friends would.


    You may not consider yourself sexist but a lot of things we say or do can attest to the contrary. I guess that's what you would call "unintentional sexism". But to the other person, you'll come off as sexist, period. No distinction.

    It's the exact same with racism in fact and I witnessed unfortunate behaviors in my family like that. Even I once displayed racist behavior towards a friend out of anger (the story : I was 14 and hurt over my dog's death, she didn't listen to me and laughed, I got annoyed, then angry and said the most hurtful thing to appease my own hurt *I tend to do that when I'm angry, I lose my mind and go for the most hurtful thing, even if I don't really think it... I did the same to my grandmother when I was even younger, and she held a grudge until she got too sick to remember it*... she was so angry she physically assaulted me). Yet I don't consider myself racist. But I can bet that this person/friend probably never forgot or forgave what I said to her. I myself never could forgive myself about it, it's a really shameful memory.

    I call my family on it sometimes and tell them that they would be in trouble if they voiced the same things in front of black people. My mother in particular doesn't seem to realize how problematic some of the stuff she says are (for example, saying stuff like "It's not his fault that he's black..." ... sounds nice but it comes off offensive when you think about it... it basically implies that being black is a sin/bad thing, but that it "isn't your fault"... kind of similar to the church's ideas on homosexuality in fact). I mean, she's genuinely clueless, and she even feels insecure around black people because she's afraid of saying something wrong. My father is another topic entirely (he basically gets mad at me for talking about gender equality stuff, is bitter that he didn't force religion on me when I was a kid *I'm agnostic/atheist and fine with being free of figuring out the world for myself*, makes me feel bad about my anxiety disorder/depression/lack of job... we don't get along too well sometimes, though we love each other as father and faughter despite all those things).

    So, see, at the end of the say... Execution is what matters. What is written matters. What is said matters. Communication is important, in short. It is for relationships/life, and it is for any work of fiction (or advertizing). Maybe one of the reasons Xenoblade is the most popular and loved Xeno games in gaming, when you think about it (I love the Gears/Saga stories, lore and characters a lot more, but many others hate those for not being finished or/and more "focused"/straightforward... I don't feel like this because I see beyond a game's flaws I guess... and I value genuine passion and creativity more than execution *having all of those is better though*, I use my imagination a lot while playing games so I guess it helps... nowadays, there is hardly a place for it anymore... this is in part why the PS2 era was so strange when you went from spending your time reading the dialogues on the SNES/PS1 to watching voiced cutscenes with expressive looking faces *or not* on PS2 and beyond).

    As for writing female characters. Honestly ? I don't get what is so difficult. But maybe it is because I tend to think about personalities first and foremost. I will admit that I tend to come up with female characters more easily. Not only that, but I recently made a list of fanarts to draw and realized that most of the characters I planned to draw are female (I do have an affinity with drawing the female body *though nude drawing classes made me appreciate drawing the male form more... I sucked at it before that*). Other women tend to go crazy for male characters and male/male relationships. I don't share the same interest (hence making it a bit lonely to be in fandom at times *I have a few slash pairings I like but they are very few, I think what bothers me with slash is that it oftens focus on the same male characters with major screen time/character and relationship development... while women and het relationships with limited development in canon get hate in fandom... the latter gets the short end of the stick in both canon and fandom basically... well, that is my personal experience and things are slowly getting better... especially as genuine gay relationships get representation in canon and sometimes, het friendships, ships and female characters don't get screwed over in canon*). It's not like I don't enjoy male characters or can't create them. But maybe I just prefer women (and yet, I'm 90 % straight).

    The point is... talking from artist to artist here... maybe you should think of a personality first when you create a character. You can choose the gender later, and adapt a few things (to avoid the "man with boobs" effect *whatever this means, to be honest, if you worked on a personality first instead of creating a male character and switching it at the last minute to female, you likely won't have this problem*). Like, if your character is female... maybe she was prejudiced against in her life, or she's a mother (which means she once gave birth, a thing unique to women)...

    But interests, jobs, personality... those aren't (or shouldn't be) dictated by society's view on gender when you create characters. Women and men aren't hiveminds. I mean, if I look at myself, I like video games, science fiction, porn (yep, written AND visual, and I'm not alone, though it's not something I like to share unlike some people on Tumblr), I hate shopping, make-up is a bother, I want to work on video games eventually (as an artist), if I had been good enough I would have enjoyed working at NASA or becoming an archeologist... and I also enjoy romance, I don't hate dresses... and that's all I can about "stereotypically feminine" stuff that apply to me because it already seems silly to me (like yeah I'm a sensible person... but so can be a guy).

    I personally don't like putting people in neat boxes. So, it goes the same for fictional characters. I have an original story I work on occasionally (for years) and my main female character evolved into a cyborg (Xeno heritage lol). The body is bulky with a few feminine traits (the face and voice I think, I don't know if I want to go the "sexy robot road", because it doesn't represent my character, and I want a body that would seem impressive and resistant *not unlike Samus Aran armor*, as I also intend to make my character a bodybuard for another) while the brain/soul once occupied a male body. I had the idea that this character was a scientist who was constantly searching for answers about life in general... but always felt at loss about his/her own identity (and it resonates with how I feel). How he/she ended up a cyborg is still a bit unclear (I like to think it was intentional and the character designed his/her mechanical body... maybe for self preservation *funny story here : my original story has a few similitaries with XBX's premise, it's pretty much why I liked it when it was announced... though maybe earth didn't explode here*).

