Tag Archives: fucking hell

So I actually didn’t like Gone Home

This post contains unmarked spoilers for the computer game Gone Home. For those unfamiliar with it, it’s 1995 and you play as Katie, a young woman who is coming home to the States after a year spent travelling around Europe. While you were gone, your family moved into a mansion your father inherited. You arrive home in the middle of the night to an empty house, and gameplay consists of wandering around and going through your family’s stuff as revenge for them not being there. Okay, the revenge part was just in my head.

I finally got around to playing Gone Home today. I’d really been looking forward to it because not only had I heard nothing but good things about it, but I knew that the game mostly revolved around your sister Sam’s coming out story. And, you know, I’m queer, and I want to see more people like me in games that aren’t specifically aimed at a queer audience. I think I got my hopes up too much because Gone Home actually made me feel a little sick.

Pretty much, what it comes down to is, Gone Home really, really wanted me to think that Sam had killed herself and that I was going to find her body. It’s so “haha, got you!” about the whole thing, too. After finding vague notes about Sam not needing her room anymore, you walk into a bathroom where the tub is splattered with what appears to be blood. When you walk closer, you discover that it’s hair dye. (For the record, as someone who dyes her hair bright colours regularly, I have never achieved splatter as shown.) The entire ending sequence is set up to suggest that you’re going to find Sam’s body in the attic, where you get more and more journal entries about how she can’t go on without her now ex-girlfriend, until you get to the very last note, which is “actually I didn’t kill myself, I just ran away with my girlfriend!”

Sam’s story didn’t need that.

What it really comes down to is the game’s creators not trusting their story, their audience, or their atmosphere, and the game feels hollow as a result. Instead of trusting the player to appreciate the subtleties of Sam’s self-discovery and her love of her girlfriend, they assumed no one would care unless Sam might be dead. Instead of trusting the environment of an empty mansion in the middle of the night during a storm to unsettle the player, they threw in fake blood. It’s sad, because they were so close.

And it hurt me to play it because I’m sick of having to be grateful when queer characters aren’t dead by the end of the story, and this game just rubbed that in. This wasn’t a tactful approach to the suicide rate of queer people. It was present for the shock value, and as a queer person who has attempted suicide multiple times, I’m really not okay with that.

———

Oh, and by the way, it makes sense to wonder where Sam is, but your parents have gone on a scheduled vacation. Why wouldn’t they leave a note letting you know where they are?


No, Skyfall does not get a pass for being a Bond film. Why aren’t you up in arms too?

So I’ve been gone for a while due to a mix of lack of internet, schoolwork, and non-existent-soul-destroying job hunting. So if anyone feels like offering me a job out of the blue and you’re not a scam artist, I will greatly appreciate not having to fill out a form or write a cover letter. Seriously, fuck cover letters. I always sound like the most boring person in the world in them.

But anyways, today I am back with a rant because I saw Skyfall. Before I begin, let me say that I’m not overly familiar with James Bond. I’ve seen a couple of the old films and both the serious and the non-serious Casino Royale, but I don’t really remember any of them. I use the theme to warm up on my cello (along with the themes to The Pink Panther and the non-Marvel Avengers), and that’s about it. I knew going in that I was not going to like the way the women were treated because James Bond has never treated women well. But since it’s 2012 and some people believe women are humans now, I wasn’t expecting it to be so blatant. Since this is a rant, expect spoilers.

Now, before we get to the women, I just want to cover the homo/biphobia in this, since it will be short. If you make your villain psychotic and the only non-heterosexual person in the film, that is an offensive stereotype. There are tropes.

