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Dr. Natasha Whiteman of the University of Leicester in the U.K., who has extensively studied Silent Hill internet forums, posits that to his female admirers, "Pyramid Head could be regarded as the alpha-male of the Silent Hill enemies, being supported by his monstrous harem of nurses and dragging along his 'massive weapon.'"
But the character's "bad boy" appeal only goes so far. Perhaps more interesting is the underlying empathy for his character that attracts some of these young women. "Women are nurturers, and we will make excuses for Pyramid Head because he is in pain," explains Tamera. "He is a representation of sexual frustration, and we want him to be fulfilled, but he never will be. Even though he is a murderer and rapist, we feel sympathy for him."
Dr. Ewan Kirkland of Kingston University in the U.K., who is working on a Silent Hill non-fiction book, is not surprised by such reactions to Pyramid Head's character. "Those who read Pyramid Head as a sexual character are clearly responding to something in the text, although his preferred function is to evoke fear and repulsion, and expressing a form of sexuality which is not catered to in dominant media," he explains. "The Silent Hill series draws upon the art of Francis Bacon, Hans Bellmer and Allen Jones, and given that much of its imagery, particularly contained in official digital art associated with the series, has elements of sadomasochism, it is not surprising that the character of Pyramid Head has been appropriated in this kind of way."
Romantic affection for Pyramid Head isn't limited to internet expression. Cole, 17, who dressed in costume as Pyramid Head for the 2008 Animazement convention, was inundated with female affection, much of which was sexual in nature. "I honestly had nothing but fangirl after fangirl," he recalls. "I don't remember having many guys really go nuts over the costume - I got some high-fives and jokes - but it was almost entirely girls that tossed a leg over me or got me to take a picture in a sex position. It was a little odd at first, having some random girl throw herself into your arms and sweetly ask you to rape her, but I got used to it pretty fast, since none of the offers turned out to be serious."
Do any of these Pyramid Head fantasies actually translate to the real world? Cory Silverberg, an American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists (AASECT) certified sexuality educator, stresses the importance of defining the line between reality and fantasy. Especially in interactive media such as videogames, fantasies involving rape or violent sex raise more questions than answers. "We don't know enough about how people take their experiences in virtual worlds and apply them in real life," Silverberg says. "Pyramid Head is a dark canvas we can use to project our sexual feelings, and the addition of violence makes it a lot less clear-cut. If the sexual violence in Silent Hill were more realistic, say if the victims were responding by screaming, would that still be attractive?"