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Author Topic: where does this sterotype come from?  (Read 6906 times)
Alisha
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« on: January 14, 2008, 10:24:38 AM »

as you know many rpg's use a sterotype where female = caster/healer and the males are melee tanks. but where does this come from? the 3 earliest console rpg's i can think of are final fantasy, dragon warrior, and phantasy star. dragon warrior only has a male character. final fantasy lets you choose your classes but i dont recall if it even had a playable female character,and it most definately DID NOT come from phantasy star because well Alys was just awesome and lutz is the mage throughout the series.
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Tomara
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« Reply #1 on: January 14, 2008, 10:58:33 AM »

I think it has something to do with the target audience. Most RPG's are aimed at male adolescents, right? Add to that the classic role of the females in just about anything...
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Nymphomatic
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« Reply #2 on: January 14, 2008, 11:09:14 AM »

Final Fantasy's white mage was a female, I know NES era sprites are ambiguous but the concept art definitely portrayed a woman.

Dragon Warrior II had your "cliche" party containing a male warrior, a "weaker" female magic-user, and a second in between male figure.

The 8-bit era may have had no rules, but trends were already setting. Even though one of the very first RPGs starred a strong female protagonist very few games followed suite. Legend of the Ghost Lion for NES featured a little girl in a pink dress, and StarTropics had a little boy with a Yo-Yo. But every other RPG that featured a solitary hero pretty much kept to the male with a sword formula ala Dragon Warrior.
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daschrier
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« Reply #3 on: January 14, 2008, 11:19:56 AM »

I wonder if it stems from D&D, where the cleric class was often represented as a female character. The cleric class was the healer of the party and aren't allowed to use sharp edged weapons.
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Wolfrider
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« Reply #4 on: January 14, 2008, 11:46:03 AM »

Quote from: "daschrier"
I wonder if it stems from D&D, where the cleric class was often represented as a female character. The cleric class was the healer of the party and aren't allowed to use sharp edged weapons.


Maybe, but how popular were TRPGs in Japan? My knowledge of the history is a bit fuzzy, but how influenced by pen and paper roleplaying were JRPGs?
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MeshGearFox
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« Reply #5 on: January 14, 2008, 12:07:04 PM »

Quote
I wonder if it stems from D&D, where the cleric class was often represented as a female character.


No, D&D games are pretty much sausage fests, as are the PC RPGs based on them. D&D clerics also, apparently, make fairly viable attackers when given a mace, and in Nethack, healers also tend to be really good because healing means you can restore HP which means you *don't dies as fast* (but you still die*).

It probably goes back to the whole, "Men kill shit and derive meat from it, and women live back at home and raise babies." thang. IE, women are the protectors and caretakers. It's just basic sex stereotypes recontextualized.

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daschrier
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« Reply #6 on: January 14, 2008, 12:20:55 PM »

Quote from: "Wolfrider"
Quote from: "daschrier"
I wonder if it stems from D&D, where the cleric class was often represented as a female character. The cleric class was the healer of the party and aren't allowed to use sharp edged weapons.


Maybe, but how popular were TRPGs in Japan? My knowledge of the history is a bit fuzzy, but how influenced by pen and paper roleplaying were JRPGs?


Well, the FF1 spell system is taken straight from D&D. Wizardry games seem to be popular in Japan seeing as how many console Wizardry games there are, and Wizardry is an extension of D&D in terms of the class system etc.
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daschrier
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« Reply #7 on: January 14, 2008, 12:21:33 PM »

Quote from: "MeshGearFox"
Quote
I wonder if it stems from D&D, where the cleric class was often represented as a female character.


No, D&D games are pretty much sausage fests, as are the PC RPGs based on them. D&D clerics also, apparently, make fairly viable attackers when given a mace, and in Nethack, healers also tend to be really good because healing means you can restore HP which means you *don't dies as fast* (but you still die*).

It probably goes back to the whole, "Men kill shit and derive meat from it, and women live back at home and raise babies." thang. IE, women are the protectors and caretakers. It's just basic sex stereotypes recontextualized.

* Renamon.


I wasn't refering to the people who play the game, but the art work usually associated with these games.
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Prime Mover
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« Reply #8 on: January 14, 2008, 12:53:57 PM »

Quote from: "MeshGearFox"
It probably goes back to the whole, "Men kill shit and derive meat from it, and women live back at home and raise babies." thang. IE, women are the protectors and caretakers. It's just basic sex stereotypes recontextualized.


Bingo. Think about how many common male fantasy's, throughout history, have involved women in caretaking roles: nurses, flight attendants, farm girl, etc. In most cultures (though not all) the perfect woman is thought to be a caretaker of some sort.

