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212. Should Video Games Star Sensual Heroines? | with Paeter Frandsen and Cap Stewart

Just as bad religious rules can barely restrain our visual sins, secular legalism can’t make us respect game heroines as human beings.
Fantastical Truth on May 14, 2024 · No comments

The gamer community is in uproar.1 About what? About all the things. Even occasional gamers have heard about triple-A title flops, “Sweet Baby Inc.” consultants, live-service criticism, and the dual controversies over the sexy heroine of Stellar Blade versus the normal heroine of Star Wars: Outlaws. Apart from all the cultural jargon, how can Christians discern these debates?

Episode sponsors

  1. Enclave Publishing: Chromatic by Ashley Bustamante
  2. Realm Makers 2024 writers’ conference
  3. Story Embers summit, May 23–25, 2024

Mission update

Introducing guest Paeter Frandsen

Paeter Frandsen, 2024A fan of gaming, comic books, sci-fi and fantasy since childhood, Paeter Frandsen is the owner and chief content creator of Christian Geek Central as well as Spirit Blade Productions, which has produced multiple feature-length audio dramas. He lives in Mesa, Arizona with his wife and two sons and continues to serve as a volunteer in various ways at Red Mountain Community Church, joining their Elder Board in 2024. Paeter has a love for responsibly studying God’s Word, discerningly exploring life’s deep issues, and encouraging others to join him in that journey.

Reintroducing guest Cap Stewart

Cap Stewart, 2024Cap Stewart is a contributing writer to the nonfiction book Cultural Engagement: A Crash Course in Contemporary Issues and author of the curriculum Personal Purity Isn’t Enough as well as several print and online publications. Cap instructs online audiences on the Christian’s forgotten duty when confronting a pornified culture. He has also written several articles for Lorehaven. Follow him on Substack at Unpop Culture.

Concession stand (extra super mega buffet edition)

  • When we say “normal,” we mean characters who appear just… normal.
  • They’re not human supermodels, much less impossible anime heroines.
  • And when we say “sensual,” we think of biblical warnings like this one:

“Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality … I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.”

(Galatians 5:19, 21, ESV)

  • Even among Christian conservatives, these warnings provoke objection.
  • Many women (and men) remember bad/objectifying rules against lust.
  • Those aren’t good rules either, yet they’re beyond this episode’s focus.
  • Others say they’re not being fleshly; they’re just “appreciating beauty”!
  • Here it’s enough to say that in our age, many don’t have this “privilege.”
  • Unlike other episodes, this one will be a more experimental roundtable.
  • There are four chaps in the studio, and this will be an intro to this topic.
  • Each man has his emphasis; for example, Stephen plays devil’s advocate.
  • Everyone is here because of studied interest in their take on the topic.
  • And speaking of studied interest, Christian bros need to be careful here.
  • In fact, finding relevant but PG episode art should be very interesting.
  • Stephen personally applies “anime rules” to exploitative heroines.
  • That is, no one was actually exploited; often a man drew that image.
  • But such images are indeed meant to attract viewers into sinful lust.
  • We assume that truth here; we also assume this affects men and women.
  • A more female-centered perspective, however, will need to wait for now.
  • You, our female listeners, can help share this in replied to this episode!

1. What controversies are game fans fighting about?

2. When do video games honor or exploit heroines?

  • Older examples include most notably the infamous heroine Lara Croft.
  • Improved technology have led to more human and more exploitation.
  • For instance, Stephen’s a fan of the two Horizon games featuring Aloy.
  • She’s an attractive redhead, maybe a “girlboss,” but flawed and normal.
  • Accordingly, her outfits rarely if ever offer Aloy for the sinful “male gaze.”
  • Stephen heard one YouTuber remark on her belly, then laugh at himself.
  • Mary Jane Watson from Spider-Man also gets honored by the story.
  • But fans did not like her seeming face change for game 2 (similar to Peter).
  • Fans also didn’t like her fight with Peter; Stephen found this fascinating.
  • Meanwhile, however, games like Stellar Blade do exploit their heroines.
  • We need not belabor details; it’s basically like super-exaggerated anime.
  • That’s why critics condemn the scantily clad heroine of Stellar Blade.
  • My wife, Lacy, reminds us that many fans have “porn brain” about this.
  • Fans, however, like “Eve” and want her to show off her various assets.
  • There are even petitions to keep her outfits more skimpy than before.
  • Many fans defend this by using “redpill” or politically charged rhetoric.
  • After all, those “woke” activists want to erase male/female distinctions.
  • So what better way to show those distinctions than with exaggerations?
  • And after all, those “woke” activists are pretending ugliness is beauty.
  • So why not show beauty than making characters impossibly attractive?

3. How can Christians wisely engage these issues?

  • We do stake our claim here: softcore-porn heroines are wrong.
  • They’re wrong for Christians, and they’re not helpful for anyone else.
  • They draw the eye to (often exaggerated and impossible!) bodily features.
  • But just as bad religious rules fail to fix this, so do bad secularist rules.
  • Bad men won’t have their hearts changed by mandates and quotas.
  • Don’t fix this with DEI “bribes” and other legalisms fans despise.
  • These sorts of things introduce other perversions and political agendas.
  • Sure, some culturally enforced expectations may help; we do need those.
  • Yet these changes must start with the heart: wanting to respect people.
  • How we treat fictional characters is practice for how we treat people.
  • This goes for both sexes, but in this case, for how men respect women.
  • Get rid of bad religious rules and bad secular rules against sins of lust.
  • Instead, replace them with biblical truth about humans, rightly applied.

Com station

  • What are your favorite games, along with any content cautions?

Next on Fantastical Truth

After two or so more episodes, this summer Zack and I look back on a now-classic evangelical fandom with a new series: Left Behind Legacies. Twenty years after Left Behind book 12, Glorious Appearing, from June to July 2024 we shall explore debates, nostalgia, and no small amount of guests who helped create this end-times phenomenon.

  1. Photo by Jose Gil on Unsplash.
Fantastical Truth
Fantastical Truth

Lorehaven explores fantastical stories for God's glory: fantasy, sci-fi, and beyond.

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