This one is my favorite tropes to deal with and reference. It is one of the LONGEST standing tropes in literature and by proxy in video games and in comics and in – well, every form of media that there is.
The Oxford Dictionary defines “Damsel in distress” as, literally – “Young woman in trouble.” We are all familiar with it the trope. Think about it – Zelda, Mario, even going back as far as Donkey Kong. It has been featured in just about every major franchise in some way, shape, form or fashion, and likely will continue to do so for much time to come. Why? Because it is an effective plot device that works really well.
Not Safe For Work ~ Hentai
~ All Images Link Away From NSFWGamer.com ~
As a plot device, this trope gives our hero something to fight for. Some kind of beautiful, usually blonde or red headed prize to be claimed at the end of the battle. All the obvious issues with this aside – this has been something that has been used as a storytelling device since well before the dawn of video games and comic books.
Some of my favorite Video Game Damsels are (of course) Princess Zelda, I grew up playing Mario games so Princess Peach has a special place in my heart. I love Yuna from the Final Fantasy series, and Kari from Kingdom Hearts. The list goes on. These are simply a few of the characters I happen to really love.
I have a really strong belief that the media we consume has a direct correlation with things we ultimately find attractive, and moreover – what we sexualize. Hence the entire premise of Rule 34. For those of you just joining us and not familiar with what “Rule 34” is – it simply states that if it (whatever it is – anything) exists, there is porn of it.
I chose this particular trope for this part of the series because it happens to be one of my favorites to discuss, and in some of my earliest sexual fantasies – I can remember imagining what would happen if I were the one to “Save the princess”. Keep in mind – I’ve known I was attracted to both men and women pretty much since I figured out I was attracted to anything. It wasn’t so much confusing for me, as it was overwhelming. I found myself both being attracted to the hero (except in the case of Mario because – well, that just doesn’t do it for me) and the damsel.
As a woman, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that there are inherent problems with constantly representing women as weak, in need of saving, and incapable of defending themselves – but I believe that it is necessary to both enjoy the media we consume, and be critical of it.
I remember some of my most vivid fantasies involving saving the princess/damsel, and seducing her in some sort of scene befitting an after hours “Skinimax” type movie. Scenes playing through my head that belonged on the covers of romance novels you find in the dollar store – or plastered across the sides of vans from the 70’s (There’s no accounting for taste here. I was all of thirteen).
Some of these earliest fantasies have impacted me in ways I really didn’t consciously think about until I started writing this series. The thoughts of fighting my way through the monsters to steal a forbidden kiss – the thoughts of what may come after. All of these things have subtly influenced me in ways that I am just now coming to embrace.
The damsel in distress trope takes a lot of heat – and sometimes rightfully so. I can see all the blatant issues with it both as a writer and as a woman. I am not weak, I do not always need a hero to charge in and save the day – to get me out of my own prisons so to speak. I would, however be lying out of my lie hole if I didn’t admit that the idea of charging up those stairs to find a beautiful woman waiting for me (perhaps with some shackles in a cell) didn’t turn me right the hell on.
We play these games because in many ways we all long to be the hero. To save the day – be it from the dragon, the monster or, hell, even our own over drawn bank accounts. The questions people often ask when discussing these tropes are things that have to do with moral standing – is this right, is this wrong…that is not the purpose of this article. This article is to discuss how exposure to this has affected you, and even subtly – has it awakened some kind of urges in you that lead to other things?
I’ve told you my naughty little secrets, I’d love to hear yours. As always, I will respond as the comments come in. I’d love to see this discussion.
– Lexxx ~ Bio