October 11, 2006

Misogyny in Kindom Hearts Fandom

Filed under:Gender, Kingdom Hearts Series, Videogames — Lake Desire @ 9:04 am

I read a great post today on I Am A Tree that I want to highlight: You Feel the Need to Overcompensate by Being More Ruthless Than Your Male Counterparts. Blogger Michelle discusses gender, villains, and the Kingdom Hearts series and its fandom. On her favorite character, Larxene:

Her “status,” as mentioned, was as the only female character. Out of the 13 Nobodies, Larxene was the only woman. To me, that made her even more awesome, being the strong female who not only fought among the baddest boys, but often came off as the most ruthless on the entire bunch.

She wasn’t sexualized in canon, either. As a member of the Organization, she wore the same long, black trenchcoat, tall boots, pants and black gloves as the guys. She may have had breasts, but that was never emphasized by her outfit.

Michelle noticed something intriguing and disturbing in the Kingdom Hearts fandom: Larxene is transformed into a slut, sexualized, a woman of contempt.

But, you know, we knew that. Larxene wasn’t some big, busty ‘n’ lusty villainess. She wasn’t using her womanly wiles to infiltrate the enemy. All she was doing was being just as evil as, if not more than, the rest of the Organization. Twelve aggressive and ruthless men, but the only woman in their midst isn’t a delicate little Disney Princess(tm)? Oh no, video game law has been violated! Send in the fandom clean up crew to get her image on straight!

Michelle does a great job compiling images and linking to posts illustrating her observation.

My experience with slash and fandom is limited, but I’m really curious why a woman among the (almost) canonically gay Organization is transformed into a scorned character amongst the role-playing fans.

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May 1, 2006

Sora, a Feminist?

Filed under:Feminism, Kingdom Hearts Series, Videogames — Lake Desire @ 2:16 pm

Sora is surprisingly less wanky in Kingdom Hearts 2. He even told Beast to quit blaming Belle for his rose being stollen and that Belle had nothing to appologize for.

Of course, instead of helping Belle get the hell out of an abusive relationship, we’e now off to try and help Beast get is rose back so he’ll learn to be appreciate how Belle is changing him from an abuser to a nice guy.

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April 1, 2006

Tokenism in The Land of Dragons

Filed under:Gender, Kingdom Hearts Series — Lake Desire @ 4:52 pm

This post discusses the Disney film Mulan in its Kingdom Hearts 2 remediation and will contain spoilers for the video game (which won’t be particularly surprising if you’ve seen the film). I’ve seen Mulan referred to as a progressive Disney movie, so I’m curious to examine the gender portrayal in Squarenix’s revision of the film.

(more…)

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March 28, 2006

Kingdom Hearts 2

Filed under:Kingdom Hearts Series, News, Videogames — Lake Desire @ 10:48 am

kingdom hearts 2 cover art

Kingdom Hearts 2 is released in my country today. I didn’t even realize it was out this week until my mom called yesterday and told me about the GameStop employee who told her how worried he was that soda and chips would get on the carpet during their release party on Wednesday. Nerds amuse us (perhaps because we are both slightly more closeted with our nerdiness) so we had a good laugh. Anyway, I’m sure oblivious to even the new releases I’m most excited about for a blogger who writes on video games. I guess that’s what I get for reading mostly theory or political game sites.

The original Kingdom Hearts was one of my favorite games. I was seventeen or eighteen and loved Disney (for its theme parks, not as much its films). As a obedient Square fangirl, KH was a dream come true. Now, I look forward to reviewing the sequel. In the years since the first game, I’ve not only developed a more critical eye, but I’ve also come and gone as a Disney employee. I worked at Walt Disney World over the spring and summer of 2005, renting strollers and lockers at the Magic Kingdom theme park as a cheap college “intern”. Never had I been so submerged in such a noticeable reinforcement of gender norms, tokenism, and class division, nor felt so used for my body. We’ll see how my loathing of Disney influences my impression of KH2. I’ll keep you all updated.

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