My article, "The Problem with Stardew Valley (2016): Black Women's Hair in Visual Media", discusses the issues surrounding black women's representation in visual media through the character Maru from the video game Stardew Valley (2016). This game is renowned for its development done entirely by one individual, Eric Barone (pseudonym ConcernedApe), yet depicts Maru, the game's only black woman character, in a white-washed manner through the straightening and whitening of her hair.
In my article, I introduce the issue of Maru's depiction and discussion of black women's hair in visual media amongst a history of racism and misogynoir in America. I interrogate ConcernedApe's depiction and demand better representation for black female players of the game and all black media users. In the end of my paper, I discuss how the modding community have combated Maru's haphazard depiction, bringing depictions more true to the black experience to the game. I do not settle upon these options, however, and urge players to raise awareness of this important issue by contacting ConcernedApe and demanding a base-game update improving Maru's depiction.
I am very thankful to the MovableType team for reviewing and selecting my article for the Fall 2022 issue. I was elated to find my article was the first publication in the journal, further inspiring me to continue writing. I aim to write again for the Spring 2023 issue.