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[personal profile] ember_keelty
Cross-posted from tumblr because this is a better place for it anyway.

I’ve been lurking some Harvest Moon/Rune Factory forums. Just now I was reading some discussion of the bachelors in Land’s Origins and while most of the girls were very enthusiastic about Neil, a couple started talking about how much they dislike him and Vaughn and the other “bad boys” of HM. What’s so appealing about a guy who’s mean to you until you win him over? they wanted to know. I was nodding along in agreement and feeling very mature, when suddenly I realized that I made a beeline for Raven in RF3 and she is the same exact thing only female.

And that’s kind of interesting to me. What’s the difference? Well, obviously, I’m more attracted to gals than to guys. But it’s more than just a question of attraction. Flip Micah's and Raven’s genders and the moment Raven shoved Micah in Sol Terrano I would have run and never looked back. Honestly, it was a little troubling even in the canon scenario, but I forgot about it pretty quickly. I actually have a much stronger reaction to Marian drugging Micah. That seems threatening in a way that simply getting physical doesn’t when it’s female-on-male.

Flipping the genders also destroys the dynamic where it’s the guy doing all of the emotional work for once. Even the part at the end with Aquaticus annoyed me less than I thought it would. “I’m going to be levelling her up alongside me,” I thought when I read about the endgame scenario, “so why can’t she save herself?” Well, because she’s being More Than Mind-Controlled. When you’re fighting the dragon, you’re really fighting the last lingering traces of her doubt and self-loathing. (But isn’t it funny that women rescuing men emotionally, for example in East of the Sun-type stories, is never symbolized that way?)

But then I have to ask myself: what if just Micah was genderflipped? I don’t think anyone who knows me would buy it if I claimed I would find their relationship less compelling if it were girl/girl, so I’m not going to make that claim. It’s definitely a kind of double standard.

I’m pleased to report, though, that the double standard seems to be entirely on my side, since Raven is, from what I can tell, an overwhelming favorite with the same fanbase that always goes for the Vaughns and the Skyes when there’s an option to play as a gal and romance the guys.
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January 2014

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