Nintendo

Link Is “Gender Neutral” In The Legend Of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild

Although Link is considered a male based on anatomical standards, he can also pass for a “gender-neutral” character. The iconic hero’s nature in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is applicable to both male and female players, according to series producer Eiji Aonuma. Aonuma wants all Zelda fans to be able to relate to Link, regardless of their gender.

“During the development of Twilight Princess, I went a different route and created a version of Link that was more masculine,” he said. “But after Twilight Princess I went back to the drawing board and decided Link should be a more gender-neutral character. Hence I created the version of Link that you see in Breath of the Wild. As far as gender goes, Link is definitely a male, but I wanted to create a character where anybody would be able to relate to the character. So that’s why I think the rumor went around that Link could be a female. Because maybe the users were able to relate in that way.”

Source

116 comments

  1. Why are we so obsessed with gender? Why is it “progressive’ now to accept the idea that for a character to be “relatable” – whatever that really means- they have to share the content of our pants? It’s no wonder that in the last few years, the narcissism and vanity of the ‘progressives’ has lead to a very appropriate nickname – the ‘regressives’.

    Liked by 18 people

      1. So to elaborate – once upon a time the message was “REGARDLESS of gender, race or orientation”. Now it has become “BECAUSE of gender, race or orientation”. It is not just superficial and vain, but it is counter productive – it is regressive. Why? Because the people espousing these things should matter are blissfully unaware that their political predecessors fought to remove those factors from judging an individual. Now they are fully embracing them just on the opposite side of the spectrum.
        You either discriminate or give advantage to people for superficial factors such as gender, race or orientation. But progressives are fundamentally misunderstanding the issue. The problem with using collective, superficial factors to judge individuals was not the use of *one side* of the discrimination-advantage spectrum, it was the use of the spectrum *period*.

        Liked by 13 people

      2. ……i was being rhetorical… i wasn’t really genuinely asking..
        good lord, you’re not making sense and i don’t want to understand what you’re trying to say

        Liked by 4 people

      3. Except the above post has nothing to do with what you’re talking about.

        Inserting gender neutrality into the game makes it relatable to the player, which is a selling point. Why do you think video games have character select or “create your own” character options? The extra personalization is a selling point. People like things that are just like them. Why do you think kid shows feature kids just like them? Why do you think video games try to write characters to be like real people? Why do shows on TV make characters look as normal as possible? To get our attention through how similar they are to us, if you can relate to the character it further immerses you in the story.

        Secondly, if a game creator wishes to put something in their game, it’s their right to do so. It’s amazing how people get so pissed and angry when Overwatch removed Tracer’s butt pose because of feminist radicalism, claiming it’s the artists right to put what they want in the game, but the second the creator inserts anything somewhat related to transgenderism or anything inherently “leftist” it’s suddenly not okay. How hypocritical.

        Finally, I’d like to add in this has nothing to do with discrimination. The fact that this upsets you is extremely trivial as this isn’t offensive content at all. So what if Link’s gender is impossible to tell? Does him having a penis make him more able to rescue Zelda? Or perhaps would a vagina enable him to defeat Ganondorf easier? It’s incredibly stupid to care. Because honestly, it doesn’t affect game play at all.

        Case in point: This has nothing to do with discrimination or forcing ideals on anyone. This is the creator’s right to make their game as relatable as they feel is necessary because it is their creation. Keep in mind, the Taliban, Hitler, Extremist Catholics of the Renaissance, and the KKK all censored art and creations of artists. I am not saying you are at all affiliated with those groups, but the point remains that clearly censoring art is the trait of intolerance. I advise you to either get over it, or go make your own video game. The creator has every right to do as they want with their game. If they wanted to add a giant UFO into the game for no reason, they can. Get over it.

        Like

      4. Hello. I just want to clarify as there has been some confusion. The fact that Link is amorphous does not bother me and should not bother anyone, because he has always been.
        What *has* bugged me is the numerous websites that coordinated to release a slew of articles chastising Nintendo for keeping link male. Because of that it’s no wonder Aonuma has to cover himself by making statements that people have always known and have always been true. Because people believe the sensationalist dogma from the game journalists which only functions to drive people apart. They literally spent the last 2 years trying to convince the mass media and public that games are misogynistic, even though these are the people who are supposed to be representing our hobby. They did this all for clicks, because sexism and scandals sell.