Moving on to how much this film hates women, Bond is rapey as hell. The scene where this is the clearest takes place after Bond has met up with the character of Sévérine by sneaking onto a boat she’s on. It has been established that Sévérine has a long history of sexual abuse and is still captive. So she’s in the shower and thinks Bond is dead (note that they’ve had one conversation ever), and Bond comes in naked. This puts her in a position where she cannot say no. She is on a boat full of hostile people, in the shower, and Bond just comes in behind her and grabs her. He even comments that he likes her without her gun and she responds “I feel naked without it.” You do realise that means she feels vulnerable, right? That is not sexy. And you know what happens the next morning after Bond is discovered on this boat? The other people on the boat take her away to be beaten and eventually killed for sleeping with him. How much use do you think they’d have been if she had caused a fuss the night before, especially since she told Bond what boat she’d be on in the hopes that he’d help to free her? The only option she has in the shower scene is to minimise damage.

(Further misogyny with Sévérine: When Sévérine dies, involving a glass of Scotch falling in the process, Bond quips “I think it’s a waste of good Scotch.” My boyfriend said he could see it as Bond attempting to unnerve Silva (who was holding Sévérine captive) and his men if Bond had bothered to look a bit sad about it later, but obviously Sévérine is never mentioned again. My friend who is actually named John says that this didn’t happen because Daniel Craig doesn’t know how to make a sad face.)

(Further rapiness and misogyny: Moneypenny comes to help Bond out with whatever. He decides to ask that she shave him, because that’s clearly the job description of professional women in MI6. While she’s doing this, he starts to unbutton her top. She tells him to stop, but she doesn’t really mind the sexual harassment there because the next shot is the fireworks of sex.)

This film also has serious issues with women doing their jobs. M is constantly referred to as a bitch and told not to be emotional. There is a female MP, Clair Dowar, which is impressive, but she is publicly humiliated for doing her job. Yeah, you know that scene where M is trying to justify the relevance of her department? What Dowar was doing was stating the case against it. I saw no sign that M wasn’t going to be allowed to speak. Honestly, it would be more useful to hear her out in order to understand what arguments would convince her. But no, Dowar is interrupted by a man of lower status in the proceedings and told that she is doing her job wrong. (And before anyone brings up the imminent attack, 1) they were not aware of this, and 2) do you you honestly believe that hearings interrupted by terrorist attacks don’t get rescheduled?)

(I also find the idea for Silva to consistently refer to M in maternal terms creepy, since, as far as I am aware, she doesn’t have children and isn’t too bothered by that. It’s weird to me for someone to force her into a maternal role, but since it’s the villain and no one else, it’s not really an issue other than the whole depraved bisexual thing.)

And then of course there is Eve Moneypenny. This was the one that really infuriated me. (Note that as I am not overly familiar with Bond films, this is the only representation of Moneypenny that I am familiar with. That doesn’t matter though, because it’s still offensive as hell.) Throughout the film, Moneypenny consistently struck me as more competent as Bond. She missed one very difficult shot and was going through the appropriate process to get back into the field. She never seemed particularly emotionally damaged over the whole thing. And yet Bond tells her she’s not cut out for fieldwork and she agrees and decides to become a secretary. Fuck you, Skyfall, fuck you. Can you get any pettier Bond? Don’t you realise you signed up to be disposable when you took this job? She didn’t fucking shoot you on purpose, and honestly, I wouldn’t even mind if she did, because you’re horrible.

Now, I know a lot of you are going to say “It’s a Bond film, what did you expect?” People already have. But why does Bond get a pass? If you don’t think these are appropriate ways to treat women, why is it okay when Bond does it? Because he’s a good agent? He’s really not, especially in this film. Remember all those tests he failed? Because it’s tradition? Since when was that an excuse? There are four women with speaking parts in this movie. Two of them die, two of them have sex with Bond (in ways that make me uncomfortable about the whole thing), and three of them are consistently reprimanded for doing their jobs, one of them publicly. There is also a fifth woman who only exists to sleep with Bond while everyone thinks he’s dead. This isn’t something to just smile, shake your head at, and say “That’s just Bond.” It’s not endearing, it’s not cool, and it’s not okay. As a society, we do our best to denounce blackface, the tradition of the black character dying first, and other racial stereotypes. In the same way, we must place a stigma on the use of sexist tropes in our stories. James Bond has to be irrelevant in any world where we treat women as equals.