On Wed 29th April, Graeme Kirkpatrick will give a lecture at Flinders entitled “How gaming became sexist: a study of UK gaming magazines 1981-1995”. The abstract is below.
2pm in Sturt Theatre. All welcome!
Graeme is visiting Adelaide as one of the international scholars associated with Melanie Swalwell’s Future Fellowship program of research.
Abstract: Computer gaming was not born sexist but was codified as an exclusively male practice as it peeled itself away from the rest of the burgeoning computer culture in the mid-1980s. This paper traces the development of gaming’s gender bias through a discourse analysis of gaming magazines published in the UK between 1981 and 1995. In their early years (1981-1985) these publications presented a milieu that was reflective on gender issues and concerned to include female participants. However, after 1986-7 the rhetorical framing of computer games, gaming and gamer performance was increasingly gender exclusive and focused on the re-enforcement of stereotypically masculine values, albeit that much of this discourse had a humorous and ironic inflection. The paper presents this as the gender-biased articulation of gaming discourse. Far from inheriting its male bias from the historical involvement of males in agonistic games or the proximity of computer games to technology (a field often codified as male) gaming seems to have been one of the ways in which the association of the masculine and the technical was re-asserted at the start of the digital era.
Bio: Graeme Kirkpatrick is Professor in Media Arts, Aesthetics and Narration at the University of Skövde, Sweden. His Aesthetic Theory and the Video Game (2011) was recently listed by Edge magazine as one that should be in every gamer’s library, while his Computer Games and the Social Imaginary (2013) was described in New Media & Society as ‘one of the finest books to date on digital games’. His first book, Critical Technology (2004), won the 2005 Philip Abrams Memorial Prize from the British Sociological Association.