Harvest Moon: An Exploration of Gender Stereotypes

“Video games of varying genres shaped my childhood, but none more so than the Harvest Moon series – which (accidentally) introduced me to characters that broke the gender norms I’d come to accept as facts.”

Check out my recent publication at Pop Culture Uncovered!

Pop Culture Uncovered

Scientific studies laud video games for the variety of real-world benefits they offer players, ranging from neurologically combatting depression to restructuring the way we think. When it comes to gender, though, we rarely hear good news; it’s easy to find discussions on the sexualization of female characters and the harassment faced by cosplayers who dress as these characters.
But that doesn’t mean that there are only negative stories. Video games of varying genres shaped my childhood, but none more so than the Harvest Moon series – which (accidentally) introduced me to characters that broke the gender norms I’d come to accept as facts.

Girls and Flowers
Also known as Story of Seasons, Harvest Moon is a franchise built on a simple premise: your character has decided to revive a derelict farm. Your main goals consist of planting and watering crops, caring for livestock, and creating a life in…

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14 thoughts on “Harvest Moon: An Exploration of Gender Stereotypes

  1. Really Interesting post.
    It’s pretty cool that such simple things were able to help challenge your views of how men and women were meant to be, even at a young age and it clearly is something that is important to you now.
    I liked how the game done simple things to a male and female character to break simple small stereotypical things for children such as a girl not liking flowers or a guy with long hair. I love simple things like that.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Truly, it’s the most natural and easy way to learn/better understand something, without turning it into a “lesson” (I’m not hating on lessons, since this whole post is sort of a lesson, but somethings don’t need to be overly complicated).

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh my god, I LOVE HARVEST MOON! It’s rare to find someone else who does!

    I never gave any gender stereotypes much thought being a tomboy myself (but that was normal, not a “thing” that needed any extra thought), but this is really insightful. Games really have a way of delivering “unorthodox” or even “taboo” ideas in a fun and subtle way.

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    • I’M SO GLAD SOMEONE ELSE LOVES THIS GAME. I always feel like I’m the only one!! Which one is your favorite?

      And yes — this is the best way to teach a lesson, I think: it’s subtle, without hitting players over the head with the concept.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Personally my favourite was Back to Nature, for the Playstation. Most of my childhood was spent on that game, haha! I’ve become lucky enough to live in a rural area and may start my own little garden soon. I’ve always wanted to and it’s because of HM!

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      • Friends of Mineral Town was essentially the same as Back to Nature, so I know exactly how perfect those games were 🙂 Who were your favorite characters?

        I do a little bit of gardening myself, though I’m nowhere near HM-worthy 😉

        Liked by 1 person

      • Rick is just misunderstood, haha! In BTN, he’s Popurri’s brother and he’s abrasive because he had to be the man of the house after their father left (or died?) and their mom is sick, so he’s protective over Popurri and wants to do a good job taking over their family business. He’s pretty cool.

        If you get a chance, play Animal Parade! You can have two kids, and their appearance changes depending on who you marry, and there’s an older/younger brother, and older/younger sister model for your kids if that make sense. My raving aside, Animal Parade was the most in depth HM of the series imho.

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  3. I love how you brought out that going against the norm doesn’t have to be blatantly cutting edge or vastly advertised, and can instead be subtle. And it’s a great take on all the positive ways young children benefit from interactive games and popular culture. Great job!

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  4. This is so fantastic, and I do think we need a lot more games and mainstream achievements that re-shape gender stereotypes today. We have some movement forward, but we need a lot more. Great piece, and such good insight. I’m so glad you have that vision at a young age.

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