Reading Questions

Categories: Readings

Post your questions to the Kafai and Heeter (essay from part 2) or the Kennedy here.
Hope you had a good Thanksgiving break!

16 Responses to Reading Questions

  1. Laura Hendricksen says:

    **oops, there is a little mistake in the precedent question.

    Kennedy’s article mentions that Lara Croft’s icon has polarized academic discussions. Presented as highly sexually fetischised and therefore being the ”spectacle”, Lara Croft’s figure also challenges traditional female roles in computer games as she moves freely in space and accumplishes heroic jumps. By being both the object of sexual desire and an action heroine in Tomb Raider, isn’t this « commercial » strategy eventually depicting a representation of female masquerade? Isn’t Lara Croft precisely portrayed as a female fantasy using her sexually appealing features to empower her own gender?

  2. Laura Hendricksen says:

    Kennedy’s article mentions that Lara Croft’s icon has polarized academic discussions. Presented as highly sexually fetischised and therefore being the ”spectacle”, Lara Croft’s figure also challenges traditional female roles in computer games as she moves freely in space and accumplishes heroic jumps. By being both the object of sexual desire and an action heroine in Tomb Raider, isn’t this « commercial » strategy eventually depicting a representation of female masquerade? Isn’t Lara Croft precisely portrayed as a female fantasy using her sexy-appealing features to empower her own gender?

  3. Rosalind Downer says:

    In Kennedy’s essay, she quotes Jones, followed by noting that he “sees these sexy and powerful female characters as providing complex resources for both fantasy and identification as stable gender roles are eroded”. Is that not the point of Lara Croft, to challenge conventional gender roles in favor of a masculinized female central character that appeals to both female and male audiences? What does this mean for gender roles? Are they what Jones suggests, finally eroding? Or is Lara Croft, and other revolutionary characters like her, always subject to Mulvian analysis, that phallic symbols such as her glasses and long hair are making up for her lack?

  4. Amethyst Tate says:

    Kennedy states that “If we are going to encourage more girls into the gaming culture then we need to encourage the production of a broader range of representations of femininity than those currently being offered.” While I agree with this statement, I feel as though Kennedy is claiming Croft is not a feminist icon based on her sex appeal. While I’ve never played the “Lara Croft” video game, the first time I watched the movie “Tomb Raider” I was captivated not only by Croft’s beauty, but also by her powerful presence and strength. Why should it matter that Croft is a sex symbol if she also embodies characteristics that women can look up to? Is it a negative if a feminist happens to be beautiful? Whatever happened to the saying “Beauty and brains”? Can’t we women have it all?

  5. Eleanor Krause says:

    T.L. Taylor speaks very highly of Edu-art; however, some of their methods send contradictory messages. Taylor states, “they also run ongoing play sessions where they bring groups of women into net cafés and teach them to play computer games.” Doesn’t this method make it seem like women need extra help to learn to play these games? It is sending the message that women have a harder time understanding and connecting with technology, and this undermines the groups objectives. Maybe I’m being overly critical but it seems that by holding “teaching sessions” they are creating a lesser image of the female’s abilities in gaming.

  6. Avery Rain says:

    One of the articles talks about how differences between young and old gamers are much more drastic than differences between male and female gamers. I wonder whether this observation can be applied to cross-gender identification with characters. It seems to me that video game playing represents quite a bit of identification with characters unlike yourself–is gender always the most important “cross” identification? Or does it only seem this way because we’re taking a class about gender?

  7. Oliver Sutro says:

    Kafai mentions the creation of secondary accounts by many players. For example, boy players make a girl avatar. Is Whyville so popular because it allows children to explore taboo sexualities anonymously? Are the excuses the players make truthful or rather coverups for their true goals? What are their goals in creating this second opposite gendered account?

