Pretending to be a Man Again: Roleplaying in ‘The Witcher 3’ Post-transition

Very recently I had to prepare for a formal event with a very strict dress code. I was told I’d have to wear a proper shirt and pants, and cut my hair. Past that, I’d have to shave my beard, and above all- learn how to bow, which is a shame because I have curtsying down. But the strange thing was, what should have been a nightmare for a post-op trans woman, was actually a lot of fun. Such is the nature of virtual worlds and roleplay, and such is the reality of playing Geralt of Rivia in CD Projekt Red’s The Witcher 3. A massive open-world RPG where you not only play a man, but your status as such has a plethora of gameplay consequences. It made me reflect on how, and in which context I’m comfortable roleplaying, and on the discussion surrounding the ability to play as your gender.

Meditations on the Power of the Single Narrative

Resonance Frequency exists because of the power of media, but it hasn’t been until recently that I’ve begun to realize that the power of media is narrative. Everything I’ve examined, from BDSM theory and the psychology behind it, to why ensemble casts are so prevalent, is connected by the common thread of narrative. In the past few days, I’ve stumbled on a TED talk about the danger of the single story, and seen the response to Vanity Fair’s cover with Caitlyn Jenner. I’ve also finished a novel, which was not intended to, but ended up drawing on so many stories I’ve experienced within the past decade. But it wasn’t until I was asked to read a part of my novel, and asked why, that I was told the person asking me values it as a counter-narrative. It wasn’t until then that I realized the true power of narrative.