Feminism, Consumption, Gaming

For whatever reason this week, the conversation about gaming and social life is exploding all over the internet.

The New Inquiry, a fantastic magazine in its own right, has quite the interesting link dump: TNI Syllabus: Gaming and Feminism.”

For more on the “end of the gamer,” Jacobin (another great mag) has quite the polemic by Ian Williams, “Death to the Gamer.” (My Facebook feed was blowing up with this yesterday. . . .)

And even older, mainstream magazines are getting in on the action. Daniel Carlson has written “The Insidious Rise of the Blockbuster Video Game” for The Atlantic.


About Bradley J. Fest

Bradley J. Fest is assistant professor of English at Hartwick College. He is the author of two books of poetry, The Rocking Chair (Blue Sketch, 2015) and The Shape of Things (Salò, 2017), and has published a number of essays on contemporary literature and culture. He blogs at The Hyperarchival Parallax.
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3 Responses to Feminism, Consumption, Gaming

  1. I just want to add that it’s amazing that everyone’s talking about feminism and gaming. It’s such an important topic to discuss. Objectifying women, no matter what the media, is just distasteful and degrading. Also, it just feels unreal to me. The world is not what some of these misogynistic games make it seem like it is.
    All of my favorite games treat all genders equally, and that’s no coincidence. I might be going off on a tangent here, but I think it’s important to talk about the games that DO have great representation in addition to dwelling on those that don’t. Firstly, and most importantly, I think Valve did a great job with Portal in having the main character be female, but not stressing it. That feels real to me: it’s just an arbitrary thing, so they don’t draw attention to it. Secondly, I just need to talk about Beyond: Two Souls. That game tackles so many important social and mental issues, has plenty of badass moments, and features a female lead. Thirdly, Mass Effect 3 also kind of hit the mark. This game lets you choose your character’s gender. Storytime: when I was watching my brother play this game, he commented on how unrealistic the male lead sounded (which he only picked on his 3rd playthrough for fun), and told me that the female lead fit the role perfectly. Mass Effect 3 is a great game: while it IS a shooter, it focuses primarily on ethical issues, and even delves into the realm of AI ethics. The reason that it only kind of gets on my list is because it oversexualizes men AND women, and so isn’t exactly ideal.
    There are also some games that don’t feature gender at all that are fantastic in their own right, like Journey.


  2. Junglist says:

    A lot of people are talking about feminism in games recently because of some controversy with regards to some female game developers. The story of Zoey Quinn comes to mind. She is a game developer who is best known for her game “Depression Quest”, which sparked some debate over whether or not it really is a game, but she recently hit the spotlight when her ex-boyfriend claimed that she had unprotected sex with several members of the gaming press (for publicity?) while they were still together. Additionally, a company called the fine young capitalists had approached Zoey Quinn about coming up with a concept for a game. This company wants women to create game concepts, which they then produce, giving the creator a small percentage of sales while the rest of the profits go to charity. Ms. Quinn had some harsh words for this company, complaining that they wanted her to make a game for almost no reward (but it’s for charity…) TFYC claimed that Ms. Quinn then released personal information of the company’s employees and had their website DDoS’d, which triggered retaliation from 4chan. Not really sure what the true story here is, but Ms. Quinn has been caught in several lies regarding deleted twitter posts among other things. Several of the men accused of sleeping with Ms. Quinn have vehemently denied the accusations, while some other members of the press have come forward saying she sexually harassed them. Many members of the gaming press and development community have made (very unprofessional) posts supporting or condemning her actions.


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