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Zoë's sexuality

Zoë Castillo Enu White Dragon Reborn Shepherd Reza Temiz Damien Cavanaugh White Dragon Hanna Roth

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#1 Mime Paradox

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Posted 09 June 2018 - 05:54

Jokes about her Book 3 haircut aside...could Zoë be bisexual or pansexual? I mean, we can say with certainty that she's attracted to men, but given that she never--as far as I know--asserts that she is straight, that doesn't rule out attraction to people of other genders.  What's more, given that the  series actively disincentivizes assuming characters' sexualities, assuming that she's straight feels  iffy.   
 
Now, on one hand, it's hard to imagine a Zoë who is queer looking at the picture of Hanna and Abby and concluding "gals being pals". Even if the photo weren't, by itself, evidence that the two girls were a couple (and it is not) you'd think Zoë would still consider it a possibility. Heck, the comment feels awkward regardless. 
 
A more significant factor, though, is probably Zoë's comments while at the Enclave. Within ten minutes of game time, she makes comments about Enu (and Zhid in general), the White Dragon, and Shepherd, and in all three occasions, their beauty is at the top of the list.(I forget if she says anything about Likho if he's left behind, or about Na'ane).
 

Re: Shepherd: She's really beautiful. Alien, intimidating, but statuesque and elegant.

Re: White Dragon: I met the current one. She was beautiful, and eccentric.

Re: Enu: She's Zhid, I believe. They're beautiful.

Re: Enu 2: I have to resist this intense desire to stroke her yellow fur.

 
 I mean, there's plenty of space for multiple interpretations here, but at the same time, the cases are different enough to make it generalization difficult.  The comments about Shepherd and the Zhid may just be referring to aesthetic beauty, or how she finds them fascinating, but none of that would apply to the White Dragon. There's also the fact that Zoë makes no similar comments about women in Stark, which can also be interpreted in quite a few ways.
 
So what do y'all think?  What do you think Red Thread Games is trying to say about Zoë, through these comments?  And if there ever were a third Dreamfall, what do you think are the chances of Zoë being revealed as not straight? 
 
(Full disclosure: I am totally here for queer Zoë, queer Saga, and none of the main characters in the series being straight.)


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#2 Szpadelek

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Posted 09 June 2018 - 07:58

If someone says that someone is beautiful, it doesn't mean that they have a different sexual orientation

But when Zoë looks at Nela, she says:
'I met Nela after my first appointment with Dr. Roman. She sold me some fried cheese and I fell in love. With the cheese, not with Nela. Although she is pretty cute'

It still seems to me that she says it jokingly, but who knows?

#3 Chocobo_sage

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Posted 09 June 2018 - 16:08

I'd say purposely left unanswered for the players POV.
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#4 Lee-m

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Posted 09 June 2018 - 17:56

No. There is also no ambiguity about it. Shes straight. Thats made clear over both games.
Plus she doesn't want to get it on with Enu... more was the pity (maybe they are holding that back for the comics ? ;) ). However if that's not evidence enough I don't know what is.



#5 Mime Paradox

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Posted 10 June 2018 - 21:47

No. There is also no ambiguity about it. Shes straight. Thats made clear over both games.
Plus she doesn't want to get it on with Enu... more was the pity (maybe they are holding that back for the comics ? ;) ). However if that's not evidence enough I don't know what is.

 
How is that made clear? I'm honestly asking. It's made clear that she's attracted to dudes, but that's...not at all the same thing, as being straight?  Without a definitive comment akin to the ones Kian makes to Enu and Crow about himself--and I really can't recall if she makes any--then all we can say about her is that she's not exclusively attracted to women. That still leaves several choices, and as far as I see it, the only thing preventing Zoë from being established as queer in future canon isn't anything that's been established so far (again, assuming that I’m not forgetting any definitive statements), but rather, that future canon, as it stands, is hella unlikely. After all, "I like X" isn't usually interpreted to mean "I only like X", so why assume so here? 
 
(The same applies for Saga. We know she was the other woman in a situation with a strapping Corokanth farm boy, but that says very little about the entire scope of her sexuality other than “enjoys sex with dudes”.)
 

If someone says that someone is beautiful, it doesn't mean that they have a different sexual orientation

 
Perfectly true! And yet, the list of things Zoë expresses aesthetic admiration isn't all-expansive—particularly given the gorgeous details in both Dreamfall and Dreamfall Chapters, and particularly if you compare her comments to, say, Saga's, who is quite expressive when it comes to demonstrating aesthetic admiration. Given that, and the fact Zoë's list happens to include three Arcadian women who she’s known for hours, at best (and, in the case of the White Dragon, someone she met for minutes, a year earlier, before a bout of amnesia she still isn't completely over) feels significant. Notably, the list of male acquaintances she thinks of as beautiful (or "cute", which, as you mention, is also a word she uses to describe ladies like Nela and Liv) is much shorter.

