#1 Posted by seanbooker (205 posts) -

Hey guys, I'm in a Women Studies class and I have to do a presentation on video games and how they relate to the idea of Women Studies. It's pretty open ended. I mainly have to talk about how women are depicted in the industry and the games - either positively or negatively. Preferrably I would try and show both sides of the coin during my presentation. I was hoping you guys could help me with finding articles and examples online. These would either be of cases of sexism towards gender (women are always big boobed or whatever) but also maybe some articles where we see the rate of female gamers or organisations helping towards this. I'm literally just asking for links that I can go and read through to put something together so if you've come across something then please let me know.

P.S. The class isn't just about advocating for women so if you come across something sexist towards guys and what not please let me know too.

#2 Edited by Video_Game_King (36062 posts) -

Hey guys, I'm in a Women Studies class and I have to do a presentation on video games and how they relate to the idea of Women Studies.

@patrickklepek, where do you find the time to teach community college courses?

#3 Posted by jking47 (1209 posts) -

@seanbooker said:

Hey guys, I'm in a Women Studies class and I have to do a presentation on video games and how they relate to the idea of Women Studies.

@patrickklepek, where do you find the time to teach community college courses?

Not gonna lie, I laughed.

To the OP, literally just google "sexism in video games" or any combination of the words, you will get a bazillion articles.

#4 Edited by chrismafuchris (1088 posts) -

I signed up for a Women Studies course because I love studying women, if you catch my drift, but they just made me research gender issues and stuff

#5 Posted by StarvingGamer (8028 posts) -

Women's Studies. It's a strange nitpick but it's driving me crazy.

#6 Posted by Darson (448 posts) -

@jking47 said:

@video_game_king said:

@seanbooker said:

Hey guys, I'm in a Women Studies class and I have to do a presentation on video games and how they relate to the idea of Women Studies.

@patrickklepek, where do you find the time to teach community college courses?

Not gonna lie, I laughed.

To the OP, literally just google "sexism in video games" or any combination of the words, you will get a bazillion articles.

Save yourself some time and google, wait, no, just go back a few pages in these forums and you'll come up with a lot.

#7 Posted by JasonR86 (9609 posts) -

Women's Studies. It's a strange nitpick but it's driving me crazy.

I majored at studying women.

#8 Posted by TruthTellah (8556 posts) -

@seanbooker: You might get something out of this article from August considering a new ESA report that women now make up nearly half of all gamers, and it looks at what some women say is attracting them more and more toward gaming today. The Entertainment Software Association has a lot of information online regarding demographics in gaming and outreach to women.

http://www.cnn.com/2013/08/08/tech/gaming-gadgets/female-gamers/

#9 Edited by seanbooker (205 posts) -

@seanbooker: You might get something out of this article from August considering a new ESA report that women now make up nearly half of all gamers, and it looks at what some women say is attracting them more and more toward gaming today. The Entertainment Software Association has a lot of information online regarding demographics in gaming and outreach to women.

http://www.cnn.com/2013/08/08/tech/gaming-gadgets/female-gamers/

This is GREAT, thanks!

#10 Posted by Brendan (7696 posts) -

I took a women's studies class in uni and actually really liked it. A lot of interesting economic and time theory.

#12 Edited by Jaytow (693 posts) -

Just watch an episode of feedbackula, it's all they go on about.

#13 Posted by joshwent (2136 posts) -

@truthtellah said:

@seanbooker: You might get something out of this article from August considering a new ESA report that women now make up nearly half of all gamers, and it looks at what some women say is attracting them more and more toward gaming today. The Entertainment Software Association has a lot of information online regarding demographics in gaming and outreach to women.

http://www.cnn.com/2013/08/08/tech/gaming-gadgets/female-gamers/

This is GREAT, thanks!

Unfortunately, that study is extremely generalized and shouldn't really be the basis of any scholarly work for a Women's Study course.

It says they polled about 2,000 households which isn't nearly enough to get an accurate overview of consumer trends in an industry that makes more money annually than movies in the US. Also, polling households instead of individuals from separate households skews results, as any household with a console/PC will automatically have more people there who play those games, vs a household that doesn't. So if 1,500 out of the 2,000 households polled have PCs and no consoles, the results would be totally unreliable.

