Maidens and Muscleheads, White Mages and Wimps, from the Light Warriors to Lightning Returns

  • Mark Filipowich
Part of the Palgrave Games in Context book series (PAGCON)


Throughout the Final Fantasy series, gender exists both as much as a rigid categorization for many central characters as a complicated, subversive dimension in the very same figures. This chapter examines several series characters in order to explore how these texts demonstrate a traditional performance of gender while also offering several moments and figures that queer the performance of gender. The series establishes traditional gendered types throughout, but these same texts include figures and events that deconstruct the very gender binary that the series develops. This chapter examines the interplay of rigid, traditional gender roles and the subversions of these roles.


  1. Brice, Mattie. 2011a. Women, the Ensemble, and Narrative Authority in the Final Fantasy Series. Alternate Ending, February 28.Google Scholar
  2. ———. 2011b. It’s Time to Talk About It: Atlus, Naoto, and Transphobia. Alternate Ending, August 30.Google Scholar
  3. Burn, Andrew, and Gareth Schott. 2004. Heavy Hero or Digital Dummy? Multimodal Player-Avatar Relations in Final Fantasy 7. Visual Communication 3 (2): 213–233.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Burrill, Derek A. 2008. Die Tryin’: Videogames, Masculinity, Culture. New York: Peter Lang.Google Scholar
  5. Butler, Judith. 1990. Gender Trouble. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  6. Chen, Jin-Shiow. 2007. A Vision of Multiple Genders: Cross-Cultural Learnings in Asian Countries from the Images of Kuan Yin and “Bishōnen”. Journal of Cultural Research in Art Education 25: 91–103.Google Scholar
  7. Chizuko, Ueno. 1996. The Making of a History of Feminism in Japan. Asian Journal of Women’s Studies 2: 170–191.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Dickenson, Kevin. 2011. Misconceptions About Silent Protagonists in Video Games. PopMatters, February 7.Google Scholar
  9. Fantone, Laura. 2003. Final Fantasies: Virtual Women’s Bodies. Feminist Theory 4 (1): 51–72.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Filipowich, Mark. 2011. A Profile of Cloud Strife. bigtallwords, November 17.Google Scholar
  11. ———. 2014. The Narration and Abstraction of Bodies in Games. bigtallwords, March 5.Google Scholar
  12. Fox, Matt. 2013. The Video Games Guide: 1000+ Arcade, Console and Computer Games, 1962–2012. 2nd ed. Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Company, Inc.Google Scholar
  13. Genereux, Randy, and Anne McKeough. 2007. Developing Narrative Interpretation: Structural and Content Analyses. The British Journal of Educational Psychology 77 (4): 849–872.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Halberstam, Jack. 1998. Female Masculinity. London: Duke University Press.Google Scholar
  15. Hemmann, Kathryn. 2016. Magic and Gender in Final Fantasy VI. Kill Screen, August 16.Google Scholar
  16. Howe, Austin. 2016. ‘I Didn’t Turn Out Ok at All’: Interrogations of Masculinity in Late Final Fantasy. Presentation at the Oregon Game Studies Conference, Eugene, OR, February 4.Google Scholar
  17. Ito, Mizuko. 2008. Gender Dynamics in Japanese Media Mix. In Beyond Barbie and Mortal Kombat: New Perspectives on Gender and Gaming, ed. Yasmin B. Kafai, Carrie Heeter, Jill Denner, and Jennifer Y. Sun, 97–110. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  18. Lazzaro, Nicole. 2008. Are Boy Games Even Necessary? In Beyond Barbie and Mortal Kombat: New Perspectives on Gender and Gaming, ed. Yasmin B. Kafai, Carrie Heeter, Jill Denner, and Jennifer Y. Sun, 199–216. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  19. Ligman, Kris. 2014. Queerly Anime. Medium, January 22.Google Scholar
  20. McKevitt, Andrew. 2010. “You Are Not Alone!”: Anime and the Globalizing America. Diplomatic History 34 (5): 893–921.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Mizuno, Hiromi. 2007. When Pacifist Japan Fights: Historicizing Desires in Anime. Mechademia 2 (1): 104–123.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Saito, Kumiko. 2014. Magic, Shōjo, and Metamorphosis: Magical Girl Anime and the Challenges of Changing Gender Identities in Japanese Society. Journal of Asian Studies 73 (1): 143–122.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Tsutomu, Sugiura. 2008. Japan’s Creative Industries: Culture as a Source of Soft Power in the Industrial Sector. In Soft Power Superpowers: Cultural and National Assets of Japan and the United States, ed. Watanabe Yasushi and David L. McConnel, 128–153. Armonk, NY: East Gate.Google Scholar
  24. Vint, Sherryl. 2007. Bodies of Tomorrow: Technology, Subjectivity, Science Fiction. Toronto: Toronto University Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mark Filipowich
    • 1
  1. 1.Concordia UniversityMontrealCanada

Personalised recommendations