This is the second in a series of three videos exploring the Damsel in Distress trope in video games. In this installment we look at the “dark and edgy” side of the trope in more modern games and how the plot device is often used in conjunction with graphic depictions of violence against women. Over the past decade we’ve seen developers try to spice up the old Damsel in Distress cliche by combining it with other tropes involving victimized women including the disposable woman, the mercy killing and the woman in the refrigerator.
Due to the nature of the topic, this video comes with a trigger warning for violence against women.
For more information and a full transcript visit: http://www.feministfrequency.com/2013/05/damsel-in-distress-part-2-tropes-vs-women/
The Damsel in Distress: As a trope the damsel in distress is a plot device in which a female character is placed in a perilous situation from which she cannot escape on her own and must then be rescued by a male character, usually providing an incentive or motivation for the protagonist’s quest. This is most often accomplished via kidnapping but it can also take the form of petrification, a curse or demon possession. Traditionally the woman in distress is a love interest or family member of the hero; princesses, wives, girlfriends and sisters are all commonly used to fill the role.
Damsel in the Refrigerator: A combination of the Women in Refrigerators trope and the Damsel in Distress trope. Typically this happens when a female character is killed near the beginning of a story but her soul is then stolen or trapped and must be rescued or freed by the male hero. Occasionally time travel or some other form of resurrection may be involved in the quest to bring the women in question back from the dead.
Disposable Damsel: A variant of the Damsel in Distress trope in which the hero fails to save the woman in peril either because he arrives too late or because (surprise twist!) it turns out she has been dead the whole time.
Euthanized Damsel: A combination of the Damsel in Distress trope and the Mercy Killing trope. This usually happens when the player character must murder the woman in peril “for her own good”. Typically the damsel has been mutilated or deformed in some way by the villain and the “only option left” to the hero is to put her “out of her misery” himself. Occasionally the damsel’ed character will be written so as beg the player to kill her.
1) Punk Cabaret x6
2) Pop x5
3) Electronica x4
4) Rock x3
Seven way tie for fifth place with one each:
5) Classic Rock
5) Dark Wave
5) Folk Rock
Full band cover of the Adventure Time song “I’m Just Your Problem”, originally composed by Rebecca Sugar for the character of Marceline, re-done in a radio-friendly gothic metal kind of style. Vocals by Nicole Vaquerano. Guitar solo by Carlos (youtube.com/KarlosRock92).
SO … GOOOOOD.
“male feminists” - from my manifesto which can be downloaded here
(posting by request!)
“…wherever women can’t.” aka when a man wouldn’t listen to a woman, but now that a male says it, they finally see how it is.
Uhm, I assumed she meant “literally where women aren’t around and thus can’t speak up for themselves.” As in, places where women are less likely to be (like men’s locker rooms, for example). Which is a reasonable point.
I appreciate both the strong belief the writer offers and hir framing of it not necessarily as a universal truth but as a personal belief.
I offer to whom it may interest, that instead of denying the identity of men who identify as feminists, that one acknowledges their identity as problematic (for the completely valid reasons listed and more). Which is to say it is always problematic when a person who possesses privilege identifies with those they may traditionally possess privilege over.
There is also much ambiguity around the word “men” and feminism has not always been welcoming to its sisters whom were born with male parts. It would certainly seem to me the more privilege one person possesses (white, male, straight, thin, able bodied, wealthy, etc.) the more problematic it would be for them to identify as feminist but I can also imagine a person who identifies as male but their skin is not white, their hair is long, their body type atypical, who rarely speaks, and so on. Would this individual never be able to identify as a feminist? What would their role as an ally be if they are shunned by cisgendered males?
Self determination is fundamental to identity. Those whose identities conflict with their appearance have a unique struggle, and they should be conscious of the problems they may cause, and therefore should also be respectful of boundaries the group imposes to maintain its safety. But I would hesitate, for concern of perpetuating cycles of dominance/power in our society, before outright denying the possibility of a human being’s identity (at least until they’ve demonstrated otherwise).
Edit: Those males who identify as Men (capital M denoting maleness as a culture, which is to say they identify with at least some of patriarchy) cannot be feminists because feminism is (at a minimum) the absolute rejection of patriarchy. If this person does identify with feminism it may point to some internal conflict, guilt, identity crisis, etc. or it may be a ploy.
