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Author Topic: Convention on the Elimination of All Forms or Discrimination against Women  (Read 3702 times)

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Offline kat

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Video games get a mention in an upcoming UN review of Japan and its meeting its obligations with respect to the "Convention on the Elimination of All Forms or Discrimination against Women".
Quote
Among the possible issues for discussion between CEDAW and a delegation from the Japanese Government are: Banning the sale of video games or cartoons involving sexual violence against women; employment equality, illegal dismissal of women due to pregnancy and childbirth; sexual harassment in the workplace; reintegration into school textbooks of issue of “comfort women”; compensation for women with disabilities sterilised against their will; effect on women, particularly pregnant women, of health programmes introduced after the Fukushima nuclear disaster; difference in pension benefits for men and women, poverty among older women.

This issue with video games in particular stems from an argument made by an NGO collective [1-4] that  certain (particular) types of anime  are allegedly not subject to law in Japan regulating prostitution and pornography related to women and girls. This isn't quite the case [5], and  in fact conflates (at least) two separate issues; the abuse of women and girls; the regulation of forms of expression considered obscene (regulated by CERO) [6].

In essence the respective NGO collective are arguing the case before the UN that Anime and other (similar) forms of fictional expression be considered subject to the same laws governing the abuse of real individuals; that this be done knowing the content in question falls within the purview of Japans culturally particular "freedom of expression"; that very little research supports the idea that such materials do in fact "normalize and promote sexual violence against women and girls"; and that these "opinions" make content regulation difficult [3] (read as "these obstacles should be ignored or neutralised in favor of regulation").

A particularly thorny issue no doubt, and not specifically due to any objections to the medium itself. So whilst it's possible to make progressive (in the dictionary sense) arguments for content regulation, caution should be exercised against regressive actions such that it allows for capturing of material arbitrarily labeled 'offensive', or that doing so doesn't hand regulatory authority to unelected Entities (Government or NGO et al) not subject to due process (or the Will of the People/Peoples Votes).



FootNotes:
[1]  Report by the Japan Federation of Bar Associations on the “Seventh and eighth periodic reports of States parties due in 2014, Japan”: "In the previous concluding observations, the Committee was concerned at the normalization of sexual violence in Japan as reflected by the prevalence of pornographic video games and cartoons featuring rape, gang rape, stalking and the sexual molestation of women and girl, and noted with concern that these video games and cartoons fall outside the legal definition of child pornography in the Act Banning Child Prostitution and Child Pornography. The Committee also strongly urged Japan to ban the sale of video games or cartoons involving rape and sexual violence against women which normalize and promote sexual violence against women and girls, recommended that Japan include this issue in its revision of the Act Banning Child Prostitution and Child Pornography...". [p.54]

[2] Japan NGO Network for CEDAW (JNNC). Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women: "[Violence against women] The Committee strongly urges the State party to ban the sale of video games or cartoons involving rape and sexual violence against women which normalize and promote sexual violence against women and girls [cf.]. The Committee also recommends that [...] the State party include this issue in its revision of the Act Banning Child Prostitution and Child Pornography [...] On June 18, 2014, the Act was revised [...] (but) does not punish the expressions of sexual violence against children such as manga and animation. Further study and research need to be promoted on the connection between the expressions of sexual violence and sexual crimes against children."[p.43]

[3] Japan NGO Network for CEDAW (JNNC): "#Sexual Violence Depicted in Pornographic Manga, Anime and Game Anime, game or manga which depict rape and sexual violence against women and girls are widely distributed without any legal restrictions except for the "obscenity" standard under the Penal Code. Local governments have their own Prefectural Ordinance of Juvenile Protection and they ban selling "harmful books" to minors. These ordinances order shops to separately display the sections for these harmful materials to be sold for exclusively adults and usual materials to be sold for anyone. [...] There was a computer game which became worldly known for its sexist content, the [sic] "Raplay" ("Rapelay"). Although this game is no longer sold in the market, other similar games are still widely sold. [...]. Some people oppose the restriction of the sales of these games saying that creators have "freedom of expression" and these contents are "harmless since the characters are only fictional". Such opinions against regulation make it difficult to regulate these materials." [p. 19/20].

