Final Portfolio - Gender and Video Games: Final Portfolio...

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Gender and Video Games: Final Portfolio By: Kevin Phipps April 30, 2009 Madeline Casad COML 1126.102
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T A B L E A B L E O F O F C C O N T E N T S O N T E N T S
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My Experience Previous to this class, whenever I played videogames, gender was one of the last things to cross my mind. I never truly thought about how gender interacted within these games and what it was that prevented females from playing as much as males. I simply subscribed to all the stereotypes, assuming that videogames were a masculine activity and that, therefore, females that played were rather outlandish and should return to their “normal” endeavors. Hence, when I saw “Gender and Video Games” as one of the available writing seminars, I immediately signed up without taking any account of what “gender” was doing in the course title. I just figured “Hey! I get to play videogames. Why not?” It was a little bit of a shock when we began discussing the “gender gap” in our first class discussion. Nevertheless, my interest was sparked, leading to my adoption of an entirely different viewpoint on this seemingly innocent leisure activity. I was frustrated towards the beginning of the class as I could see no plausible reason for why males played more videogames than females. Clearly, the fact that videogame design is a field dominated by men gave some insight to this issue, yet I felt that there was something more. Even if most games catered to the interests of the average male gamer, why had there not been more that targeted females? Anyone able to design games for females, I felt, had the potential to an enormous amount of wealth as it would be possible to open up an entirely new audience. Upon reading Lucas and Sherry’s article “Sex Differences in Video Game Play: A Communication-Based Explanation,” (an article that soon became one of my favorites) I found my answer. Rather than being so much about the actual design of the videogames, I decided that the most important factor preventing females from playing videogames as much as males is societal pressures that view videogames as a male activity. Thus, most females conform to these expectations, avoiding videogames even if they would truly find them entertaining. I decided to 3
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make this a major focus of mine, incorporating it into several essays, discussions, and presentations. In the fourth essay of the semester, I chose to write about Tomb Raider , a game that is very controversial as to how it portrays gender. Many view Lara Croft, the female protagonist, as a highly sexualized “eye-candy” character, while others view her as an icon of femininity. My ultimate argument for this essay is that it is possible for both sides of Lara to exist. It is simply up to the gamer to decide which side is more prevalent. Thus, I argue that the game possesses the ability to appeal to both genders, making it greatly successful. In the fifth essay, I write about how gender operates in the game
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Final Portfolio - Gender and Video Games: Final Portfolio...

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