  8. Amelia Furlong says:

    On Kennedy:

    It is a primarily second-wave opinion to think that, “The juxtaposition of physical prowess and sexuality continues to produce a great deal of ambivalence amongst feminist and non-feminist commentators.” Why has it become unfeminist for women to be sexual? These articles continually neglect to mention the “female gaze” and female desire, and then when it is shown, it is unfeminist. Why can’t feminism embrace female sexuality, even if it is hyper-sexualized, like with Lara Croft? Isn’t it better to show women who are strong and sexual, other than the sexual victims from horror films?

  9. Bryanna Kleber says:

    “Young women’s perceptions of risk and fear are deeply rooted in their bodies; they avoid what they perceive to be dangerous spaces in order to manage the risk of male violence. When they assume digital bodies in virtual space, female players are free to explore experiences of ‘meeting strangers in dangerous worlds’. But as soon as they try to extend their interactions to the public playground, they must accept the regulations and constraints of the physical world.” Do the characters any gamer assumes in the gaming world exhibit the person they desire to be if there were no inhibitions in life? How do gamers draw the line between reality and the virtual world? Do they recognize a line needs to be drawn? Is it possible to maintain a line between reality and the virtual world before the two start dangerously mixing together? And what happens when they start mixing together?

  10. Maria Macaya says:

    The social construction of femeninity prevents some girls from playing videogames. T.L. Taylor explains in his essay that it is not that women can not enjoy direct competition or fast action and violent games, it is simply that these characteristics are usually seen as masculine. It is also stated that “The (painful) irony of “girl games” is that they also serve to verify this distinction”(57). So what is the best way of integrating girls and women into the gaming network? Is it by creating “girl games” that they enjoy (or are taught to enjoy) but support the construction of femeninity? Or should girls not be given this option so that they play “masculine” games and brake the mistaken assumption that they do not enjoy these? Is eliminating girly games too much of a risk?

  11. Anna Gallagher says:

    “Male sexual desire and fantasy are always bound up in an image of femininity which is virtual (in the sense that it is not real). Femininity is thus finally exposed as an empty signifier, a sign without a referent” (Kennedy).

    I think Kennedy is pushing the idea of masquerade and gender as construction a bit further here. If femininity is “not real,” then what does this mean for female characters and female audiences who identify with them? What does this mean for those (male or female) spectators who desire female characters? Is masculinity just as “virtual,” or are the two presented way differently and therefore incomparable? Can her assertion be applied beyond the gaming world– to movies, television, etc.?

    I realize this is not concise, I just found the quote really interesting and am not exactly sure how to pin it down.

  12. Joyce Ma says:

    Kennedy’s Article
    “‘Between self and other, subject and object, [the interface] permits quasi-tactile manipulation of computational objects that exist on the boundary between the physical and the abstract’ (Sofia 1999). This collapse offers a promise of a utopian subjectivity which is free from the constraints of fixed gender boundaries.”

    How is Kennedy’s idea of “transgendering” different from Mulvey’s transvestite idea?

  13. Luke Martinez says:

    How much more “cultural knowledge” can tweens gain by online interaction versus playground interaction?

  14. Alexander Griffiths says:

    If dormitory play is discouraged and women gamers feel isolated from the male gamers around them, what part of the community do women fit? Is women are continually social isolated from the social network, why do they continue to play? If men play to actively partake in competitive gaming, to be part of a community, the reason women play is for totally different reasons, could one suggest that there is something abnormal about those women players who cannot engage in a social relationship online and still play regardless? Despite the Taiwanese female’s regret for her game playing, why did she continue to play when it isolated her from those around her and even those online?

  15. Rajsavi Anand says:

    “Male players using female avatars are generally stigmatized as “girlboys” by gaming communities because they are viewed as taking advantage of role-playing opportunities to harvest benefits they don’t deserve.” Wow. Aren’t women forced to take on male characters because of fear of harassment? Does this make them any less female? If avatars are supposed to be a way of acting out certain identities whether socially constructed are not, why then is the idea of a male playing a female character so stigmatized? Do other male/female players find it dangerous or threatening?

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