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discussion Why FFXIV's rape themes fall monumentally flat

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I wanted to break this off from the other thread regarding Stormblood RP, which was talking about the in-game allusions to the gang rape of females by Garlean soldiers and...well, just mostly rape really. Look, I am a big fan of the focus on 'relative realism' as far as FFXIV's world goes, but why must it always be the topic of rape used to heavyhand grittiness and realism? For example, I adore the Witcher 3, but in my time playing it to completion, I don't recall it resorting to such an easy topic to provoke an emotional reaction. Yes, fine, rape is a real thing and should not be glossed over when it comes to production fiction. But they employ it so easily in FFXIV that it makes it lazy.

 

This laziness is exacerbated by these two premises that will form the core of my argument...

 

1) Women are institutionally equal to men in the world of FFXIV.

 

 

...and (although I'm not an expert on the subject)...

 

2) Rape is facilitated by men possessing near-exclusive control of the means to apply physical violence.

 

 

I may be very off with point 2 but please bear with me as I press on. Regarding 1), all you have to do is look at the innumerable military NPCs across the game world. Square Enix are very deliberate and particular with how they craft the NPCs to populate the world according to their lore. In the lorebook, Ul'dah is primarily composed of Midlanders, Highlanders, Hellsguard, and Dunesfolk. Consequentially, the vast majority of Ul'dahn NPCs will be of these races. This attention to detail can be broken down further; Grand Company NPCs are clothed according to their rank, from soldier through to officer. A Grand Company NPC who is dressed in officer clothing can be found briefing NPCs who are dressed in a lower-ranking uniform. This deliberate sense of world building is there clear as day.

 

I point out this attention-to-detail to preemptively counter any dissent over the fact that these military NPCs are just as likely to be female as they are male. I am conscious of any counter-arguments being made that I am overthinking the presence of female military NPCs, which I am not. SE were deliberate with their racial choices of NPCs accurately representing the region they inhabit, so if they wanted to imply that the military profession is male-dominated, they would have made all soldier NPCs male.

 

Moving on, then, 3) FFXIV exists in a historical and social state that is not completely analogous to our own. The real-life military, and especially combat units, is not 50:50 male and female. In Eorzea, female swordsmen hold command over male swordsmen. Bringing up one or two examples of real-life historical exceptions is not equivalent, because female leadership and female military leadership is widespread and completely normal to Eorzeans.

 

So, why, then are women and girls in FFXIV defaulting to the role of being rape victims? I drop this quote...

 

 

When Ala Mhigo fell, they put my family in a camp. Bein’ a lad, I was made to do hard labor, while my mother an’ sister were made to do far worse

 

Sorry, where is the female centurion who is sympathetic to the female condition (if it even exists as we know it in FFXIV) not stepping in to prevent this? Where is the female centurion ordering her troops to rape men? This is not just the Garleans. The Sea Wolf raiders would apparently commit to the same atrocities. Yet, the current 'leader' (if you will) of the Sea Wolves is a female. It may be a stretch to argue, but how do women achieve unquestionable equality in a culture where rape is supposedly a norm? The armies of FFXIV are both men and women, so how does half an army just ignore such crimes?

 

Essentially, this brings us on to...

 

4) The only time gender relations in FFXIV are addressed is with crude allusions to rape.

 

 

As far as I can see, there are no sexist jabs beyond stuff like cat-calling. There is no 'That Merlwyb wench shouldn't be in charge because she ain't no man'. There is nothing of the sort made in FFXIV dialogue, yet suddenly it comes out of nowhere that male prisoners are made to do hard labour and women become sex slaves. What is the social context that establishes this? This brings me on to my last two points...

 

5) Regardless of fan explanations, the unquestionable and unflinching equality of women in the world of FFXIV (outside of rape) makes the universe so alien to our own that it will be near-impossible to fully comprehend its social dynamics.

 

 

Leading to my conclusion of...

