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"I sure as hell ain't your dad": A New Model of Fatherhood and Masculinity in Dystopian Fiction

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Kassandra Chase Tramel

on 31 August 2017

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Transcript of "I sure as hell ain't your dad": A New Model of Fatherhood and Masculinity in Dystopian Fiction

"I sure as hell ain't your dad":
A New Model of Fatherhood and Masculinity in Dystopian Fiction
A presentation by Kassandra "Chase" Tramel
Stoic, combat hardened middle aged man
Inexperienced yet powerful teenage girl
Through circumstance they...
...must travel together
...save each other repeatedly
...develop a quasi father-daughter
...explore the implications of the
girl's mysterious power
Develops identity.
Seizes agency.
Accepts fatherhood.
Grows passive.
Becomes a murderer.
Falls into neurosis.
“As a character, Elizabeth has an amazing amount of agency, primarily through her relationship with Booker DeWitt. Most of the adventure has you pursuing Elizabeth more than trying to rescue her…she spends most of her time free, occasionally running away from you. In the times the enemies do try to grab her, she manages to escape, and even fights back.” -
Alexander Leach, "Damsel Decisive: Bioshock Infinite and Elizabeth as a Credible Agent"
“With the wave of a hand, she vanquishes enemies that Booker, for all his firepower, is powerless against, and she quickly takes over the task of orchestrating the pair’s escape from Columbia. In the game’s final act, she uncovers and reveals to an uncomprehending Booker the secret forces that have moved the plot forward.”
- Tom Bryson, "Tom's Feminist Analysis of Bioshock: Infinite"
“Booker is shown the way by Elizabeth. He’s in denial and has been for decades. She gets out of the tower and pretty much figures out life, while Booker only develops as a person because of her. You might think she only assists, but the woman leads. She is the one with her hand on the leash by the end of the game.” -
Peter Coffin, "Sexism and Bioshock Infinite"
“No knight in shining armour turns up to save Ellie; she fights David off with her own strength. Although Joel does show up, he ends up pulling Ellie off David, instead of the other way round – she has killed him with a machete, and is venting her aggression on his corpse.”.” -
Rom Tokins “The Women of The Last of Us – A Step Forward in Videogame Feminism”
“Though we play Ellie's survival narrative and Joel's journey towards the camp to save her storyline, Ellie is the one who saves herself. Joel shows up only after David is killed with what is a very satisfying machete to the face. Joel's power as the savior is subverted by Ellie's actions. Had she not killed David, the timing of Joel's arrival indicates that he would have come too late. Thank goodness that Ellie can take care of herself.” -
PhilipKVagina “The Last of Us is Crazy Feminist Y’All”
“The Last of Us is also one of the most feminist and LGBTQ-friendly games out there… She is not just a side-kick...she saves her own life and prevents her own rape by successfully defending herself against a cannibalistic child molester. How much more ‘pro’ do you need in protagonist?” -
Larry Hogue “The Last of Us, Feminism, and Misogyny”
Robinson's Criteria of a Strong Female Character
"The characters kill scores of people without much consideration or reflection. This is another game by men, for men, and about men." -
Chris Suellentrop, "In the Same Boat, but Not Equals" The New York Times

"Violence is often the core feedback loop, the defining mechanism. Everything gets swallowed up into this dysfunctional vortex..." -
Keith Stuart "The Last of Us, Bioshock: Infinte and why all video game dystopias work the same way" The Guardian

"They all tell the same story of men coming to terms with violence and the responsibilities of fatherhood – and they all do it in such a way as to confirm the masculine status quo. Self-sacrifice in combat, ruthless violence, the sanguine acceptance that there is no other way." -
Keith Stuart "The Last of Us, Bioshock: Infinte and why all video game dystopias work the same way" The Guardian

Post-Princess Models of Gender: The New Man in Disney/Pixar
Ken Gillama & Shannon R. Wooden
Alpha Male
New Man
unquestioned authority
physical power and social dominance
competitiveness for positions of status and leadership
lack of visible or shared emotion
social isolation
expresses feeling
acknowledges power of community
admit to emotional dependence of wife and children
strength in the family as a whole
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