This blog has been created as part of a folklore project that looks at how women both interact with and participate in gaming and nerd/geek culture in the modern age.
Though there are plenty of female gamers, comic book lovers, anime fans, Whovians (Doctor Who fans), or whatever other title they use to describe their fandom and interests, there is still a disheartening attitude of male privilege rampant among these things. Most women (myself included) have some horror story involving males who challenge or demean them simply because they don’t seem to believe that a woman is capable of actually liking something they actually like, so that is one aspect that I will be addressing in this project.
However, I will also be looking not just at the challenges, but how women interact with each other and make this supposedly masculine space more feminine – or gender neutral!
– Terrilyn Frost
The comments on Barbara Dunkelman’s wikia page. Barbara Dunkelman is the community manager for Rooster Teeth, a company that is based very heavily in gaming and internet culture and is primarily run by men. The comments on Barbara’s page are notable because nearly all of them have something to do with who she is dating, how hot she is, how the user wants to marry her, and so on. The comments to the wikia pages of the men of Rooster Teeth, however, do not show such an abundance of that sort of behaviour, instead focusing on what they have done, upcoming projects, and so on.
This photo of the Frag Dolls is one of my favourite.
The Frag Dolls in and of themselves are a prime example of this clash between female identity and geek identity. They claim to be geeks which does not typically include pink dresses, high heels and slumber parties but they are also women, which does include those things. So what results in a clash of these two identities that are coming together in an attempt to prove that one can be geek even though she’s female, or be a girly girl even though she’s a geek.
One more on the exposing armour of WoW, as this one in particular shows an entire discussion players and forum users are having about it. They point out that certain items looks completely normal on male characters, yet the same item on a female and it suddenly turns into a thong, bra of bikini – lovingly called platekini (in reference to the armour being plate armour) by some.
In relation to the wiki article about female armour in WoW, there is also this tumblr post:
The art itself is great and hilarious, as are the comments by tumblr users on them. It is relevant because it shows that this discrepancy in armour from male to female does not go unnoticed by fans, and is in fact seen as unnecessary, ridiculous, and demeaning.
This explanation of why scantily clad armour is okay for females:
“Female armor tends to cover less than does male armor. Though there are many people who see this as mere fanservice, there are real, practical reasons behind it. First, females are statistically less muscular than males, and depend more on agility and cunning than raw strength in combat, thus wearing bikinis into battle makes more sense.”
I know using a wiki in an academic project is typically in bad form, but the opening sentence on the page on WoW female armour is just so striking to me that I felt it fit into my collection of vernacular examples of females in gaming. This is a wiki that is written by fans so I am unsure of whether or not the author is male or female, but it is written in an unofficial capacity by someone who likely participates in the WoW fandom and game. Although it is not necessarily about the gamers themselves, it is in regards to female characters, which has always been closely related.
It also denotes at the beginning of the page that it is a silly article, and the pictures of male characters in female armour at the end solidifies that.
This user submitted tutorial on how to make a Magic the Gathering cards corset. Creative and crafty, this example highlights what Leslie Simon would define as a Domestic Goddess Geek. It takes the truly feminine idea of a corset, and recreates and reconstructs it by making it out of these cards that are meant for playing a tabletop game that is considered both nerdy and male dominated.
Vader’s Little Princess
http://thedarkestofworlds.tumblr.com/post/71437785894/from-vaders-little-princess-written-by-jeffrey for a few examples
This entire collection is adorable, and a great example of females in nerd culture. It is illustrated and written by a man and is intended for geeks of all genders, but the way that he plays with this idea of Darth Vader’s “little princess” is relevant because of how he takes these familiar characters and changes their lives to match something more in line with what society perceives as the typical daughter father relationship, with Leia being cute and acting out in her teenage years
This geeky product and the Facebook comments about it, particularly the “other girls want diamonds that sparkle… I’m good with this” and “A GIRLS BEST FRIEND” comments.
In the game Minecraft, players can mine pixelated diamonds, which is what this necklace is. By taking an in game mechanic and making it into jewelry, it is a fun and interesting way that geekery has entered female merchandise in a clever way – it is a diamond necklace for geek girls, as a diamond is traditionally supposed to be a “girl’s best friend”.
“Wo”man cave – challenging the idea of a man cave by calling it a woman cave, even though the setting is not necessarily feminine. For a geek girl it is certainly an escape, which is what a man cave is supposed to be to men, but it is interesting that the poster would call it a woman cave.
This Facebook post has to do with female identity in gaming culture as it challenges the stereotypical women in the kitchen idea by putting the woman in the kitchen, but treating her as the action heroine Lara Croft.