        Liked by 2 people

    1. Regressive is the best name for them. For people who claim to be “progressive” they only seem to care about the most trivial base things that in actuality make them racist and sexist for caring solely about that. It’s sad.

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      1. I’m not sure whom any of these people are lmao! But I will agree yes!

        Mostly because Link has always been a male hero. There’s nothing wrong with that, but why should people who have nothing to do with the creation of this series even have consideration for something that’s already, literally, set in stone. (Come on some one, get that.)

        Hell, Sheik could be the female adventure equivalent of what Link is. A whole new type of story with new location’s, characters, weapons.

        $$$.

        Like

      2. Are they characters from the game? To be honest, other than the main characters (at least in my eyes) Red, Blue, Brock, Misty, Todd, Pro. Oak, and May, I don’t remember many of the others by heart.

        But Playing Pokemon? Yah I played through (in order) Blue version, Yellow version, Silver version, Sapphire version, Pearl, Platinum, SoulSilver, Black, Working through Y version and have Alpha Sapphire started with a healthy and ready team once I beat Y so……Yeah. I play Pokemon.

        :).

        Anyone got a Charmander or Bulbasaur to spare???!!!

        Like

      1. No you old fool. I’m just checking in on the old bitch with cardboard upgrades. Nothing more nothing less. Your pitiful ass mental break down made me thank I’ve won in a sweet ass victory. I win, you lose. But I do have a ps4 now.

        Like

      2. ||So you have betrayed Nintendo…that will not sit well with us…||

        ||And you little ones should realise…I never had breakdowns…only upgrades…||

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      3. ||Your chances at being…the Supreme Leader…is zero now though…||

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      4. Zero?? Do you even know who the hell I am. The boss still resides. That path is still my destiny. Don’t fucking get cute on me old man. I can’t wait to command you like the little fucking insect you are. 😄

        Like

  2. It seems like everyone is just focusing on taking part of the quote out of context. The entire thing makes sense when you read everything he says:

    “But after Twilight Princess I went back to the drawing board and decided Link should be a more gender-neutral character. Hence I created the version of Link that you see in Breath of the Wild. As far as gender goes, Link is definitely a male, but I wanted to create a character where anybody would be able to relate to the character.”

    Pretty much what the dude is saying is yeah he’s a guy, but BotW Link is also designed to be pretty much whatever the player wants Link to be to help them relate more. Basically the gender doesn’t matter, hence the “gender neutral” bit.

    Besides Link has always just been like an empty void for anyone to fill in anyway, I don’t see why people are immediately trying to shoot this down now.

    Liked by 13 people

      1. It’s understandable. Some of the people on here have known this character for 30 years. Link is a character they’ve come to love. They don’t want to see him become something different from what they’ve come to love.

        If anyone here has heard any news about Marvel comics recently you’ll know that fans are in an uproar over Captain America being turned into a Hydra agent.

        If you’re familiar with the history of Sherlock Holmes you’ll know that Author Conan Doyle received a wave of angry backlash when he killed off the character in 1893.

        It’s human nature. When people make a special connection to something they become distressed when someone tries to change it.

        Liked by 2 people

    1. the way it reads to me, it sounds like the androgynous appearance is for relatability… so when aonuma says “link is male” in this instance, it sounds a lot more like he’s saying “that’s my headcanon.”

      basically, it sounds less like “Link is plain male and that is that” and more like “your headcanon is the canon for your version of link.” if you headcanon your Link as female, then he is. if he’s agender for you, that’s exactly what he is. aonuma’s personal? male.

      that’s what I’m getting out of this.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Yeah this is pretty much what he intended. If you want Link to be a man or woman or anywhere inbetween or neither of those, it’s all up to you, since you’re the one behind the controls for the character anyway.

        Which, last I checked, was almost always the case for Link. This is just the first time they’ve come forward and were like “yeah the gender doesn’t matter go have fun kids”.

