Gamer Girl Visibility: Networks and Their Gendered Ingroup Behaviours in Massively Multiplayer Online Roleplaying Games

ReBecca Compton

Abstract


‘Why can’t I just be a gamer? Why do I have to be a “female gamer”?’ While a generic term for all gamers may be looming on the horizon, there are still aspects of play which draw clear boundaries between male and female gamers. These boundaries, however, are often illusions. In Massively Multiplayer Online Roleplaying Games (MMOs), several networks exist within the game space, and one such network is that of ‘female character’. For male players to gain a part in this network, many gender-bend, and the gender of the character is what determines their actions not the gender of the players themselves. When men use female avatars, they engage in behaviours which they believe are typical feminine acts, (healing, fighting from a distance, etc.) but these are based on false perceptions about gender roles. Gaining access to this network is one which requires constant performance; however, it is a network which is often inhospitable for real-world women.

 


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