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Seriphyn

discussion Why FFXIV's rape themes fall monumentally flat

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This is...actually a really interesting topic and honestly though I will try to give my own bumbling explanation...it's not going to come out as great as I want it to.

 

Just because a culture is based on a meritocracy rather than a Patriarchal or Matriarchal society does not mean sex based crimes do not exist and will never exist. While sexism  and gender inequality can be argued as a reasoning behind the high rate of these crimes against women it is by no means the sole cause of rape. You have women rapists, and  while the crimes of this natures are vastly under-reported because of the social stigma, it still exists. Rape is a crime that involves control of one person over another, that sort of thing doesn't go away simply because men and women serve equally together and it is actually a very common story when you get into invading armies and occupation.

 

Uh...well I think I've reached my depth at this point, there's really not much I can get into without digging into vast amounts of historical information, psychological discussions and sociology but there you go.

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Female dancers in scantily clad clothing.

Courtesans.

Wealthy elite with female escorts.

Men holding the reigns in Ishgardian marriage setups.

A Heavens' Ward comprised solely of men.

 

There's plenty of hints to the presence of imbalanced sexual equality in FFXIV. Just because a woman in the game can gain a high position in the military, or hit as hard as a man doesn't mean they're treated equally in all aspects of life. 

 

The 50:50 only means that military is an aspect of life Eorzeans (and abroad) naturally accept as having little need for sexist policy. After all, a woman can fight just as well as a man in Eorzea (as opposed to the natural physiological differences in real life that partially aided in the separation of gender spheres throughout human history), so there's no point historically for men to bar women from participating. It doesn't mean however that the status quo is for women to be considered equal in all aspects.

 

EDIT: I must also say it's quite disturbing that rape as an event in fiction has been turned into some sort of anti-edge fuel source. As if the presence of rape in a story suddenly makes it this brooding (and consequently less valued as a story) tale meant solely to be edgy. How exactly is rape as a subject not "employed easily"? What constitutes proper portrayal of rape? Seriously?

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EDIT: I must also say it's quite disturbing that rape as an event in fiction has been turned into some sort of anti-edge fuel source. As if the presence of rape in a story suddenly makes it this brooding (and consequently less valued as a story) tale meant solely to be edgy. How exactly is rape as a subject not "employed easily"? What constitutes proper portrayal of rape? Seriously?

 

Well, for one, I think it was handled "correctly" in Jessica Jones. In the case of that show it wasn't so much "used" but was an implied oppressive presence that colored the entire season of the show (which mirrors how it affects victims IRL). We never see the act, but still without many words, we come to know it happened. When it is finally spelled out, it's the victim, Jessica, who calls it out to the perpetrator as rape. 

 

Unfortunately, it is handled clumsily over, and over, and over again. As are a number of tired tropes directed at mostly female characters in fiction. Fridging comes to mind, and FFXIV is absolutely guilty of that one. People simply get tired of these. 

 

Is rape handled clumsily in FFXIV? I don't know. I want to say yes in some cases, but it's hard for me to tell because I'm somewhat close to the subject so any mention of it is glaring to me. I do think it's an oversight on their part that the rape of only women seems to come up.

 

As an aside, I think OP is under the mistaken impression that gender and sexual attraction are inexorably tied to the act of rape. They're not. Rape is essentially about two things: Violence and power. That's it.

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*pops in*

 

I'm not sure if this discussion is about how it's presented in the game itself or by RPers, but...

 

There's a certain theme FFXIV is following, and I think it's handling it fine, depending on how you view it. I generally don't always assume rape if something bad is happening to a character. Maybe in games like Witcher 3, but not in any FF title I've seen.

 

With that said, I've been in RP sessions that just go full on, "they've been taken captive, they're being raped and gagged and guts everywhere" and it's like... DUDE! Woah, way to jump right over the PG-13 we're getting.

 

Come on.

 

*pops out*

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EDIT: I must also say it's quite disturbing that rape as an event in fiction has been turned into some sort of anti-edge fuel source. As if the presence of rape in a story suddenly makes it this brooding (and consequently less valued as a story) tale meant solely to be edgy. How exactly is rape as a subject not "employed easily"? What constitutes proper portrayal of rape? Seriously?

 

Well, for one, I think it was handled "correctly" in Jessica Jones. In the case of that show it wasn't so much "used" but was an implied oppressive presence that colored the entire season of the show (which mirrors how it affects victims IRL). We never see the act, but still without many words, we come to know it happened. When it is finally spelled out, it's the victim, Jessica, who calls it out to the perpetrator as rape. 

 

Unfortunately, it is handled clumsily over, and over, and over again. As are a number of tired tropes directed at mostly female characters in fiction. Fridging comes to mind, and FFXIV is absolutely guilty of that one. People simply get tired of these. 