        Liked by 2 people

    2. Link has always been an empty void, yes. Gender is something that can be talked about, yes. But it’s so hard to do so without separating it from all of the fear mongering. The fact that artisans like Aonuma have to justify why they create what they create is a direct result of games journalists trying to get clicks by calling everything sexist IS an ongoing problem. They don’t care about the damage they do or the polarization that they are causing in the fandom.*That* is what I take issue with. There is nothing inherently wrong with having a male protagonist but you would not think so because article after article has come out trying to cash in on the ‘progressive’ hysteria.

      Imagine people starting seing something inherently wrong with the Tomb Raider or Metroid series because the protagonists are women? What if people started lobbying to use mob justice to force creators into making those choices? Somehow I just don’t think that would fly – and for good reason. I believe we should a) keep it consistent and b) not cash in on the click-fest that ultimately only damages the community.

      Liked by 6 people

      1. Hi he’s not even suffering from any fear mongering though you’re pretty much making all that up and I’m not entirely sure why. If you actually even bothered to read the source you’d know they wanted to keep Link as a gender neutral character ever since Ocarina of Time, which was long before any of the so called clickbait gaming journalists.

        “Back during the Ocarina of Time days, I wanted Link to be gender neutral. I wanted the player to think ‘Maybe Link is a boy or a girl.’ If you saw Link as a guy, he’d have more of a feminine touch. Or vice versa, if you related to Link as a girl, it was with more of a masculine aspect. I really wanted the designer to encompass more of a gender-neutral figure. So I’ve always thought that for either female or male players, I wanted them to be able to relate to Link.”

        I didn’t even read the rest of what you said because it didn’t seem like it had any point after that especially since this all has been pretty much the artistic vision for the character from the man who’s been behind the wheels for decades now.

        Liked by 3 people

      2. That’s impossible. Ocarina of Time’s Link is a boy; the characters at the beginning of the game even call him “the boy without a fairy.”

        There’s no way Anouma aimed to make Link gender neutral in OoT because him being male is right in the script.

        Liked by 3 people

      3. “Imagine people starting seing something inherently wrong with the Tomb Raider or Metroid series because the protagonists are women?”
        This is all I need to read to know that either you establish your own set of prejudices when talking about gender-politics in videogames or those conversations go over your head.

        Liked by 2 people

      4. ||Samus Aran…the dreaded hunter was believed by all to be male…yet it turned out she was female…||

        ||The gender neutrality here…is the same as was back in the first Metroid…where some features were androgynous…whether they originate from the suit or body is irrelevant…||

        ||Your nonsense comes from the other spectrum of the so called…SJW Spectrum…where inequality, paranoia and ignorance must be accepted at all costs…||

        Liked by 4 people

  3. Damn SJWs and their BS! I’m getting sick and tired of hearing about this gender BS in fucking video games! I just want to sit down for once and escape this crappy reality work for slave wages and dealing with assholes by playing some simple games that allow me to unwind and relax, but I can’t because these retards keep bitching and complaining about gender and equality in video games! FYI, you can’t get gender equality through video games, it doesn’t even make any damn sense as to why they chose video games as their soap box to stand on in the first place where as it would make more sense to do that in countries, where I don’t know, say the middle east, africa, and asia! You know the countries where women actually need REAL HELP, and not this BS false outcry of gender inequality in gaming here in the west where women already have as much, if not more, opportunities than men, because if they didn’t I wouldn’t have to see my favorites games get banned, censored, or changed because of a vocal few! I’m glad Link is a male, not because the whole gender issue thing, but because this shows these babies crying about Links gender that this isn’t a game for annoying few whining until they get their! I would have loved to see Link or Zelda selection in this game, but I don’t want it if it means going through the hassle of this dealing with these individuals who keep complaining about this gender inequality BS in gaming, because that garbage isn’t going to solve the problems they are having in reality, because this genre is for those who just want to relax and escape reality, not hear a bunch of entitled pricks complain about gender after they get home from a crappy day of dealing with morons!

    My rant is complete!

