Persona 5’s Ann Takamaki is Derailed By The Gender Politics Of Pop Music

Ann Takamaki is the only ‘band member’ who appears to resent the role given to her, and she is clearly cast as ‘the sexy one’. Often, ‘the sexy one’ translates to vacuousness or lack of intelligence. Being sexy and being a bimbo are often the same things when it comes to pop music, with the media of the early ‘00s depicting Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera especially as airheads. Imani Perry writes that “women are often presented as vacuous, doing nothing but swaying around seductively” (2004, p. 137) in music videos, but this is one stereotype that Ann Takamaki breaks. She is ditzy and bratty but has clear agency, demonstrated both through the fact she is a competent party member and through her actions and dialogue as the game progresses. Continue Reading

First Person Podcast Episode 43

Parasocial Play on YouTube

To commemorate our transition to YouTube, this is part one of a three-part series that we will be doing to examine how games are introduced to us and played with on YouTube. For part one, we are going to be looking at the Parasocial play involved with a lot of retro and modern YouTube content. From Walkthroughs to Let’s Plays, this is the foundation of our YouTube gaming experience. Continue Reading

Cinders and Fantasies of Womanhood

The figure of Cinderella has been divisive; its reception highlights oppositions present in feminist thought: namely the conflict between second-wave and postfeminism. Fien Adriaens (2009) describes second-wave feminism’s stance as “the idea that femininity and feminism are oppositional, mutually exclusive and that the adoption of one of these identities (feminine or feminist) can only be achieved at the expense of the other.” This positions second-wave feminism in critical opposition to “Cendrillon” as well as conservative retellings such as Disney’s 1950 film Cinderella. Indeed, critics have argued that fairy tales portray women as “weak, submissive, dependent and self-sacrificing” and that by example this encourages young girls to “adopt these desires, which are deemed appropriate within patriarchy” (Parsons, 2004, p. 137). Continue Reading

Review of Gaming Sexism: Gender and Identity in the Era of Casual Video Games by Amanda Cote

The book addresses the structures and systems around games and how they shape experiences for players. Cote conducted a series of interviews with players to generate insights about their play and interactions that are woven throughout most of the book, but the data from those interviews are beautifully packaged alongside a deep understanding of video games and game studies. Cote is exceptionally well-read, fluidly referencing core work in game studies by the likes of Shira Chess, Mia Consalvo, Kishonna Gray, Sal Humphreys, Jen Jenson, and Suzanne de Castell, Aphra Kerr, Carly Kocurek, Lisa Nakamura, Anastasia Salter, Adrienne Shaw, T.L. Taylor and plenty of others. Continue Reading

Avatar Crossing: Self Representation in Animal Crossing: New Horizons

While it’s fun for players to dress their villagers up in different outfits alone, exploring avatar customization can also lead to reflexive experimentation and opens up a deeper understanding of the player’s sense of self. The extensive customization found in New Horizons provides a place for its players to experiment with their online identities. By creating and developing their villager, it will be argued that users are also able to play with their own personal identities outside of the game, showing how one’s avatar can be used as a point of introspection. Continue Reading