Female tropes of the gaming realm

Fundamentally, a female character can only exist within a sexualised heteronormative realm of corporeality, ‘her sexuality is a defining feature, relegating her status to that of an object to be gazed upon’ (Mikula 2003). A sustained critical discourse within the context of game culture is the observation that video game content and dialogue exists within a ‘masculine domain’ (Dyer-Witherford & de Peuter 2009, 181). Within this masculinist domain, women exist as ‘toys for the boys’ and are ‘invisible other than as “virgins and vixens”’ (Buchanan 2000). This is particularly evident within the female characterisation of Manaka, Yuuko, and Aoi within Rapelay, as all characters are dressed in either revealing clothing, have hyper feminised bodies (large breasts) and their underwear is made visible intermittently throughout the game. In Dietz (1998) content analysis of gender stereotypes within popular videogames, his research demonstrated that there were four dominant tropes of female characterisation; sexy object, victim (damsel in distress), feminine subject, and hero. The female characters within Rapelay fall into both the ‘sexy object’ and ‘victim’ categories since they respond with distress, fear, as well as arousal when they are raped by the player. The narrative structure in which the female rape victim can eventually ‘enjoy’ her abuse is in no way progressive; it endorses victim blaming within rape culture as well as blurring the conceptual boundaries between forcible rape and consent.

Manaka, Yuuko, and Aoi

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