 

6) Square Enix has used rape-as-we-know-it as a cheap, easy, and lazy method to tactlessly provoke emotional responses without giving the topic a more careful (and perhaps more respectful) deliberation by considering it within the greater context of everything else they have constructed around men and women in FFXIV.

 

 

tl;dr

 

get rape out of my game that has cutesy midgets and flying white teddy bears in it.

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I'd suggest you make this thread on the official forums if you feel this topic needs to be addressed. You're not going to achieve much here I think.

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I'd suggest you make this thread on the official forums if you feel this topic needs to be addressed. You're not going to achieve much here I think.

 

It's more academic wankery than anything, but hey, if I ever get to go to a Fanfest, I could mention it to Koji Fox.

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Rape has less to do with gender inequality and more to do with soldiers and pirates being horny. It's also an effective tool for psychological warfare. It doesn't matter if women are equally represented in a military. It's not going to stop rape.

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Yeah, it's totally unrealistic. I mean, we all know once we started letting women into the US military all sexism stopped, as did sexual harassment and gender-based discrimination. Ditto for police, fire stations, education, politics, sports, and every other career that features both men and women in leadership positions.

 

It's so weird to see that sexism isn't solved in a fantasy world, when we managed it in reality!

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On the contrary, I don't think they fall flat at all.

 

Nor are women fully portrayed as equal in the game.

 

Look at Sastasha and the serving wenches when you come into the room and what they say to you when you enter. Look at the elezen female who betrayed the Flames in the MSQ and what she says after she's captured. I don't have access to the quotes directly, but they are subtly added in and sometimes you miss them if you aren't looking.

 

Sorry, where is the female centurion who is sympathetic to the female condition (if it even exists as we know it in FFXIV) not stepping in to prevent this? Where is the female centurion ordering her troops to rape men?

 

I would take a good close look at this statement again. Chances are if they stepped in? It would happen to them as well. Asking this question comes across as ignorance and I feel should have been given more thought before asking it.

 

I understand you're trying to be respectful in approaching this topic, but this is a very slippery slope and one you might not be prepared to handle with as much tact and respect as you might think you have.

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Rachel puts on her Ru Paul wig and raises binoculars and says, "I cannot wait to see how this turns out." Thereby, she turned it into a discussion post and not a meme because apparently gender equality means the elimination of sexism.

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Yeah, it's totally unrealistic. I mean, we all know once we started letting women into the US military all sexism stopped, as did sexual harassment and gender-based discrimination. Ditto for police, fire stations, education, politics, sports, and every other career that features both men and women in leadership positions.

 

It's so weird to see that sexism isn't solved in a fantasy world, when we managed it in reality!

 

That is not my argument. My argument is that we cannot possibly know how gender dynamics exist in Eorzea because their level of egalitarianism between the sexes is so far out and alien to our own world. Therefore, making assumptions that rape functions the same way as we know it is fallacious.

 

Your post also doesn't acknowledge that day-to-day sexism is apparently non-existent in Eorzea, whereas in our own, it is still very much a thing.

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Your post also doesn't acknowledge that day-to-day sexism is apparently non-existent in Eorzea, whereas in our own, it is still very much a thing.

 

What about the entirety of Miqo'te lore? Ishgardian culture? The Lalafell in the WVR questline who just about backhands the girl being forced to marry him? Sexism isn't non-existent in Eorzea just because the military judges purely on merit.

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Your post also doesn't acknowledge that day-to-day sexism is apparently non-existent in Eorzea, whereas in our own, it is still very much a thing.

Sanguine Sirens are very sexist last I noticed.

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Your post also doesn't acknowledge that day-to-day sexism is apparently non-existent in Eorzea, whereas in our own, it is still very much a thing.

Sanguine Sirens are very sexist last I noticed.

 

Also an example of some female sexual predators, given that they're force-feeding that guy oysters.

