Lilith

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Silent Hill 3: Feminist Perspective

Post by Lilith on Wed Aug 14, 2013 8:59 am

I didn't make this to talk about the negative aspects of the game. To me, a lot of feminism focuses way too much on the negative while ignoring the positive. (Here's looking at you tropes vs women.) Often overlooked, is when there is positive role models and female icons in video game. So, today I thought I would tackle Heather, as I believe her to be a good protagonist that is well written.

Take a look at it, I apologize if the pictures are too big: http://anigav-dentata.tumblr.com/post/5 ... ng-game-in
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Silent Hill 3: Feminist Perspective

Post by Lucifer on Fri Aug 16, 2013 9:41 am

It kinda seems like apples and oranges to me. Heather could never exactly act feminine because the situation she was presented in didn't allow it. Even with the short haircut and with the t-shirts I'd say she still look very feminine. The midriff only looks to reaffirm that.

As for rejecting to be the mother. That is dangerous water to trudge in because a lot of people could make this into an abortion debate since after all, she did technically abort the baby god. I mean it isn't like she could accept the role of mother either way since that would ultimately lead to her death most likely and would be a slap in the face to her father.
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Post by Skördeman on Fri Aug 16, 2013 10:07 am

Lucifer wrote:It kinda seems like apples and oranges to me. Heather could never exactly act feminine because the situation she was presented in didn't allow it. Even with the short haircut and with the t-shirts I'd say she still look very feminine. The midriff only looks to reaffirm that.


Maybe I missed your point, but are you suggesting that Heather's acting cool and collected while facing the odds without crying or breaking down is a male behavior? She looked feminine, but I think Anigav's point is Heather was not oversexualized. I do not think she said that she does not look feminine (perhaps I missed this in the post).

Lucifer wrote:As for rejecting to be the mother. That is dangerous water to trudge in because a lot of people could make this into an abortion debate since after all, she did technically abort the baby god. I mean it isn't like she could accept the role of mother either way since that would ultimately lead to her death most likely and would be a slap in the face to her father.


She did abort the baby. She also fought for an ability to choose to give birth to a baby, so there will be a parallel with the current debates over legislation that aims to control women's bodies. The issue of abortion within Silent Hill 3 brings up a conversation about the right to choose (Heather's being occupied by "God" against her will is akin to rape, so there is that nuance as well).
Last edited by Skördeman on Fri Aug 16, 2013 10:58 am.
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Silent Hill 3: Feminist Perspective

Post by Lilith on Fri Aug 16, 2013 10:29 am

fromelmstreet wrote:
Lucifer wrote:It kinda seems like apples and oranges to me. Heather could never exactly act feminine because the situation she was presented in didn't allow it. Even with the short haircut and with the t-shirts I'd say she still look very feminine. The midriff only looks to reaffirm that.


Maybe I missed your point, but are you suggesting that Heather's acting cool and collected while facing the odds without crying or breaking down is a male behavior? She looked feminine, but I think Anigav's point is Heather was not oversexualized. I do not think she said that she does not look feminine (perhaps I missed this in the post).


You're right, I didn't say that, at all actually. Quite the opposite. i brought up the conflict over her character designs.

Lucifer wrote:As for rejecting to be the mother. That is dangerous water to trudge in because a lot of people could make this into an abortion debate since after all, she did technically abort the baby god. I mean it isn't like she could accept the role of mother either way since that would ultimately lead to her death most likely and would be a slap in the face to her father.


She did abort the baby. She also fought for an ability to choose to give birth to a baby, so there will be a parallel with the current debates over legislation that aims to control women's bodies. The issue of abortion within Silent Hill 3 brings up a conversation the right to choose (Heather's being occupied by "God" against her will is akin to rape, so there is that nuance as well).