And like, we’ve seen Zoë’s thoughts when she’s harboring unstated attraction to someone, with the whole Zelenka subplot (or so I understand—I...tend not to follow this path, when I play the game). She does not react like that with any of the women, which suggests…something, about Zoë. Possibly many things! I think it could be fun to discuss what that those many things are. Like, it could mean, simply, that Zoë does not feel any attraction towards any other people the way she does for Zelenka. It could be that admitting sexual-fantasy-level attraction requires a level of familiarity. It could be that it’s all about Zelenka being an authority figure, in which case his role isn’t really matched by anyone else in her life. Or it could mean other things!

(It’s worth noting, though, that Zoë mentions tussling Zelenka’s hair as a possible way to indicate her attraction. She also mentions stroking Enu’s fur. Suggestive! Also suggestive: Shepherd, who is also called beautiful, is an authority figure.)

 

Or heck, suppose the game's writers didn't at all intend Zoë's various comments to indicate attraction. Would they have written similar comments for any presumed-straight male character?  If not, why not? Is it because they feel similar lines would have been interpreted as indications of attraction, coming from a male character? If so, why, and were they right to think so? Or heck, maybe it's an inevitable consequence of the storytelling's bias towards female  perspectives! These are interesting things to think about! Or at least, I think so.



#6 Lee-m

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Posted 10 June 2018 - 23:00

How is that made clear?

It couldn't be much clearer other than putting in a line of dialogue saying, I'm not gay. I'm glad they didn't do that like the did with Kian saying that he was gay. It was just a fake/forced gaming moment for me. I don't think characters should have to announce their orientation in games, tv shows or films. Its almost never relevant to the plot.

As for Zoe, she only ever expresses an interest in men. The comments you listed are really reaching for any sort of simple observation or compliment and trying to project something on to Zoe that isn't there IMHO. Its perfectly possible for a girl/woman to think another woman is pretty, and it not be down to attraction. In fact that's normal. And anyone who didn't want to stroke Enu's fur would be a problem !
 
All her potential love interests in the game are men, since that is her preference, and thats the only choice you get to make in your head. The ending should really confirm that shes been thinking about her choice in men.
Thats an awful lot of evidence you have to ignore !

Kian is gay, Zoe is straight, so is Enu. The game purposely pushes their relationship as being like sisters. At least thats what Enu wants.
Some of the other characters it might be more up for debate (but generally a pointless one. The game doesn't broach Sagas orientation at all). You can only go on the information the game gives you, and I think its pretty clear on the main characters.
 
There seems to be this need these days to enforce some belief that everyone's sexuality is none fixed and fluid. Never bought that my self.

Thats my view on it anyway.

#7 Teller

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Posted 11 June 2018 - 04:04

As someone who likes just about anybody (I hate labels so I'm not throwing myself in anyone's box - unless they want me there ;) ) I never got any vibe from Zoe other than being straight. 

 

That said, one of the reasons I love the world of Stark is it definitely appears they're so over labels as well.  They don't seem to care if a guy likes a guy or girl likes a ... cat person?... They accept and yes, like the example given above, Zoe's okay with saying some girl is cute, but doesn't get all doe eyed.  As a woman, I've hung out with a lot of other women and to be honest, I noticed more straight women checking out other women than I do straight guys.  Yes, normally it's them checking the competition but I've heard more comments from women about other women being beautiful, etc. but they never mean it any any sexual way nor a mean way, which is why I never took Zoe's comments so. 

 

But nothing's forced here or seems out of place, things are just what they are. 

 

Arcadia on the other hand... I don't know.  I felt Kian was kind of forced in that box, but that was just my take on it.


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#8 the red of the kin

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Posted 13 June 2018 - 17:58

It's kinda hard for me to answer this. See I think people like to label other people to make sense of life and give things an..order of sorr.
In truth I think when we meet Zoe she seems to be into guys (meet Reza) and gets into a sort of one-night-stand with Damien. she has many girls who are friends, sometimes asserts they're cute or n8ce or whatever but nothing truly hinting strongly to a same sex interest.

but life is long and people change

plus since the game's focus isn't sexuality...whaddayaknow...maybe the complete story of Zoe contains a ton of sexual thoughts about women men and talking birds! I think if I lived in a fantasy world luke Arcadia I just might get into interracial love too...who really knows.

the fact remains in my opinion for the very little we know she's definitely interested in guys but who really knows about girls?

IF YOU'RE A GHOST.......JUST LEAVE ME BE!


