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Do you think the Sonic series is kind of sexist?


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CertifiedNobody
2 hours ago, batson said:

Zeena is indeed the most baffling thing in the series in terms of gender representation. The game came out in 2013 but the Deadly Six as a group is such a straight example of the "the one female whose personality is to be female" trope that you'd think the game came out 20 years earlier. Zeena puts Smurfette to shame. I get that the characters in the game were ultimately created in Japan so that explains a lot of it, but not all. Pontac and Graff were told to use a certain set of characters in a basic certain story but they wrote the lines (and even the finer details of how the story plays out). It's not like Sonic Forces where they merely translated and slightly changed a japanese script. No, these two american writers who you'd think would write with a sense of basic modern day western sensibilities in mind basically took an already problematic character and made her borderline offensive. Now, to be honest, I can appreciate when a writer decides to just write what he/she truly wants to write without taking political correctness into account (South Park is something to admire) but with Zeena and her Smurfette-principle in full swing... I just don't get why. Why would they do that? What did they want to say? Or, perhapes more realistically, since I'm assuming they probably didn't actually want to express some personal truth or meaning with it, why did they think people would like it? Did they genuinly not realize that in 2013 most people are aware of the marginalization of females in media and tired of it? I mean I know that the "ok boomer" meme is old and dead (like a lot of boomers) but geeeez guys, if you write professionally for a living then you might wanna keep up with how writing evolves from one decade to the next, if even solely for the purpose of being able to please the masses.

Pontaff are just bad at writing. The Deadly Six were borderline parodies of overused tropes.

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Even after all these years and all these games I'm one of those people who are reluctant to go as far as to simply call Pontac and Graff bad writers, partly because I've heard that they were good on other things but mostly because it feels like a mean thing to say. But maybe it's quite simply true. At the very least, I can say that I've found absolutely nothing admirable about their writing for Sonic, not in terms of story, characterization or dialogue. Like, I'm not a writer of fiction myself (I don't think I've ever written a complete story since high school, a looooong time ago), but I'm pretty sure I could easily have done a much better job than them at every single Sonic product they were involved with.

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9 hours ago, batson said:

The game came out in 2013 but the Deadly Six as a group is such a straight example of the "the one female whose personality is to be female" trope that you'd think the game came out 20 years earlier.

No you wouldn't. Having a chick in something because she's a chick is not only not something that stopped being a common occurrence in 1993, but pieces of media have struggled with representation issues to this very day.

 

 

 

It's also a significantly more complicated concept for media to grapple with beyond chalking it up to "lol Japan" as well.

 

9 hours ago, batson said:

and made her borderline offensive

lmao

 

9 hours ago, batson said:

Did they genuinly not realize that in 2013 most people are aware of the marginalization of females in media and tired of it?

Since even in 2022 I'd say claiming this is pretty suspect as a statement of fact (I daresay the majority of the entertainment consuming public probably doesn't have their head up TVTropes' ass), it certainly hard to believe it was true in 2013. Just because Steven Universe came out in 2013 does not mean that every piece of media across every entertainment industry has been Steven Universe.

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light-gaia
12 hours ago, batson said:

Even after all these years and all these games I'm one of those people who are reluctant to go as far as to simply call Pontac and Graff bad writers, partly because I've heard that they were good on other things but mostly because it feels like a mean thing to say. But maybe it's quite simply true. At the very least, I can say that I've found absolutely nothing admirable about their writing for Sonic, not in terms of story, characterization or dialogue. Like, I'm not a writer of fiction myself (I don't think I've ever written a complete story since high school, a looooong time ago), but I'm pretty sure I could easily have done a much better job than them at every single Sonic product they were involved with.

As far as I know, they did a pretty good job writing for other franchises, but their work with Sonic was awful to say the least. In my opinion, they were unprofessional, it felt like they didn't even try to do a good job 🤷. That's the only explanation.

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I think that the only case that can be considered actually offensive among the ones mentioned in this thread (unless I forgot some) is Roll being a cleaning robot, especially in that old Megaman cartoon where she got a vacuum cleaner and other house tools instead of an arm cannon; that's pretty bad indeed. Luckily the Sonic series does not seem to have any stuff like that in it.

Even Zeena, while I consider her a bad character, hate all the Deadly 6 and wish they were never created in the first place, I can't see her as offensive, I rather see her as a generic demon-like villain who represents the sin of vanity. I don't think she is meant to represent the female gender as a whole, and I don't think she offends anyone besides herself. She's the typical generic villain with flat personality purposely made for being annoying and hated, so that you feel satisfaction when they are defeated; all the other members of the Deadly 6 group are the same as her, just based on different themes. As an example, 90% of Dragonball villains are like that, especially the minor ones who appear for a few minutes and then disappear forever.

I can't remember Sonic's dialogues during the bossfight though, it's possible that his jokes and troll talk against her are more offesnive than the existence of Zeena as a character; as I said, I don't remember and I don't feel like searching, I just dislike that game and don't care.

And btw, Zeena exists because this exists:

535432209e197e7ea187ef4f5ea10c55eb1a78b3

It's no secret that the D6 are Koopalings' rip offs.

Though I agree that Amy's role in Lost World is one of the worst and least respectful she ever had in the series.

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Snowikaris
8 hours ago, Iko said:

And btw, Zeena exists because this exists:

535432209e197e7ea187ef4f5ea10c55eb1a78b3

It's no secret that the D6 are Koopalings' rip offs.

Though I agree that Amy's role in Lost World is one of the worst and least respectful she ever had in the series.