Silent Hill 3 itself alludes to abortion through the symbolism of the coat hanger puzzle. It's not as if they are not aware of the controversial issue they are bringing up.
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Post by Skördeman on Fri Aug 16, 2013 10:51 am

The abortion issue is quite clear and an essential part of Heather's characterization and story arc. Not only do we deal with religious zealots and doctrines, Heather's effrontery via abortion draws attention to her struggle against religious structures (the idea that it is wrong to kill an inchoate "child") and fanatics. Thus Heather's characterization is positively feminist because it involves her fighting for the right to make choices about her body and showing that she can, as a woman, defend herself in a world of horrors.
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Post by jacobia on Fri Aug 16, 2013 12:52 pm

Could we say that Heather's choosing to abort was part of her embracing motherhood as an aspect of her femininity? As she's deciding her role within the fates as to whether she gives birth or not, that absolutely must be a mother's choice, I think.
I've never really looked at SH3 in this way before, Anigav, it was an interesting read :)
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Post by Lilith on Fri Aug 16, 2013 1:10 pm

fromelmstreet wrote:The abortion issue is quite clear and an essential part of Heather's characterization and story arc. Not only do we deal with religious zealots and doctrines, Heather's effrontery via abortion draws attention to her struggle against religious structures (the idea that it is wrong to kill an inchoate "child") and fanatics. Thus Heather's characterization is positively feminist because it involves her fighting for the right to make choices about her body and showing that she can, as a woman, defend herself in a world of horrors.

^SH3 is way more socio-political than people give it credit for. I think this adds greatly to it's depth. (Something most people miss, even though it's been 10+ years.) It's a shame people will overlook this to talk about SH2 again.
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Silent Hill 3: Feminist Perspective

Post by Lucifer on Fri Aug 16, 2013 8:50 pm

She looked feminine, but I think Anigav's point is Heather was not oversexualized. I do not think she said that she does not look feminine (perhaps I missed this in the post).
And my post is that it was not possible to make Heather oversexualized because the situation she was in didn't allow it.

Maybe I missed your point, but are you suggesting that Heather's acting cool and collected while facing the odds without crying or breaking down is a male behavior?
I will respond to this but first I'd like your insight as to what exactly is male behavior and then female behavior.

The issue of abortion within Silent Hill 3 brings up a conversation about the right to choose (Heather's being occupied by "God" against her will is akin to rape, so there is that nuance as well).
So what about Murphy being kept in Silent Hill against his will or Henry stuck in his room? Can this be attributed to false imprisonment and how the powerful (like Walter) keeps the poor man down (Henry) and it is the protagonist's job to fight the power. In hindsight that would make a good Marxist analysis of Silent Hill.

It has been some time since I've played Silent Hill 3 but what coat hanger puzzle are you talking about? The only coat hanger I recall from the game is the one you get from the store to get the ladder down.
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Post by Skördeman on Fri Aug 16, 2013 9:15 pm

Lucifer wrote:And my post is that it was not possible to make Heather oversexualized because the situation she was in didn't allow it.


OK.

Lucifer wrote:Heather could never exactly act feminine because the situation she was presented in didn't allow it. Even with the short haircut and with the t-shirts I'd say she still look very feminine. The midriff only looks to reaffirm that.


I understand your point now. I was not sure about what was meant by "she could never act feminine because she was presented in didn't allow it." You then went on to elaborate about how Heather was not oversexualized via her outfits.

Lucifer wrote:I will respond to this but first I'd like your insight as to what exactly is male behavior and then female behavior.


I am not saying there is a distinction between male or female behaviors. I was asking if you were making such a distinction. It was a clarificatory question.

Lucifer wrote:So what about Murphy being kept in Silent Hill against his will or Henry stuck in his room? Can this be attributed to false imprisonment and how the powerful (like Walter) keeps the poor man down (Henry) and it is the protagonist's job to fight the power. In hindsight that would make a good Marxist analysis of Silent Hill.


Where is the evidence for a Marxist analysis of Silent Hill 4? Where is there an exploration of means of production? Where is there a discussion of an oppressor-oppressed dichotomy? Your comparison is disanalogous: There is evidence for abortion themes and subtext.
Lucifer wrote:It has been some time since I've played Silent Hill 3 but what coat hanger puzzle are you talking about? The only coat hanger I recall from the game is the one you get from the store to get the ladder down.


She might mean this? http://silenthill.wikia.com/wiki/Hanger

The fact that the hanger is found in the women's clothing store is suggestive. Also, the straightening of the hanger could be a nod towards straightened hangers as a self-induced abortion device.
Last edited by Skördeman on Fri Aug 16, 2013 9:56 pm.
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Post by Rodox_Head on Fri Aug 16, 2013 9:29 pm

Anigav wrote:Silent Hill 3 itself alludes to abortion through the symbolism of the coat hanger puzzle.


