"Pitching a virtual woo" : analysing discussion of sexism in online gaming

Nic Giolla Easpaig, Bròna and Humphrey, Rhi (2017) "Pitching a virtual woo" : analysing discussion of sexism in online gaming. Feminism and Psychology, 27 (4). pp. 553-561. ISSN 0959-3535 (https://doi.org/10.1177/0959353516667400)

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Issues of sexism and gender-based harassment have been divisive within online gaming communities with contested understandings of the presence of these issues, prevailing explanations and potential solutions. This report was prompted by the discrepancy between problematic representations of women observed in online gaming community discussions of these issues and women’s rich and complex accounts of their gameplay. Poststructural theory facilitated exploration of the construction of women gamers as important in the reproduction of and resistance to problematic gendered discourses. Analysis illustrates the politics of (in)visibility that women gamers negotiate: limited possibilities for women as “active” subjects and little recognition of women’s desires in gaming motivations. Findings highlight a need to engage with both the re-inscription of women as denoting a “secondary status” and the poverty of discursive resources available in discussion of these issues for transforming existing understandings.