But if a male identifies as a man as a matter of gender expression, and they are conscious of their privilege, and they reject patriarchy, and they are aware this rejection is not something they “did” but something they must “do” everyday, and they self identify as a feminist, then perhaps their authentic self is as both a feminist and a man.
Also, the original post was powerful and important, and I thank the author for it. I do not mean to distract or detract from their words by going into this long meditation on just one small part of what they produced.
— Derrick Jensen, The Culture of Make Believe, 332-333
I said to Richard Drinnon that it seems pretty clear to me that an urge to destroy underlies many of our activities, then mused, “I wonder how much of that urge is based on a need to eradicate those who represent other ways to be, and who thus remind us of what we’re losing.” I quoted him a line he’d used by Increase Mather: “People are ready to run wild into the woods again and to be as Heathenish as ever if you do not prevent it.”
He responded, “There had to be strict laws in the New England colonies against fraternization with Indians, because so many Saints were so willing to throw off their Sainthood and live in the forest with the forest-dwellers, to throw off their rigid embrace of Puritanism and to embrace instead their bodies, to dance, as is so important to Indians, and to fall into relatedness, to allow themselves to be possessed by this shaggy New World instead of being mere possessors of it.
"We are of our bodies, and we cannot too long deny it. Our body always comes back to haunt us, to tempt us. And so it and all who remind us of it must be destroyed. This is of course one reason for the widespread misogyny within our culture: One way of distinguishing across the genders is that she can bear children and I can’t. But I can bear splendid theories, and in an attempt to define myself independently I must declare she cannot. And if she can give life, surely I can take it. Which of us then is the more potent?""
— Derrick Jensen, The Culture of Make Believe, 202-203
Wow, okay, there is a lot of stuff going on in this relatively short post (and I’m really sorry for the length of this, guys — I’d cut it if I could, but tumblr won’t let me, so remember you can always hit J to skip down)! I’m sure, both from the notecount on this and from looking at their blog, that the OP has gotten a ton of response to this, but I want to just take a second and clear up some stuff that may not have been said, or may not have been said clearly.
So, to start with an example: let’s all imagine that a couple years from now, Johnny Q. Reader, aged 9 and a half, gets all seven Harry Potter books for Christmas. Neither one of his parents are Potterheads; in fact, they’ve never read the books or seen the movies. They bought these books for Johnny at the urging of a salesperson or friend, and know what everyone who hasn’t read the Potter books knows about the Potter books: that they’re really popular kids books about wizards and magic. They don’t know J.K. Rowling said Dumbledore was gay in an interview, because why would they know that? They’ve never paid much attention to the series before, there are no longer any new books or movies coming out, and that interview happened years ago — it’s not like people are still talking about it in what you might call ~mainstream~ culture.
So young Johnny reads — devours, really — all seven books. He loves them. He has the transformative experience so many of us did in reading these books, becomes completely immersed in the world of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, except he does it in six months, because all the books are out. When he finishes them, he’s flush with that feeling you get at the end of a really good story, that sense that you wish it would never end… but he’s also, y’know, ten years old. He’s got soccer practice and Billy’s birthday party and school tomorrow, not to mention the ability only children have to take their all-consuming attention away from one thing and drop it unceremoniously onto another. He could google Harry Potter, but he doesn’t. He could google Albus Dumbledore, his favorite character from the series, but he doesn’t. He goes to soccer practice and Billy’s birthday party and school, and carries with him what he knows of Harry Potter from the seven books he read, because, well. Seven books is a lot, especially to a 10 year old kid. It feels like enough.
Now, OP mentions in their post the obviousness of the Grindlewald chapter, and yeah, sure, you caught me, as a queer 18 year old powering through DH the day it came out, I read that chapter thinking “Untz untz untz, these two are totally getting it on like it’s their last chance before their narrative unravels into a thinly-veiled Holocaust parallel.” But Johnny Q. Reader, aged 9.5 - 10, isn’t thinking that. Johnny Q. Reader is thinking “Dumbledore and Grindlewald were close friends!” because that’s what the book told him to think. Johnny doesn’t know about that interview; Johnny’s parents don’t know about that interview. So, in terms of Johnny’s experience of the character, Albus Dumbledore is not gay. Which means Johnny is not going to pause before he uses gay as insult to another kid, thinking of this character he grew to feel connected with, this character he came to know as important and human and brave. Which means that, if Johnny is called gay by another kid, if Johnny himself turns out to be queer, he is not going to be able to think back to Albus Dumbledore and feel comforted, strengthened, a little less alone.
