Jo Bryce and Jason Rutter

The Gendering of Computer Gaming: Experience and Space by Jo Bryce and Jason Rutter



Computer Gaming-Hence we can see that the relationship between computer gaming, psychological development and leisure practice is complex, and mediated by a variety of different factors such as game genre and content, age of gamer, and motivation for participation.( 6)

Technical developments such as those in hardware, graphics, processor power and the increasing interactivity of games have changed the dynamics of play and the contexts in which gaming takes place. (8)

Female Gaming-It has been particularly claimed that females of all ages are disadvantaged in their leisure choices and activities by constraints such as time, income, class, marital and parental status (Samuel, 1996). (6)

For example, Funk (1993) found that 75% of females, compared with 90% of males played computer games in the home. Colwell et al., 2000 provide evidence that 88% of those 12-14 year old females surveyed played computer games on a regular basis. Such findings have been explained in terms of gendered preferences for different game genres, and there is evidence that males and females prefer different types of game (Mehrabaian and Wixen, 1986; Barnet, Vitaglione et al., 1997; Yates and Littleton, 1999). (7)

Women characters in Games-Games developers have also become increasingly sensitive to claims regarding the stereotypical portrayal of women in computer games and the lack of female characters, and many contemporary games allow the choice between a number of male and female characters. But it remains to be seen whether adding more female characters will encourage character identification and increase female participation in gaming. (7-8)

Male Spaces-It has also been claimed that the contexts in which gaming occurs are gendered in such way as to prevent female access to the technology, and communicate the view that gaming spaces are male spaces. (8)

Given this it is not unreasonable to hypothesise that not only are grrrl gamers playing games in a “masculine” fashion, but female gamers are finding gaming an attractive leisure activity because they bring with it their own readings of the gaming texts. Page 9  women read another story into it Differences in participation in computer gaming in private and public contexts may explain the invisibility of female gaming. (10)

This invisibility of female gaming may also be reflected by a more casual commitment to gaming as a leisure activity, and also reflect the lower numbers of females who are frequent consumers or purchasers of gaming hardware and software. There is also increasing evidence of the popularity of online gaming among girls, which may be related to anonymity and reduced stereotypical behavior towards female gamers in online contexts. (11)

 Do not buy games but get them online The lack of females participating in public and competitive contexts may be explained by self-consciousness and lack of confidence in competitive ability because of the stereotypical view that computer gaming is a male leisure activity. (11)

Want to be invisible because of gaming being a male sport

It has been suggested that increasing female participation in computer gaming may be part of wider change in the gender stereotyping of leisure activities.

As with traditional sport, computer gaming may represent a leisure context in which resistance and renegotiation of gender stereotypes can occur (14)

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