    Liked by 7 people

    1. Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha….hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha…hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha. Thanks I needed that. Most nonsensical paranoid ridiculous comment I have seen in a while. I was feeling pretty down but this? This made me laugh and feel better so thanks.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. hey hey hey bro bro my brother dude I hear you’re having trouble with this whole internet deal so lemme try to do you a solid

      These days with the internet you can easily follow the news and posts you want to see. If an article on the gender for some androgynous video game character is really irking you this much that you gotta write out this giant wall of text that nobody is gonna read then you can follow these easy steps to fix that:

      -Unfollow anyone tweeting/posting/reblogging/whatever on this topic.
      -Maybe stick to just talking to friends.
      -Maybe even just do as you said and stick to playing games in this genre to help you relax.

      I’m sure after that you’ll be pretty chill and no longer sick and tired all the time.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. ||If the human males in general…didn’t treat their female counterparts like inferiors…you would never hear about these things today…at all||

        ||Secondly…Lord Aunoma wanted this long ago…and not because of the media or other nonsense…||

        ||Last, he confirmed Link to be male…what some articles say about social topics…shouldn’t matter to you at all…but your weak mind cannot escape it…because humans are weak and must always attack and hate…the slightest thing that doesn’t even concern them…||

        Liked by 1 person

      2. So you believe that video games are the best place for it, rather than making the argument somewhere else that this subject should be discussed like for say areas where women are beaten and murdered because of the decisions of the men in that area, like that teacher who was murdered because her father turned down a marriage proposal to a guy who was already married, because the gaming industry has never stopped women from making the games they envisioned, and nobody can tell gamers what they should or shouldn’t want in video games, which means sexist assholes will exist regardless if they game or not!? My argument is this, don’t make a case in an area that’s already progressing to equality, while shoving it everyone’s face at every chance, but instead take it somewhere it’s needed most, like Texas, Africa, China, or the middle east, where they need be educated of these issues, since people feel that strongly about it! Right now all I’m hearing is a bunch of whiners complaining about something when in reality they have it far better than women in other countries who can’t even have an independent thought without fear of being killed for it! Besides there’s nothing you or anyone can do about someone else’s creation, because it’s their creation and no one is forcing people to buy it, especially if they are complaining about the gender of the main character, so if there are devs who prefer an all male cast of characters then that’s what’s gonna happen! If you all want a female character as a main character then get up and go make your own games then, and stop crying about being unable to play as a damn female, because I’m damn sure tired of hearing about it, and that’s all I’m saying!

        Liked by 3 people

      3. ||What I want…is to stop all real life nonsense entirely in the gaming world…but that will never happen until equality between humans…is established…||

        ||In the end…I want established characters…to be what they always were…create new characters to include other groups instead of…erasing one for the other…at leasr that will never happen with Link and Samus as examples…||

        Like

      4. “Some people have it worse so shut up” “You can only focus on one thing at a time” These are nonsense statements you apparently believe. Congrats on having absolute zero nuance.

        Liked by 2 people

      5. The thing is I’m not following anyone on any social media, I literally just stick to gaming, art, real news, and tech sights, but even then when you start to read a blog about something that interest you these same people have to throw this gender bs in there to make sure that they get their point across! I can’t even comment on youtube showing appreciation for certain games or even characters without some PC moron replying to my comment about this BS.
        I feel as though they should stop complaining, get their friends together, because there are a lot of them crying about gender inequality in games, and go make their own game! If it took one person to make Dust: an Elysian Tail, albeit a very talented individual, then these SJWs should take note, follow that example, and stop crying about it, because their crying isn’t gonna solve anything.

        Liked by 3 people

      6. this is BS.
        i find irritating that if i, a man, play with a female character in a videogame and want her to go around shirtless it is considered as an act of sexism, while, like what happened at e3, when a woman plays with a male character she can make him to go around shirtless on a mountain just to have a look at his body and nobody bats an eye.
        i want equality.
        link should be censored and it should not be allowed for females to do this sort of things when they can complaint about anything

        Like

  4. I really could care less what goes on in the Internet’s gender debate over Link. It looked like an anime – style male character to me from the first teaser. That said if Link was a girl I don’t think I’d care too much but at this point for me Link is thought of a guy just because he has been in all the other games. I guess its nice they want people to relate but all this gender talk isn’t doing much to help me relate more or less because its not like he talks and that his dialogue is very indicative of his gender. I’m not even the same race as Link (or any Nintendo character that I can think of?) and i never felt like I enjoyed a game less because of that. It could be cool to see more relatable protagonists- sure, but Link doesn’t suddenly need to be match my race and/or gender for me to enjoy the game. If you’re gonna go that route just let people customize their Link at the beginning or something. It’d match all the other freedom you have over your Link’s adventure now. Breath of the Wild looks great!!

