Dreamation: Hannah Jacobs
Theme Song: Moonage Daydream by David Bowie
Keywords: Quiet, careful, watching
When the chance to play Velvet Glove came up, I was so excited. I'm a huge fan of Sarah Richardson's and I wanted to try out this game that offered a chance at exploring exploitation and the lives of girls and women, especially ethnic girls and women.
We sat down and talked a little about what would happen in the game comfort wise, and then started making characters. I was originally going to make The Stoner, but then I saw The Valkyrie and was like "Welp" and took that. I honestly can say I didn't know what I was doing. I read the playbook and the basic moves and didn't find the Valkyrie what I thought she would be.
The Valkyrie was all about helping her gang out of bad situations, as opposed to getting them into bad situations. I struggled with this, because it felt like she was meant to scoop in and save people, and I didn't want to interrupt folks' scenes. But I got it. I pictured her as the quiet one who kinda stepped in when it was needed.
It had been called out that a lot of heteronormative things were being added to the game. I had already planned on playing a bisexual or pansexual character who was lost a bit in a displaced identity. I don't have many, if any, touchstones for race in America, so I used something from good ol' Canada that I was familiar with (as much as a white person can be familiar with it). I chose to play an Indigenous girl (woman) whose family had left Canada during the 60's Scoops so that their children wouldn't be stolen.
In my head, Hannah had several siblings and a mom who was semi-present and let them largely do what they want. Her mom was probably more in trouble than Hannah usually was, which made Hannah be the girl who got people out of trouble, be it her family or her friends. She was awkward, shy, and a little backwards for a member of a girl gang. But she'd do whatever it took to get her girls out of trouble, and often whatever it took to get them in trouble, too.
During the game there were several intense scenes, one with cops, and I found Hannah frozen. I didn't know what to do, and Hannah didn't know what to do. I struggled to figure out what I should be feeling during this game, and I think it's because I was very aware of my privilege and identity as a white person who didn't understand or know how to understand how an Indigenous woman in the 70's would feel about a black cop calling her white girl, or how she would feel about her friend's Iranian mother calling her the' no good girl' (for reasons).
I felt frustrated and I think that was the point. But I kept going anyways even when I realized I was well out of my depth with this game and character. Hannah wanted her girls to be happy. She wanted them to feel powerful because they couldn't find power anywhere else. She also felt weird around violence, which I think was more because she was always the victim of violence and never the perpetrator of violence. Angel was violent. Angel was the protector and Hannah wanted to be like that, but was afraid.
My goal with Hannah was to play someone I didn't understand and do it as best I could. I don't think I did it well, and it's a game I would love to play slowly, to fully get, and to watch and read a lot more before going in next time. It's a game I feel I'm woefully unprepared for and it challenges me on my privilege front (which is amazing and it should) but I also feel at odds with that in trying to create something with integrity.
I think I played her too close to the chest. I gave her superficial interests and mediocre desires and didn't push. I didn't want to. Other people were and I was happy to just follow along. Part of this was Hannah was a follower, she wasn't a leader at all. But she preferred to be more carefree than really... take issues to heart. She just wanted to be with her girls, feel safe, and feel at home. She didn't have a place that did that, so her girls were it.
In the future, I'd play Hannah again and refocus her a bit. She was one character I felt a disconnect to, possibly because the game was super heavy and it was hard to recover before being tossed into another heavy situation. Whether she was just quiet or had hit a point of apathy in her life, I'm not sure. But I would love to play to find out.