Friday, February 26, 2016

The Damsel in Distress

The main idea in the "Damsel in Distress Part 1" video was the damsel in distress troupe. Anita describes the troupe as "a plot device in which a female character is placed in a perilous situation from which she cannot escape on her own and must be rescued by a male character, usually providing a core incentive or motivation for the protagonist's quest". Basically, the damsel is added as a goal for the player. She needs to be saved in order for the player to move on or win the game. She talks about many "damsels in distress", but specifically talks about two princesses, Princess Peach and Princess Zelda. Both may have very important roles in the game, but they can do close to nothing. Even when they are able to do something special at one point in the game, they are always kidnapped at the end in hopes of being saved by their hero.
During the video, Anita also brings up the topic of the subject-object dichotomy. In this case, it is simple to think of the subject as the male, who is the main character and protagonist in the game, and the object as the female, a supporting character added as a goal for the main character to reach. As she says, "the subject acts and objects are acted upon". This requires a form of objectification to occur, because the females or "damsels" are being seen as objects or as a prize to be won. It isn't a coincidence that most video games tend to end with a kiss from the damsel or something that shows her love being bestowed upon the protagonist. The female starts off in possession of him, is stolen, then saved, so she gives the only thing she has as a reward, her love. It's tough when you have nothing else to give, since according to the video game, you have no skills.

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