Say it with me:
The games are developed the way they are because the Japanese developers make their games for a Japanese audience! Crazy, isn’t it? Women in the media are portrayed very differently there than they are in the west! And guess what! They like their protags!
How CRAZY IS THAT!?
Seriously, though. Even with a lot of those things… “stereotypical women?” Really? Yeah, some of them can be a little more bland than others, but most of them are pretty normal girls, with normal problems and issues; and when they’re not, it’s usually heavily plot related (like in Glass Heart Princess). Sometimes protags are even total badasses. Maybe you’re just not looking at it the right way.
Either way…. seriously?
Bitching that the protag is a bad representation of girls is dumb as hell. have you seen the guys in otome games? They’re not exactly model men. They’re incredibly idealized and unrealistic, and… then you have characters like Auger.
All this hating on the otome heroines is so fucking tired.
and… then you have characters like Auger.
well, you should definitely enjoy any character or game you like without having to feel like you need to justify yourself for it, however in this case the cultural differences argument, while correct, doesn’t exactly help your cause: japan society isn’t particularly lenient when it comes to gender roles and it’s also pretty sexist, so yeah, often these heroines are (and both male and female characters in other japanese media, really) offensive to anyone who doesn’t tolerate sexist bullshit.
so yeah, i can understand that the moment you decide to play an otome game - or even an eroge - you will find yourself playing as a character that has a very different mindset from yours and that expecting otherwise would be naive, however it’s also very important to be aware of the flaws of what you enjoy? you can enjoy problematic things but you’ve got to be aware of why and how they’re problematic and you can hardly blame other readers/players for getting tired of certain tropes and archetypes; there are certainly things that are part of a different culture and should be respected and treated as such, but this issue is not something you can just sweep under the rug?
oh and naturally, sexism is quite rampant in western games and pop media as well so while it might take on slightly different forms depending on the country, it’s an issue that you will encounter in american or european media as well.
This argument is still incredibly flawed though.
Nobody is really contesting the often sexist nature in Japanese culture and the roles women play in media, especially when compared to Western sensibilities.
However, the heroines in otome games are specifically built to appeal to Japanese girls and women playing the games; it’s indicative of their culture and sensibilities. The general consensus I’ve seen is that a lot of these protagonists are fairly well-liked for what they’re supposed to see. I see a hell of a lot more hatred spewed from the English speaking fandoms than I do browsing Japanese blogs.
A person who “really doesn’t tolerate sexist bullshit” is going to have a hard time swallowing the lot of a game that is specifically aimed at being a girl who is trying to romance a harem of men. Someone who’s really intensely against stereotypical roles for women is going to say “can’t we just have games with female leads that don’t revolve around romance at all?” And of course, you can be for the rights and fair portrayal of women in media while still enjoying otoge, but if your argument is really going t ofall to the protagonists being “offensive” for their portrayal, the genre as a whole is likely going to be an insult.
All the same, there’s rarely actually anything wrong with these heroines. They’re portrayed differently than women in western media — often times more soft-spoken, sometimes unsure of themselves. Yes, sometimes they can be a bit helpless, but more times than not, it’s a very circumstantial thing that people take out of context or blow out of proportion in order to fuel this need to say that they’re “useless” or “dumb bitches.” Which is even more insulting and degrading than the portrayals themselves! Because it says that a woman has to fall under a certain standard (“ours”), or else she is useless.
Like Chizuru, from Hakuouki, for example. She’s very often said to be useless because she “doesn’t” fight, which is fucking selective reading at best. She’s pretty much stated to have been raised to be an average person, able to defend herself against the very basics. But she’s also not permitted to be trained further because of her circumstances — and she goes as far as cutting a dude down (and killing him, presumably), and taking a bullet for someone else. But because she had to be bailed out of other situations where she was clearly out of her league against more experienced people, she was deemed “useless.”
You can recognize the flaws in something and still enjoy it. But to say that it’s “despicable” or place some blanket assumption on them without taking into account the fact that our culture in the West (especially in America) is very, very different than that of Japan’s is absurd. Yes, there are other problems that lie within it, but it doesn’t change the fact that the western market is still not the target audience these games are developed for — complaints like this just fall on deaf ears and are really incredibly pointless if you remember that the target audience seems to bear no issue towards it.
Nobody is sweeping it under the rug; it’s legitimately just something that’s hardly acknowledged and usually ignored because people don’t even take into consideration that there are things like demographics and cultural differences that are a major factor in game development and writing.