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There's a MormonAd (basically a pre-internet meme) in one of their church magazines which shows a bug in a bowl of ice cream, and reads "IT'S GREAT EXCEPT FOR THE BAD PARTS."

The ice cream, in this case, is media, and for Mormons the "bad parts" are anything that "drives away the Spirit" ... which means they cause them to feel unacceptable emotions, like cognitive dissonance, sexual arousal, or adult anger and frustration as expressed through profanity. The more hardcore a Mormon is, the more of a learned fear response they have to emotions that normal adults have, which is why more hardcore Mormons used memes like this one: To shame kids for not having that response, and for thinking it was okay to watch R-rated movies and South Park.

You can see why they didn't want Mormon kids watching South Park. Content note: Racism, ablism, and a couple inaccuracies. (1) Click here if you can't see the video.

You see what I did there, with the note just beneath that video? This is how grown-ups handle people's different levels of tolerance for offensive content: By clearly labeling stuff using a shared vocabulary. The point isn't to say "if you like this then you're a racist;" it's to warn actual people of colour (in this case First Nations / Native American people) that "if you watch this then it might ruin your day," and let them make an informed decision.

It's hard to explain or justify doing this to people who've never imagined someone's day actually being ruined by this stuff. Or who chalk it up to "choosing to be offended." Healthy people don't have the kind of PTSD triggers that are caused by discrimination, and the kind of broken people that Mormonism and other abusive societies produce often don't realize they have triggers.

How abuse f**ks kids up, part 22

Claire used to just about go berserk when she saw gratuitous violence against innocents, like in action movies where they dwell on the villains casually killing people. I had no idea that it was because these scenes caused her to feel the anger we were never allowed to have or express, at our father of origin for beating the crap out of us. Because of that, we didn't know how to describe why we felt this way, or how to see the fact that these movies affected us in ways that they didn't affect other people. We thought that either we were broken, or everyone else was.

Don't you just wish, sometimes, that you could make people understand? That you could show those sexist white male jerks on Twitter what it's like to have people make rape jokes around you, or "jokingly" threaten your body with sexual violation?

... yeah, that's what happened to us shortly after we realized that we were transgender.

We got the kind of crash course in feminism that a person gets from presenting as female online, from having our work on GNOME more or less ignored by the male contributors to having irate Final Fantasy XIV players chase us off Tumblr for posting stuff they didn't like. Stuff like screenshots of the kind of blatantly sexist and rape-y stuff that the game is just saturated in, that we put on our sarcastic blog about how "FFXIV Is Totally Not Sexist."

Examples

Content note: Rape, sexism, spoilers

  • Sastasha, one of the first three dungeons, is a pirate cove where the pirates in question keep tons of identically-dressed, submissive female prisoners, and no male ones. While you're ransacking the place looking for the "Cap'n," one of them tells you "I swear on what's left of my virtue" that she doesn't know where he is. Once you've caught up to him and defeated his bodyguards, he panics and looks around, exclaiming "Where are me men? W-where are me maidens!?"

  • During the main scenario quests, your character experiences a flashback, where they see a female Ala Mihgan refugee being treated extremely badly in Ul'dah. The flashback ends in time for her to talk about how she was raped.

  • The "Corpse Brigade," an Ala Mihgan military unit which has turned to banditry in Thanalan, intercepts you and other travelers on the road in a random event. The NPCs who are part of the brigade say things like "No valuables, eh? Well, let's see what you've got in your smallclothes!" "Smallclothes" is the Eorzean word for "underwear."

  • Another female Ala Mihgan refugee in the main scenario quests, this time in Little Ala Mihgo, tells you her painful backstory that involves being raped by a male NPC. As far as I can remember, this NPC is never specifically condemned for this rape or brought to justice for it, nor does anyone else seem to make much of it. You fight him for generic "bad guy" reasons unrelated to his history of sexual assault.

  • The only female Garlean general is also the only one to make not-so-veiled sexual advances towards your character, during her boss fight at Castrum Meridianum.

  • Minfilia, the leader of an NPC group called the Scions of the Seventh Dawn and a woman your character frequently reports to, was listed in an April Fools' Day update as one of several NPCs your character would supposedly be able to romance Mass Effect style. The "leaked developers' notes" described her becoming increasingly demanding and jealous the closer you become to her, when she was always portrayed as sane and reasonable in the game.

  • Several of the quests for advancement in the Culinarians' Guild involve its male leader having you cook stuff for one of the guild's female chefs, as he sees her untalkativeness as a sign that something is wrong with her. One of the things that he has you cook is a slab of liver, a food which is extremely high in iron. As the female NPC stops just short of saying, iron is an essential nutrient which is depleted through heavy blood loss, such as can be experienced during menstruation. The implication is that if a woman isn't perky for her male boss, it must be because "it's that time of the month."

  • In the main scenario quest I completed most recently, which was part of the 2.4 update, I had to run and go rescue a female soldier, because the people who'd taken her prisoner aren't likely to treat her with "dignity." When I got there and fought off her captors, one of them was like "Come for the fair maiden, eh?"

The tl;dr is that it feels like every woman who can be threatened with rape or harassment is, and -- a handful of high-ranking NPCs excepted -- the women in Eorzea all read like they were written by a man who finds sexual harassment funny.

I found the sexism funny, at first. Not because "lolwomen," but because it was so blatant and ridiculous. I started the Tumblr so people could laugh at it. But after a year of being harassed just for pointing it out, and dealing with creepy jerks who were other players in the game, and seeing women get threatened with rape and chased out of their homes just for being women on the Internet, it's not funny to me anymore.

The rape and sexism in FFXIV now feel less like bad jokes, and more like "the bad parts."

It's a great game, except for them. I'm just not sure I can deal with them anymore.




(1) Joseph Smith initially claimed only that he'd been "forgiven of his sins," and only later started saying God told him all religions were wrong. Also, he first tried to sell the copyright to the Book of Mormon in Canada, instead of founding a religion with it. It wasn't until after Mormonism picked up steam that he started having affairs and soliciting children, at least the ones that we know about.

I don't know what the Quakers have to do with anything, aside from generally being awesome (and living on the Moon).

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