Reflection on “The Gendering of Computer Gaming: Experience and Space”; “Cheerleaders/booth babes/Halo hoes”; “Watching Us Play: Postures and Platforms of Live Streaming”

Beginning with “Postures and platforms of live streaming” written by Austin Walker, Walker discusses how video games have become more social events due to their nature of being streamed now. Walker discusses how technologies such as those that allow us to stream have provided players and viewers with more verbs to describe their actions than simply “play”. Walker also begins to touch on the Capitalist constraints of “work” (or arguably free labor, similar to an article titled “Fuck off Google!” which discusses a relationship between Marxism and cybernetics) involved with this play and building of communities, as well as space.

The space used or assigned to streaming games through websites such as Twitch, as explained in the article “The Gendering of Computer Gaming: Experience and Space” written by Jo Bryce and Jason Rutter, Bryce and Rutter is often influenced by society, race and gender. In their article, Bryce and Rutter begin with an explanation of gaming as a leisure activity, and this activity has been influenced by streaming spaces as well as societal definitions of expectable gamers and gaming in both public and private spaces. Essentially the “leisure activity” of gaming is defined by gamic features such as its increasing popularity, its genres of platforms and games, the changing social contexts of play, and the integration of gaming technologies unto different devices, as well as personal factors such as the person’s age, gender and motivation for participation. Due to these factors, the game, and the space (regardless of if the space is public or private) roles and special normal are always created. Bryce and Rutter begin touching on how self-identifying females (typically, if a female wants to retain her feminity) are forced into roles due to gaming spaces. This can be seen in Conway's article and the lack of female participation in his study due to their apparent “casual” nature of play (which is arguably assigned to them) as feminine females. Regardless, Bryce and Rutter discuss how online these females can hide behind their anonymity (which differs if they choose to public play or stream) in order to be treated “like one of the guys”. The officers at the League of Legends club, during our first discussion, voiced their frequency in remaining anonymous while playing LoL online — due to the constant harassment often received from their male cohorts. This is due to their “intrusion” into this male-dominated space online.

Essentially, as THE Nick Taylor discusses in “Cheerleaders/booth babes/Halo Hoes”, “where and how the few women involved in or even observed…find and/or create a place for themselves within this almost exclusively male setting.” In other words, people who do not have the stereotypical “gamer” background are forced into certain roles as norms. Taylor uses three different roles as examples: the first being mothers as “cheerleaders” or “team managers” who support their sons in their endeavors; the second being “booth babes” or the models/women there to “look good” or “pick up the elite gamers”; and the third being “Halo Hoes” or women who play the game, but ~~obviously~~ not at the same level as their male counterparts. Within League of Legends, the few females who play often end up playing support roles; I think this is an interesting example of space and gender roles within the game. Physically, when playing together, the club can be seen assigning spatial roles as well. Last meeting, the club was set up with all white males essentially in the center of the room (with E being the only female at the same table) with all the minority players around them. I found this to be the best representation of the spatial assignments created through the game of League of Legends.