Why #WomenAreTooHardToAnimate: Exploring gender and identity in communities of play [article]

Sian Tomkinson
Although around fifty percent of gamers are female, video games are still highly gendered as a male activity, and the industry often targets a majority male audience. The stereotype that women do not play video games, or only play certain kinds of games, makes the Gamergate event of 2014 particularly interesting. During Gamergate several women in the game industry were harassed online by gamers, including rape and death threats, to the extent that some had to leave their homes in the interest
more » ... safety. This thesis examines why gender is such a significant issue in the video game industry and communities of play, and produces the tensions that led to and were evident during Gamergate. Part of that examination involves the use of Deleuze and Guattari's work. Deleuze and Guattari are useful in part because their critique of philosophy encourages a shift away from the binary oppositions that typically appear to be at the root of this tension in game culture. Specifically, this thesis examines three questions, divided into three broader parts: (1) how gender is a factor in the content and production of video games; (2) the affects that video games amplify, and how they can impact identity; and (3) how these affects permeate and flow throughout communities of play. Part of what this thesis demonstrates is that so-called video game culture is constituted by a far more diverse range of people than what the industry has typically catered and produced for. Central to the production and consumption of games, and to the sorts of tensions that arose during Gamergate, is, I argue, what Deleuze and Guattari term 'affect'. In this manner I argue that for some gamers, increased diversity of games, their producers, and their players have challenged their 'gamer' territory. Highly reliant on the gamer identity, they are resistant to new experiences and affects, and turn to destruction. iv
doi:10.26182/5d8d601400ecb fatcat:zs3o66xlefggbjoz5tznc4hmpq