 

Is rape handled clumsily in FFXIV? I don't know. I want to say yes in some cases, but it's hard for me to tell because I'm somewhat close to the subject so any mention of it is glaring to me. I do think it's an oversight on their part that the rape of only women seems to come up.

 

As an aside, I think OP is under the mistaken impression that gender and sexual attraction are inexorably tied to the act of rape. They're not. Rape is essentially about two things: Violence and power. That's it.

 

True enough. I had realized after I posted that there certainly is a proper way to handle rape themes in fiction. I see clearly where my statement could make it seem like i'm not aware of that.

 

I think what I meant to say, more specifically, was that it seemed weird to consider the mention of rape as 'employed easily', and that it was necessarily a bad thing. Is rape as a subject supposed to be explored only in a deeper manner, as a subject that prevails the fiction? Essentially, I don't see why rape can't/shouldn't be something brought up on occasion as existing in the universe as a simpler conversation piece, rather than something deeper.

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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' date=' making assumptions that rape functions the same way as we know it is fallacious.[/quote']

 

Um.

 

I'm struggling to understand why the people who make the game can't know these things?

 

Since, you know...it's their game and all.

 

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.

 

LOL. There's plenty of sexism going on in Eorzea. Do some quests.

 

Also: I've always gotten the impression that Garlemald is quite sexist in nature. Eula was expected to be a wife and bear children to some Garlean noble because she was female.

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Thing the first. You have zero right to demand something be out of any piece of fictional or creative work. None, nada, zip, zilch. You only have the right to not engage or partake of a particular creative work. That is it. You may critique, you may complain, you may dislike it, but you do not get to demand a particular piece of a content be removed because you do not like it. To be clear, do not read this as "if you don't like it, get out." That isn't what I mean. I mean that you are not entitled to having a particular creative work stripped of content so that you are more comfortable with it.

 

Thing the second. This is a game, and its themes are many and run a whole spectrum of gray scale. Slavery, addiction, oppression, suppression, class issues, religious issues, gender issues, just to name a few. The game is telling a story, made up of other stories. The essence of good storytelling is drama, and the essence of drama is conflict. Conflict means confronting something as obvious as a big scary dragon, and it also means confronting the big scary dragon that is really something like man's inhumanity to man. What subject matter and themes are explored, and how they are explored are the creator's decisions. Sometimes those decisions are good, sometimes they are bad. Sometimes harsh, horrifying, and dark themes have to be explored to give a full picture of the world. More often than not things are executed well for some people, and executed poorly for others. At the risk of sounding harsh, and while I respect your feelings and critique of the game's content, that is just your opinion. There is no right or wrong in the subjective interpretation of a creative work. What people are looking for when engaging a creative work is different from person to person. 

 

Thing the third. You want a fictional world where everything is cute, nice, funny, and lighthearted. That isn't this world. ARR starts five years after a huge calamity. Many people died, many more were displaced, and nations suffered. It was all somewhat less than rosy. Heavensward is about a devastating war based on 1000 year old lie. Again, less than rosy. The damage of these overarching, high level events trickles down into everything. The Lalafell that people think are cute and adorable, also have some of the most ruthless and evil schemers ever put to fiction among their number. It is fine to draw what you like out of the material, to identify with it more than other perhaps darker aspects, but to say that that is all this game is is a fallacy. A truer statement is to say that you enjoy the lighthearted content more than the darker stuff. Which is, again, fine. No judgement, people like what they like. Just as people like seeing what the dark side of the world is like. There is no right or wrong in what you enjoy, but there is equally no right or wrong in what others enjoy either.

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Square made a fictional world where sexism is a thing and that is ok because it's a fictional world. Getting bothered by that is silly. Choosing to RP in it and then ignoring that that is a thing is silly. Getting mad at it is silly. It's fictional. It doesn't exist. There are many more real world topics that could use that fire.

 

That is a totally separate issue from the following.

 

I'm not a fan of rape as plot device because it's done in a really cringy and hamfisted way 99.9% of the time. It's important to understand your depth and scope and talent as a writer before you inflict that stuff on people. Some of the best authors in the world will not touch sexual assault with a protagonist because they know they can't give it the sensitivity and depiction it deserves.

 

There's certain areas of FF14 that allude to sexual assault and honestly they made me cringe because of how it was depicted. I'm not gonna get into the where and how and what but suffice to say I don't even really trust Square, let alone most RPers, to approach this topic with the appropriate sense of dignity and I don't think kicking it around here really serves much purpose either, honestly.

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I'm pretty sure rape is a serious enough thing in Eorzea (and perhaps beyond). 

 

Given that, I'm also pretty sure:

 

Men rape women.

Women rape men.

Men rape men.

Women rape women.

A mix of the sexes rape a single sex.

