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JoyfulSanity's blog

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JoyfulSanity avatar 3:07 PM on 07.30.2013  (server time)

Raise your hand if you like boobs. If you didn't, I'm going to assume you're lying, because you clicked a blog called "boobs."

I'm not here to guilt trip you, because, I mean, who doesn't love boobs? Heterosexual men are kind of hardwired to like boobs, and culturally there are a lot of people who are not heterosexual men that happen to like boobs as well, ironically or otherwise. This is why marketing firms love to play off of our fascination with boobs and plaster them all over commercials and advertisements in hopes of catching our attention. Many people may despise this practice, but resenting marketing tactics should not mean it's a moral responsibility to resent how certain women happen to look around the chest area.

I clarify this because I think it's important for gamers to direct their outrage towards the appropriate sources when, say, Motomu Toriyama orders breast implants for Lightning in Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII.

To be fair, reactions to this particular story have been varied, so the argument I want to make doesn't exactly speak to the majority. However, I've noticed a fair amount of comments that seem to share a sentiment along the lines of this:

"Lightning was a strong and attractive female protagonist in Final Fantasy XIII, but making her breasts larger sexualizes her as if she was a Dead or Alive girl."

To clarify, I too dislike Lightning's magical cup growth for reasons I'll explain in a bit, but as far as this particular sentiment goes, I just has to ask... does Lightning's new breast size somehow undo her attractive appearance or her strength as a character?

Gamers have made it abundantly clear in recent years that there's a demand for more variety in the ways various body types are portrayed in videogames, but unfortunately this seems to have led to an unfair vilifying of breasts. Jade from Beyond Good and Evil is rightfully praised as a strong female hero, but a number of gamers qualify her as a great female hero because she is modestly proportioned. I'll ask the same question again: if Jade's breast size was larger, would that somehow undo her tasteful attire and composure in the game, or would it somehow demean the heroic virtue of her actions? Imagine how ridiculous it would be to meet a very successful business woman who happened to have DDs and tell her "wow, I'm really impressed with all that you've accomplished in your life, but all that would have been more impressive if you wore a B cup." Busty women actually exist in real life (surprising, right?), and to assume that a larger bust size equals "sexualization" would mean that women with large breasts are inherently more "sexualized" than others just because of sheer biology.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, take Yuzu from Devil Survivor. Yes, she happens to have pretty large boobs, yet she's dressed fairly modestly. The characters in the game never discuss breasts or breast sizes, let alone Yuzu's chest in particular. Regardless, Yuzu is usually singled out and criticized for being busty, with some fans even referring to her as "Boobzu." Granted, sometimes criticism of her bust size is coupled with criticism of her "whining too much," but that doesn't change the fact that the criticisms are still used as if her chest somehow defines her as a character. Hilariously, Haru from the same game is dressed much more provocatively, yet this doesn't get nearly as much criticism as Yuzu because her breasts are on the smaller side.

In each of this cases, I feel there's a certain hypocrisy in that these critics are trying to prove how they aren't influenced by how busty female game characters are, but at the same time they show how much they are influenced by focusing on chest sizes to assign value to certain videogame characters over others. As mentioned before, there's nothing wrong with liking boobs. Many people need to be honest with themselves and accept that their eyes occasionally drift south when they make eye contact with a woman. If these things are problems in an individual's life, then it's that person's prerogative to fix it, but pretending we're somehow not affected makes us miss the real issues all together.

Lightning's breast size is not the problem. The problems lie in how her breast size increase doesn't make sense from a continuity perspective (so how did they get bigger, exactly?) and making her strike sexy poses to show off jiggle physics seems impractical and inconsistent with how she has acted in the previous games. Large breasts in Dead or Alive are not the problem, but the mentality that the breast slider is the same as the beauty slider is. Revealing armor has its place, but the average warrior would consider it impractical and the likelihood of all women running into battle in it breaks the player's immersion.

Listing every issue ever would keep us here for the next week or so, and this isn't to say that there's no room for fan service. However, the assumption that large breasts equal sex appeal is one that is just incorrect. It's how busty women are showcased, dressed, and portrayed that sexualizes them, but their existence doesn't mean they are inherently sex objects. If the goal is to truly rally for more diversity in videogame characters (regardless of gender!), then the outrage needs to be aimed in the right direction. Tell Square-Enix that they can have their pervy moments over female characters, but overdoing it with arbitrary close-ups of butts and boobs is what is insulting and off-putting. Encouraging diversity doesn't mean discouraging the majority being represented. If anything, we should be applauding games that can feature strong, busty characters whose inclusion are not for the sole reason of marketing or sex appeal.

Let's get rid of the shame in liking boobs. It doesn't have to mean you're a pervert, and it doesn't mean that you value a person's personality less than appearance. By admitting this, the arguments for less boobage will actually have more weight and developers can't write them off as mastrophobia. Tell the industry that you like boobs, but it'll take a lot more than that to win your money.

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