Feminist Friday: Beyond Girlfriend Mode

Depending on how much you pay attention to the world, you may or may not have heard that writer John Hemingway used the term “Girlfriend Mode” when describing the beginner levels in the videogame Borderlands II. As you can imagine, many of us took issue with that, for what I hope are obvious reasons. (I’m admittedly not much of a videogamer myself beyond Tetris, but my gender has nothing to do with that).

In response to Hemingway, my friend Carly Kocurek (scholar and writer extraordinaire!) wrote a post at her blog entitled “Modes that are more realistic than Girlfriend Mode,” in which:

I was thinking about alternative modes that might actually tell something about how women experience or interact with the broader world.

This piece is funny, but in a way painfully so, because it’s true. Such as the first example:

Hey Pretty Lady Mode  During interactions with nonplayable characters, every nonplayable character will provide commentary on your avatar’s physical experience. Time spent engaging with these NPGs negatively affects your character’s health levels and may encourage the NPGs to continue trying to distract you, but if you ignore or avoid them, they will chase and harass you, which has a more acute impact on health levels.

In addition, there are already some fun additional suggestions in the comments:

Manic Pixie Dream Girl Mode: The character wanders around aimlessly examining every minor detail and won’t stop talking if you get near her. Monster attack rate quadruples while she is in your party because she draws so much attention to herself, but upon entering a new town people are not only friendlier to you, but offer you items at 75% the original cost. Treasure discovery triples, but frequently the treasure is nothing of value to any of your party members except for her. Completely incapable of dropping any items unless her inventory is full, then she may only drop two.

If you have a suggestion, feel free to visit the post and add it to the comments. Carly would love the discussion.

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One thought on “Feminist Friday: Beyond Girlfriend Mode

  1. That is painfully funny.

    I was talking about this article, and then we ended up watching an MMA fight the other night….there were a few rounds of only women. We were cracking up (also with pain), because here were two extremely powerful women entering the ring, who looked completely dangerous and serious, and then the ring girl walks by. It was like: this woman participates and is active, but this girl is decoration.

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