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Use the link below to share a full-text version of this article with your friends and colleagues. Learn more. Gender and feminism are inextricably linked, as a feminist approach has gender as an analytical focal point. In games, this has meant challenging persisting biological determinist approaches that cast women and girls as less able than their male counterparts when it comes to both making and playing games.
It has also meant tracing and documenting the marginal roles women play both as players and deers of games. This entry focuses on five ificant areas of inquiry by researchers studying North American and European player populations: player participation, gender representations in games, pink games, gender and the video game industry, and gendered harassment in games. Online games vary widely and are often characterized by gender stereotypes and intense gender normative policing by players, as well as developers.
Despite the fact that women and girls are indeed playing games and have been, at least according to mass market surveys, for feminization games online time, and in s nearly equivalent to their male counterparts in North America Entertainment Software Association,the default subjects and objects of digital games and the intense marketing focus of the industry have been, and continue to be, male players Fron et al.
As the default subjects and objects of games, male players in North America and Europe have thus far been the taken-for-granted subjects and objects in most digital games research studies to date — whether or not those studies use a gender focused lens. Working across online game genres, there are three ificant trajectories of research to date on gender and online games from scholars working in Western contexts North America and Europe : first, the documentation of where, how, and under what conditions female players are participating in online games; second, research that examines the content of online games, including how female characters are portrayed; and third, research that reveals the nature and kind of online harassment that female players encounter when playing in online games.
Feminist scholarship cuts through each of these lines of inquiry as both a theoretical framework that puts into perspective the contested feminization games online troubled spaces of online play, and as a call to action, a practical means of intervening and changing a persistently toxic cultural equation in which misogyny and objectification are the norm in player interaction and character representation, respectively.
When it comes to online play, there is a deep gender divide: women report playing online casual games while men report playing massively multiplayer online role playing games MMORPGs.
Where casual gaming is concerned, however, there appears to be a bit more equality. Consalvo argues that what people have come to label as casual gameplay playing social networking games but also applications on mobile devices such as Angry Birds or Bejeweled is anything but casual, contending that these games can demand a similar level of commitment and time investment as MMORPGs such as World of Warcraftwhich are considered to be hardcore.
In other words, and tautologically, hardcore players are male and casual players are female. For example, taking cues from research findings on gender and television program preferences, Sung et al. This is despite the fact that, as Consalvo argues, players do not necessarily play casual games at all casually.
There are few studies that focus exclusively on the portrayals of male and female characters in online games Williams et al. Those that do point out that both male and female characters whether playable or nonplayable tend to be hyper-masculinized or hyper-feminized and cast in stereotypical roles males as warriors and females as healersnoting an overrepresentation of male characters compared to census data in the real world.
Beyond that, however, the most popular online games to date have not enabled choices feminization games online than avatar sex, rather than gender, and along the most stereotypical lines hyper-masculinized and hyper-feminized. This has contributed to girls' relations to technologies being largely defined in terms of what they are thought to lack: skills, interest, inclination, competitive spirit, and so on. However, rather than regarding these patterns as a property of players' differently sexed bodies, gender can be reconceived through a feminist lens as both producing and being reproduced through contingent assemblages of sociotechnical relations Wajcman, Recently, it has become anecdotally clear that the culture of video games is misogynistic, whether one is a player, a developer, or both.
For example, in a September post to one pre-eminent online game review website, Gamespot, Carolyn Petit published her review of the newest title released from a major video game publisher Rockstar GamesGrand Theft Auto Vgiving it a 9 out of 10 a very high rating.
However, the one obvious criticism she had was that it encourages violence against women and is deeply misogynistic. They illustrate the deep and literal gender war raging in video game culture and development. While harassment in online games has anecdotally been a part of gamer culture for some time, saw the beginnings of more extensive and more detailed feminization games online of this longstanding phenomenon, revealing how and in what ways women particularly are being threatened and marginalized in online game spaces.
In Januarya group of online Call of Duty players decided to start documenting the kind of harassment they received through text chat in Xbox Live as well as over voice chat. Working from those sites of harassment, Gray writes about a community of players that actively works to resist sexist, misogynist, and homophobic oppression while playing Xbox Live, as latter-day sites of oppression against women are not restricted to online games, but are indeed part of how women are and have been positioned within patriarchy for centuries.
A feminist perspective in online games builds upon the nuanced theories of gender and identities that have been developed within postmodern, poststructural, feminist, and feminist technology studies. We instantly recognize a person as a man or a woman, girl or boy. Everyday expectations about what boys and girls, or women and men, can and should do, despite best efforts to push against stereotypes, are just as gender demarcated when it comes to digital games: they are the province of boys and men, just as technological fields more generally remain male dominated.
What feminism offers is a way of viewing gender that reveals how entrenched, sex based structures of oppression work against women and other marginalized groups. Feminist research attempts to document the range of possibilities for gender based play without equating gender with sexincluding recognition of, for example, feminized male play or masculinized female play.
Feminist work to pry apart sex and gender is beginning to release that stranglehold so that players on the margins are not left gasping for air. Her nearly 40 years of research and writing in the academy have ranged from literacy studies to queer theory and pedagogy to, most recently, work on gender and digital gameplay. The full text of this article hosted at iucr.
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Abstract Gender and feminism are inextricably linked, as a feminist approach has gender as an analytical focal point. Barlett, C. The impact of body emphasizing video games on body image concerns in men and women. Sex Roles59 7—8— Google Scholar. Crossref Google Scholar. CAS Google Scholar. Further Reading. Cassel, J. From Barbie to Mortal Kombat: Gender and computer games. Citing Literature. References Related Information.
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