Paralolla: An Investigation into Gender and Empowerment in Gaming
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From Alice in Wonderland to Coraline: Paralolla examines the precedents of the heterotopia in fictional media to critically fabricate a digital game-based experience addressing the pressures surrounding gender identity for the young female and non-binary consumer. The aim of this research is to add to critical discourse and practice surrounding the development of video games as alternate explorations of self. The research suggests that the medium of gaming as a platform allows young womxn1 reprieve from the psycho-social strains of their gender identity. Foucault’s concept of heterotopias as a multi-purpose literary tool is key to how Paralolla’s narrative has been developed for the gaming medium, designed for interactive and non-passive engagement. Furthermore, Paralolla seeks to affirm the gaming medium as a potential “classroom” for feminist and gender discourse. The medium allows for the simulation of systems of power which implement the ideas of gender enactment or intersectionality. By constructing Paralolla according to theories from third-wave feminists such as Judith Butler and bell hooks, Paralolla invites differing gender experiences to empower female and gender non-binary people.