It also separates "computer games" from "video games" in some questions, but in others combine computer, console, and mobile games, further complicating their overall statistics.

And to make it all worse, they also don't provide the poll questions themselves which is vital to assure that there was no bias skewing people's answers one way or another.

To be absolutely clear, I'm not saying that their findings might not be close to reality, or that tons and tons of women don't play games, just that those specific numbers don't at all hold up under scholarly scrutiny.

As others have said though, there's still a wealth of more specific and accurate info out there. I'd say picking a narrow aspect of games/games culture in general (advertising, box art, number of released games in various genres over time) could yield much more interesting results.

#14 Posted by JoeyRavn (4949 posts) -

@brendan said:

I took a women's studies class in uni and actually really liked it. A lot of interesting economic and time theory.

I have an MA in Women's Studies and, trust me on this one, the shit you see on the Internet has nothing to do with actual, reasoned Feminism and Gender Studies. All those radical Social Justice Warriors are as bad as what they are supposedly fighting against. If only people took a little more time to research the academic foundations of Women's Studies instead of contenting themselves with "lol anita sarkeesian", things would be much different. For the better.

#15 Edited by Brodehouse (9615 posts) -

Start with the conclusion "because of the patriarchy" and then work your way backwards. (A JOKE CALM DOWN)

In all honesty, if you want the most realistic, (almost) scientific research of how women interact with games, you're going to want to look up demographic data (the DATA, not some amateur sociologist's conclusions based on a few data points) and go from there. Focus on what people actually do, and not how they feel. People's spending habits say far more about them than their conspicuous activism or statements.

I've always supported women's rights and the investigation of women's history (of any group's history), but I've never liked the presumptive and prescriptive aspects that tend to define Women's Studies and faculty.

#16 Edited by Immortal_Guy (108 posts) -

@seanbooker: Remember that the ESA is an organisation representing games publishers and companies - it's of course in their best interest to make videogames seem as inclusive and mass market as possible. You can tell their agenda just by reading the quotes from the ESA president in the CNN article

"This new data underscores the remarkable upward trajectory for video games. It is an entertainment form enjoyed by hundreds of millions of consumers worldwide ... A diverse and energized consumer base, remarkable new hardware, and outstanding software all combine to foster growth for our industry".

You can sort of tell what point they're trying to make :)

Not saying that there aren't loads of women playing videogames, but the ESA probably isn't the unbiased statistical source you're looking for.

#17 Posted by Brodehouse (9615 posts) -

@joeyravn: While I want to presume absolutely nothing about your particular professors, I'm sure they were lovely and talented and professionals to the core, I have to suggest that what you see on the Internet is rooted in what's taught in academia spilling out to the public sphere. While I don't doubt that the more nuanced interpretations or explications you'd see in a classroom are being dumbed down and corrupted before becoming the shallow, self-interested polemics you see on Tumblr, I'd argue academia is not outside of criticism when bigots like Andrea Dworkin or Germaine Greer wind up on suggested reading lists in major institutions.

#18 Edited by 34f3ecwdc3 (162 posts) -

If you want some live women studies, open a thread about a game where people find too much sexism, watch them and take notes.

#19 Posted by joshwent (2136 posts) -

@brodehouse: You know I agree with your outlook, buddy. But this should just be about helping the OP with their presentation. Don't derail the thread! :)

#20 Edited by Brodehouse (9615 posts) -

@joshwent: Yeah good point. Apologies all around.

Getting back on topic, there's actually an investigation or a collection and review of data I would like to see;

We have a very virulent meme going around that states the reason you see less women playing games is caused by the lack of women in protagonist roles. I would actually like to see some research done into the actual spending habits of female gamers, and see if they purchase games that star explicitly female protagonists in higher proportion than they do games that star explicitly male protagonists. It is my speculation (or hypothesis hrm hrm hrm) that female gamers are more motivated by genre or production value than they are by the gender of a game's protagonist (and I'd argue the same is true of male gamers). It's my speculation that the male/female split on a Tomb Raider, with an explicitly female protagonist, is probably extremely similar to the male/female split on a game like Uncharted, a game of comparable genre and production value while having an explicitly male protagonist. Furthermore, I speculate a game like Remember Me, an action game starring a female protagonist will probably lean more towards a male audience when compared to Persona 4, an RPG starring a male protagonist, which I would wager has a larger proportion of women players.

