(in response to this)
If it were in your power, would you feature a white cis male character as a lead, or do you think that that would be putting too much on the writing team’s shoulders? As someone who is highly involved in the game industry, do you think there would be a backlash from the industry or fans if a white cis male character was a lead? Is video game culture ready for a white cis male companion? — venak-hol
No, I don’t think video game culture is ready for white cis male characters— not as major plot characters, and certainly not as a lead. It’s not ready for major characters that are middle or upper class, either. Heck, it’s barely ready for ones which are straight.
“This search will bring you down hard…on your two knees.
Face in the dirt.”
There are plenty of non-feminist reasons to watch Top of the Lake. The writing is great. The acting is excellent. It’s gorgeous, full of huge sweeping shots of New Zealand wilderness.
It feels at once realistic and weird, weird in the way real life is (media is often duller than real life because our definition of realism is boring, not real). Each scene is so dense with atmosphere and meaning that watching a single episode almost feels like finishing a film.
It’s also a deliberately feminist show about rape culture and patriarchy and strong female characters.
(I’d honestly recommend just watching it with no prior knowledge like I did, although the following doesn’t contain major spoilers if you still need to be sold. Should be on Netflix.)
The main character is Robin (played by Elisabeth Moss), a detective. She’s in search of Tui, a 12 year old girl who got pregnant then disappeared somewhere into the wild.
This search takes place in her old home town, where she leads an investigation by the local police (they needed someone trained to deal with child sexual assault). This town is dwarfed by nature–houses scattered like pebbles along the rim of vast Lake Wakatipu, everything in the shadow of mountains.
Over the course of the first episode, we realize she’s descended into a hive of patriarchy.
This shot is highly representative of the show’s dynamics.
Top of the Lake emphasizes the tenuous patience of men with women. In life, when a woman speaks plainly with men, I cringe, wondering when they’re going to invoke their lazy power and make her shut up.
Robin speaks with the focus of a tightrope walker. If she falters the men will walk all over her, and she will lose her voice. She has to actively maintain her surroundings or things fall apart. She leaves a meeting for a minute to correct a racist police officer and everyone slowly trickles from the room.
She sees men. She clocks them. We are held to her steely gaze that never falters even when her lips are smiling.
twine succeeded precisely because of its violence–because it was suited to guerilla warfare–a weapon for underdogs
replicating, breeding, virulent–cheap pipebombs and tin can landmines
And trans people, and queers, and everyone else who feels this.
When I think of visibility, renown, people liking my work–the first thing that comes to my mind is that I have less chance of being doubted when I talk about abuse and harassment.
Less chance of suffering in silence.
I resent seeing everything as part of a power dynamic.
I resent this fixation on survival.
It dominates my vision, makes my eye sick.
Women are turned against other women.
I feel sick when I think about it. I second-guess every disagreement I have with other women. I wonder how to disagree with other women in a culture where we’re encouraged to bully and undermine each other.
I feel disgusted and ashamed.