[Community member VenusInFurs writes up a great post about Silent Hill: Shattered Memories and the themes of masculinity and its destruction. What other games have these sorts of themes? Want to see your own writing on the front page? Write something awesome and put it in the C Blogs. -- Kauza]
Emasculation is, by definition, the castration of a man, but this castration has gotten less literal and more metaphorical in our generation. Emasculation now means to make a male feel less of a man by humiliation. In other words, you weaken a man by treating him as if he were a woman. You take the machismo away from him. You leave him naked in the middle of a crowded street. You show his wounds to the world. I’m not interested in the physical pain of castration, but more of the mental. We live in a world where to be a man means to be powerful, confidante, a sex machine, etc.
You, my lovely reader, have heard it all before, but I would argue that men, unlike women, are more sensitive, more affected by emotional pain, more prone in the act of giving up than most woman are. Now, what is the connection between castration and video games? Please, continue reading for the answer.
Silent Hill: Shattered Memoires (SH:SM) is a study of the male psyche. The game takes a look at what defines a male and shatters those ideas. It’s game about emasculation. It’s a game that I and many men can relate to. It’s a game only men can fully understand.
As most of you know by now, I always start my blogs with a personal experience then work my way up to how the video game in question relates to my experience. This will be no different, except this; out of everything I’ve written this is something I hold dear to my heart. Get ready for some heavy stuff.
From experience, books, and people I’ve known, I have come to the conclusion that when a man acts like that it’s because they’re unhappy; something is not going well in their lives. It could be a lack of sex, the wanting of a significant other, or something else, but the question of emasculation always comes up. Did this user act this way because of what a perception of a man is? Does he think it’s all about sex? Is he disappointed because of the lack of experience he had, or is he just an assh*le? Whatever the reason is, there is no denying that there are people who act this way because they don’t fit the worlds perception of what a man is.
We continued to talk and laugh, then the guys started to brag about how many girls they had sex with. I really don’t know why they decided to this, but I am an open person -- I don’t hide anything -- and I told them I only had sex with people I’ve had relationships with. I told them this and they all laughed. I said I’m not closed to the idea, but the opportunity never opened up to me (things have change now). They didn’t care for my excuse and just made fun of me, as if I was not man in their eyes .They made fun at how skinny my body is and how feminine my voice sounds. After all that, I decide to leave. The guys apologized to me, but with a big grin in their face. It’s easy to see they didn’t mean it. I left the bar and never spoke to them again. During my walk home I was reminded why most of my friends are women.
Actually, at one point you receive a message from a man asking a women to put on a “little girls dress” and pretend she’s a kid. There is a therapy session in between each level, and during these sessions you're asked to answer a series of questions. I answered each of these questions truthfully, as if I was Harry. I answered truthfully to questions like: Have you ever cheated? Were you popular in school? Are you depressed and lonely? I must note that depending on the ending you get, you may come up with a different conclusion than I have, but isn't that the fun of video games? Your actions in the therapy sessions and in the games world determine the type of ending you get.
I don’t know about you guys, but this ending moved me. I felt for Harry. I understood him. Its bad enough I spoiled one ending for you guys, but I refuse to spoil anything else. The world of insecurity is painted on the walls of each level in this game. It presents a man who is scared; a man who doesn’t have all the answers -- Harry goes through what most men go through in their lives. He tries to find comfort in women, but doesn’t have the confidence to do so. He tries to be brave, but fails every time he does. He’s not some super hero. He’s represents the fear that all men have. He’s human. He’s no different than the characters I’ve read in some of my favorite novels. He, in many ways, is me. I applaud the developer for having the guts to present an entire game absent of any kind of combat and instead focus on the characters and their thoughts. This is truly a special game.