Despite accounting for almost half of the game playing population, women gamers are an underrepresented and excluded group within the gaming culture, both in regards to the advertising and production of video games. Prior research suggests that male gamers exclude women from gaming activities, question their legitimacy within the community, and create hostile environments for women both virtually in-game and in physical gaming spaces. As such, women gamers can be understood to hold a marginalized status with the gaming community. The current study looks to examine how women define themselves as "gamers" while negotiating this marginalized status. By adopting an identity work perspective, this research examines if and how women gamers perform identity work strategies, and more specifically the generic social processes defined by Schwalbe et al (2000) and expanded upon by Ezzell (2009). Drawing from interviews with 12 collegiate women gamers, this study explores how women define themselves as gamers through the identity codes of the gaming community, specifically through forms of commitment such as their time or honing their expertise. The data additionally explore how women negotiate a gendered gamer identity, as the identity codes they use to define themselves as gamers are often associated with gendered stereotypes, such as the "girl gamer" stereotypes, causing the women to utilize identity work processes, such as othering and subordinate adaptation, in order to maintain their gamer identity. As little research has looked to explore women gamers and their gamer identity construction, the present study addresses this gap in the literature through the unique theoretical lens of the identity work perspective.
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Master of Arts (M.A.)
College of Sciences
Length of Campus-only Access
Masters Thesis (Open Access)
Rosenbaum, Emily, ""Yeah I'm A Girl. I Play Video Games.": Identity Work of Collegiate Women Gamers" (2017). Electronic Theses and Dissertations, 2004-2019. 5554.