|megpie71 (megpie71) wrote,|
@ 2011-06-08 17:44:00
A Long-Delayed Rant
This one is pretty specific to Final Fantasy VII fandom. If you're not a part of that fandom, you may not find it particularly interesting.
Basically, I'm going to be bitching about That Drag Scene. We all know the one - the one which happens about an hour into the game, where Cloud and Aerith go to rescue Tifa from the clutches of Don Corneo by dressing Cloud in drag and smuggling him into the Don's mansion. The one where you have a chance (a fairly high chance, if you've jumped through all the correct gameplay hoops on the way) of having Cloud chosen to be the Don's "bride" for the night.
Unfortunately for Cloud, this scene has led to certain misconceptions regarding his physical appearance being solidified into various fandom "myths". The main ones being that Cloud Strife is a tiny, girly, delicate boy, who looks feminine enough to pass as a girl even when he's in full battle kit.
Let's clear this one up right now. Cloud Strife is not "tiny". According to the US Square Enix website details regarding FFVII, he's 5'7", although the game handbook says he's 173cm tall (which actually makes him between 5'8" and a bit, and 5'9" and a bit, depending on whether one translates 1" as being 2.54cm or 2.50cm! I believe he may have something nasty to say to the US translation team). This is not short.
Given Cloud was created by a Japanese artist, in a country where the average male height is approximately 1.715m (or 171cm), Cloud's a little over the average height for a Japanese man. For an Australian, he'd be a little on the short side (our average is 174cm), ditto for a white male from the US (178cm), or someone from the UK (175cm). But not by much. He'd be about average for an urban Chinese (170cm), visibly taller than an average height Indian (164cm) or an average height Philippino (163cm), only show up because of his skin and hair colour in a photo of men from Korea (173cm), be a little taller than a Thai university student (167cm), and visibly taller than someone from Vietnam (162cm).
To be honest, Cloud Strife is only "short" in comparison to the listed heights for some of his team-mates, friends, and arch-enemies: Barrett Wallace is a giant who would have trouble purchasing clothes in standard stores, being 6'4" tall and bulky with it; Sephiroth is 6'1"; Vincent Valentine is 6' even; and Zack Fair, according to whether you believe your eyes or his fan-girls, is between 5'10" and 6'3" tall. Yes, Cloud looks short next to these guys. So would most people. To give some extra perspective, if we accept the US version of Cloud's height as being accurate (although I'd love to get their mathematics double-checked), Cloud is only 1" shorter than his team-mate Cid Highwind. I defy anyone to call Cid a shorty.
Now, let's have a look at Cloud's height compared with the female members of the team. Tifa Lockheart is 5'4", so there's a visible difference in heights between Cloud and Tifa, with Tifa being the shorter of the two. Aerith is 5'3" (incidentally, both of these young ladies would be taller than myself, since I'm only 5'2" - the same height as Yuffie). 5'7" is not tall for a bloke, but it is tall for a woman. About the only place where it wouldn't be regarded as tall for a woman is the Dinaric Alps (or in other words, the mountainous regions of the former Yugoslavia), where the average female height is 171cm. Cloud would stand out in the "drag" parade for his height alone, even if he didn't stand out for being comparatively broad-shouldered, and flat-chested.
Mix these factors in with two other major points, namely that we know for a fact that Cloud Strife has SOLDIER eyes (glowing blue), and that Don Corneo has a lot of basic personality traits common to the average bully, and Cloud's being picked as "the prettiest" in the drag scene stops being all that amazing. Watch the video of the scene, and you'll notice Cloud keeps looking away when the Don attempts to look at him. He's either glancing down, or he's tilting his head in the opposite direction. It's most likely he's attempting to conceal his glowing eyes, but when you have gaze-avoidance behaviour like that coming from someone who is apparently "female", it tends to be interpreted as "shy". The Don definitely strikes me as the type of man who would enjoy choosing the shyest of three available girls (of roughly equivalent looks) to torment with his attentions in private (another pointer toward this is if you just have Cloud in the blond wig rather than the full regalia, Aerith is the girl who is picked rather than Tifa). But it's worth noting that the Don chooses to describe Cloud as "this hearty lass" when he's chosen - another pointer toward Cloud being taller and more solidly built than the others.
I'll grant, Cloud Strife has rather androgynous looks - they work equally as well on his female expy, Lightning, as they do on him. But I'd suspect in most situations, Cloud wouldn't be able to be mistaken for female. Let's face it, the one he really had to "pass" in front of was the guard at the front door of the Don's mansion, and the question there is "was this guard really expecting someone in a dress and a wig with braids to be male"? I doubt it - particularly when this person is presented as female by another female person, and is stepping up to be one of the Don's "brides". The Don, therefore, would have been even easier to hoodwink, since the Don was expecting three girls, and wasn't even contemplating the notion that there might have been a disguised young man in amongst them.
(All figures are taken either from the Final Fantasy Wiki for fandom specific data, or from Wikipedia.)
This entry was originally posted at http://megpie71.dreamwidth.org/15892.htm