Girl in the Machine
Monday, September 24, 2007
Sexy Bunnygirls Want to Play With You

One of the staples in any good RPG is the element of exploration. A fantasy-world opens up to the player, along with a host of varied and exciting locales. It's not uncommon for the towns and villages of these worlds to be themed, and it's likely for the player to find herself exploring villages populated by ninjas, wizards, magical creatures -- or even entirely by women.

Final Fantasy XII picks up on this theme with the all-female Viera of Eruyt Village. The Viera -- as displayed upfront by FFXII's main black mage, Fran -- are a race of bunny people that, because they are bunny people, run around in stiletto heels, thongs, and assorted lingerie.

Okay, so maybe I'm not being fair. The Viera are a deeply spiritual people that have a close bond with nature and are particularly skilled in archery. Their bunny ears allow them to hear over great distances and listen to the voices of spirits. Because of this ability, they can summon monsters from --

I'm sorry, I just can't get past this. The only all-female society in Ivalice just happens to resemble a clutch of Playboy Playmates. This wouldn't creep me out as much if, say, Fran was the only one suffering from an awkward gait because of the leather G-string three miles up her ass. However, every single other lapine-eared lady, from leader Jute's silky teddy to the NPC extras' thigh-highs, has apparently decided that bedwear is completely fitting for patrolling their jungle home. I'm all for being able to choose whatever the hell you want to wear, but there isn't a single Viera who doesn't look like she belongs in Hugh Hefner's mansion. Add to that the consistently cookie-cutter faces and it almost makes my blood run cold.

Final Fantasy XII is a fantastic game, so it's a shame that the overall experience -- and so much potential for a group of strong female characters -- suffers because of such blatant sexism. And it isn't the Vieras' fault; they also appear in Final Fantasy Tactics: Advance, Tactics: A2, and FFXII: Revenant Wings with much more varied character designs, from the sexy to the sensible.

It's not the sexy itself that gets to me. I won't mince words: this entire society, set apart from the many others of Ivalice as being made up entirely of women, has been rendered to a collection of sex objects simply by their character design. Conversely, Final Fantasy IV's matriarchal kingdom, Toroia, avoided this beautifully. For example, while the sprites of the Toroia guards could have been replaced by the scantily-clad dancers, they're in fact decked out in armor. Because they're . . . guards, and, male or female . . . you get the idea.

Unfortunately, it's not unusual for female characters to be subjected to this kind of hypersexualization and objectification, and even less so for women in power to have their status mocked by such. The sad truth is that it's just as common an RPG staple as our aforementioned town themes. If only there were something other than the obligatory Hot Sexy Chicks Who Would Love To Sex You Up that leaves female gamers left out in the cold.

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 Posted by BomberGirl
 12:05 AM + Link to this post
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