    Other important female characters in my story are an important business woman/resistance leader (who is also a scholar of sorts... in fact, the first time I ever thought about this character, she was a female Jack Sparrow... but ideas evolve *she's still the boldest and most excentric female character I have, but she's no longer a Sparrow expy*) who had her son taken away from her when she was younger (the character is in her 40's, one thing that I rarely see in fiction by the way compared to male characters) and a young religious fighter (inspired by what's happening currently in parts of the islamic world). The point is, as you can see... in the case of my cyborg character, you can't rely on gender stereotypes and must think about a personality type instead. There are various personality type studies. It might help to create personalities without thinking about gender stereotypes (I do find them useful anyway).

    And what about my male characters ? It's more tricky for me to come up with them, like I said. Not because I can't relate to them (I was kinda forced to relate to male characters considering their over abondance in fiction) but because fiction is FILLED with them already (maybe your real problem is the reverse.. not enough varied AND layered female characters in fiction). I have my main male character figured out, I think (to balance things out with my main "female" character, I chose to create a physical disability for him but give him a strong fixed personality *a proud man, that he is*). Then, I also have my business woman's heterosexual life partner (think Captain Matthews from Xenosaga, but shorter and more plump... he's kind of like a brother and right hand man to her). My business woman's heartbreaks (her lost son and old companion). Two travelling merchants (I didn't think much about them but my inspiration comes from the Figaro/Fatima brothers, in spirit *that's a cliché I'm willing to use, I love sibling stories*).

    Anyway, in the end, I don't think finding interesting characters (male or female) is hard... Naming them... however... I can't... ugh...

    @Kire-Kitsune wrote:Being aware of a problem does not always present the answers to the problem, unfortunately. I think that's why Soraya Saga's influence has often balanced out Takahashi's work. He is a more cerebral, story focused writer. I would argue that he may not always consider the characters before their roles in the grand scheme of things. Saga, on the other hand, is more intent on exploring the elements of their humanity as opposed to what makes a human human. This can lead to tons of elementary stereotyping, even within an otherwise solid narrative.


    She's not the only one. Xenoblade had a female writer, if I remember right. In the Iwata Asks, there was a part where Takahashi explained how he changed an affectionate gesture between Seven and Shulk on Fallen Arm because the female writer told him it appeared too direct.

    @Kire-Kitsune wrote:In many ways, the overriding themes of the game argue against the sexist stereotypes within the game and even make a case for the abolishment of such concepts. So when does intent rule over implementation?

    Yeah but female independance was never portrayed (we just have Fei
    Spoiler:
    playing the knight in shining armor for all women instead of women or a woman taking up a stand against the cycle
    ), hence the issue I have. When does intent rule over implementation ? In case of sexism and racism, never, I think. And to be honest, most storytelling experts would tell you execution/implementation always rules over intent in general. To some players for example, it won't matter that Disk2 was meant to be more developped/less rushed. The only thing they know is that it is rushed/incomplete as they play the game. There are people who hate Xenogears for this alone in fact (it's really a dealbreaker for some).


    @Arylett Charnoa wrote:
    Yeah, I've seen FMA's designs. They do look more realistically military, like people who could be in a real life military. But I think that as Xenogears has a more futuristic setting in Solaris, the futuristic aesthetic is what was being focused on for the uniforms. Their intention to me was to make them look more like SPACE than MILITARY. Of course, I'm just kind of able to easily accept the outfits as being some weird space military suits. Although I do think that Evangelion's suits look more... futuristic space and military than Xenogears.

    Designs like Seraphita's and Kelvena's aren't even appropriate space suits, though. It's just pure fanservice (I mean, Kelvena herself is described as "fanservice for the boys" in Perfect Works, they're not hiding it *and the bunny girl was to get the biggest boobs*... also, the book contains an Elly pervy shower scene *Bart even joins in the perving*, though in fairness, this trope was subverted in the actual game... there is also an artwork with Elly in a swimsuit and heels in front of Vierge, reminding me very much of scantily clad women posing on cars *there is the same phenomena with gaming, like in events like E3*... it's amusing to note though that the most tasteful artworks that show skin are the full nudity ones, ahah).

