Wednesday, October 1, 2008

September's end: NineMoons's article on the GE Gamer Girls Season 1 initiative TEASER

Granado Espada: Gamer Girls in the Spotlight
by PJ “NineMoons” Punla []

Back in the beginnings of the World Wide Web and the Internet, those who wanted in had to endure sharing their connections with everyone else, slow or laggy data lines, the occasional influx of not-quite-polite new users, and a slightly misogynistic take on things.

There are many stories as to where the hostility toward women on the Internet began. Some of the tales cite the relative anonymity of the early days, when people began to shift from using their own real names to the prototypical “handles” and usernames. Others mention that the original groups of users tended to be mostly male, and tended to expect that everyone else was, too. And still others paint pictures of the original groups of users as being rather left out of “real” society, lacking the ability or inclination to successfully mingle with fellow humans.

The misogyny scaled along with the growing community of users until eventually, the stereotype emerged: the typical Internet user is a male white teenager, whose ideas about the opposite sex are juvenile at best and outright hostile at worst.

One of the products of that stereotype is the following section taken from the so-called “Rules of the Internet”. Take note that these “rules” that were already offensive when they first came out, since they originated from a badly-behaved image discussion board:

Rules of the Internet
28. Always question a person's gender - just in case it's really a man
29. In the internet all girls are men and all kids are undercover FBI agents
30. There are no girls on the internet
31. TITS or GTFO - the choice is yours

The 31st “rule” may be the cruelest of all: if you claim to be female on the Internet, either show your breasts, or get the [insert your preferred expletive here] out.

And who can forget the pejorative abbreviation “GIRL” [Guy In Real Life], or its local equivalent term chicksilog, meaning a guy who assumes a female persona online?

With the advent of Web 2.0 and its many new applications, the Internet may finally be rebelling against the old misogyny: blogs run by and for women, many even organized into their own networks, such as the BlogHer network; social networking sites such as Friendster, MySpace, and Facebook, boasting multitudes of female users; and even media-streaming sites where women create and dictate the content, such as Christine Gambito’s Happy Slip Productions.

Video games bring up the special case of gamer girls. The female of the species has discovered a new playground, and has set out to conquer it with a vengeance. Since many girls have taken up gaming – many even professionally, and make no mistake, they are good at it – the marketing programs of what was formerly a male-adolescent-dominated audience [sound familiar?] are now shifting in order to target the new crop of players.

Gamer girls have been part of Massively Multiplayer Online Games [MMOGs], a special subset of video games, from the beginning – but now they are being heralded as the new face of the genre.


To read the rest of the article
online, click the following link: > Technology > Technology Features > Granado Espada Gamer Girls in the Spotlight

To read the rest of the article
in print, check out the November issue of Game! Magazine, hitting stands soon.

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