Gender and Video Games

Screenshot from World of Warcraft

A national survey from the Pew Internet & American Life Project released in September 2008 found that 99 percent of boys and 94 percent of girls aged 12 to 17 play some form of “video” games.  The amount of time both children and adults spend playing digital games (a category that includes everything from playing games on consoles like the Nintendo Wii and PlayStation to playing online games on personal computers and handheld devices like the iPhone and Sony PSP) has steadily increased over the past decade.

My research looks at one kind of digital game: massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs or MMOs), in which players encounter other players in real time, against the background of a persistent, virtual game world. World of Warcraft (WoW) is the most popular of these games with over ten million players throughout the world and 239 servers or realms. Other MMOs include Everquest, Faunasphere, Guild Wars, Runescape, and Star Trek Online. This presentation explains how these new media work, focusing specifically on the role that gender plays in online gaming.

Presenter Profile: Carol A. Stabile, Director, Center for the Study of Women in Society; Professor, School of Journalism and Communication and the Department of Women’s and Gender Studies

Carol A. Stabile

Carol Stabile has a PhD in English from Brown University. Her interdisciplinary research interests lie in the intersections of gender, race, class, and sexual orientation in media and popular culture She is the author of Feminism and the Technological Fix, editor of Turning the Century: Essays in Media and Cultural Studies, co-editor of Prime Time Animation: Television Animation and American Culture, and author of White Victims, Black Villains: Gender, Race, and Crime News in US Culture. She is currently writing a book on women writers and the broadcast blacklist in the 1950s.