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Zelda and representation of women


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Apr 26, 2012
Playing Breath of the wild made me think about the series’ representation of women. I think it gets it right. Breath of the wild shows independent strong women and also the series in general show some kind of subtle messages related to the power of females. The Gerudo tribe is an example as in how one of the only male members of that tribe is the actual villain in the entire series. Its just food for thought but I wanted to start the discussion.

I mean it is at least a step up from princess peach’s absolute incapability to even move a finger.


Oct 24, 2012
Crisis? What Crisis?
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I think the series has done a basically decent job. If anything, the women can all be described as "one note" but this is a nintendo title. That's true of every character.

Zelda herself veers wildly from the rather typical helpless damsel to standing up for herself when it seems to suit her. Before OoT, she was a pretty useless macguffin, but by OoT they turned her into a freaking NINJA. Wind Waker had her as a pirate. TP Zelda was all passive aggressive. At least it was portrayed as her possessing the wisdom to do what's best for her people under the circumstances but that doesn't change the fact that she got her butt kicked and spent the rest of the game imprisoned then dying then having her body used as Ganondorf's meat puppet. And in the end she personally partakes in kicking The Dorf's butt again so at least she's got that going for her. BotW Zelda spends the whole time whining about how utterly incompetent she is and then leading everyone on a doomed alternative endeavor because she's just sooo suuure it'll work. (it doesn't.) I guess she's supposed to be tough because she spends 100 years or so frozen in time and magically holding Cloudy Ganon at bay... however that works, apparently it takes alot of effort.

Over all, the women in the Zelda series have been portrayed with earnestness and grace. From Zelda's regal splendor (of the many things I despise about the last two Zelda games, is Zelda's complete loss of noble grace and beauty - a bit off the mark for a character named for Zelda Fitzgerald) to Malon's simple farm girl thing to Saria's youthful charm. None of the women ever come off seeming "exploited" for the sake of the "male gaze" and the "male power fantasy" or whatever such 'tardation is being bandied by the ree-ree brigade these days.

And of course there's my girl Midna, who is the sole exception to ninty's standards. She's clever, she's tough, she's powerful, she's witty, she's downright homicidal, she's unconventionally attractive adorable as all get out and secretly sexy af. She also turns out to be the game's title character and boasts her own character arc.

Ninty certainly did justice by Midna more than any other character in the whole series.

The Zelda women can be beautiful while also being tough, enduring or straight up bad ass. Even the Gerudo are sexualized but portrayed as more than a man's equal in physical pursuits.
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May 4, 2014
Women get portrayed pretty broadly in Zelda. A lot of them are working, healing, teaching, homemaking. Except Zelda herself. Most of the time she is the typical damsel in distress. Only a few times is she shown to be independent...or doing anything remotely useful. The Bearer of the Triforce of Wisdom is actually really useless. We should change its name to the Triforce of Stockholm Syndrome or Abduction.

Granted, Peach/Toadstool is usually in the same predicament but even she started having adventures as early as the second game. She also has them more often then Zelda, though its still sporadic.

I think they were both best fleshed out in their cartoons.

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