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‘Troubling’ gender in virtual gaming spaces

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Abstract:

Abstract

This article considers the relationship between gaming and gender, and explores how eight mature women gamers (30 years of age and older), living in the Waikato region of New Zealand negotiate their ‘real‐life’ identities with their ‘virtual’ gaming identities. In particular, performances of ‘gender‐bending’ in gaming are examined and Butler's notion of ‘gender trouble’ is drawn upon to look at the ways in which ‘gender‐bending’ disrupts and/or reinforces hegemonic binary distinctions of gender – masculinity/femininity and man/woman. This article concludes by arguing that gender‐switching within gaming spaces is a normative practice within gaming culture, and as such, acts of ‘gender‐bending’ do very little to challenge or ‘bend’ dominant notions of gender within the spaces of mainstream gaming.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1745-7939.2012.01227.x

Affiliations: Department of Geography, Tourism and Environmental Planning, University of Waikato, Private Bag 3105, Hamilton, New Zealand

Publication date: 2012-08-01

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