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kelico

Polygon - What Death Stranding Gets Wrong about Asexuality

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kelico

https://www.polygon.com/2019/12/6/20996963/death-stranding-sexuality-asexuality-kojima

Dec 6, 2019

 

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We should be clear that this letter is meant to be a part of the fictional world of Death Stranding, so it obviously shouldn’t be automatically taken as a comment on the real world. However, the choice of the word “asexual,” and the way it is tied to behaviors that are not actually related to asexuality, is careless.

Among the misconceptions the “Asexual World” text contains are those that misrepresent how aces feel about sex, intimacy, and desire.

 

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Catpaws

Really great read! Thanks for linking!

 

Interestingly, the parts that jumped out at me from that in-game letter/infodump that I thought were the worst weren't really directly addressed by the article, except through a more general explanation of orientation. Namely, the part that calls asexuality a "sexless lifestyle" and "claiming to be incapable of feeling desire or attraction."

 

Yikes.

 

There's a lot of fundamental misunderstanding to unpack, in there. The article does a really good job trying to cover all the bases, but there are so many bases to cover.

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Philip027

Copied from another post I made on this topic...

 

I don't know the source of this comment, but it does shine some light (emphasis mine):

 

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"As a Japanese person, this is a translation issue. Keep in mind that asexuality is defined differently throughout cultures. In Japan, asexuality is when you don't want to have sex or feel romantic attraction. I understand in the western world it may be different, but that's how we Japanese see it. It is more broad. We also have a population problem due to work, stress, and just the fear of not making enough money. A lot of people are starting to identify as asexual because sex just isn't appealing anymore. We also have a different word for it, so that's another translation issue.

 

As for the game, it's not saying asexuality itself is bad. It's just saying that because a number of people SELF IDENTIFY as asexual, which the letter implies isn't really accurate, people believe they cannot socialize.

 

Keep in mind that we Japanese do not see asexuality as a bad thing, we do see ANTISOCIAL behavior as a bad thing, which in the letter, the text is referring to people identifying as asexual think they're antisocial. In Japanese, it's a bit more on the nose, which is why the translation wasn't."

The article says:

I also got my hands on the Japanese version of the letter and can confirm, as a fluent Japanese speaker, that it is almost word-for-word identical to the English version. This wasn’t an issue of translation.

 

The thing that I don't think they seem to realize is, that IS the translation issue; stuff is translated verbatim and interpreted verbatim when you've got two cultures interpreting a term in two different ways.  This is why "word-for-word" translations can themselves be erroneous (and it's precisely why professional translators are needed for things in the first place; just ask Google Translate or Babelfish where "word-for-words" will often get you.)

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Nowhere Girl
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I cringed while reading the text. There is a lot wrong with this description of asexuality. (...)

Among the misconceptions the “Asexual World” text contains are those that misrepresent how aces feel about sex, intimacy, and desire.

It begins by going on about “aversion towards physical contact and intimacy” and the “popularity of the sexless lifestyle.” But as described above, aces can enjoy physical contact and intimacy, and many happily engage in sex. The note defines asexual as “incapable of feeling desire or attraction” but again, aces do feel desire and attraction, just not sexual attraction.

And I, as a sex-averse person, again feel thrown under the bus in the pursuit of Makig Asexuality Appear More "Normal"...

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