Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Gaming While Feminist, Part 3

"Art is not a mirror held up to reality but a hammer with which to shape it." - Bertolt Brecht

Tropes Vs. Women, Part 3!

Part 4 came out earlier this week, which reminded me that I hadn't done Part 3 yet. D'oh! Well, better late than never I suppose. Subtitles are on the video in multiple languages.

This video touches on one of my major pet peeves in common defenses of clueless mass culture: It's all a joke/satire/parody! Don't be so sensitive! Gosh! Except that it's not "just a joke." Popular culture defines us as a whole, even when we think it doesn't. And popular culture frequently reflects the uglier side of sexism and racism in a way that inflames it.

But slowly it appears to be changing. The wild popularity of The Hunger Games series is a step in the right direction. Katniss does get manipulated quite a bit by Haymitch and the rebels in the later two books, but she never waits around for someone to rescue her. She's a badass who can shoot, fight, survive in horrible conditions, and even rescue Peeta and the others. And the fact that the series is so popular puts a dent in the belief that "everybody knows" stories driven by women don't do well, money-wise. If there's a modicum of effort put into it, they do just fine. I know this may be a surprise to some people, but ladies have money in addition to lady-parts, and we do spend it on entertainment on occasion. Call the Midwife is one of the most popular shows on BBC, and its cast is almost entirely made of women. It's well-written, well-directed, and well-acted, and the characters are actual people, not fem/sex-bots.

I hope this trend continues, and gets more traction. Even stories with "strong women" still often relegate them to Damsel Mode (Jane in Thor and Thor 2, sigh), and it gets annoying to constantly see women who ostensibly could be awesome and drive their own stories having to be rescued by their heroes all the time. Why not let them be their own heroes?

Catching Fire comes out this weekend, and it looks like it'll do well. I hope so, because hopefully a blockbuster series with a female person (not a fembot) who is not a damsel will pave the way for future female heroes. Moar plz.

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