i love you fire emblem, but we need to talk about gender roles and how you could do so much better
[very long analyzation of female vs. male characters under cut]
A post I wrote about the Fire Emblem series. Enjoy!
I feel like you’re a little off with some of these. Yeah most of the healers tend to be female, but there is also a bit of biological imperative they throw in the stat calculator, in that females tend to have lower strength but higher magic/speed, which is probably roughly equivalent to real life biology. Yeah the game tends to throw girls into mage roles, but I can name a few female Paladins, Dracoknights, Pegasus Knights (which are exclusively female in at least on FE, I believe), Archers, Swordswomen, and so forth. Many of the female characters tend to be rather powerful late game, as Archers can be rather insane at times when upgraded to a Ranger. I can recall several particularly powerful front-line swordsmen from the series as well. Pegasus Knights are all around one of my favorite units. Yes they start out a bit weak but that’s to stop them from being killing machines from early on.
No, you’re right in thinking the cast is male-dominated, since it’s supposed to be modeled after a medieval/feudal setting, which was very much male-dominated. Sure, I’d be willing accept a game in which the female cast equally supports the male cast, but honestly as a somewhat historically-based game, I think it might break the willing suspension of disbelief by cramming equal-role females down our throats in a society that it simply isn’t built into. Similarly when I started playing Valkyrie Profile I would get particularly upset if male Valkyries were flying about everywhere, or if they suddenly made Valhalla dominated by a female-cast rather than Odin, just because they wanted to send out a positive feminist message. I don’t think sending out those messages are a bad thing whatsoever, but you need to make sure whatever society you created or whatever historical society you’re basing your own off of, is going to fit in with itself. I think all-in-all, Fire Emblem did a good job of NOT making women a cleric every other moment, and making a fair share into very competent combatants.
All in all, is Fire Emblem misogynist? Definitely, but I think other works that throw female characters no bone whatsoever should get hit with the heavier guns. I’ll leave off in saying your essay was well written and I enjoyed the read, and I generally agree with you, but I have a penchant for playing Devil’s Advocate.
But see here’s the thing - I don’t care about “realistic biology”, if they’re going to make the characters the same class they should give them the same stat growths and caps
I never said there weren’t ANY front-line women characters, I said there were comparatively fewer (and if you read further down, I actually covered the Pegasus Knight); you’re also listing ranged fighters, which is another point I made in that female characters tend to be ranged
“Willing suspension of disbelief” about female characters in a supposedly medieval society is required, but apparently magic and piercing heavy armor with a light sword is ok? However you gotta justify it to yourself I guess, but if they can make those things happen they can easily write a story where the female characters do just as much for the same reasons as the male characters
And I don’t understand why you’re proud of playing “Devil’s Advocate” for a topic that is actually pretty important? Sexism in games is a huge problem, and playing the devil’s advocate doesn’t help anybody
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