Apr 3, 2015

Aerith Gainsborough: A Rant on Positive Female characters.

Art may seem a bit tasteless right now but bear with me. Also
This piece of art is not mine. I know where it came from originally
but it was on the used PSP I bought after mine died.

The Flower Girl from the Slums who is VERY FAMOUS for being murdered by a Momma's Boy's Mom cosplaying as her son IS A VERY POWERFUL AND POSITIVE FEMALE CHARACTER.

But she's a damsel in distress and dies at the end of the first disc! How can she be a Powerful Female character?

Yes, it's true that when you meet her, you have to save her from Shin-Ra and a little bit later on you have to save her from Shin-Ra, AGAIN... But Hear me out...
She also wears a Pink Dress and a Huge Pink Bow. She is also the weakest character if we use the Physical Strength stat for measuring strength. Why do I believe she is Powerful AND POSITIVE Female Character?

Let's start with her background story... which is irrelevant if I wear Plaid shirts and Hula Hoops on my ears.

She's the last surviving member of an Ancient race... (Technically a Half-Breed) who can communicate with Mother Earth... (and she's not a tribal or aboriginal stereotype that according to SJWs is something saved for "People of Color"... which sounds incredibly racist having a bunch of SF "White Privileged folks" referring to black people as "People of Color"...)

Now what makes her powerful and dare I say Positive.
-She is strong.
 Before you point out that I called her the weakest character based on attack power and that she has to be rescued, shut up and read. Growing up on the Midgar slums is supposed to be tough. There are random encounters with monsters in every corner, not to mention thieves and potential rapists. Not to mention the Shin-Ra being after her.

Not only that, but she is headstrong and has a tendency to protect others before worrying about herself.
Most obvious example is going to the City of the Ancients to activate Holy (and meeting her demise) then we have two other instances in which she puts her life on the line in order to save others.

-Wall Market: Operation Rescue Tifa from Don Corneo
Ah yes, the section of the game that has Cloud going around getting stuff to crossdress in order to save Tifa. (Cloud may or may have not been raped when he passes out at the Brothel.)
Aerith offers herself to get inside Corneo's compund (since he has a thing for young pretty girls) to try and get Tifa out of there. She did this for a complete stranger and possible rival for her. (The whole Cloud, Tifa, Aerith odd triangle, or trapezoid if the possibility of dating Yuffie )

-When she surrendered herself to the Shin-Ra to protect Marlene.
To protect the daughter of a stranger. she basically traded her life to protect this little girl.

She is a SELFLESS PROTECTOR who is willing to die to protect others. This is also reflected in her Limit Breaks:

Healing Wind: It restores the Party's HP (about half the max HP)

Seal Evil: Stops Evil in its tracks. (or applies Paralyze and Silence on them)

Breath of the Earth: Removes any Negative Status effects on the party

Fury Brand: Fills the other Party Members' Limit Gauge

Planet Protector: Gives Temporary Invincibility to the party.

Pulse of Life: Fully restores HP and MP while removing Negative Status effects on the party

Great Gospel: A combination of Planet Protector and Pulse of Life.

As you can see 6 out of her 7 Limit Breaks affect the Player Party. Only Seal Evil has an effect on the enemies AND IT DEALS NO DAMAGE to them. Again. this emphasizes her Protective nature.

She is also the upbeat character who tries to cheer up the party, as seen when the group reaches The Golden Saucer for the First time. Or even tease Cloud (in drag) when they attempt to rescue Tifa.

Even After her Death, she's been protecting and aiding the party.
She supposedly helped Cloud and Tifa when they fell in the Lifestream and ended up on Mideel... You know Xenogears referencing wheelchair bound Cloud and the whole diving into Cloud's mind... Aerith helped there too (based on events on the novella Hoshi wo Meguru Otome)

She helps the Planet by controlling Holy (Just like "Sephiroth controlled JENOVA") to stop Meteor. Helped Cloud a couple of times during the GeoStigma incident (Advent Children). Not to mention Healing ALL of the afflicted by Geostigma at the end of AC, or "helping Kadaj return to the Planet".

I see her as a positive female character because of her character. She doesn't need a Huge rack, short short skirt and Mad Kung Fu Skills to be powerful... Unlike other FFVII character who shall not be mentioned...

She is girly, yes, has been in distress, yes, wears obvious gender signifiers, yes, she Kinda is a Voodoo Priestess/Tribal Sorceress, and one could argue she kinda was a reward with the whole Date Sidequest and how Cloud got involved with acting as Bodyguard... Cue Whitney Houston Music... and is a combination of a bunch of things wrong with women, if we believe the words of a loathsome media critic who makes Pinocchio look like the Element of Honesty.