And hey, speaking of little Johnny’s impression of the books — the OP talks about how none of the other professors save Snape have visible love lives within the narrative, and while that’s not technically true (Hagrid, remember, was a professor in PoA), it’s also not important. Because in narratives, especially in children’s narratives, it doesn’t make sense to break characters down by their profession; it makes sense to break them down by their comparable visibility and importance to the character whose point of view you’re working within. Harry and Dumbledore’s relationship isn’t, or even in my opinion something that should be primarily considered as, a typical student-to-teacher relationship, unless you think Dumbles was handing out invisibility cloaks to, quietly pulling the strings on the lives of, and waiting beyond the veil of death for every other Hogwarts student. If you want to make the point that people whose relationships to Harry are comparable to Dumbledore’s don’t have visible sexual orientations, you should be talking about Significant Adults, not Hogwarts professors.
Aaaaand, of course, you can’t make that point, because here are the Significant Adults, other than Dumbledore, in the life of Harry Potter: the Dursleys (terrible people, but in an apparently loving heterosexual marriage), the Potters (dead people, but in an an apparently loving heterosexual marriage), the Weasleys (in an apparently loving heterosexual marriage), Hagrid (shown falling for and dating Madame Maxime), Sirius Black (did his waiting, 12 years of it, in Azkaban, and spends remainder of his life in hiding without a ton of opportunity for dating; however, the narrative talks about the pictures of girls he used to keep on his walls/how all the girls used to love him, so it’s strongly implied that he’s heterosexual), Remus Lupin (enters an apparently loving heterosexual marriage within the series), Snape (~Always~), arguably the Malfoys (Death Eaters, but in an apparently loving heterosexual marriage), and McGonagall who admittedly is portrayed within series as staying single and letting her hair flow in the wind while she fires spells into the sunset, I’ll give you that one.
OP says it didn’t fit into Dumbledore’s relationship with Harry to ever say “I’m gay,” and so it was not stated implicitly: I ask you, nay, I implore you, to consider that a little further. With the exception of McGonagall — and arguably Sirius, if you want to call Sirius then fine, Sirius is really a whole ‘nother essay for me so go ahead — every other Significant Adult in Harry’s life is presented by the narrative as straight. I’m not saying that’s a horrible thing, or a thing that makes JK Rowling a terrible person — I’m just saying that they are, and you probably didn’t even notice.
You think it would have been outside of the realm of Dumbledore’s relationship with Harry to say “I’m gay,” fine. Why couldn’t someone else have said it — perhaps noted gossip columnist Rita Skeeter, in the book she wrote about Dumbledore’s life, specifically in the chapter she devoted to his friendship with Grindlewald? What about Remus or Sirius, while discussing the heyday of the Order of the Phoenix? Why couldn’t Hagrid, with his big mouth, have spilled something about the Headmaster’s personal life? Why couldn’t McGonagall have said something to Dumbledore about it that Harry overhead? Why couldn’t Dumbledore himself have mentioned it in a way that wasn’t a stilted, heavy coming out speech: I mean, god knows the guy is random enough. Perhaps, “Would you like some lemon drops, Harry? I once had a boyfriend who loved them.” Perhaps, “Oh, dear, the last time I was in Hogsmeade, it was on a rather terrible date. I wonder what ever happened to him?” There are a thousand different ways to establish a character’s sexuality, which I know, because they’re used to establish characters as straight all the time. And if you want to play like the Potter universe is totally accepting of queer people, like Dumbledore’s sexuality doesn’t have to get brought up because not bringing it up shows how much it ~doesn’t matter~ to anyone, I’d be interested to know why we’re aware of all these straight characters. If not ever bringing it up or establishing it in any way at all is a sign of normalcy and acceptance for sexuality, why isn’t every adult in the series a question mark?
