Archive for February 19, 2011

The Male-Centric Culture of Gaming

Change the verb “game” to “program,” and “gamer” to “hacker” in the quote below, and I think that this could almost be a transcript from Margolis and Fisher’s Unlocking the Clubhouse. Recall that Margolis and Fisher found that many of the factors that drove away women from CS at CMU were cultural and social, e.g. the male-dominated geek culture, and the bravado of showing-off knowledge in classroom questions.  Maybe it’s for the same reason that so few females take game design and programming classes?  Maybe it’s not about the technical content, or even about games, but about game culture?  As MMPORGs become increasingly dominant, the social aspect of games may become the most visible, especially to women.  It that culture is not welcoming to women, that would be a disincentive to take more classes in the field.

Who I am talking to are the guys in between, and there’s a whole swath of them. They’re the guys who claim they have no problem with “girls who game” but seem to have a problem with “girl gamers.” They’re the ones who probably wouldn’t seem to have an issue with women in their everyday lives but if one shows up on the game server, all rules of normal social decorum go out the window.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: stop assuming that women who game are trying to be this Girl Gamer you keep getting hung up on. There is no such thing.

First of all, when I ask guys like you what you mean by “trying to be a girl gamer,” the definitions are ambiguous and sketchy. “They talk a lot and act all cute.” “They’re too chatty, they just want attention.” “They…you know, act like girls.”

via The Glorious Grazers » Blog Archive » There Is No Such Thing As A Girl Gamer.

February 19, 2011 at 12:18 pm 2 comments


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