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The Last of Us, Video Game
Created by Naughty Dog
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Overview....   *SPOILERS AHEAD*
The Last of Us does a decent job of positively representing females and female agency, showing comradery between the sexes, and challenging gender-normativity.  While the overall story arch is moving in a noticeably helpful direction from the status quo, the majority of the story is still centered on a white male hetero protagonist.  While it covers the bases of inclusivity by implementing a minority-trifecta of secondary characters (women, black people, and a gay guy), some of the representations of these minority characters are still problematic.  The issues of concern include gender and race relations, gender and violence, “solving” problems with violence, sexual victimization, and sensationalized death.  And finally, the story is ultimately content to say little more beyond a disempowering message of nihilism.



The Helpful....


No.1 Point of Help:  Has female visibility, voice, and positive representation. There are several strong female characters….and they talk to each other about non-gendered topics.

Evidence:   This story passes the Bechdel Test with flying colors.  There are several instances where two or more named female characters talk to each other regarding socio-political conflicts and other non-gendered topics.  Of these females, one is a leader of a political resistance group, one functions as a street smart badass/former thug, another is a headstrong co-founder of a survival compound, and the last is a strong voiced teen who is the secondary protagonist and eventually temporarily becomes the main protagonist.  There is also diversity among non-central female characters who are soldiers, thugs, political activists, and civilians and many of them can be observed engaging in gender-neutral dialog with comrades. 

How is this Helpful in Influencing Society?:   Giving females more presence in stories fosters a stronger sense of social belonging for females at large.  Showing female characters that are in positions of influence and power demonstrates that they are capable of possessing political and social clout, are able to handle complex situations as leaders, and make tough decisions under pressure.  Having significant, non-male/non-gender oriented dialog between females demonstrates gender autonomy, in that females are voicing an existence and perspective that are not male-centric.  This representation lends more authentic subjectivity to females in society, and encourages women and girls to develop a sense of identity that is not defined by being attached to a male......read more

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