On that topic: man oh man, there is nothing I hate hearing more than “Sexuality doesn’t matter,” than “No one cares, and that’s wonderful.” Because, as a queer person: I care! It matters to me! Do I think it’s wonderful when people think my sexuality doesn’t matter in terms of things like my professional life, or whether I’m a good person or a trustworthy friend? Sure. That’s great, because my sexuality doesn’t matter in terms of those things, and people shouldn’t assume that it would. But it sure as hell has mattered to me, has impacted me and my life, and it’s sure as hell part of who I am. The alternate reality straight version of me, floating around out there somewhere in the multiverse, has had different experience than I have, has internalized different things than I have, has loved different people than I have. She is different than me! And the idea that people think saying “Well, hooray, nobody cares about that part of you,” is acceptance is always going to bum me out. The idea that people classify, “I think you’re normal even though you’re queer,” (a statement that really means “I think you’re normal even though you’re not”) as an open, affirming thing to say is always, always going to register for me as serious buzzkill.
I’m not saying you should hate JK Rowling, or even that I think she said what she said about Dumbledore’s sexuality just to look like an ally — I, personally, don’t hate her, and don’t think that. I have a hard time hating someone who both gave me a series of books that I love to this day and had to be taken off the billionaires list because she gives so much of her money to charity; I think she really wrote and thinks Dumbledore as gay, and said something about it the way she would’ve about any other detail of her writing. But if you really want to argue, as the OP did, that the point is that “he is a homosexual, well respected, powerful, and very loved wizard,” then I think you have to stop and think of what little Johnny Q., aged 9.5-10, is seeing. Well-respected? Yes. Powerful? You betcha. Very loved? Absolutely. But homosexual? Not where Johnny can see it. Not in Johnny’s book.
Basically, all my thoughts about Dumbledore’s sexuality that I haven’t had time to write up. Thanks gyzym.
perfect post is perfect
Graduated high school.
. Collected something really stupid. Smoked a cigarette Got so drunk you passed out Rode every ride at an amusement park. Gone to a rock concert. Helped someone. Gone fishing. Watched four movies in one night. Gone long periods of time without sleep. Lied to someone.
Failed a class Smoked weed
Been in a car accident. Been in a tornado. Been to a funeral. Burned yourself. Ran amarathon. [Just 1/2] Cried yourself to sleep. Spent over $200 in one day. Flown on a plane.
Cheated on someone.
Been cheated on.
Written a 10 page letter. Gone skiing.or snowboarding
Have a best friend. Lost someone you loved.
Been to jail. Dangerously close to being in jail. Skipped school. Had detention. Got in trouble for something you didn’t do.
Stolen books from the library.
Gone to a different country. Dropped out of school. Watched the “Harry Potter” movies. Had an online diary. Had a yard sale.
Had a lemonade stand.
Actually made money at the lemonade stand.
Been in a school play.
Been fired from a job.
Swam with dolphins.
Taken a lie detector test.
Gone to sea world.
Voted for someone on a reality TV show.
Written poetry. Read more than 20 books a year.
Gone to Europe.
Loved someone you shouldn’t have.
Used a coloring book over age 12.
Had stitches. Taken a taxi.
Seen the Washington Monument.
Had more than 5 IM’s/online conversations going at once.
Overdosed. Had a drug or alcohol problem. Been in a fist fight.
Gone surfing in California.
Had a hamster/guinea pig. Pet a wild animal. Used a credit card.
Did “spirit day” at school.
Dyed your hair.
Got a tattoo.
Got straight A’s. Been on the Honor Roll.
Know someone with HIV or AIDS.
Made-out with someone. Played on a sports team. Snuck out of the house.
Swore at a teacher.
Gone laser tagging. Had a boyfriend/girlfriend. Been on the TV. French braided. Skinny-dipped. Driven a car. Performed in front of an audience. Been in love Been on a train.
Seen a ghost.
Been to Mexico.
Crashed a car.
Been kissed in the rain.
Made an 11:11 wish.
Forwarded a chain letter.
Made a mistake.
8 of the 12 Strip Search contestants were at PAX East 2013. I started a game of Fax Machine :)
Casual holiday reminder that the Weasley twins once bewitched snowballs to repeatedly hit Voldemort in the face.
The Weasley twins are some hardcore little shits.
“What happens when men enter women’s feminist spaces? Dale Spender did an experiment to find out, and published the results in Man Made Language:
Making Veganism a Space For More Than White Hippies
Most of us are already aware that vegans/vegetarians have a pretty terrible ...