    That said if we’re talking female protagonists in Zelda I love that Shiek game idea they mentioned because I feel like as often as we see Shiek they don’t delve into her lore enough at all…

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Link was made feminine to cater to females who want a pretty boy, not to make it gender neutral. The director said so himself in Iwata Asks. In a way it’s the same case as FFXV with the boyband, so the main characters are male but none of them is a really relatable power fantasy, and women get their eye candy. This has been the case ever since Ocarina of Time. It isn’t really up for debate.

    Like

    1. If you read the source you’d know that he basically was aiming for a gender neutral Link since Ocarina of Time, not just a pretty boy “eye candy but for girls this time” Link.

      “Back during the Ocarina of Time days, I wanted Link to be gender neutral. I wanted the player to think ‘Maybe Link is a boy or a girl.’ If you saw Link as a guy, he’d have more of a feminine touch. Or vice versa, if you related to Link as a girl, it was with more of a masculine aspect. I really wanted the designer to encompass more of a gender-neutral figure. So I’ve always thought that for either female or male players, I wanted them to be able to relate to Link.”

      He wanted anyone and everyone to relate to the character. Basically having you, the player, implant yourself into Link, whether it means you seeing the character as a dude or chick or anything else or nothing ever was pretty much almost always left to the player to decide.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Couldn’t help but think of this. It’s the same in OoT, there’s Link as a male, and then 80% of the support characters are female

        Liked by 4 people

  6. I’m all for a Legend of Zelda game where the Hero is born a Female I think that’s a better way to properly introduce a Linkle to the established time line, other than to just take the stupid route in just making us chose the gender like no big deal. I’m just sick and tired of all the ridiculously over “Progressive” people who think it’s sexist for not wanting to change the gender of an already established male character, but if you say you want to, for example have a male Samus (who is relatively the same silent protagonist as Link in most games) in a Metroid game, or remake Kill Bill with instead of “The Bride” it’s now ” The Groom”, or make Wonder Woman a Male, every Progressive feminist or SJW will loose their mind and say that its sexist and Male-Washing of their beloved Female protagonist. This “Gender Equality” craze is getting out of hand.

    I want my Female Protagonist to stay female their should be not shame in Wanting my Male Protagonist to stay male.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Title is a bit misleading. All Aonuma said was that Link’s design isn’t as “masculine” as Twilight Princess – his “gender-neutral” comment was simply referring to his character design from a visual standpoint.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. I don’t understand why so many people are upset that you can’t play as female in LoZ. This is a story that someone wrote, or rather is writing in this case. It’s their story. You don’t have the right to tell them they are not writing their story correctly.

    Liked by 3 people

  9. I agree. I think this has often been the case too and it’s nothing new. The romance between him and Zelda is often an assumption as in most games there’s no love story at all…Such as Windwaker….This is also why “Drawn Together” parodies Link as a “totally gay video game adventurer.” On a never ending quest to save a girl friend he virtually never even kisses!

    I think it’s quite sad however that this toxic debate had infected the Zelda franchise. It baffled me, am I the only one who played the Zelda game and always saw Link as the loyal servant of his princess?
    Zelda, even if she gets captured, is top dog. She’s neither weak or beneath Link and she always portrayed as being smarter and wiser.

    It would seem the people that care about gender options and think it’s a failure to not have gave people a choice are a very tiny group of people and many of them have never played a Zelda game. Did anyone look on Twitter? amidst the jokers were people genuinely saying “They should have made Zelda a girl.”

