Tobold's Blog
Thursday, May 17, 2012
To cite a troll

Klepsacovic from Troll Racials Are Overpowered posted something last week about TERA which corresponds very much to what I was thinking:
I've been trying to sort out quite what is wrong with the Elin. My gut isn't much help, since it just screams "oh god what is wrong with those people!?" and gut-based psychoanalysis of developers isn't usually a successful endeavor. My brain kicks in eventually and says that no children are harmed by the development or play of the game, that is it fantasy events with fantasy characters in a fantasy world. Well okay, but that doesn't make me feel any less sick, so it appears as though my gut has triumphed.
I experience the same dissonance between my gut and my brain. The Elin are sexualized children, and I find that revolting. But I know that the issue of whether drawn child pornography is bad and/or illegal isn't quite as black & white. There are countries where the law says that drawn and photographed child porn are the same, and there are other countries where the legislation makes a difference for the reason Klepsacovic mentions: No children are harmed by it. Which for most people doesn't make it any less revolting.

I can rationalize my disgust by arguing that drawn child porn could lead perverts on to an appetite for the real thing. But then my brain explodes, because by analogy a video game in which you play a terrorist planting a bomb (Counterstrike) or shoot people in the head (every FPS) would be just as bad. If we argue that there is absolutely no risk that playing Grand Theft Auto or Mafia turns us into gangsters, then how do we justify the argument that depiction of sexualized children will turn us into perverts?

In the end, as Klepsacovic does, I can only say that the gut wins. I simply don't want to play a game that has panty-shots of children. Call it gut, call it a difference in culture between the Asians and the West, but the disgust easily beats the rational arguments.

The difference is that you can't start your terrorist carrier in steps. You are a terrorist or you are not.

However sexual perversions start step by step: random ideas that even he finds disturbing, watching/thinking soft versions of it like the mentioned drawn porn, masturbating and doing it. Every step enforces the behavior and rewards it with different levels of sexual satisfaction.

So drawn porn won't change anyone into an active childraper. It changes him into a child-porn-masturbater. There isn't such thing as bomb-picture-masturbater.
@Gevlon - a recent nytimes article can give you some view on the issue.

Perversions don't start step by step. Maybe their fulfillment, but the disorders are there. And Japan saw reduction in a sex crime rates since the advent of the porn.

Are you sure there are not bomb and gun masturbaters? NRA comes to mind.
I am a staunch supporter of the idea that people should be allowed to satisfy their dangerous and destructive urges on pixels and inanimate objects. It's better to allow a violent person to go on a stabbing/torture spree in Manhunt, or let a pedophile masturbate using a childlike blow-up doll, than to force them to suppress their desires until the pressure-cooker in their head blows up and makes them hurt someone in reality.

That said, this freedom should not be without its limits. Allowing a safe outlet for one's dark urges is not the same as completely legitimizing them. As the old adage goes, "your freedom to swing your fists ends where my face begins". So while I believe that there might be a legitimate place for sexualized digital images of virtual children in video games, that place is deep within single player territory.

If a pedophile wants to get off on virtual panty shots within the confines of his own home, fair enough - no one gets hurt in process, and it keeps real children safe. However, he shouldn't be allowed to force other people to endure this sight. Likewise, the aforementioned guy with the blow-up doll shouldn't be allowed to take it out on dates in public.
I think it's fine to say that if sexualisation of children is taboo in your society and you are socialised to find that repulsive, then pictures or cartoons that resemble sexualised children will have the same effect.

That is, it can be an inappropriate thing that garners negative responses whether or not real children were harmed to make the image.

If it encourages society to oversexualise children then there is an argument that maybe real children will be harmed in future, but that would be difficult to prove.
lol guys..go out and find a girlfriend... you know people after a specific age they are getting very weird..and you act like my grand-grand-father...

it is a fantasy is anime why you talk about sexualized?have you ever felt that you wanna fuck anything in a videogame?well thats what is see a video game and see it sexualized

You can't honestly be arguing that it's a slippery slope?

As far as I am aware, and mind you, I don't claim to be a psychologist, a mental disease like pedophilia is either present or it isn't. It may not be expressed at any given moment, but either you think that way or you don't.

This is getting off topic, but I'd imagine it is the same as a homosexual person being exposed to or stimulating themselves to heterosexual imagery or visa versa: It doesn't matter how much you are exposed, it isn't going to change your sexuality.
Sexualizing children in any context or media is wrong, no matter which society it is done or not done in. And what Gevlon is referring to is Operant Conditioning, which if I recall is part of the greater field of Behaviorism in psychology. You might be surprised what you can condition people to do or believe. And please mind the cheap shots about guns and the NRA, it's immature.

Children all over the world are being exploited and abused every day. This "elin" thing isn't helping at all. If more people made a stink about it, then maybe those who think it's acceptable to sexualize children will wise up one day and realize what they are doing is wrong.
While I think the psychological and legal issues are very interesting, what this particular example comes down to is a cultural conflict. TERA is game developed by Asian programmers for an Asian audience. That culture views the sexual depiction of children differently than is typical in the U.S. or Europe. A normative judgement on whether one cultural viewpoint is correct and the other is not is a separate conversation. And that's where Tobold (and Klep's) reaction comes in. Their cultural background tells their "gut" that what they are seeing is wrong, whereas the audience that the game was originally developed for sees little issue.

While I am rarely an advocate for censorship, I believe in this case, En Masse would have been well served by keeping their audience in mind when importing this game to the U.S./Europe. And yes, I know they already toned it down somewhat. But it makes poor business sense to offend so many potential customers.
So people are not upset that a race that resembles little girls are running around a game murdering people with blood spurting everywhere, but the fact that they dress in ballet outfits without the tights?
Odd and unfortunate discussion for a gaming blog.

Pedophiles ARE made. A high percentage of pedophiles and sexual predators were victims themselves.

Homosexuality is a sexual orientation. Period.

I believe societies must occasionally draw lines in the sand. Pedophilia and sexualization of children should be one of those lines. The definition of "child", while variable, should be unambiguously determined by a society.

The problem with animated depictions is that it blurs the ability to determine age.
So people are not upset that a race that resembles little girls are running around a game murdering people with blood spurting everywhere, but the fact that they dress in ballet outfits without the tights?

Quoted for truth ;)

My 2 cents: I enjoy looking at naked grown-up women. But that doesn't mean that I go out and rape them.

Other people enjoy looking at naked children. That doesn't mean that they go out and rape them, either. Rape (and harrassment .. of men, and women, and children, etc) should be illegal (of course!). Looking at pictures shouldn't be illegal.

And last but not least, other cultures are different. Don't judge them so easily.
Wow, what a huge difference in cultures this issue makes. As someone who comes from a more anime-watching/asiatic culture, I thought I'd chime in a little bit with my perspective.

A lot of the posts here decry the sexualization of children, and that's obviously something I can get behind. However, when I see Elin, I definitely do not see sexualized children. I mean, obviously they look young and tiny, but I just don't see them in the same light as I would view an actual child. In my mind, they're just chibi-fied (that is, miniaturized) adult anime characters.

And maybe that's the difference? Because my cultural background places their look and feel towards anime rather than actual real life, I can funnel them into an entirely different category with their own separate taboos/preconceived conceptions about them, apart from real life kids.

Kodomo no Jikan, this is not.
@Nils: There is the production problem: people getting busted for child pornography don't have hard drives filled with little kids at the beach or toddlers who made a dash for it after a bath.
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