Tuchanka’s personal posts about how much he loves both Garrett and Marian Hawke inspired me to talk about the Dragon Age 2 protagonist I find most unique and inspiring: Bald Hawke. In the vast catalog of Hawkes one can find browsing the internet - thousands upon thousands of customs in addition to the default - the rarest of the rare, even less common than those with unfortunate facial tattoos, is the balding male Hawke. In the great pantheon of video game heroes, there are many men with great hair or voluntarily shaved heads, a few women, and almost no men with androgenic alopecia.
Of all the hangups of male vanity, baldness is the most pervasive and enduring. Even the mighty and powerful as far back as Julius Caesar were outwardly sensitive about, and resentful of, their genetic hair loss destiny. Baldness has been psychologically linked to several negative impressions including but not limited to; unkindness, blandness, a sense of being past ones sexual prime, and just appearing downright unattractive. Compounding the way society often - overtly and covertly - casually teases or even ridicules bald men is the fact that going through hair loss is a stressful and personal experience that is often, especially in the case of young men, the first realization of their own mortality.
Enter Bald Hawke. Of all the issues essentially related to male pattern baldness the primary ones are perceived ineffectiveness and being considered unattractive. In Dragon Age 2 bald Hawke a man of action who solves problems people - often men with fantastic hair - cannot solve themselves. Hawke isn’t the old, prematurely past his prime guy at the office, he’s the one who gets shit done for everyone else. He’s bold, energetic, dynamic, and competent and everyone around him knows it and almost never questions it.
In terms of attractiveness, Hawke’s baldness is never once brought up! Character’s don’t even notice. He can still date attractive young people, like Isabela! When he flirts, people respond with enthusiasm and don’t recoil at the creepy bald guy, and that’s inspiring. No-one ever views Bald Hawke as somehow being diminished, or less than he was when he had superb hair.
It’s for these reasons I was so disappointed with MOTA, because Hawke explicitly declares that he has “great hair.” Why is great hair the default? Who made this decision? We need to think about these things as a society and consider their implications. What does it say about balding men when it’s obvious no-one was even thinking about the possibility that Hawke might not have great hair when they wrote in that line? BioWare had invalided my choices and established a haircanon, and I simply couldn’t continue the DLC.
But aside from that one unfortunate instance, Bald Hawke remains an inspiration to all prematurely bald men, as he is both the quintessential man of action and the subject of passionate, genuine desire. Most of all though, his hair doesn’t matter.
3/7/14 edit: Fixed images.
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