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Re: Concern about racism and sexism in Supertuxkart 0.9

Dear Miriam,

On Mon, 4 May 2015 13:42:50 Miriam Ruiz wrote:
> And I maintain my use of the word sexualized in this context (you can
> read http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sexualization if you do not
> understand it). And I have every right to use that word, as I think
> that it's the proper word to use when a human body is "portrayed in a
> sexual manner (e.g., dressed in revealing clothing, with bodily
> postures or facial expressions that imply sexual readiness) and are
> objectified (e.g., used as a decorative object, or as body parts
> rather than a whole person)".

This definition is quite broad but if you quoted only relevant parts then you 
are seems to be misusing this word in this particular context.

As for "dressed in revealing clothing" I suppose in this case it is all about 
amount of clothing because "revealing" implies that there is something to 
reveal i.e. to emphasise existing sexuality.

Example: baby or not-too-fresh corpse would not be "sexualised" (i.e. looking 
any more sexually attractive) by lack of clothing or revealing clothing.

The game character in question is depicted as adolescent, not as a mature 
woman. Adolescents (disregarding of clothing) may be cute and pretty but still 
not really sexually attractive. (Let alone paedophiles but using their point 
of view would be a worst possible assessment).

The fact that the character is not even a real person and have a cartoon-ish 
outlook and do not add anything to sexual appeal. Moreover her big eyes make 
her look baby-ish and therefore less sexual.

As for lack of clothing it is also not what "sexualises" for two reasons:

 * Amount of clothing and what's considered "revealing" vary in different
   cultures. You can not apply strictest standards by default.

 * For example it is not lack of clothing makes Bratz girls sexualised.
   It is clothing (not necessary revealing) and high heels and makeup and
   emphasised body parts. None of which are involved here.

Her posture is neutral -- she is just standing, not lying on her back with 
legs spread etc. Facial expression can hardly be read as implying sexual 
readiness. I'm not sure if she smiles but if she is -- it is just a smile. In 
Australia we are smiling to each other and to strangers because it is polite, 
nothing more. Making sexual implications for people who treat you nicely or 
jest being happy is not healthy.

We can see a whole "person" in the game (I use word "person" for the lack of 
better one), not a body parts. I would refrain from making assumptions how 
much "objectified" her appearance in game. We don't know  authors' intentions 
so let's assume good faith and avoid puting words in their mouths.
Besides, do we need any justification why a person on a beach look happily and 
enjoying herself? Or maybe enjoying a race?

Finally I doubt kids playing this game will ever interpret appearance of 
another kid as sexualised. I hope you're not telling us that the problem is 
that she tries (or meant) to look sexually attractive for toy animals.

We can actually say that this young female is not ashamed of her body and not 
ashamed of herself for being a female. How can that traumatise kids?
This is much more positive than the idea of "sexualised" image.

So considering all the above it appears to me that your assessment of 
"sexualised" is projective, far-fetched and exaggerated.
Just like if would be inaccurate and exaggerated to call sexualised Bratz 
girls "pornalised".

I believe that spreading moral paranoia and exaggerating this issue would not 
help your cause. Perhaps it would be far more effective and convincing if you 
were attacking some prominent cases of sexualisation just as passionately and 
prominently as you did with Supertuxcart.

Even by strict judgement this case is mildest and may be considered merely as 
poor choice of image which is not the best match for other game artwork.

Best wishes,
 Dmitry Smirnov
 GPG key : 4096R/53968D1B


Our difficulties and our dangers will not be removed by closing our eyes on
        -- Winston Churchill

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