Date of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
The Last of Us and The Walking Dead video games deploy father-daughter relationship pairings between their main characters in ways that disrupt the hegemonic patriarchal understandings of those very roles, though in different ways. The Last of Us and The Walking Dead utilize paternal mentorship in ways that subvert patriarchal ideology’s established patterns for gendered behavior through role-switching and alternative models of masculine care respectively. Where video games too often still cater to an audience that is heterosexual, white, and male, these games feature narratives that challenge the heteropatriarchal messaging common to this medium. The Last of Us does this by disrupting the gender binary of man as strong/protector and woman as weak/protected while The Walking Dead presents players with methods of masculine and/or fatherly behavior that can best be understood as alternative. Additionally, in a medium where Black men are either egregiously misrepresented or distinctly absent, The Walking Dead puts caring, sensitive Black fatherhood front and center.
Brooks, Sarah M..
"Rescripting Father-Daughter Dynamics: New Masculinities and Relational Possibilities in Post-Apocalyptic Video Games"
(2021). Master of Arts (MA), Thesis, English, Old Dominion University, DOI: 10.25777/bk62-af78