Presentation Title

Beyond Hypermasculine Heroes: An Analysis of Link’s Gender Expression and Performativity in The Legend of Zelda Video Game Series

Faculty Mentor

Daniel Gardner

Start Date

17-11-2018 3:00 PM

End Date

17-11-2018 5:00 PM

Location

CREVELING 84

Session

POSTER 3

Type of Presentation

Poster

Subject Area

humanities_letters

Abstract

Heroes found in action-adventure video games commonly follow a hypermasculine model, where an emphasis is placed on physical strength, stoicism, and absence of femininity. However, through the introduction of the androgynous hero Link, The Legend of Zelda series diverges from the heteronormative depiction of a hero in this genre. Widely acclaimed in America, The Legend of Zelda is an action-adventure video game series produced by Shigeru Miyamoto and Eiji Aonuma that prominently features the reincarnating hero Link. This poses the question, how does the acknowledgment and portrayal of an androgynous body by a society obsessed with gender differentiation affect these beliefs? Gender theorist, Judith Butler’s theory of performativity, challenges heteronormative beliefs by stating that gender is continuously constructed through repetitive acts, influenced by societal norms, to form the existing body. Additionally, mimicry as the base of masculine and feminine identity construction emphasizes Link’s masculine hero performance. An examination of Link in official promotional art and games from Ocarina of Time (1998) to Breath of the Wild (2018) reveals the inclusion of traditionally feminine characteristics, such as compassion and a short stature, while also mimicking masculine characteristics, such as stoicism and a powerful build, to form Link’s androgynous identity. The Legend of Zelda series deconstructs the hero figure in video games by simultaneously miming and displacing its conventions through the usage of the androgynous hero Link in a role that is traditionally masculine. The lack of androgynous heroes in action-adventure video games emphasizes the importance of Link’s presence, not only to undermine the cultural symbol of masculinity but also as a positive representation for marginalized individuals.

This document is currently not available here.

Share

COinS
 
Nov 17th, 3:00 PM Nov 17th, 5:00 PM

Beyond Hypermasculine Heroes: An Analysis of Link’s Gender Expression and Performativity in The Legend of Zelda Video Game Series

CREVELING 84

Heroes found in action-adventure video games commonly follow a hypermasculine model, where an emphasis is placed on physical strength, stoicism, and absence of femininity. However, through the introduction of the androgynous hero Link, The Legend of Zelda series diverges from the heteronormative depiction of a hero in this genre. Widely acclaimed in America, The Legend of Zelda is an action-adventure video game series produced by Shigeru Miyamoto and Eiji Aonuma that prominently features the reincarnating hero Link. This poses the question, how does the acknowledgment and portrayal of an androgynous body by a society obsessed with gender differentiation affect these beliefs? Gender theorist, Judith Butler’s theory of performativity, challenges heteronormative beliefs by stating that gender is continuously constructed through repetitive acts, influenced by societal norms, to form the existing body. Additionally, mimicry as the base of masculine and feminine identity construction emphasizes Link’s masculine hero performance. An examination of Link in official promotional art and games from Ocarina of Time (1998) to Breath of the Wild (2018) reveals the inclusion of traditionally feminine characteristics, such as compassion and a short stature, while also mimicking masculine characteristics, such as stoicism and a powerful build, to form Link’s androgynous identity. The Legend of Zelda series deconstructs the hero figure in video games by simultaneously miming and displacing its conventions through the usage of the androgynous hero Link in a role that is traditionally masculine. The lack of androgynous heroes in action-adventure video games emphasizes the importance of Link’s presence, not only to undermine the cultural symbol of masculinity but also as a positive representation for marginalized individuals.