(The below article was written for Trade-Media, now InGames, for RepresentMe and is no longer hosted)
It’s easy to feel like a monster when you’re different from those around you, being part of a society that has expectations on who you should be, how you behave and how you present can leave a person feeling like something other than human.
But feeling like a monster isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In fact our connection with positive non-human identities has a long history of giving us a sense of self in a world that works against marginalised communities. Sometimes we not only connect with the monsters in our media, but we get become them as well.
“I love monsters ’cause the monstrous potential within others & my self is a fantastic medium to explore everything that defines us” – @_birdmachine
The gaming world is a fantastic exploration of non-human connection, with roleplaying games like Monsterhearts, and visual novels like When The Night Comes & GENDERWRECKED we get to involve ourselves with the lives of non-human characters. Within these games we get to see ourselves or the world around us without the same norms, we get to experience gender, sexuality, emotion, and the physical world in ways that feel right. We embrace the monster instead of fearing it, because it’s the right thing to do.
“I love monsters because they allow people to see that kindness, love, and care are not exclusively human traits.” – @KomradeKrisis
“I love monsters because I feel accepted, welcome, and interested.” – @saszysarah
We don’t always get it right, of course. Stereotypes are still draped heavy across those non-humans we interact with. Werewolves must be aggressive, demons and succubi malicious, giant monsters capable only of destruction. Boxing the monsters we love into categories is just as bad as when we do it to ourselves. And just because the game includes non-humans doesn’t mean they should be the only diversity available, we need to see us represented in positive humans as often as we do the monsters..
“I love monsters because i like imagining escaping my dysphoria through having a non-human body” – @gendervamp – Lead Writer – GENDERWRECKED
There’s little wonder why members of the LGBTQIA+ community especially flock to monster fandom. We hide for years afraid of being who we are and get treated as pariahs by the media day after day. Seeing ourselves as different is valid, as long as that doesn’t mean we see ourselves as the evil monsters that’s what society says we are.
“I love monsters because when we get to play them in games, we get to break away from our societal and gender expectations as humans” – @lynnfactor
“I love supernatural romances because the complexities of immortality, among other things, brings something to the table that no human romance really ever could. There’s an element of danger, there’s an element of mystery, but ultimately it’s all about learning to accept and love them regardless of what they are. They just want to be loved and understood as much as any human when it comes down to it.” – @kriswrites_ Lead Writer – When The Night Comes
We love monsters. We identify with them. We want to romance them, share our lives with them, laugh and love and travel the world with them. Because we want to know, to prove, that being different isn’t bad.
We have monster pride, and we’re proud of it.