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Yup, nothing says "non-sexualized" like a crazy robot dominatrix.

I don't think SHODAN's sexualization is sufficient to explain her popularity but it plays a role. The whole SHODAN character is a vagina dentata. I mean, in the first game you are a man who is literally inside a woman. That woman holds all the power initially and uses it to humiliate you but eventually you subdue and conquer her. The text is pretty freakin' overt. SS2 is a little more ambiguous because the sex that is happening occurs between the Many and SHODAN. Again, SHODAN's movements are literally restricted by the physical presence of the Many pushing down on her and trapping her. It helps that the Many is presented as male while SHODAN is presented as female. It's very, very oedipal.
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xunzian: Yup, nothing says "non-sexualized" like a crazy robot dominatrix.

I don't think SHODAN's sexualization is sufficient to explain her popularity but it plays a role. The whole SHODAN character is a vagina dentata. I mean, in the first game you are a man who is literally inside a woman. That woman holds all the power initially and uses it to humiliate you but eventually you subdue and conquer her. The text is pretty freakin' overt. SS2 is a little more ambiguous because the sex that is happening occurs between the Many and SHODAN. Again, SHODAN's movements are literally restricted by the physical presence of the Many pushing down on her and trapping her. It helps that the Many is presented as male while SHODAN is presented as female. It's very, very oedipal.
Normally I can talk sexual dynamics all day, but I still think this is overthinking it and trying too hard.

I'm not down with Dr. Freud. To me he seem a little too similar to the early chemists who beat themselves up trying prove phlogiston was real.
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Sufyan: I'm not down with Dr. Freud. To me he seem a little too similar to the early chemists who beat themselves up trying prove phlogiston was real.
So you say you are not "down" with Freud, and insinuate that early chemists "beat" themselves "up"? Hm... clearly you have an oral fixation combined with feelings of sexual impotence.

In all seriousness, Freud is about as relevant in psychology today as white actors portraying non-whites in the entertainment industry; everyone studying it acknowledge that it existed in the past, and then they move on because it has long since been abandoned.
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Sufyan: I'm not down with Dr. Freud. To me he seem a little too similar to the early chemists who beat themselves up trying prove phlogiston was real.
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Jonesy89: So you say you are not "down" with Freud, and insinuate that early chemists "beat" themselves "up"? Hm... clearly you have an oral fixation combined with feelings of sexual impotence.

In all seriousness, Freud is about as relevant in psychology today as white actors portraying non-whites in the entertainment industry; everyone studying it acknowledge that it existed in the past, and then they move on because it has long since been abandoned.
I've always enjoyed your comments around here in the past. Now I'm loving it =)
While Freud's analysis isn't "real" in a psychological sense it still plays an important role in popular culture so it makes sense to apply to it products of popular culture. That's also why things like fear of castration/vagina dentata and the like still play a role in feminist analysis. While I agree that System Shock isn't as overt as, say, the Alien franchise, presenting SHODAN as female wasn't an accident. So, we have to think what does SHODAN's femininity mean? Especially as it relates to the (male) player in SS1 and SS2 as well as the Many, which are presented as male.

It isn't "overthinking", it's right there, explicit as can be.
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xunzian: While Freud's analysis isn't "real" in a psychological sense it still plays an important role in popular culture so it makes sense to apply to it products of popular culture. That's also why things like fear of castration/vagina dentata and the like still play a role in feminist analysis. While I agree that System Shock isn't as overt as, say, the Alien franchise, presenting SHODAN as female wasn't an accident. So, we have to think what does SHODAN's femininity mean? Especially as it relates to the (male) player in SS1 and SS2 as well as the Many, which are presented as male.

It isn't "overthinking", it's right there, explicit as can be.
To be fair, I wasn't discounting analysis of sexual symbolism in media, rather I felt a strange compulsion to, er, grab the low hanging fruit when someone brought up Freud.

As to your post, I definitely concur that this type of symbolism pops up in media (hell, Ridley Scott came out and flat out stated that the Alien films are intended to be evocative of rape to instill fear into the audience), but the fact that SHODAN is designed to have a female voice doesn't really scream sexual symbolism at me; maybe it's playing off the stereotype of the scheming femme fatal to make the player hate her, but I'll be very disappointed if it turns out that is the case.
Post edited January 14, 2014 by Jonesy89