"Purity" in otome games

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"Purity" in otome games

#1 Post by LizBiz » Mon Mar 17, 2014 11:47 am

I've definitely noticed a trend in female-led otome games: the MC is almost a never-been-kissed case, if not a full blown virgin. I've always assumed this to be more so influenced by VNs' Japanese origin, but I tend to see the trope in Western otome as well.

I'm curious how the community feels about it! Does it tend to feel a little pandering or immature? Does the first-kiss scenario feel more special and sincere when you read it?

Personally, my feelings usually depend on the age of the MC. I have a hard time believing a successful woman in her 20's hasn't been kissed once in her life, so it feels really forced when I read it in those situations.

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Re: "Purity" in otome games

#2 Post by noeinan » Mon Mar 17, 2014 1:03 pm

Eh, it really turns me away from a VN. If she's never been kissed because she wasn't interested before now, that's fine, but if they try to play up the innocence or chastity aspect I throw up in my mouth a little.

Also not a fan of super girly MCs, or ones that are useless and always need other people to do things for them. Bleck.
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Re: "Purity" in otome games

#3 Post by nerdy » Mon Mar 17, 2014 1:40 pm

I kinda like it if it's not a hentai game (but that's because in my childhood, people acted like I was weird for still being a virgin when I was 13 :lol: )
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Re: "Purity" in otome games

#4 Post by Googaboga » Mon Mar 17, 2014 2:05 pm

I don't find it strange personally. However I do admit I may feel that way simply because it is so common/expected that it seems totally normal even though it might not be.

But regardless I don't mind girly or pure or really innocent heroines in general. Of course depending on the individual there are some heroines with those traits that are pretty unbearable.
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Re: "Purity" in otome games

#5 Post by Cobweb » Mon Mar 17, 2014 3:08 pm

I think it depends on the age of the MC, like you've said. I can actually completely understand that someone in their twenties may be a virgin or even not have been kissed, but if that character acts completely oblivious to what sex is at the age of twenty (without a really good reason!) then it loses its believability and becomes a little exhausting.

Most otome games I play are set in a school, however, or the protagonist is just leaving for college, and so the girl being inexperienced I don't have a problem with, and thinking back, most of those games don't actually address past relationships. After all, the first kiss with a new partner is just as exciting as a very first kiss can be... actually, in regards to my first kiss, which was awful, it can be a whole lot better!

Also, it's pretty refreshing to see some innocence in teenagers. =]

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Re: "Purity" in otome games

#6 Post by noeinan » Mon Mar 17, 2014 4:51 pm

Personally, I feel that holding up innocence as an ideal for women is part of a infantilization and creeps me out. I feel that you can have an inexperienced character without super playing up the "purity" part-- and I feel like making it all about "purity" or whatever devalues people who aren't "pure."

I'm a survivor of sexual assault myself (when I was 15), and I recall struggling for years over feeling tainted, dirty, and gross. (And I feel that if "purity" wasn't so valued and thrust upon female assigned people, I wouldn't have had to suffer so much-- or have my assault blamed on me by my best friend.) There's nothing wrong if some characters are like that, but I don't think it should be as prevalent as it is.

And when guys in VNs/anime/manga jump at or get excited about a girl being a virgin or never kissed I'm always like... Why? Experienced, jaded, or just practical characters can fall in love as well, all with a variety of past events which enhance their characters. It just doesn't make sense to me that the majority of VN female protagonists are just one type of person, and all the guys are super into her because she's pure and innocent.

There are other qualities that people look for in a mate, you know? :/
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Re: "Purity" in otome games

#7 Post by Green Glasses Girl » Mon Mar 17, 2014 5:02 pm

LizBiz wrote:I have a hard time believing a successful woman in her 20's hasn't been kissed once in her life
I'm one of those women, and I know many other women who are the same. Maybe I just have a small reference pool.