    @Arylett Charnoa wrote:Well, I do agree that it isn't really fair to be blaming Xenogears exclusively for the unintentional sexism. Their creators, just like the rest of us, are unconsciously influenced by it as you said. By discussing these problems and unintentional sexisms, we're really just kind of opening up a lens to the bigger picture. Meaning that we shouldn't blame them for the problem at large. It takes loads of conscious effort not to fall into it, and even then, somebody somewhere will think you've fallen into it.
    It IS fair to blame a piece of work for its failings. Then, yeah, I agree that the overall culture is to blame and people need to educate themselves to do better (and yeah, you won't please everyone at the end of the day, but it's better than not trying new things, I think). BUT... fictional works are a mirror to society/culture. It CAN influence it. In fact, both fiction and the real world feed on each other. And the creators are a part of society. Honestly, compare several games from the same era and some will probably be better at producing a good female friendly cast... while others will be more off putting. There are definitively writers who respect female characters and know how to write them while others are really bad at this (making me angry/upset at times... you have no idea how much Death Note made me feel uneasy, then I watched FMA for the first time and I felt better). And point of views also evolve. I can say that the Xeno series rather improved on female character representation since Xenogears. Despite the pervy outfits we still get (oh god, Lyn... and back then, MOMO and those awful panty shots... it's awful when they do this with really young female characters... sexualisation of female characters can suck but I'm okay with it if the world is crazy enough and equally fanservicy *both at the same time* or if it makes sense for a certain character to be sexual/sensual... but sexualisation of kids is really gross).

    @Arylett Charnoa wrote:However, I think that execution is more important than intent, and I don't really think there is quite a time when intent rules over execution. The Xeno series is kind of full of all of these grand intentions that to me, never get executed quite correctly or in any satisfying way. Most of this isn't really their faults. Yet all most people see of any work of fiction is its execution. And every work of fiction will have those sorts of flaws in its execution, just like every work of art.
    Yes. Though it makes me a bit sad that some people can't go past this. Xenogears isn't at all the first and only flawed work of fiction I loved. I know there are many well executed games and movies that really don't appeal to me at all. And flawed ones that I love way too much lol... Being an artist, I learned about this issue in school : you may execute something perfectly, but if there is no genuine feelings behind it, it may not grab people. Thinking about this, I honestly prefer something imperfect that speaks to me compared to a technical improvement with no spark/passion (maybe that's one of the reasons why I love seeing things in progress... it's messy but it may looks more beautiful than the final result... I experienced this with my own art too).

    @Kire-Kitsune wrote:I wouldn't say that's off-topic entirely, as it is a symptom of the issues established in Xenogears. It's one of my only real problems with Xenosaga, seeing as how KOSMOS is otherwise well-handled and respectfully written. She's not a sex driven character so I don't understand why she, a battle android, needs a friggin' garter belt and obvious cleavage/butt showing. It's ridiculous. (Add on to that the whole Mary Magdaline thing and we have a somewhat offensive turn as well, lol)

    It's also sad that I find many other elements of her design appealing-her eyes being particularly striking. KOSMOS is like an excellent character design fighting against overwrought costume design. Except, ironically, in the least liked game where she was most sensibly dressed. Part II. Go figure.

    I agree about KOS-MOS. Though, sometimes, I wonder if the "hooker look" was intentional symbolism. I mean, Mary Magdalene was rumored to be a prostitute, after all (hence why some people didn't like her to be pictured with Jesus).
    Well, people disliked the design change in Episode 2 mainly because of the new "more realistic" (and western/anti-Tanaka pandering) style. Though I heard silly things about Shion looking sexualised starting from this game (really what? Her outfit in Ep 2 looks like I could wear it and not attract much attention in real life... technically, it's her least sexualized outfit of all 3 games *as in, it's not sexualized at all*).
    Kire-Kitsune
    Kire-Kitsune

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    Post by Kire-Kitsune on Tue Mar 10, 2015 5:45 am

    To clarify, my main issue is how my characters are normally gender neutral in personality. Issues arise when I attempt to write more traditionally feminine characters. It's simply not something I have a lot of experience with.

    I agree also that part of my problem is a lack of decent female characters to draw on. Though, the best examples I tend to go on as inspiration are Nausicaa from Nausicaa and the Valley of the Wind, Jade from Beyond Good and Evil, River from Firefly and Riza Hawkeye in FMA. Particularly because I feel their roles would be totally unaffected if gender swapped. I feel that makes them strong characters. That, however, is the best I've got off the top of my head. Besides, maybe, Major Motoko from Ghost in the Shell (though she is overly sexualized here and there to the point of lunacy) and Kitara from Avatar the Last Airbender. It's a pretty small list compared to all the good male leads in fiction, that's for sure.

    Oh, and whoever said Shion's outfit in EP.II was sexualized, I call bullshit. Compared to the Tomb Raider getup in EP.III it's pretty tasteful. It's actually pretty cool looking to me.

    As to Intent vs. Execution, I generally agree with all of your points. Execution is far more important than intent, though I feel intent should be considered more often than it is and used to inform the execution. Xenogears is a brilliant, beautiful game with excellent characters and a deep, believable world. But it is also sloppily told in spots, it drops characters almost as they are introduced, (Rico, mainly) it can't always discern if it's tone is light or dark, sexist issues run through it (On both sides) and ultimately it is an incomplete game that literally commentates on events you never witnessed in lieu of actually experiencing them. It is a deeply flawed game. But it has heart, spirit and genuine love behind it. Because of this I can readily forgive it's faults. It is that impressive a work. And I love Margie. Even if the whole thing between her and Bart is an uncomfortable parallel to Simba and Nala. (Come to think of it, that whole plot arc is similar to the Lion King...)


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