Or a single sex rapes a mix of the sexes.

 

Now then! From a storytelling point of view, do you know what kind of rape would be the most familiar to, and resonate the most with the players? Ding ding! That's right! Men raping women. It's in our media, in our everyday lives...I'm not here to talk about the dynamics of THAT itself though. The thing is, a male raping a female is probably the most familiar and resonant kind of rape there is...and therefore the most useful to place into the very FEW instances of it we see in game. Sad as that is.

 

Another thing -- while I don't agree that sexism is moot in Eorzean society...let's pretend it is for a moment. 

 

The instances of allusions to rape we see come from organisations and groups who operate outside -- and against the norms of peaceful Eorzean living. Those standards don't count for them. Those standards mean nothing to them. We can't measure them on that stick!

 

The rape references don't fall flat to me, nor do they seem as a cheap trick to make the badguys seem worse. They murder, pillage and steal, they're already bad. It just falls under just another one of the awful things they do that we get to witness the results of. Within the rating of the game itself, and with respect to the players...it's enough. 

 

That's my two gil! I'd happily take any insight into anything I may have overlooked and erred on.

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This argument is incoherent, and seems to mix reasons for the inclusion of rape and intrinsic reasons without much regard for an overall whole.

 

If your argument is that you think it could be done better: Okay. I acknowledge your argument as valid and existing. Thank you for including it.

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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.

 

RE: underlined

 

Just because you personally do not recognize an interaction as sexism doesn't mean it isn't. That's kind of a thing. Someone does something that is sexist, but doesn't see it as such due to upbringing/culture, arrogance, or ignorance. It also applies to witnessing something sexist and not registering it as such.

 

 

RE: the rest of this shit

 

My overall vibe is you're saying that you think the writers are throwing rape in as a gritty factor, which is lazy to you. You say that it's out of place because there appears to be plenty of women in powerful roles and sexism isn't a thing. You're subscribing to well known rape myths in saying this. Please educate yourself a little more about actual rape before trying to say that in a realm where blatant/hostile sexism (there is such a thing as benevolent sexism, too) doesn't seem to exist and women are more equals in holding powerful positions, that rape wouldn't be as prevalent as it is shown in the game.

 

 

Please note none of the above is said in attack or hostile manner. This is a very sensitive subject and one I really don't think needed to be brought up in this way.

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Wait, are people currently arguing about fictional representations of topics being ham-fisted, or are people arguing about fictional gender dynamics not making a lick of sense from an outsiders' perspective? If the latter, what the actual fuck.

 

Rereading your first post, apparently your main concern is that Eorzean social norms regarding gender equality/relations is way the fuck out of whack due in no small part to (y)our own perceived notions of "equal" i.e. women commanding men just as often as vice-versa. So you're apparently questioning why women, despite having achieved some manner or another of equality in a setting where motherfuckers kill flying dragons and dragon-likes by jumping on them and other assorted magical horseshit, get raped?

 

If so, let me do people such as myself - borderline-illiterate mongs who get angry when they spend more time reading stupid shit than doing something productive, such as jerking off - a favor by summing up your query/argument:

 

"If women are so equal, why come they keep getting raped?"

 

Only I'm not entirely sure that's even what's being discussed here because of your posts referring to Eorzean gender whatever as "totally alien to our own". I'm a fucking retard, somebody please tl;dr for me just what the hell is being argued here. I'm beginning to think it's either "why is rape being treated as bad", or, following a different line of thought from further up the stream, "why is rape alluded to at all".

 

The latter thought makes me less angry, so let's go with that. It's because the Garleans have gone too far. Raping is wrong. And bad. There should be a new, stronger word for raping, like badwrong, or badong. Yes, raping is badong. From this thread, the Eorzean Alliance should stand for the opposite of raping: gnodab.

 

Just so moderators don't squelch me for being a dirty shitposter with nothing relevant to add to the discuss(t (you know like disgust because they are homonyms if discuss had a t at the end and sounded like disgust))ion, let me reiterate my question because I'm borderline-retarded:

 

What's your point, m8? Rape is badong. Square Enix thus includes rape to show that bad guys are VERY bad because everybody knows that rape is badong. They do this so that we, the players, who hold a "totally alien system of morality from the common denizen of the Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn: Heavensward: Stormblood (coming Soon™) universe", might empathize with victims of badong things such as rape and identify people who conduct badong things such as rape tentatively as "the bad guys".

 

Are we arguing about an in-lore thing, or just the writing in general?

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Everyone else has already addressed most of your post but

 

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

 

Yeah, and it's also got the continent being utterly decimated by a dragon spirit summoned by the tortured cries for help from sentient beings being imprisoned for millennia.