Being a virgin at any age seems pretty valid to me. It's a choice (well, in some cultures), not a label. It's kind of a shame in the western world how we've moved into "OMG you're in your 20s and you haven't been kissed?! You've never had a girlfriend/boyfriend?! What a loser!" mentality. I don't see it as weird...not all people abide by social constructs. It could be for religious reasons, it could be because the character is asexual (personally, I'd love to see an asexual VN character), heck, maybe the character just isn't interested or introverted. There is no age cap on those things.

So to answer your question, no, I don't have a problem with the MC not being kissed or a virgin. I care more about how the MC carries herself as an individual rather than her past romantic experience.
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Re: "Purity" in otome games

#8 Post by Shio_Fuu » Mon Mar 17, 2014 5:33 pm

@Green Glasses Girl I completely agree! What does being successful have to do with being kissed? :/

I'm personally not a fan of otome or dating sims, but I think they're mostly made for young girls who don't have much experience so that way they feel closer to a main character.
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Re: "Purity" in otome games

#9 Post by Hazel-Bun » Mon Mar 17, 2014 5:41 pm

I agree with Green Glasses Girl. I see no problem with it and feel, how do you say it, put off(?) by people who expect you to be all kinds of experienced just because you're a certain age. Pushing one stereotype (all girls should be "pure" whatever you're defining that is), is no better than pushing the other (at a certain age you shouldn't be xyz or should have tried xyz already).

People in general and young girls especially, I believe, should have control over their body. If they want to define as a girly girl and have loads of partners, so be it. If for religious reasons they wait till after marriage, why stop them? If they are considered more "masculine" and are just not interested in kissing or sex, why should they be judged for it?

Now that doesn't mean they've never had a randy thought or a crush or etc., but being critical because they didn't act on it or just not considering past relationships (I have a friend who spent six months together with her guy and only hugged and held hands) healthy or real because they didn't go further seems stranger to me.

If you want more MC's that break the mold, I'd recommend looking into otoge which is geared to older woman or creating games for teens not centered around MC's you feel are too "innocent" or "pure" for your taste :)

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Re: "Purity" in otome games

#10 Post by Cobweb » Mon Mar 17, 2014 6:25 pm

Green Glasses Girl wrote:I'm one of those women, and I know many other women who are the same. Maybe I just have a small reference pool.
I know plenty as well, I don't think it's as uncommon as the media often makes it out to be. :)

In response to what's being said in the thread: Is it not also pretty common to find that male characters in the equivalent games to otome (I don't know what they're called! Harem?!) are often much the same? I've been trying to jog my memory on all the games I've played and from what I remember the main characters in these types of games usually, regardless of sex, come across as a blank slate. I've also never played a game where lack of experience was seen as appealing or unappealing by other characters (which isn't to say they don't exist), more often than not it's appearance rather than anything else (I think the most disturbing example I can give of this is Girlish Love Revolution :idea: ). If anyone has any examples of games that do this please let me know either here or in pm. :)

Ah, and, in response to my earlier comment about it being refreshing to see some innocence, I'm coming from a place similar to where @nerdy seems to be. Maybe we're neighbours?! It just seems that the message to teenagers through media is that being promiscuous, drinking, drugs and bling is what life is about, so having an outlet that doesn't do that, is pretty welcome! Experience should be something that happens when you want it to happen and only if you want it to happen, not because society says you should be and act a certain way.

Having read my final paragraph, and my moaning about the evils of media, I'm just going to head over here and finish off some knitting...
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Re: "Purity" in otome games

#11 Post by Asceai » Mon Mar 17, 2014 9:42 pm

I've played a lot more Japanese otome games than English ones, but in my experience otome games care about protagonist virginity about as much as bishoujo games do (read: basically not at all). Sometimes they won't even mention it; other times they do mention it, but a big deal is never made out of it.

The only place where virginity seems to really matter in eroges is heroine virginity in bishoujo games. Bishoujo games typically make a big deal out of it with a ton of blood, and if there isn't any blood the heroine had better have a good explanation for it, etc. etc. I've never seen anything like this happen in an otome game though.
So yeah, it's a bit of a double standard.

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Re: "Purity" in otome games

#12 Post by papillon » Tue Mar 18, 2014 11:30 am

A lot of games have the main character (and most of the datables) without experience because it makes things a lot less complicated for the writer than dealing with the baggage of a past relationship.

