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Princess Cultures

Mediating Girls’ Imaginations and Identities

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Edited By Miriam Forman-Brunell and Rebecca C. Hains

Princesses today are significant figures in girls’ culture in the United States and around the world. Although the reign of girls’ princess culture has generated intense debate, this anthology is the first to bring together international and interdisciplinary perspectives on the multitude of princess cultures, continuously redrawn and recast by grownups and girls from the Ancien Régime to the New Millennium. Essays critically examine the gendered, racialized, classed, and ethnic meanings of royal figures and fairytale and pop culture princesses inscribed in folk tales, movies, cartoons, video games, dolls, and imitated in play and performance. Focusing on the representation and reception of the princess, this collection sheds new light on the position of princess cultures mediating the lives, imaginations, and identities of girls from toddlers to teenagers – and beyond.
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Chapter Four: Rescue the Princess: The Videogame Princess as Prize, Parody, and Protagonist

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 CHAPTER FOUR

Rescue the Princess: The Videogame Princess as Prize, Parody, and Protagonist

SARA M. GRIMES

Introduction

In November 2012, a number of news outlets covered the story of one father’s heart-warming efforts to make videogames more gender-inclusive for his three-year-old daughter, Maya. According to the reports, Mike Hoye spent several weeks hacking the underlying software code of The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker (Nintendo 2003) in order to re-write the game’s text to allow for a female version of the male avatar/main character, Link (McWhertor 2012; Narcisse 2012). As reported by Johnston (2012), Hoye had been playing the game with his daughter, and was bothered by the fact that while the game allowed players to rename Link with a female name if so desired, the character was nonetheless addressed as male both during game play and within the larger storyline. Hoye replaced “My lad” with “Milady,” “young boy” with “young girl,” and Maya was arguably able to see herself represented within the game’s narrative. When asked why he felt altering the game text was important, Hoye was quoted saying, “I’m not having my daughter growing up thinking girls don’t get to be the hero” (Johnston 2012).

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