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Yeah, it's totally unrealistic. I mean, we all know once we started letting women into the US military all sexism stopped, as did sexual harassment and gender-based discrimination. Ditto for police, fire stations, education, politics, sports, and every other career that features both men and women in leadership positions.

 

It's so weird to see that sexism isn't solved in a fantasy world, when we managed it in reality!

 

That is not my argument. My argument is that we cannot possibly know how gender dynamics exist in Eorzea because their level of egalitarianism between the sexes is so far out and alien to our own world. Therefore, making assumptions that rape functions the same way as we know it is fallacious.

 

Your post also doesn't acknowledge that day-to-day sexism is apparently non-existent in Eorzea, whereas in our own, it is still very much a thing.

 

I...I mean...what.....HUH?

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Your post also doesn't acknowledge that day-to-day sexism is apparently non-existent in Eorzea, whereas in our own, it is still very much a thing.

 

What about the entirety of Miqo'te lore? Ishgardian culture? The Lalafell in the WVR questline who just about backhands the girl being forced to marry him? Sexism isn't non-existent in Eorzea just because the military judges purely on merit.

 

Miqo'te lore I've always trumpeted on OOC about its dodgy social structure (to which people have defended it OOC by saying it's not really sexist)...but it's not even brought up as an issue in the game world. At least, as far as I've consumed of the game, no character has gone 'This patriarchal tribal nonsense is nonsense'. SE are okay with dropping in rape but not making Seeker of the Sun culture a contentious political issue in-universe.

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Your post also doesn't acknowledge that day-to-day sexism is apparently non-existent in Eorzea, whereas in our own, it is still very much a thing.

 

What about the entirety of Miqo'te lore? Ishgardian culture? The Lalafell in the WVR questline who just about backhands the girl being forced to marry him? Sexism isn't non-existent in Eorzea just because the military judges purely on merit.

 

Miqo'te lore I've always trumpeted on OOC about its dodgy social structure (to which people have defended it OOC by saying it's not really sexist)...but it's not even brought up as an issue in the game world. At least, as far as I've consumed of the game, no character has gone 'This patriarchal tribal nonsense is nonsense'. SE are okay with dropping in rape but not making Seeker of the Sun a contentious political issue in-universe.

 

Because it's their culture, and the vast majority seem to be totally fine with it. That doesn't mean it isn't sexist, though. In Seeker of the Sun tribes, women are still respected and fill the same duties as men, but it's still a patriarchal society at its heart. Keepers of the Moon don't even give their men real names, and kick them out of the house as soon as they're old enough to not die. That's sexist no matter how you look at it. But again, they seem to be fine with it since Miqo'te men seem to have a kind of inherent wanderlust.

 

We've also seen a Miqo'te who wasn't happy with it. The Coeurlking. And it's totally possible we'll meet more someday.

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Your post also doesn't acknowledge that day-to-day sexism is apparently non-existent in Eorzea, whereas in our own, it is still very much a thing.

 

What about the entirety of Miqo'te lore? Ishgardian culture? The Lalafell in the WVR questline who just about backhands the girl being forced to marry him? Sexism isn't non-existent in Eorzea just because the military judges purely on merit.

 

Miqo'te lore I've always trumpeted on OOC about its dodgy social structure (to which people have defended it OOC by saying it's not really sexist)...but it's not even brought up as an issue in the game world. At least, as far as I've consumed of the game, no character has gone 'This patriarchal tribal nonsense is nonsense'. SE are okay with dropping in rape but not making Seeker of the Sun a contentious political issue in-universe.

 

Because it's their culture, and the vast majority seem to be totally fine with it. That doesn't mean it isn't sexist, though. In Seeker of the Sun tribes, women are still respected and fill the same duties as men, but it's still a patriarchal society at its heart. Keepers of the Moon don't even give their men real names, and kick them out of the house as soon as they're old enough to not die. That's sexist no matter how you look at it. But again, they seem to be fine with it since Miqo'te men seem to have a kind of inherent wanderlust.

