Introduction: Reframing Hegemonic Conceptions of Women and Feminism in Gaming Culture

  • Kishonna L. Gray
  • Gerald Voorhees
  • Emma Vossen
Part of the Palgrave Games in Context book series (PAGCON)


Despite the disciplinary norms and institutional investments of games studies that malign and marginalize critical perspectives (Jensen and de Castell 2009), recent history has proven feminist lenses to be an essential facet in examining games, gamers, and gaming culture. As Nina Huntemann (2013) argues, feminist game studies examine how gender, and its intersections with race, class, sexuality, and so on, is produced, represented, consumed, and practiced in and through digital games. This volume continues and extends the project of feminist game studies, examining the varied representations, practices, and institutions of games and game cultures from a feminist perspective, exploring personal experiences, individual narratives, and institutional phenomenon inherent in the hegemonic, often patriarchal, structures of gaming.


  1. Beasley, Berrin, and Tracy Collins Standley. 2002. Shirts versus Skins: Clothing as an Indicator of Gender Role Stereotyping in Video Games. Mass Communication & Society 5 (3): 279–293.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Callahan, Yesha. 2017. If You’re a Black Woman Who’s Tired of White People Touching Your Hair, There’s a Game for That. Accessed November 19, 2017.
  3. Cassell, Justine, and Henry Jenkins, eds. 1998. From Barbie to Mortal Kombat: Gender and Computer Games. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.Google Scholar
  4. Chess, Shira. 2010. How to Play a Feminist. Thirdspace: A Journal of Feminist Theory Culture 9.1.
  5. Consalvo, Mia. 2008. Crunched by Passion: Women Game Developers and Workplace Challenges. In Beyond Barbie and Mortal Kombat: New Perspectives on Gender and Gaming, ed. Yasmin B. Kafai, Carrie Heeter, Jill Denner, and Jennifer Y. Sun, 177–192. Cambridge, London: The MIT Press.Google Scholar
  6. Dietz, Tracy L. 1998. An Examination of Violence and Gender Role Portrayals in Video Games: Implications for Gender Socialization and Aggressive Behavior. Sex Roles 38: 425–442.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Entman, Robert M. 1993. Framing: Toward Clarification of a Fractured Paradigm. Journal of Communication 43 (4): 51–58.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Fron, Janine, Tracy Fullerton, Jacqueline F. Morie, and Celia Pearce. 2007. The Hegemony of Play. Situated Play, Proceedings of DiGRA 2007 Conference.Google Scholar
  9. Gailey, Christina W. 1993. Mediated Messages: Gender, Class, and Cosmos in Home Video Games. Journal of Popular Culture 27 (1): 81–98.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Gray, Kishonna L. 2012. Deviant Bodies, Stigmatized Identities, and Racist Acts: Examining the Experiences of African-American Gamers in Xbox Live. New Review of Hypermedia and Multimedia 18 (4): 261–276.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. ———. 2014. Race, Gender, and Deviance in Xbox Live: Theoretical Perspectives from the Virtual Margins. London: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. ———. 2016. “They’re Just Too Urban”: Black Gamers Streaming on Twitch. In Digital Sociologies, ed. K. Gregory, T. McMillan Cottom, and J. Daniels, 351–364. Bristol: Policy Press.Google Scholar
  13. Hertog, James K., and Douglas M. McLeod. 2001. A Multiperspectival Approach to Framing Analysis: A Field Guide. In Framing Public Life: Perspectives on Media and Our Understanding of the Social World, ed. S.D. Reese, O.H. Gandy, and A.E. Grant Mahwah, 139–161. New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.Google Scholar
  14. Huntemann, Nina. 2013. Introduction: Feminist Discourses in Games/Game Studies. Ada: A Journal of Gender, New Media, and Technology 2.
  15. Jansz, Jeroen, and Raynel G. Martis. 2007. The Lara Phenomenon: Powerful Female Characters in Video Games. Sex Roles 56: 141–148.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Jenson, Jennifer, and Suzanne de Castell. 2009. Gender, Simulation, and Gaming: Research Review and Redirections. Simulation & Gaming 41 (1): 51–71.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Kennedy, Helen. 2002. Lara Croft. Feminist Icon or Cyber-bimbo? The Limits of Textual Analysis. Game Studies 2 (2).
  18. Kiafia, Yasmin, Gabrielle Richards, and B. Tynes, eds. 2016. Diversifying Barbie and Mortal Kombat: Intersectional Perspectives and Inclusive Designs in Gaming. Pittsburg, PA: ETC Press.Google Scholar