 

You seem to be running under the assumption that FFXIV's setting is supposed to be bright and shiny, when it's really the opposite. Eorzea as the story shows is a pretty dark place where even the main city-states are either hugely corrupt at the top level, run as dictatorships, or are bound in servitude to eldritch spirits with inscrutable motivations.

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I'm just going to add one thing, most of my thoughts have been said more eloquently by other people already.

 

SE has done a decent job portraying rape in as respectful manner as possible, in my opinion. It's not plastered all over the place, and the few instances where it is hinted at aren't too glaring. I haven't noticed any overly violent connotations about it, nor have I noticed the disparity between races coming in to play (ie not a Roe taking advantage of a 'cutesey midget').

 

In a game centered around war, SE has managed to touch upon a lot of darker topics without being terribly distasteful. And this is a game centered around war. Those cutesy midgets are some of the most dastardly in the first part of the game, honestly.

 

 

Real world talk for a moment... just because there is a large female representation in the military does not mean that sexism is banished. As a woman in the armed forces, I've spent more hours learning how anything but a sober 'yes' is not to be taken as consent and equals rape than I would care to think about. It's a real problem, even as the number of women in the military continues to grow. As long as there are people looking for ways to take advantage of others, it will always be a problem no matter what the equation is.

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"If women are so equal, why come they keep getting raped?"

 

 

Are we arguing about an in-lore thing, or just the writing in general?

 

This is why I say the argument is incoherent. It seems to be mixing up external reasons for the portrayal of rape - cultural assumptions regarding rape on the writers' part, discomfort on the part of the people doing the portrayal, assumptions about authorial intent, so on - with internal reasons for why the portrayal of rape is terrible.

 

If you think the writing is poor, sure, no problem, but in addition to what you said H.H., it sounds like he's also asking why we don't see more men getting raped if society is really that equal.

 

Now, this is a thread started by Seriphyn, which means it's probably time for his biannual troll thread about a blatantly sensitive subject. In which case we all have hooks in our mouths, and should probably remove them before this gets much further.

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Me: "Do you think it's weird I posted video responses to an RP/video game discussion thread?"

GF: "I think it's all weird, pups"

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Me: "Do you think it's weird I posted video responses to an RP/video game discussion thread?"

GF: "I think it's all weird, pups"

 

It also means some of us can't/won't know what your responses actually are.

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OK I KNOW THIS IS A BIT WEIRD but I'm genuinely terrible at written responses and rather than just forget about the thread because of everyone's superior written ability, I decided to make some videos as rambling, disjointed responses. Odd I know, but it's easier for me to communicate that way.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Maybe I shouldn't give up the day job :^)

 

i honestly can't even be mad anymore, this is 100% pure kino

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Me: "Do you think it's weird I posted video responses to an RP/video game discussion thread?"

GF: "I think it's all weird, pups"

 

It also means some of us can't/won't know what your responses actually are.

Or don't care, I'm not gonna open up videos.

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OK I KNOW THIS IS A BIT WEIRD but I'm genuinely terrible at written responses and rather than just forget about the thread because of everyone's superior written ability, I decided to make some videos as rambling, disjointed responses. Odd I know, but it's easier for me to communicate that way.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Maybe I shouldn't give up the day job :^)

Lmao nice GPS.

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OK I KNOW THIS IS A BIT WEIRD but I'm genuinely terrible at written responses and rather than just forget about the thread because of everyone's superior written ability, I decided to make some videos as rambling, disjointed responses. Odd I know, but it's easier for me to communicate that way.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Maybe I shouldn't give up the day job :^)

 

You really shouldn't. Don't shoot this in uniform. While driving. With your GPS yelling in the background.

 

Seriously, what the actual fuck. At least act like you're in the military if you're dressing like it.

 

 

On topic, you're way overthinking this.

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Okay, okay. I'm doing my best to parse these videos in my ADHD brain. Part of me feels like I shouldn't engage, but for some reason I am. Probably because you're actually participating in your own thread, Kale! lol I'm also assuming now that you're genuine in your want to hash this out, as you seem sincere in your videos. 

 

So your main contention is that the newest mention of rape is a "sudden" thing, and implications of rape in greater Eorzea are not explored. You're right, it's not, but I think the writers are counting on us to assume? This is done a lot in fiction when certain things are so heavily ingrained IRL, there's no need to hash them within a fictional setting. We don't, for example, go into all the bathroom habits of Eorzeans. Do Lalafells shit? Well, we can assume so and no one really wants or needs to delve into that outside of the QS.

 

Secondly, you say that an egalitarian society is impossible for us to imagine because we're so socially conditioned to our own societies. Oh, buddy, pal. My guy. Ask women you know around you. I'm sure they could conjure up a VERY clear vision of an equal society. In fact, ask any disenfranchised group. They'll probably tell you in no uncertain terms.

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