Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Magical and Girls and Rapelay

I can't believe the semester is drawing close to an end. I thoroughly enjoyed the discussions we had in class (particularly on gender), learning about Japanese games culture, and reading everyone's blogs. The readings that were assigned and the presentations were definitely eye opening. This course encouraged  me to delve deeper into Japanese popualr  culture and to rethink and re-evaluate some of my own assumptions and prejudice of about Japan,  otakus and games/gaming in particular.

Before reading Hemmann’s blog on "Sailor Moon and Femininity, I would have agreed with critics like Napier and Allison who are critical the ways in which Sailor Moon represents “femininity”.

 Napier, for instance, finds the Sailor Scouts “lacking in psychological depth,” while Allison finds it troubling that the “girl heroes tend to strip down in the course of empowerment, becoming more, rather than less, identified by their flesh,” a trademark visual feature of Sailor Moon that “feeds and is fed by a general trend in Japan toward the infantilization of sex objects” (qtd in Hermann)

 I remember as a child, I had a collection of Sailor Moon scepters, wands, and compacts, and I would pretend to “transform” into Sailor Venus (for she was one of my favorite characters) and defeat imaginary villains. There weren’t many strong female heroes that I could relate to and I think as a child, I was glued to Sailor Moon for this reason. In relation to Napier’s and Allison’s concerns, then, I think, one the implications of their argument is that although they are resisting patriarchal definitions of femininity (from a Western lens), they themselves are ascribing a particular kind of femininity as the correct version of femininity. The fact that both critics draw attention to the representation of  women as “flesh” and “infantile”—as primary factors of Sailor Moon’s disempowerment—suggests that if Sailor Moon didn’t show so much skin, and if she looked a bit older, then, she would be ideal super heroine. So what would Napier’s and Allison’s version of a progressive heroine look like?

Why can’t powerful or magical women wear short skirts? Or show flesh? How dare they reveal a kneecap! Why should the outfits that the Sailor Moon characters wear define their Being? Or undermine their, agency, individualism, and power that they possess?

In the introduction to Tough Girls: Women Warriors and Wonder Women in Popular Culture (1999) by Sherrie A. Innes,  she writes “traditionally, men have learned that they should be the stoic brave heroes, capable of overcoming any obstacle that stand in their way. Women have learned that toughness has little to do with them” (7). Althought Innes specifically refers to American popular culture, we can see how Sailor Moon, at the time of its production, was ahead of its time, particularly in envisioning women as focalising agents of a narrative in which they become the hero of the story. Sailor Moon is not made to appease a male-audience, but rather to encourage young girls that they, too, can achieve great things in life.


 I am not quite sure what is more disturbing… the actual game itself or the comments made during the gameplay.
While the game is highly problematic because it justifies rape as a legitimite form of revenge and suggests that these women deserve to be raped, the comments made by the player further validates random acts of violence against women.  Throughout the gameplay, the player states:

These fuckin women are always trying to talk over me… I’m not narrating this shit especially when these cunts are talking over me”

“Japanese women normally sound like they’re having sex when they talk”

Comments like these reinforce Azuma's claim that “What’s important isn’t the images in these games, but how such images are consumed and the environment of their production.” In other words, the ways in which Rapelay is consumed by this particular player, is revealing of how sexist and racist discourses are naturalised and remain unproblematic ....because according to the player “it’s just a game”.


  1. Great post. Thanks for providing such nice information to your blog readers. Regards Games for Girls

  2. wow this is the very amazing and great information about the various games. but the best games for girls is the dress up games.