#21 Posted by JadeGL (757 posts) -

This might at least begin to guide you to more scholarly pieces, which you can of course take with however many grains of salt you wish. I haven't looked into them piece by piece, but the titles seem interesting enough to me as a layman. It's hard to give you links without a more specific idea of whether the professor is looking for just scholarly works or also whether they want newspaper articles, opinion pieces, and the like. That kind of stuff ranges in quality, though I would say the quantity is certainly high enough. Places like Grantland, Slate, Salon and Huffington Post deal with these issues from time to time and seem to be mentioned whenever a new game comes up that has a possible controversy alongside it. Just googling today came up with a new Times Magazine piece entitled "How Using Sexy Female Avatars in Video Games Changes Women" which was based on a Stanford Study and also a Daily Mail (ugh, Daily Fail... but still relevant) just did a piece concerning the same study.

I hope that's enough to get you started at least. Like I said, there is a lot of stuff out there, but hopefully you get more quality pieces for your class with a more little looking. Good luck!!!

Online
#22 Edited by Immortal_Guy (108 posts) -

@brodehouse: Your hypothesis sounds pretty plausable to me, but it wouldn't neccesarily disprove the meme. For example, it's not inconsistent to say that women who play games choose games based on other things than the gender of the protagonist - but also that many women don't play games at all because they're seen as a "boys club", and that a contributing factor to this is that there are very few female protagonists in videogames.

Of course, that point of view's pretty difficult to prove either true or false, and I've got literally zero evidence for it either way. Stupid sociology - why can't it be like maths or science, where you're either right or wrong, and you can clearly prove either way?

#23 Posted by thomasnash (539 posts) -

@joshwent: Yeah good point. Apologies all around.

Getting back on topic, there's actually an investigation or a collection and review of data I would like to see;

We have a very virulent meme going around that states the reason you see less women playing games is caused by the lack of women in protagonist roles. I would actually like to see some research done into the actual spending habits of female gamers, and see if they purchase games that star explicitly female protagonists in higher proportion than they do games that star explicitly male protagonists. It is my speculation (or hypothesis hrm hrm hrm) that female gamers are more motivated by genre or production value than they are by the gender of a game's protagonist (and I'd argue the same is true of male gamers). It's my speculation that the male/female split on a Tomb Raider, with an explicitly female protagonist, is probably extremely similar to the male/female split on a game like Uncharted, a game of comparable genre and production value while having an explicitly male protagonist. Furthermore, I speculate a game like Remember Me, an action game starring a female protagonist will probably lean more towards a male audience when compared to Persona 4, an RPG starring a male protagonist, which I would wager has a larger proportion of women players.

That's an interesting hypothesis. I think you're probably right. I know my SO whenever she asks me for game recommendations, she says she want's RPGs and good stories, not women protagonists (although I think she does always play as a lady when she can). Of course a data set of one isn't much use.

But I would be interested in seeing a study like that, on the basis that if the hypothesis is correct, that provides the most sensible argument that anyone interested in the gender politics of games can use. The argument that fewer female portagonists = fewer female players means that the solution is viewed as actively driving away the current demographic (IE, attempting to attract more women to the community will drive away men). If you can say that neither women or men care, then some of the most ridiculous institutional reasons for the preponderance of male protagonists (ie only games with male protagonists will sell) become easier to discredit.

#24 Posted by Fattony12000 (7073 posts) -

Women's Studies. It's a strange nitpick but it's driving me crazy.

Oh, you mean "Learnin' 'bout Ladies".

#25 Posted by Dagbiker (6939 posts) -

I always wanted to take a womans studies class and present the idea that perhaps treating women as a subject to be studied was somehow demeaning