This edited collection is interested in rethinking the role of race, gender, and sexuality in video game studies beyond typically reductive or divisive debates. Abstracts are due July 15, 2013 with full papers in October.
Posts tagged ‘gender’
Last week I attended the Media Places: Infrastructure | Space | Media conference at Umeå University. The conference was sponsored by The Peter Wallenberg Foundation and universities of Umeå, Stanford, and Lund. The conference was invite-only and I was honored to be asked, not only to attend, but also to give a short presentation as part of a panel on “Moving the Field Forward.”
This was the second conference I attended this semester and each was an interdisciplinary approach to a narrowly focused topic. I really like this format. Media Places had only one track of sessions, so it was great to know that everyone saw the same things and heard the same ideas. This made for frictionless conversation and “networking” as we gathered during breaks and meals. It was as painless as networking can possibly be.
As I mentioned above, I was asked to participate in one of the panels. Patrik Svensson asked myself and two other “junior” faculty members to speak to the issue of moving the field forward, and if possible, to tie it into the conference theme. What follows is a recreation of my talk from my notes. I actually had to edit some of this out on the fly as I was bumping up against the 8-minute time limit. Since I can’t remember what I cut, I’ll just include it all here, as I initially rehearsed it:
The hashtag for the conference will be #ditigalgirls2012. I am really looking forward to today’s keynote by Lisa Nakamura.
If you are unfamiliar with the term brogrammer, read Tasneem Raja’s piece at Mother Jones. Actually, read it even if you already know all about them: “Gangbang Interviews” and “Bikini Shots”: Silicon Valley’s Brogrammer Problem | Mother Jones.
Raja’s overview of the “brogrammer,” anchored in a critique of Matt Van Horn’s SXSW talk, provides some insight into the recent rise of this term.
I’m happy to say that I don’t think I’ve ever encountered a “brogrammer” in the wild. When I raised the term with my students, they seemed to ridicule and reject the idea without missing a beat. Nonetheless the term makes me uneasy. It seems that start-up or programming spaces that embrace this ethos are regressing into what Raja rightly terms “testosterone-fueled boneheadedness.” Raja frames the brogramming trend as perhaps something that hapless men without Human Resources guidance fumble into. That seems to be letting them off the hook too easily.
I would perhaps push Raja’s suggestion further and argue that the intent to foster and propagate brogrammer culture is hostile to women. Not only is it demeaning to the women who are objectified by brogrammer tactics, it is alienating to the women who may need to share these spaces. It is hard to believe that any of these “brogrammers” could be completely clueless about the impacts of their behavior.
I suspect that the extreme hypermasculinity of the “brogrammer” is relatively scarce when they are considered as part of larger programming populations. However, the inanity and problematic gender politics of the brogrammer may also help focus attention on the often more subtle ways in which women are made to feel uncomfortable or unwelcome in male-dominated spaces. Raja outlines a few statistics on the issue of female programmers and the number of women heading up start ups, all of which she uses to suggest that the imbalance of women in programming and start ups is a larger problem than the brogrammer.
So while the brogrammer is a shudder-inducing term, the very thought of which makes me grind my teeth, his presence may have the potential to open up wider conversations about gender in tech spaces that tend to be male-dominated. And that is a conversation worth having. (more…)
I originally blogged this over at Fashioning Circuits, but I think it also fits here:
As a result of this project, I have been thinking a lot about fashion magazines, including men’s magazines. So when someone on Facebook shared this video, it immediately caught my eye. It is a GQ.com post about Ken Jeong photobombing Kate Upton. Before I’ve even had my morning coffee, I find myself contemplating raced and aged bodies, the artificiality of photoshoots, and all sorts of other things.
Jeong is clearly leading us on, asking us to believe that he was not invited. In fact, the multiple takes of his jump into the pool, wearing different shorts each time, suggest that the folks at GQ are having a laugh.
But what is it about the video that makes it funny? Pulling from Naomi Woolf’s The Beauty Myth, the main source of yuks is that Jeong is intruding into the creation of beauty pornography, causing a humorous disjunction. He is not supposed to be there. But why does his intrusion cause laughs rather than ramping up the sexual tension? For instance, even when Jeong is in bed with the couple, the viewer is never led to believe that this could turn into a menage à trois. If you think I am making too much of it, consider how the screen capture below would be different if it were the male model posing as Jeong does
There are two factors that account for the humor in the video. The first, and less insidious of the two, is that he calls our attention to the absurdity of this type of image. Note the moment at around 01:00 when Jeong playfully bites his own bra strap. It looks ridiculous on him, but it is not at all inconceivable that we might see a shot of a woman doing this in any number of men’s or fashion magazines (commentary about a woman consuming the accoutrements of her own sexuality will have to be saved for another post). (more…)
This conference sounds really interesting. It makes me wish I did work on photography!
Read this. Now.
This issue and the blog response were brought to my attention by my friend and colleague Amanda Phillips.
And if you’ve any doubts about the pervasiveness of these attitudes and the need for ongoing, thoughtful discussion about gender, just take a gander at the comments.
One of my favorite moments, in response to a commenter who insists that nobody would be upset if the gender-roles were reversed, is by the original post author, Arinn Dembo:
“Since offensive terms were not applied equally, since we aren’t working in an industry with gender equality in the workplace, and since we’re not getting into what characters deserve to be called (only what they are called) we’re having the discussion.”
Engage in hypothetical response all you want, the reality is this is the thing that happened and that needs to be addressed.
(11/01/11; ACCUTE, 05/28/12- 05/31/12)
This call seems to allow for all sorts of possibilities: from the representational to the robot actualized in our media ecology.
(May 2012: Prague, Czech Republic)
Note the inclusion of “cyberfeminism” in the list of appropriate topics.
If you haven’t heard the news, HTC has tapped deep into the female psyche to develop a phone geared toward women: the HTC Bliss, due in September 2011. The host of a CNETtv show casually describes the Bliss in their story lead-in as “the first phone for women” . Silly me, I’ve had a mobile phone for years, never realizing that I was transgressing gender norms by doing so.
Upon hearing news of the Bliss a few months ago, I was immediately reminded of an experience I had while preparing to move into my first apartment. Recognizing that I would need some basic household tools, I added a tool kit to my shopping list. When out and about, I was dismayed to find special tool kits developed for, and directed at, women. The tools were smaller and more expensive than those included in your run-of-the-mill tool kit. And they were pink. (more…)