I've played at least one bishoujo game where the protagonist had a past serious relationship, but the ex-girlfriend wasn't a character in the game and therefore we never see her and I don't think she ever even gets a name. It's still distracting whenever it's mentioned because you sort of want to know more about what happened (at least I do) and can't.

On the other side I've played a game where the protagonist's dead wife is a fairly important part of the plot and does get seen in flashback. This is much more satisfying than a handwave about the past but it takes up a lot of story time that you might not want to have to handle in your story.

To me 'purity' is only an issue when the writers or fans start making a big deal out of it. If the fans freak out about a character's past relationships, that's icky. If the writers go off on a huge spiel about how someone is a fallen woman now, that's creepy. If someone is attracted to a character's 'innocence' and the reasoning behind that isn't explored but just taken for granted, ew. But if the characters simply are virgins, it's not a big deal to me.

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Re: "Purity" in otome games

#13 Post by azureXtwilight » Tue Mar 18, 2014 9:06 pm

Green Glasses Girl wrote:
LizBiz wrote:I have a hard time believing a successful woman in her 20's hasn't been kissed once in her life
I'm one of those women, and I know many other women who are the same. Maybe I just have a small reference pool.

Being a virgin at any age seems pretty valid to me. It's a choice (well, in some cultures), not a label. It's kind of a shame in the western world how we've moved into "OMG you're in your 20s and you haven't been kissed?! You've never had a girlfriend/boyfriend?! What a loser!" mentality. I don't see it as weird...not all people abide by social constructs. It could be for religious reasons, it could be because the character is asexual (personally, I'd love to see an asexual VN character), heck, maybe the character just isn't interested or introverted. There is no age cap on those things.

So to answer your question, no, I don't have a problem with the MC not being kissed or a virgin. I care more about how the MC carries herself as an individual rather than her past romantic experience.
@Green Glasses Girl that's what I'm going to say as well. It doesn't really bother me so much, as different cultures and different people has different views and I respect them for that.

All I care about is how the heroine acts, since a helpless heroine who can't do anything without a man is kinda a no no in my book.
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Re: "Purity" in otome games

#14 Post by LVUER » Wed Mar 19, 2014 12:57 am

Like I always said, it's all depends on where you live. LSF is one of the most international forum I know. We have people from ALL around the world... and plenty of them too. It's not strange if there's a 20 years old girl never have kiss, let alone sex. Virginity is considered important and sacred in some cultures. Not like Japan where it's like nothing at all. I even know a 28 years old girl who never kiss and have sex... and almost completely oblivious about sex (though she knows about sex and how to make kids).

But for a 20 years old girl who really know nothing at all about sex, it's kinda impossible nowadays. Because in almost all school, now there's sex ed. So it's kinda hard to find school age people (or beyond) who still thinks we make kids by kissing.
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Re: "Purity" in otome games

#15 Post by gekiganwing » Wed Mar 19, 2014 6:52 am

Give some justification for your characters' mindset and life. They might be naive in regards to sex and relationships if...

* They are social outcasts
* Social circumstances: if a tomboyish girl is friends with many guys, will she be frequently friend-zoned?
* Mental health problems
* They have been isolated from the world due to physical health concerns
* Family: do they impose quirky rules? Are they oppressive?
* Past setting: they live in a place and time when it's difficult to find useful information about sex
* Fantasy world issues: if you live in a world where virginity gives you amazing powers, how do you deal with it?

Your story should be audience-appropriate without talking down to them. Yes, this is easier said than done. But if you're writing fiction for adults, then it seems reasonable to include characters who understand sex and relationships, and who have experienced some failure along the way. Think of the differences between YA fiction, chick lit, and romance novels. Think about shoujo versus josei.
Cobweb wrote:... I've also never played a game where lack of experience was seen as appealing or unappealing by other characters (which isn't to say they don't exist), more often than not it's appearance rather than anything else (I think the most disturbing example I can give of this is Girlish Love Revolution :idea: ).
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