In Japan, cooking is another big thing. Think about how many jokes are made at expense of women and their cooking, in anime and jRPGs. Panello in Revanant Wings, for example, or Tear from Tales of the Abyss. Both jokes on "perfect women who are slightly flawed because they suck at cooking."
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« Reply #9 on: January 14, 2008, 12:57:27 PM »

Tear's an assassin.

How does that play on the normal male fantasy?
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Tomara
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« Reply #10 on: January 14, 2008, 01:07:36 PM »

Haven't played the game, but female ninja/assassins (in tight/revealing outfits) seem to be quite popular in Japanese pop culture. They are strong, but not as strong as the hero <_<
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« Reply #11 on: January 14, 2008, 05:27:44 PM »

Quote from: "Leyviur"
Tear's an assassin.

How does that play on the normal male fantasy?


I think we can all look past that fact due to her giant bouncy pair of, uh, healing spells.
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Prime Mover
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« Reply #12 on: January 14, 2008, 05:51:06 PM »

Well, assassins/ninja's usually tend to play the roll of Red Mage. They're light fighters who use more skill-based attacks, instead of brute force. Typically, when women ARE fighters in RPGs, they're more of the red mage type. Knights tend to be the bruisers, followed by more jack-of-all-trade characters like Red Mages, Ninjas/Assassins. Not to mention, assassins tend to be portrayed as athletic and acrobatic, which allows the girls to do all kinds of sexy moves.

For this reason, there are a million examples of female light fighters, like Tear. But besides a very few (Raquel from WA4) you'll hardly ever see women as the typical Knight-class fighter on the scale of Auron. Even Celes from FF6, while probably being considered a knight class, is physically not as powerful as ANY of the men, though she does push the architype to its limits.

Basically, women fighters have to use their brain and acrobatics... because, ya know, women are all physically "weak" and stuff ;) And acrobatics is just hot.

Men hit first and ask questions later.
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Dincrest
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« Reply #13 on: January 14, 2008, 06:07:48 PM »

I think women as mages (particularly powerful ones) has been part of legend and mythology for eons.  I'm not just talking deities like Kali (powerful, vengeful, frightening) but even characters in Arthurian legend like Morgan LeFay.  What was frightening about LeFay was not her magic, but her intelligence, her cunning, her ability to manipulate so many people.  And what about the witch hunts of yore?  "Witch" is typically female and I'll bet any witch that got hunted was feared for her intelligence and for thinking differently/more progressively.  And even real women in history such as Elizabeth Bathory who didn't wield magic as we know it, but delved into the dark arts, used intense manipulation to "put a spell on" nobles around her, and was probably regarded as some kind of demon.  Like many women in history, she was frightening because of her cunning.  

And in fantasy, what determines a good mage?  A high INTELLIGENCE stat.  So it goes back to a simplified delineation of man= stupid meathead and woman= capable of using her brain to manipulate arcane magic.  

And I ask, just because a healer may be physically weak, does that make a healer "weak" period?  I think not.  If I were to put myself into an RPG archetype, I'd totally be a support healer.  You can't have an effective entourage without one.  Back when I used to play PSO, I was always a healer.  I value a good healer over a tank any day.  And is "nurturing" a "weak" trait?  I don't think so.  Why should a woman or a man be considered "weak" if they're nurturing?  Doesn't it take a ton of strength to genuinely care for and about others?  

A topic like this could open up various cans of worms on the idea of gender roles in the past and present as well as gender roles in terms of different cultures.  And many gender roles we see in media like RPGs feel archaic or too cut-and-dry for some because in the reality of 2008, gender roles are not as clearly defined as they were back in the 1950s.

Ash- the idea of a female assassin is sexy in a way.  Why else is the "girls with guns" anime and manga genre as popular as it is?
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Prime Mover
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« Reply #14 on: January 14, 2008, 07:53:28 PM »

Dincrest is completely right. I don't think we're talking about female characters as being "weaker", but that there still are very clearly defined gender roles in games, movies and literature. I think that breaking down gender roles is a good thing, but it can't be done at the expense of one gender.

In fact, in today's modern world, I think gender portrayal works more against men than women. Since the higher paying jobs and better opportunities require more and more skill, and less labor, women suddenly have a big advantage, according to current gender-roles shown in entertainment. Men are generally being given the notion (from my persepctive, anyway) told that to be "manly" you should act first and think later. While women, who are physically weaker, counter this by having more intelligence. Biology has shown that recorded intelligence is practically identical in both sexes, however, modern culture tends to provide women with better organizational skills, and cooperative strategies.

I think men are just a hell of a lot more insecure with their possitions in the modern world. We hold onto this notion of "brawn over brain", but we're doing ourselves a disservice.

And yes, I tend to be the support character in RPGs... usually an information gatherer or tactician. I hate playing bruisers... just not fun.

Sorry about getting way off topic from games.
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