  19. Leonard, David J. 2003. Live in Your World, Play in Ours: Race, Video Games, and Consuming the Other. Studies in Media & Information Literacy Education 3 (4): 1–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. ———. 2006. Not a Hater, Just Keepin’ It Real: The Importance of Race- and Gender-based Game Studies. Games and Culture 1 (1): 83–88.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. ———. 2009. Young, Black (& Brown) and Don’t Give a Fuck: Virtual Gangstas in the Era of State Violence. Cultural Studies? Critical Methodologies 9 (2): 248–272.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. ———. 2014. Dismantling the Master’s (Virtual) House: One Avatar At a Time. In Race, Gender, and Deviance in Xbox Live: Theoretical Perspectives from the Virtual Margins, ed. K. Grey, xi–xvi. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  23. Lipinski, Jed. 2012. Video-game Designer Anna Anthropy Describes the Life of a Radical, Queer, Transgender Gamer. Politico.
  24. MacCallum-Stewart, Ester. 2009. ‘The Street Smarts of a Cartoon Princess’: New Roles for Women in Games. Digital Creativity 20 (4): 225–237.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Malkowski, Jennifer, and TreaAndrea M. Russworm. 2017. Gaming Representation: Race, Gender, and Sexuality in Video Games. Indiana University Press.Google Scholar
  26. Martins, Nichole, Demitri Williams, Kristen Harrison, and Rabindra A. Ratan. 2009. A Content Analysis of Female Body Imagery in Video Games. Sex Roles 61 (11–12): 824–836.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Mikula, Maja. 2003. Gender and Videogames: The Political Valency of Lara Croft. Continuum: Journal of Media & Cultural Studies 17 (1): 79–87.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Nakamura, Lisa. 2009. Don’t Hate the Player, Hate the Game: The Racialization of Labor in World of Warcraft. Critical Studies in Media Communication 26 (2): 128–144.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. ———. 2012. Queer Female of Color: The Highest Difficulty Setting There Is? Gaming Rhetoric as Gender Capital. Ada: A Journal of Gender, New Media, and Technology 1 (1).
  30. Nooney, Laine. 2013. A Pedestal, a Table, a Love Letter: Archaeologies of Gender in Videogame History. Game Studies 13 (2).
  31. Plunkett, Luke. 2011. Microsoft, Why Did You Lie to Velocity Girl? Kotaku.
  32. Potter, Garry, and Victor Kappeler. 2012. Introduction: Media, Crime and Hegemony. In The Harms of Crime Media. Essays on the Perpetuation of Racism, Sexism and Class Stereotypes, ed. D. Bissler, 3–15. Jefferson, NC: MacFarland.Google Scholar
  33. Ruberg, Bonnie, and Adrienne Shaw. 2017. Queer Game Studies. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press.Google Scholar
  34. Ryan, Charlotte, Kevin M. Carragee, and William Meinhofer. 2001. Theory into Practice: Framing, the News Media, and Collective Action. Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media 45 (1): 175–182.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Schleiner, Anne-Marie. 2001. Does Lara Croft Wear Fake Polygons? Gender and Gender-Role Subversion in Computer Adventure Games. Leonardo 34 (3): 221–226.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Schröder, Arne. 2008. ‘We Don’t Want It Changed, Do We?’ Gender and Sexuality in Role-Playing Games. Eludamos 2 (2): 241–256.Google Scholar
  37. Shaw, Adrienne. 2012. Do You Identify as a Gamer? Gender, Race, Sexuality, and Gamer Identity. New Media & Society 14 (1): 28–44.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Stang, Sarah. 2017. Big Daddies and Broken Men: Father-Daughter Relationships in Video Games. Loading… 10 (6): 162–174.Google Scholar
  39. Summers, Alicia, and M.K. Miller. 2014. From Damsels in Distress to Sexy Superheroes. Feminist Media Studies 14 (6): 1028–1041.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Taylor, T.L. 2006. Play Between Worlds: Exploring Online Game Culture. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  41. Voorhees, Gerald. 2016. Daddy Issues: Constructions of Fatherhood in The Last of Us and BioShock Infinite. Ada: A Journal of Gender, New Media and Technology 9 (2).Google Scholar
  42. Williams, Lauren. 2014. Gamers Revolt After Video Game Developers Says Creating Female Character Would Be “Double the Work”. Think Progress 13.
  43. Williams, Demitri, Nichole Martins, Mia Consalvo, and James D. Ivory. 2009. The Virtual Census: Representations of Gender, Race and Age in Video Games. New Media & Society 11 (5): 815–834.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Wood, Julia T. 1994. Gendered Lives: Communication, Gender and Culture. Boston, MA: Cengage.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kishonna L. Gray
    • 1
  • Gerald Voorhees
    • 2
  • Emma Vossen
    • 2
  1. 1.University of IllinoisChicagoUSA
  2. 2.University of WaterlooWaterlooCanada

Personalised recommendations