The Fault with Bravely Default

Boyne’s Article: Bravely Default, Chobits, and the Lack of Consent

It’s games like Bravely Default that reinforce a notion that it’s acceptable to treat women with derision and reduce them to their potential as male-pleasers. (Billings, 2014) This concept is so unabashedly rampant that it threatens to sexualize even young teenage girls, the effects of which are tragically commonplace. (Dewar, 2010) Bravely Default’s treatment of girls in their early teens was so abhorrent, that in the western localization, not only were revealing outfits and sexual dialogue censored, but the issue was so deep-rooted, their ages had to be pushed up to 18+. (Winslett, 2014)

In Bravely Default, an old sage routinely makes sexual comments at the two young females in your party, offering them skimpy clothing and requesting for them to share his bed or sit in his lap. (Plafke, 2014) The girls’ repeated discomfort is made a reward for this behaviour, as if their “feisty” reactions or unwillingness to participate somehow just makes them more attractive. It is a stale and predatory narrative through and through.

Constant exonerated sexist comments and objectification communicates to the female player that the developers do not care about them or their safety. (Billings, 2014) Sexual objectification of women and the disregard of their consent in fictional mediums such as Bravely Default promotes rape culture; which threatens to quietly make women of all ages as easy a target for sex crimes as possible, while increasing the odds of offenders getting away with it. (McEwan, 2009) Rape culture is a conglomerate of such media, laws, values, themes, etc.,  that “condone physical and emotional terrorism against women as the norm … In a rape culture both men and women assume that sexual violence is a fact of life, inevitable … However … much of what we accept as inevitable is in fact the expression of values and attitudes that can change,” (Buchwald, 1994) Boyne’s article is a perfect – if unfortunate – example of the effects sexualization of fictional females continues to have on real-life females. It promotes a system that does away with consent, justice, and the protection of minors. Bravely Default serves to prove that the sexist ideals of those before it are alive and well, and I can only hope the gaming industry makes efforts to reform itself in order to cement the rights and freedoms of young girls, lest they be violated again and again.

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