#9 the red of the kin

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Posted 13 June 2018 - 17:58

It's kinda hard for me to answer this. See I think people like to label other people to make sense of life and give things an..order of sort. but the really can't.
When we meet Zoe she seems to be into guys (meet Reza) and gets into a sort of one-night-stand (Damien). she has many girls who are friends, sometimes asserts they're cute or nice or whatever but nothing truly hinting strongly to a same sex interest.

but life is long and people change

plus since the game's focus isn't sexuality...whaddayaknow...maybe the complete story of Zoe contains a ton of sexual thoughts about women men and talking birds! I think if I lived in a fantasy world luke Arcadia I just might get into interracial love too...who really knows.

the fact remains in my opinion for the very little we know she's definitely interested in guys but who really knows about girls?

IF YOU'RE A GHOST.......JUST LEAVE ME BE!


#10 Mime Paradox

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Posted 19 June 2018 - 01:56

That said, one of the reasons I love the world of Stark is it definitely appears they're so over labels as well. They don't seem to care if a guy likes a guy or girl likes a ... cat person?...


I…don’t think I agree. Between Zack Lee, the entire Wolf campaign in general, and the astoundingly misogynistic graffiti in the Unity Party HQ I feel there’s enough evidence to suggest that 2209-2020 Stark isn’t terribly different from 2018 Earth, when it comes to marginalized identities. And Hanna 2.0’s design makes a whole lot less sense if being open about one’s queerness isn’t seen as subversive or remarkable. And in general, neither Stark’s cyberpunk dystopia atmosphere, nor Dreamfall’s ideological bent suggest a world in which equal treatment is a thing—rights that have been gained can be easily taken away, as we see in Arcadia.

 

They accept and yes, like the example given above, Zoe's okay with saying some girl is cute, but doesn't get all doe eyed.
As a woman, I've hung out with a lot of other women and to be honest, I noticed more straight women checking out other women than I do straight guys. Yes, normally it's them checking the competition but I've heard more comments from women about other women being beautiful, etc. but they never mean it any any sexual way nor a mean way, which is why I never took Zoe's comments so.

 
Yeeessss…but the flip side to this is that a lot of people will use the same reasoning to dismiss same-sex romantic attraction, particularly between women, as not-romantic. “Gals being pals” is a meme precisely because this practice is so pervasive, with people tripping over themselves to explain how behavior that would, without qualms, be accepted as romantic / sexual if exhibited by hetero couples is merely “friendly” in same-sex couples, and could never be indicate romantic or sexual interest.
 

It couldn't be much clearer other than putting in a line of dialogue saying, I'm not gay. I'm glad they didn't do that like the did with Kian saying that he was gay. It was just a fake/forced gaming moment for me. I don't think characters should have to announce their orientation in games, tv shows or films. Its almost never relevant to the plot.

As for Zoe, she only ever expresses an interest in men. The comments you listed are really reaching for any sort of simple observation or compliment and trying to project something on to Zoe that isn't there IMHO. Its perfectly possible for a girl/woman to think another woman is pretty, and it not be down to attraction. In fact that's normal. And anyone who didn't want to stroke Enu's fur would be a problem !

All her potential love interests in the game are men, since that is her preference, and thats the only choice you get to make in your head. The ending should really confirm that shes been thinking about her choice in men.
Thats an awful lot of evidence you have to ignore !

Kian is gay, Zoe is straight, so is Enu. The game purposely pushes their relationship as being like sisters. At least thats what Enu wants.
Some of the other characters it might be more up for debate (but generally a pointless one. The game doesn't broach Sagas orientation at all). You can only go on the information the game gives you, and I think its pretty clear on the main characters.

There seems to be this need these days to enforce some belief that everyone's sexuality is none fixed and fluid. Never bought that my self.

Thats my view on it anyway.


So...I'm curious. What if the game had had Zoë explicitly said that she was sexually attracted to Enu, Shepherd or the White Dragon? Do you feel that would have contradicted what the story had established before, or that it undermined her attraction to Reza or Daniel or Zelenka?



#11 Lee-m

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Posted 19 June 2018 - 08:57

So...I'm curious. What if the game had had Zoë explicitly said that she was sexually attracted to Enu, Shepherd or the White Dragon? Do you feel that would have contradicted what the story had established before, or that it undermined her attraction to Reza or Daniel or Zelenka?

In my opinion yes. And its not an either or situation in which I have to pick one of your choices (please don't try that tactic). But it didn't do that, because she doesn't. There isn't really a debate to be had.





Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: Zoë Castillo, Enu, White Dragon Reborn, Shepherd, Reza Temiz, Damien Cavanaugh, White Dragon, Hanna Roth

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