Zeena existing because Wendy O. Koopa exists is pointless too. Sonic does have a Wendy O. Koopa; it’s Rouge. Sure, they’re worlds apart in portrayal and morality, but that’s due to Sonic being worlds apart in tone and morals from Mario, and so their respective takes on a recurring female antagonist are as night and day as the damsel in distress and other archetypes. Wave IS closer to Wendy O. Koopa, but still, she’s part of an inseperable triad. 
 

That is the big problem with Lost World; it forgets how different the franchise is from its competition.

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Comparing Rouge and Wendy is a huge stretch. They don't really have much in common aside from being female antagonists and that barely applies to Rouge nowadays given all of her modern appearances have her straight up heroic. 

 

Zeena is definitely Wendy tho, straight up.

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Screw your boys n' girls, all of them truly suck.

This franchise only needs real MEN, like eggman. What an absolute unit.

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Snowikaris

Anyways, thoughts on future movies possibly gender-flipping existing male characters to add more to the roster? I don’t think it’s that bad of an idea, especially for characters like Charmy. And yes, the Six being so similar to Koopalings is evident from their boss battles alone, and is a terrible idea in and of itself; remember when Sonic bosses took 8 hits?

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Tough question. If we are looking at the industry as a whole and the demographics they tend to target, then yeah. And that could have sipped into this franchise as well, intentional or not.

On 7/27/2021 at 5:12 AM, Dr. Mechano said:

Which is funny, because whenever shonen does break from the largely male-dominated tradition and let women be more prominent, the boys in the audience tend to be fine with it?

It's gone from a genre that largely sidelined the girls to one where the girls actively fight alongside the guys in many series. Yu Yu Hakusho features Genkai, a woman - an old woman at that - as both the hero's mentor and an active fighter in her own right. Heck, an entire Jojo part - Stone Ocean - stars a woman as the main character, and it's still every bit the shonen action series the other parts were. Other popular shonen series with female main characters like Slayers, Kill la Kill, Soul Eater (arguably), etc. all fared really well.

The idea that boys can't or won't accept more prominent female characters is rubbish. Most boys are totally fine with girl characters actually getting to do things, or even being the central character, as long as the series is still hitting the right notes of having lots of fights and cool action scenes.

I want to correct you as Kill la Kill is technically not a Shonen, but an original animated series (Which yes, had a Manga, but which was based on the show), though it certainly shares many of the tropes and elements found in Shonen. 

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On 7/30/2021 at 5:40 AM, batson said:

Perhaps the better question is "Is the Sonic series kind of sexy?".

Of that's an objective yes if Idris Knuckles is any indication. 

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I honestly don't know how to best answer these questions. Honestly, as someone who wishes to work in game development, this is one of those things that would always be on my head swirling around forever.

I can't speak for this franchise specifically, but for any piece of media that falls on this trap, the real solution I can think of to improve upon this is by either making female characters that are great and competent at what they do, sometimes on par of better than their male peers, or simply make games with clearly defined and playable female protagonists. That, and like their male peers, give them their own quirks and traits that makes them stand out to their counterparts and even among other female characters.

That, at least, is I how I think one should go about it first and foremost. But you all have your own opinions on how the best way to go about this. So I'm not going to act like it is the only way to do so.

 

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FlameStream

Doing something like this kinda falls into the checkbox trap. Sometimes, people are not interested in telling a story that involves x type of person.

It's best for the interested/targeted party when it comes up simply naturally, really.

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45 minutes ago, FlameStream said:

Doing something like this kinda falls into the checkbox trap. Sometimes, people are not interested in telling a story that involves x type of person.

It's best for the interested/targeted party when it comes up simply naturally, really.

But I'm naturally innterested in going about it this way if possible. Or are you referring to those parties that are unwilling to back up making strictly female player characters cause it's not "marketable enough"?  I'm looking at you Ubisoft. 

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FlameStream

Things probably would not go this way if people were honest about their opinion if it didn't mean ill will.

Just saying something like "we're not interested in telling this kind of story" will not make everyone happy, but it will at least not give ammo to people that seek to drag you down.

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CertifiedNobody
3 hours ago, Snowikaris said:

Anyways, thoughts on future movies possibly gender-flipping existing male characters to add more to the roster? I don’t think it’s that bad of an idea, especially for characters like Charmy. And yes, the Six being so similar to Koopalings is evident from their boss battles alone, and is a terrible idea in and of itself; remember when Sonic bosses took 8 hits?

Don't do it. If people couldn't accept buff Knuckles and Sonic with a scarf, they would be pissed if their favorite character was altered on a fundamental level.

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Sexist? That's an extreme take to have for a franchise that's been around and loved for 30 years now...Besides Sonic is/was created in Japan. They don't care about that kind of stuff...

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20 minutes ago, GOAT said:

Sexist? That's an extreme take to have for a franchise that's been around and loved for 30 years now...Besides Sonic is/was created in Japan. They don't care about that kind of stuff...

Like you?

And a certain author from a Bizarre manga would possibly disagree with you with your generalization on the matter.

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CertifiedNobody
30 minutes ago, GOAT said:

Sexist? That's an extreme take to have for a franchise that's been around and loved for 30 years now...Besides Sonic is/was created in Japan. They don't care about that kind of stuff...

I'd argue Sonic is just as much made in America as he was made in Japan. IIRC, wasn't the whole new mascot thing done by Sega of America?

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Dr. Mechano
51 minutes ago, GOAT said:

Sexist? That's an extreme take to have for a franchise that's been around and loved for 30 years now...Besides Sonic is/was created in Japan. They don't care about that kind of stuff...

That's kind of an unfounded generalization.

Like, yeah, general Japanese cultural views on gender are a little less progressive than some parts of the world. But Japanese people also have varied views, and aren't a monolith. Plenty of Japanese media depicts strong women and could even be rightly described as feminist in nature.

It's not like Japan didn't have its own feminist movement, after all.

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