 

We've also seen a Miqo'te who wasn't happy with it. The Coeurlking. And it's totally possible we'll meet more someday.

 

Had to underline because I had no idea how to quote just that.

 

Right, so I can't speak to the Coeurlking because I only have as much lore from my slice of gameplay, but my issue is that YOU'VE said it's sexist, from an OOC standpoint. It's not tackled seriously IC, if at all. In respect of my original argument, then, rape is thrown in to the game without any other exploration of gender topics.

 

It's used as a tool to sharpen da edge and make the game seem more 'real', when they have actual material (such as Seeker culture as you've pointed out) to use instead, without resorting to cheap tactics.

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Remember kids, any remotely dark theme is super edgy and all this game has room for is cotton candy and midgets with the voices of Alan Rickman.

 

What the fuck is your point? You don't like the direction of the story? Is that really all this post is?

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Remember kids, any remotely dark theme is super edgy and all this game has room for is cotton candy and midgets with the voices of Alan Rickman.

 

What the fuck is your point? You don't like the direction of the story? Is that really all this post is?

 

If you can't post and argue without using emotive cusses or changing your signature to a GIF the mods kept removing, I suggest you don't post or argue at all.

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Your post also doesn't acknowledge that day-to-day sexism is apparently non-existent in Eorzea, whereas in our own, it is still very much a thing.

 

What about the entirety of Miqo'te lore? Ishgardian culture? The Lalafell in the WVR questline who just about backhands the girl being forced to marry him? Sexism isn't non-existent in Eorzea just because the military judges purely on merit.

 

Miqo'te lore I've always trumpeted on OOC about its dodgy social structure (to which people have defended it OOC by saying it's not really sexist)...but it's not even brought up as an issue in the game world. At least, as far as I've consumed of the game, no character has gone 'This patriarchal tribal nonsense is nonsense'. SE are okay with dropping in rape but not making Seeker of the Sun a contentious political issue in-universe.

 

Because it's their culture, and the vast majority seem to be totally fine with it. That doesn't mean it isn't sexist, though. In Seeker of the Sun tribes, women are still respected and fill the same duties as men, but it's still a patriarchal society at its heart. Keepers of the Moon don't even give their men real names, and kick them out of the house as soon as they're old enough to not die. That's sexist no matter how you look at it. But again, they seem to be fine with it since Miqo'te men seem to have a kind of inherent wanderlust.

 

We've also seen a Miqo'te who wasn't happy with it. The Coeurlking. And it's totally possible we'll meet more someday.

 

Had to underline because I had no idea how to quote just that.

 

Right, so I can't speak to the Coeurlking because I only have as much lore from my slice of gameplay, but my issue is that YOU'VE said it's sexist, from an OOC standpoint. It's not tackled seriously IC, if at all. In respect of my original argument, then, rape is thrown in to the game without any other exploration of gender topics.

 

It's used as a tool to sharpen da edge and make the game seem more 'real', when they have actual material (such as Seeker culture as you've pointed out) to use instead, without resorting to cheap tactics.

 

It's not as if rape is constantly thrown in your face to make everything seem edgier. It's mentioned here and there as a realistic part of a world that isn't perfect. There's plenty of time to talk about sexism within the world, but that's not what rape is about. Rape happens. Especially in war zones and among pirates.

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day-to-day sexism is apparently non-existent in Eorzea

 

R5d4p9D.png

 

I could go on and on, with flavor NPC text. From miqo'te dancers to poor people within refugee camps, passing by the sex workers hoarded within Sastasha.

 

It doesn't fall flat. It's present, it's always been here -- doesn't mean it's right, doesn't mean it's good, and doesn't mean I, personally, want it. You're making it sound like XIV is trying to be particularly progressive and that ALL OF A SUDDEN, RAPE! Be real on this one.