That's a bit of a stretch if you ask me. She just used it to pull down a ladder.
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Post by Lilith on Fri Aug 16, 2013 9:48 pm

K-DST wrote:
Anigav wrote:Silent Hill 3 itself alludes to abortion through the symbolism of the coat hanger puzzle.


That's a bit of a stretch if you ask me. She just used it to pull down a ladder.


Yes, because getting a coat hanger, stretching it out, and using it to grab a ladder in a game whose themes largely deal with pregnancy is all just a fanciable coincidence. :lol: Seriously though, I would rather go with occam's razor and the best explanation since the game relies on symbolism is that it is alluding to back alley abortions.
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Post by Waverer on Fri Aug 16, 2013 10:42 pm

Lucifer wrote:
She looked feminine, but I think Anigav's point is Heather was not oversexualized. I do not think she said that she does not look feminine (perhaps I missed this in the post).
And my post is that it was not possible to make Heather oversexualized because the situation she was in didn't allow it.


It didn't? They could very well have over-sexualized her, women tend to be over-sexualized in a lot of games. They just chose not to.
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Post by Rodox_Head on Fri Aug 16, 2013 11:11 pm

Anigav wrote:
K-DST wrote:
Anigav wrote:Silent Hill 3 itself alludes to abortion through the symbolism of the coat hanger puzzle.


That's a bit of a stretch if you ask me. She just used it to pull down a ladder.


Yes, because getting a coat hanger, stretching it out, and using it to grab a ladder in a game whose themes largely deal with pregnancy is all just a fanciable coincidence. :lol: Seriously though, I would rather go with occam's razor and the best explanation since the game relies on symbolism is that it is alluding to back alley abortions.


...Or maybe she's just resourceful. This is a SURVIVAL horror game we're talking about. Let me guess, the car jack in the Hilltop Center is an allusion to prying open a vagina. Not everything in these games has to be deep and symbolic.
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Post by Skördeman on Fri Aug 16, 2013 11:24 pm

Using the car jack does not need to be an allusion to prying open a vagina. Why is this analogous to the coat hanger example? Is there a history of car jacks being used to pry open vaginas?

Of all things, an object typically associated with self-induced abortions was used. This coat hanger was outstretched and resembles said self-induced abortion device.
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Post by Lilith on Fri Aug 16, 2013 11:45 pm

The coat hanger puzzle leads to the 300th door and moonstone which is confirmed to be about pregnancy and childbirth.
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Post by Rodox_Head on Fri Aug 16, 2013 11:54 pm

fromelmstreet wrote:Using the car jack does not need to be an allusion to prying open a vagina. Why is this analogous to the coat hanger example? Is there a history of car jacks being used to pry open vaginas?

Of all things, an object typically associated with self-induced abortions was used. This coat hanger was outstretched and resembles said self-induced abortion device.


I just came up with that on the spot, but how Heather uses it to open an elevator could be symbolic of opening a cervix if you think hard enough. I apologize for the crude wording though.

What about the walnut, I find that to be much more symbolic than a coat hanger. It actually fits more with the whole pro-choice thing in the game.

I just think that if the coat hanger was more out of place then it probably would have more meaning to it, but you just find it in a clothing store.
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Post by Skördeman on Sat Aug 17, 2013 12:04 am

You find the hanger in a women's clothing store.

Your example of opening a cervix could just as simply be an opening of the rib cage with a medical apparatus. The coat hanger is not an arbitrary example used in favor of Anigav's argument. Using that hanger leads to a door which deals with childbirth and pregnancy.

Could you say more about what you mean by using the example of the walnut?
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Post by Rodox_Head on Sat Aug 17, 2013 12:41 am

A moonstone is forcibly squeezed out of the walnut, thus destroying the walnut. Heather is forced to give birth to a god and would be killed in the process.

I didn't intend on any significant meaning regarding the car jack, but it just goes to show that anything could mean anything.
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Post by Lilith on Sat Aug 17, 2013 1:17 am

Actually, I think you could be on to something with a car jack thing. It could have to do with rape or pregnancy. You see, even the most mundane puzzles have some sort of symbolic meaning.
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Post by Skördeman on Sat Aug 17, 2013 1:41 am

I think the moonstone comparison might be onto something as well.
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