All the World’s a Drag Show and We’re Just Kings and Queens: Gender Performance and Video Games

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5 Responses

  1. llcadle says:

    Thanks for the tip on FB for this post, Samantha! My Gender Studies class is reading Butler (and others) and using BTVS and She-Ra as case studies for a gender-inclusive look at heroics.

  2. Adam says:

    I like the nod to DQIX’s blobby characters, haha.
    Even with the wide amount of customization involved in MMOs and online avatar creators, they still seem to fall along rigid performativity lines. I mean, even with the huge amount of customization for DQIX, you still can’t make the guy put on a dress. One social avatar gamesite called “Tinier Me” has always interested me because it bucks this trend. There’s no gendered clothing, i.e. male/female only clothing groups, but anything and everything can be worn by any character. Granted you still need to decide between the strict male/female sex choice, but the way you perform your gender identity in-game is remarkably open. It would be nice to see more games going this way…

    • dr. b. says:

      @Adam, that reference was just for you ;-). I can appreciate where indie games are going and the things that they are trying. I hope that the big ticket games see that there is good in the world and try so similar stuff.

  3. alexlayne says:

    This is such a good post. In regards to Adam’s point, I wonder how game designers could (in the most respectful way possible) go about including alternatively sexed and gendered folk. I suspect that simply having an “other” category may not be the kind of recognition of alterity that would be productive. We could always do away with the gender and allow everything to be customized (like the sims 3 character generator without the male/female decision up front). So one wouldn’t be female, but their appearance could conform to traditional feminine aesthetics. But then that in a way takes away a category that a lot of people identify with as a way to create resistance in the male-dominated gaming industry.

    Anyway, I have no answers. Just more questions spurred by your brilliant post.

    PS. This is my favorite: “We do focus on women and minorities in games because that is where our interest lies and because that is the largely unexplored frontier. Having to deal with the why question is much like having to answer why African American/Queer/Women’s Studies exists…it’s because it has to. It is not represented by the dominant paradigm and it is the thing that fills the void. It is a necessary.”

  4. 'Tacious says:

    I feel hated right now…

    Kidding. It’s strange how a podcast that changes its focus from the traditional G4TV norm is somehow viewed as antagonistic by some people. I think NYMGamer serves a noble purpose-to bring to light those issues that often get shrugged aside for the sake of booth babes and hot coffee mods. As I’ve been on a Red Dead kick lately, let me chime in: there’s a strange moment that happens when I’m approached by an NPC in Mexico and he says (in Spanglish) “Senor, I was just robado. Could you help me get my horse back?” For some reason, despite this shoddy voice acting, it never bothers me. In fact, I get the strange urge to watch Three Amigos. I get more offended with how horrible the voice acting is than what it’s doing (which reminds me of how god awful assassin’s creed’s “italian” voice acting is. ugh…)