Let's be honest, on main aspects, it's not, and for plenty of reasons. Sure, men can have skimpy armor too. But some pieces of clothing are still gendered. Most female characters are still meant as eyecandy, and some, dangerously young looking eyecandy. And I genuinely disliked it. 

 

Rape and sexual harassment is a recurring, obnoxious topic in XIV as it in most videogames, even if always put down in subtext. I don't want it to become the norm, and I'm genuinely upset about it. 

 

Sexism is still pretty much present in Eorzea, but to me, it is more coming from the fact that (in this specific world) women are still easily sexualized. Them being capable of handling position of power can happen separately from that. It's not 'alien', it's just different, and yes, it still sucks.

 

"Rape is facilitated by men possessing near-exclusive control of the means to apply physical violence."

 

But not everyone is a hero, not everyone wields a sword in Eorzea. Just like not everyone is a military war machine IRL. Men or women. (Edit: also it's mostly a matter of education. Rape can occur even if the offender isn't big, or tall, or strong. Being taught not to rape is a pretty basic thing, yeah? Yeah.)

 

Instead of pretending to take great offence, as suggested, send letters to Square Enix or address this issue on the main forum. They're pretty close to their community and have been known to adjust certain things when they're deemed inappropriate, unfair, and unbalanced.

 

Edit: And no, Keeper culture revering women and the kickass lesbians pirates don't make up for it.

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Best way to demoralize your enemy? Take their women, separate them, and make the men watch as you treat them like cattle. It makes the other side feel powerless, and it wouldn't surprise me if the female commanders encouraged it; it certainly doesn't mean they wouldn't participate to help the cause along, either. Women are generally easier to control compared to their male counterparts. Even by Eorzean standards, women are smaller, including Roes, though I suspect they probably put the female Roes to work as well, given their size.

 

Rape demoralizes both genders, even if they only take the women. Female soldiers feel demoralized and humiliated, just the same as the female civilians, and the men are helpless. It's not about sexism, or gender equality, it's about control and keeping the enemy down. It also encourages young male soldiers, as a bonus for signing up.

 

Edited to add: There's one more point, there's only one of the two genders capable of having babies. The conquering army doesn't care if they're bastard children, they want more canon fodder.

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Yeah, it's totally unrealistic. I mean, we all know once we started letting women into the US military all sexism stopped, as did sexual harassment and gender-based discrimination. Ditto for police, fire stations, education, politics, sports, and every other career that features both men and women in leadership positions.

 

It's so weird to see that sexism isn't solved in a fantasy world, when we managed it in reality!

 

That is not my argument. My argument is that we cannot possibly know how gender dynamics exist in Eorzea because their level of egalitarianism between the sexes is so far out and alien to our own world. Therefore, making assumptions that rape functions the same way as we know it is fallacious.

 

Your post also doesn't acknowledge that day-to-day sexism is apparently non-existent in Eorzea, whereas in our own, it is still very much a thing.

 

I don't see sexism in my day to day in real life. Is it okay to use this as logic to declare that my city features an alien form of equality compared to yours, therefor it doesn't exist? I mean, I don't know how they treat woman in other countries, so rape definitely isn't the same in other parts of the world.

 

I know this is a Kale-brand-Kale-thread but c'mon, your argument seems to be "How come no one's smashing the miqo'te patriarchy in the lore?"

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"What's best in life?" "To crush your enemies - See them driven before you, and to hear their lamentation of their women."

 

Furthermore, just because women -are- equal doesn't mean the majority of soldiers are going to -be- women. The majority are still going to be men. Hell, if I were a warmongering tyrant bent on taking over the world, I'd do order them taken too, and I'm a woman.

 

...good thing I'm not a warmongering tyrant.

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War is a prevalent theme in the game. Violence abounds and is either shown outright or hinted at continuously. Rape is a weapon used in war. Is all of it shocking? Yeah, and it better be. A quote I'm sure you've seen before is "rape is not about sex, it is about violence."

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