Girl in the Machine
Wednesday, May 7, 2008
An Experiment with Censorship

My Mission for Persona 3: FES

I was recently directed to PortlyDyke’s article “Take My Arm, Love” thanks to Feministe. I was struck by her paragraph:

[The adjustments queers make to public displays of affection] are part of the enculturated self- censoring that most queers learn in order to assure their own safety in the world (and sometimes, their very survival). In fact, I had to "unlearn" many other, more rigid, tendencies to automatic hiding when I finally made the decision to be completely "out" as a lesbian.

It was a fascinating article that made me evaluate my own behaviors and the ways in which I regrettably closet myself in order to “pass” for my safety.

As the day continued, I was watching television when I saw a commercial for memory foam mattresses or some nonsense. The commercial portrayed a few white males and females and heterosexual white couples enjoying the best sleep they’ve ever had in their fabulous new beds. I was first intrigued that the commercial didn’t show any people of color, and I also wondered why a gay or lesbian couple couldn’t have been slipped in somewhere.

I commented to a friend, “What do you think it would be like if we never saw couples like that on TV and in commercials?”

She responded, “I guess it would be pretty weird, you know?”

“Yeah. That’s how I often see television and stuff. Lots of straight people and no gay couples,” I said.

Always overthinking things, I began to wonder how different forms of media would change if we simply removed heterosexual romantic pairings from the equation—that is, to make them as absent as queer relationships.

Without any other options readily available, I want to see how this experiment will play out in the PS2 RPG Persona 3: FES. I’m a little late playing it, yes, so don’t spoil it for me!

I want to see how fully I can develop my Social Links—a system in which interpersonal relationships strengthen the party—without developing a romantic relationship with a woman.

As is often the case in the Shin Megami Tensei series, the protagonist is a nameless, voiceless male. With the inability to choose a female avatar aside, this empty hero is meant to serve as the perfect vehicle for the player’s choices and goals. Unfortunately, the production company Atlus assumed that my intentions included hooking up with a girl.

Is it part of the “full gaming experience” for my boy to get with one of the girls? Or are their multiple roads to success, potentially ending in a platonic relationship and an S. Link rank of ten? I’ll have to wait a while to share my results, but I’ll post my findings as they’re revealed.

Author's Note, Saturday, May 10 @ 10:45PM: This post originally contained an image of Yukari that I had included in jest without considering its offensiveness. In hindsight I now see that it wouldn't really be appropriate for any intellectual discourse, and so I would like to apologize to our readers who were the victims of my poor taste.

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 Posted by Calabar
 11:59 PM + Link to this post

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