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Feminist Decries Persona 5 “Cis Privilege”


A feminist review of Persona 5 has unsurprisingly led to the game being denounced for failure to deliver on its theme of “fighting the system” by not covering the trials and tribulations of the LGBTXYZ community with sufficient ardor.

The reviewer complains that not including the topic of the LGBTXYZ community is a missed opportunity as they “suffer the most” in society, and by not being allowed players to choose their gender they are forced to accept that the protagonist is an evil straight cis male:

“Persona 5 presents itself as a game about misfits and about exposing the unseen evils underlying Tokyo.

Yet these misfits adhere to the same norms and assumptions as the oppressive adults the game claims to challenge. The game assumes you’re a straight cis male.

Joker, the player character, is a paper-thin self-insert character that’s supposed to be the player, but he in no way represents me or much of the audience. The player can’t romance other men or select another gender.

By excluding the option to choose, Persona 5 demands players accept the cis straight male protagonist, despite being able to name their character.

It’s a game about rejection from society and trying to fix it. However, the biggest social rejects in Japan are not straight cis men, but queer people, trans people, and other marginalized folks who face issues because they don’t fit the social norms just by being themselves.

For these people it isn’t as simple as hair dye, getting arrested once, and so on; it is a core aspect of their very being.”

The reviewer additionally insists there should have been greater focus on “homophobia” and that the game atrociously makes fun of homosexuals:

When the game assumes the player and all the characters are straight, it misses the potential to tell the stories of real youth being affected by homophobia in Japan.

In fact, the game makes fun of gay men and has them more or less commit implied sexual assault on Ryuji, one of the party members in the game.

Its trans representation isn’t much better with Lala Escargot, a peripheral trans woman character, who receives nasty comments from Mishima after he meets her.

Naturally the review has claims the game mistreats its female characters and that the game’s swimsuit DLC is sexist:

However, not long after defeating [Kamoshida, a vile man allowed to abuse students because he brings the school money and prestige because he won an Olympic gold medal in volleyball], other party members convince Ann Takamaki, one of his victims, to strip in order to get information about another target.

Ryuji constantly pervs on girls who clearly do not want his advances. He isn’t alone in the game either: Morgana obsesses over Ann, despite her never indicating she’s interested, and we’re introduced to Yusuke when (as mentioned previously) he tries to force Ann to strip. While he didn’t have ill intent, it’s still harassment.

Sadly, the game undercuts itself by also offering swimsuit DLC. It’s enough to give me whiplash, going from characters I adore to being encouraged to download sexist fanservice of them.

This naturally met with rebuffs even in the site’s own comments:

When the camera ‘leers’ down the shirt of the girls in the desert bus scene, it is actually the boys from the backseat taking a look. Like teenagers with their blooming sexuality do.

Also while I do agree that a queer/gay/trans character would have indeed been possible, Persona 4 had Kanji and Naoto. Do we really want them to make their cast consist of repetition? It’s bad enough that Junpei Yosuke and Ryuji are basically the same person.

The response:

Don’t take this the wrong way, but your privilege is showing.

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