Men As Tropes In Games

The 'ruggedly' handsome, smart-ass Nathan Drake.

The ‘ruggedly’ handsome, smart-ass Nathan Drake.

Surely you’ve read about the Feminist Frequency Kickstarter brouhaha by now. I’d write about it at length, but others have done so with far more aplomb and expediency than I. Here, read Carolyn Michelle’s interview with Anita Sarkeesian, or John Walker’s post on such matters. While I haven’t written about it in a blog post, I have argued with people on it, pointing out Sarkeesian is not being misandrist, and other such folly.

Sarkeesian is not being misandrist. Part of the difficulty of explaining feminism to people is that it does at times cover how men are oppressed and pigeonholed by the systems in place. This is not the job of women to explore, as they are largely concerned with their own sex, which is worse off than men. Thing is? Men are also shoved into tropes. Many of them are power fantasies and unrealistic, and also limiting.

Those tropes tend to be more varied and often inspirational, however. There’s a difference between having the models for your sex be based on serving others and on being the bastion of all manliness, who has to provide all the time, and has the emotional range of a plant. Both are harmful, but I can understand how women are more concerned with their own section right now. Particularly considering the various structures in place whereby women’s voices are not even at the design meetings for these characters.

I, however, have been interested in how men are represented in media for quite some time. As someone who grew up between two cultures, and never belonged wholly to either, I was constantly questioning what it meant to be a man, which meant I was constantly watching examples to see what behaviors were expected of me, though I largely avoided them.

So, yes, the patriarchy, kyriarchy, or whatever term you wish to use is harmful to men. It is very connected in how it is harmful to women, and can often be as binding. I do not expect women to study that in depth at this point when they have so much else on their plates. I would like to create a video series similar to Sarkeesian’s Tropes vs. Women, but focused on the question of, “What about the men?”

As a man who has studied gender studies and these tropes (my gender studies degree came from an all-male college, so it was not wholly women’s studies based in the slightest), and has written about it, I would like to believe I could do this project justice. I do not see it as a chance to distract from Tropes vs. Women, so much as to complement it. At least, that is my goal.

I also do not exactly trust this initial document by another group of men; a document that uses faggots as a derogatory term.

Past examples of my writing on this?

Who You Callin’ Macaroni?; about the male dandy (or what that document calls faggots).
Anti-anticitizen One; the culmination of a series about Half-Life 2.
Final Fantasy VII’s Drag; self-explanatory.
Playing Boy: Ezio Auditore da Firenzi; about the playboy that is Ezio.
Homo say Gears?; why were journalists convinced there was a homosexual undertone, rather than just homosocial?
Two Cogs in a Gear; the relationship among Dom, Maria, and Marcus.
Albus as the Romantic Hero; from Castlevania: Order of the Ecclesia.

The question is naturally what happens now? I haven’t edited video since I was in high school. My initial post on Twitter gathered at least three interested parties, however, and I will be discussing with them how to best divide up this project. Will there be a Kickstarter involved? I don’t know. I have no idea how much support there would be, and I have to discuss this with the people with whom I’ll partner and get more of a framework first.

I will keep you posted.


About Denis Farr

Writer interested in intersectionality, games, comics, nerdy stuff in general, theater, and how it all mixes. Graduate of Wabash College, with studies in Theater, English, German, and Gender Studies.
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