Despite all of these "flaws", Aerith becomes a Memorable character, and not simply because "she dies".  To think of her simply as Kebab Girl is a disservice to the character. (Something that I'm guilty of from time to time in the name of snark) She is memorable because of her character, actions, and that we can empathize with her. (Without needing to be the last of an ancient civilization who could talk to the planet) 

Seriously, she's the Obi Wan Kenobi of Final Fantasy VII... But in the body of a 22 year old Flower Peddler.

But, I'm sure that She who won't be named will just focus on the dying and the pink clothes to complain and not say what's a positive character...

She did a new video? AWWW DAMMIT!!

So, Princess Plaid (not wearing plaid for once... *gasp!*) claims that This Female Link Knock-Off, known as the Scythian is a Positive Female Character. She also praises the game she comes from for it's simple Point and Click controls... but that's a different rant. (*grumble* point and click action games take control away from the player*grumble*) Let's look at this character.
So, That mess of pixels is a female. The game has to tell you it's a female so you know. Then again, those yellow buttons and brown larger squares look like weird Atari Boobs.
Has the same non-personality as the "Silent Protagonist" from many old school games that kinda forces these characters to be empty shells so the player can inject THEIR OWN PERSONALITY.

We had Bridged the chasm & we felt Super Smart... Putting a log on top of a cliff to make a bridge to cross a chasm ON A VIDEOGAME is worth this much patting on the back? Is it me or does it sound a bit condescending to the gamer?

Funny thing is that this non-character is looking for 3 Golden Triangles, has a sword and shield, little to zero personality and a weird unnatural enemy.  The only difference is that Link is male and the original. Also, Link doesn't die in the end after growing weaker. Let's leave this sink in for a moment.

It’s not just in the visual sense that the Scythian lacks clear definition. We know very little about her history, and nothing about why she has undertaken the quest to defeat an ancient evil. While games often give us images of heroes who are fated to defeat evil forces, it’s rare for these heroes of myth to be women. Like many video game heroes, the Scythian is essentially a silent protagonist, a figure defined primarily by her actions, which makes her a blank slate for all players to project themselves onto.
So how is having ZERO History or character on this character make this a positive role?
Unlike the deaths of so many female characters in games which serve the purpose of fueling the development of male characters, the Scythian’s death is tragic because her life had intrinsic value. We projected ourselves onto her and experienced the world through her.
 Her life had no real value, BECAUSE she has no background, no personality, nothing that was intrinsically HERS. We do not need to project ourselves into the characters to experience the world through them. By doing so we are ROBBING the Character from being a character instead of an empty shell.
In the game’s final moments, we see the people of the region pay their respects to the Scythian, and we mourn her death along with them.
 All two of them...
She didn’t just exist in relation to another character—she wasn’t just somebody’s wife or sister or daughter–but rather, she existed as an individual, and as a hero.
If she existed as an individual, and a hero, then her being a woman is irrelevant, right?
The game’s ending suggests that the Scythian will not be forgotten by the other characters, and the visuals and music work together to elicit a complex assortment of emotions, a sense of celebration of the Scythian’s courage, and a sense of grief at her death.
 Well, being the THIRD Human being on the entire game will make this husk a bit less forgettable. Now why will she not be forgotten? Is it because of her non-existent story, personality, motivations?
While the necessity of the Scythian’s sacrifice is worked into Sword & Sworcery’s story from the beginning and lends this particular game an emotional weight its quest might otherwise lack, we certainly don’t want all female heroes to be tragic ones. But we do need more women-centric stories of all kinds.
So, why not MAKE these stories instead of whining about not having enough? You got nearly half a million dollars Last December... Put your money where your mouth is.
When archetypal fantasy heroes in games are overwhelmingly portrayed as men, it reinforces the idea that men’s experiences are universal and that women’s experiences are gendered, that women should be able to empathize with male characters but that men needn’t be able to identify with women’s stories.
 Gamers are able to empathize with characters as long as the story is good. After the shocking reveal of Samus being a woman nearly 30 years ago, we still empathize with her adventures, same thing with Lara Croft. Or in the spirit of the original rant, Aerith. This logic that men need male characters to empathize is ass backwards.
Sword & Sworcery gives us a female protagonist and encourages us to see her as a hero first and foremost, one who also just happens to be a woman.
Can't have it both ways. Either her being a woman is important (because "we need more women-centric stories") or it's not... ("the game encourages us to see her as a hero first and foremost, one who also just happens to be a woman.")

Seven Months for a seven minute video? You Really are trying to make Georgie Slow Assed RR Martin look like a Cheetah... Is this video 1 of topic 4 of the 12 topics that you were supposed to have finished by December 2012? Sheesh!

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