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Stop spouting meaningless buzzwords. Link is not “gender neutral” whatever the hell that means. He’s a really young, skinny boy with long hair, so obviously he’s somewhat ambiguous when dressed. I understand that this is likely intentional from Nintendo to allow girls to relate to him like boys, and that’s totally fine, but stop trying to include him in your SJW agenda, or we’ll end up reading articles about him being trans or agender demi-sexual xirstarkin.

    Liked by 4 people

      1. ||It did: but stop trying to include him in your SJW agenda, or we’ll end up reading articles about him being trans or agender demi-sexual xirstarkin.||

        Liked by 1 person

  11. Now watch people compared Link to Undertale’s Frisk because of this. It’s going to happen either way since Tumblr loves to overanalyze things.

    Like

  12. Erm the reason Link would be gender neutral is because Link is kind of like the main character of the Pokémon games where the character themselves are more ambiguous and it’s about the player. I love how all the people are not even reading the article and crying little babies about “SJW” this, “SJW” that… It never said Link’s actual gender changed, it’s for the overall character feel a player can get out of it so that it’s not strongly masculine or feminine… Honestly transphobics will moan about being involved in stuff but jump into everything without thought or reading. It’s not even closely related to trans people.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. ||The stupidity of you humans…never stops to amuse me…||

    ||Do any of you imbeciles…know how to read?…And even worse…know what “” means?…||

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  14. Your title is outright wrong and lying. Your title “Link is gender neutral”. What was actually said: ” Link should be a more gender-neutral character” but “Link is definitely a male”.

    In other words, he’s just more feminine but still a male. Don’t twist his words for your own meaning (especially other commenters lol… Pretending like older Links were female suddenly? LOL).

    So since twisted what he said completely, you 100% have a click bait title. Good thing I’m using adblock.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. I may be reading too deeply into this so maybe someone can offer some input. The way I see this Aonuma wants all players (male and female) to be able to relate to Link, but thinks that Link should actually be male. He says “As far as gender goes, Link is definitely a male, but I wanted to create a character where anybody would be able to relate to the character.” This would explain why he made Link’s appearience more gender-neutral rather than just give us a male/female option. He doesn’t seem to think that Link should actually be female.

    Like

  16. The article isn’t exactly clear, but the important distinction I’d that sex and gender are different. Sex is a biological designation, and gender is a social designation. However, the quote is contradictory, and so maybe something was mistranslated: “After Twilight Princess I went back to the drawing board and decided Link should be a more gender-neutral character. Hence I created the version of Link that you see in Breath of the Wild.” He then seemingly and utterly contradicts himself by saying. “As far as gender goes, Link is definitely a male.” I think what it should read is that while Link is biologically male, his gender is neutral, i.e., he behaves like neither a male nor a female. Linkle is not the equivalent counterpart because there is no ambiguity there, and she both looks and behaves like a female. Interestingly, the nearest comparison I can find to Link is Sheik, who is biologically female (although some debate this), apparently gender-neutral, and like Link, is slightly androgynous in appearance.

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      1. That’s a stupid ass thing to say, and it isn’t at all representative of what Aonuma meant. Please, lay out for me what makes Link so feminine. Not gender-neutral, but feminine.

        Like

  17. fuck off, you whiny pissbabies.

    he’s a male, he’s always been a male, and he’s going to keep being a male. That’s what he was designed as and that’s what the creator said. Your headcanon bullshit isn’t going to change that just like it didn’t suddenly make Samus trans. If you have a problem with this, too bad. Make your own characters instead of demanding that ones that’ve existed for 30 years be changed because of how much of a progressive millennial you are.

    oh, and mario is a man too. Sorry if that triggered you.

    Liked by 2 people

  18. this simply, there is a place in the game named “gerudo” where only females are allowed in the town… in order to access the town you have to dress up using pieces of armour called “gerudo top, veil and sirwall” so get some actual facts next time… for everyone’s sake

    Like

  19. So, uh, fuck literally every transphobe/nbphobe in the comments section and thank you Nintendo for exploring and/or acknowledging gender-queerness once again. As someone who’s genderqueer, it really does mean a lot and it’s nice to have a character to relate to :) Link is honestly the level of androgyny I strive to achieve, haha!

    Like

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