"Even though in the cases of manga or games, in which virtual characters are used in pornographic materials, if those materials aim at purposefully humiliating women and children, they should be regarded as one form of hate speech. Government should consider regulating and banning those materials as visual expression or sexual violence." [p. 22] Note: cf. a previous post on this subject where similar arguments were made by UN Women that similarly "online violence" be considered a form(s) of "hate speech".

[4] Alternative Report of the New Japan Women’s Association on the Implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women in Japan for the Consideration of Japan’s 7th and 8th Periodic Report s by the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women: "7. Child prostitution and pornography GR19 CO34,36. In  June  2014,  the Law Banning Child Prostitution and Child Pornography was amended [...] But [...] there is no regulation on sexual depictions of children in manga (comics), animation and video games [...]. Proposed recommendations: - Legal measures should be taken to regulate human rights violation of women and girls in the name of “freedom of expression.”..." [p. 5]

[5] Reply by Japanese Government Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women. List of issues in relation to the seventh and eighth periodic reports of Japan: "Question 7 Please indicate the measures taken to ban the sale of video games or cartoons involving rape and sexual violence against girls and women [...] (Answer) 35. Concerning video games and films, self-imposed regulation by the industry and its independent rating organizations have been  carried out through ratings and reviews of such media containing sexually explicit and violent scenes or scenes including anti-social behavior, to ensure that ethically inappropriate games and films are not distributed."[pp. 12 & 13]

[6] 2. Expression items to be covered by rating includes expressions in four categories;   sex, antisocial acts, violence, language and ideology.

[7] CERO Code of Ethics: "Article 7 (Banned Expressions) 1. The banned expressions prescribed in Appendix 3 shall not be used in computer and video games for household use. 2. Improper discriminatory expressions shall not be used in computer and video games for household use. Such improper discriminatory expressions include but are not limited to the following: (i) Improper discriminatory expressions based on race, creed, sex, occupation, religion, family/social background, physical/mental condition, living condition, etc. (ii) Improper discriminatory expressions that are directed to socially vulnerable people such as the elderly, infants, the physically-disabled, and the mentally-disabled. (iii) Expressions that unreasonably defame or slander individuals, corporations or organizations and harm their honor or dignity." [p. 2]

Offline ratty redemption

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Re: Convention on the Elimination of All Forms or Discrimination against Women
« Reply #1 on: February 17, 2016, 08:32:57 PM »
"Improper discriminatory expressions based on race, creed, sex, occupation, religion, family/social background"

wouldn't that include games depicting the killing of working class, male, german, christian soldiers in ww2 games?

Offline kat

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Re: Convention on the Elimination of All Forms or Discrimination against Women
« Reply #2 on: February 17, 2016, 10:08:45 PM »
Socio-progressively, "yawohl mein fuhrer!" (Godwin award).

It's an interesting paradox. Groups like CEDAW want better protection for females in games whilst other similar 'rights' groups acknowledging they are under-represented and want "more" or "better" (without specifically quantifying their demands, or being held to account for them).

This means the majority representation is acknowledged through omission, to be male whom both commit and receive the preponderance of all sorts of abuse in the medium (as pontificated in the "games cause violence" 'discussion'). As such CEDAW et al are in effect essentially saying that violence against men is acceptable or at least can be overlooked in favour of specifically gendered issues, despite those not being majority expressions across the entire medium.

And this despite the fact that games have been studied quite extensively in all quarters for 30+ years and as yet no-one has been able to find any direct causative links to aberrant behavior (without resorting to misrepresenting data or drawing disingenuous conclusions that fall apart under further scrutiny). Whilst one could make arguments for regulating certain types of content - which is why ratings systems exist - there's no statistical correlation in support of any of the broader claims critics of games make.

Having said that is doesn't mean we should ignore what's being said, rather we should encourage less disingenuous conversations.

[EDIT]oops wall of text there.

Offline ratty redemption

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Re: Convention on the Elimination of All Forms or Discrimination against Women
« Reply #3 on: February 17, 2016, 10:40:26 PM »
agreed, and to start with they should drop the whole discrimination angle, unless they are prepared to treat males and females equally. having a special class of protected people discredits them pointing the finger at others.


 

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