Digital Culture Discussion #6, communications homework help

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Please provide a comprehensive response of (between 100-400 characters) to each of these discussion questions. Remember that this is not an essay, so you won’t need to worry about formatting, but instead please focus on comprehensiveness of response and quality of writing ( editing, proofreading and proper sentence structure) because this is Masters level assignment in humanities.

Kennedy, “Lara Croft: Feminist Icon or Cyberbimbo?” & Hall, “Game Industry Gets Kids, Gender and Games Wrong”

Kennedy’s approach is useful not just for talking about Lara Croft or even gender in gaming, but for thinking critically about and analyzing gaming in general. She refuses easy answers, and recognizes that the same character may evoke differing responses from different players/users.

1. She writes that Lara Croft has been viewed as both “a positive role model for young women,” and “just a perfect combination of eye and thumb candy for the boys.”

While, as noted below, Kennedy moves beyond these alternatives, in your experience have you seen more of the positive role modeling or more of the eye candy response in Tomb Raider play or in the response to Lara as “ubiquitous virtual commodity” (i.e., an image used to sell products, and a film heroine)?

2. How do you think the Lara Croft films, with Angelina Jolie, have complicated the response to the character of Lara? (This by the way, is an example of “convergence” — see our Glossary wiki).

3. Kennedy writes that “while a number of games offer the option of a female character, the hero is traditionally male with females largely cast in a supporting role. In this respect alone, Lara was a welcome novelty experienced by female game players.”

This comment was made in 2002. Have things changed significantly? Is there yet a significant number of female game lead characters? If so, what are they like and to what extent do they break the mold of feminine stereotypes?

4. Does having female characters “wield guns and inhabit traditionally masculine adventure spaces” undermine stereotyped violent maleness or just add selected women into the stereotype?

5. How does the fact that male game players play as Lara complicate our understanding of her as cultural phenomenon?

(This is, by the way, a routine thing for female gamers who, given the dominance of male characters, pretty much have to gender switch. A recent academic study discovered that 68% of women who played computer games online have chosen male characters, often to ward off unwanted attention from men or to gain the upper hand over opponents:

http://www.channel4.com/news/articles/science_technology/online+gamers+prefer+gender+swap/1704447)

On the other hand, another study showed that many, many men purposely choose to play as women.

6. Do you agree with Kennedy’s males playing as Lara is less about crossing gender lines than “the pleasures …concerned with mastery and control of a body coded as female within a safe and unthreatening context”?

7. What of the claim of another critic (Jones) that this kind of playing may make it more likely for young men to “find strong, challenging women attractive”?

8. Does the absence of “romance” in the Lara Croft narratives help her escape female domestication, or just help keep Lara available to male fantasy? Do the movies change this dynamic? How does recognizing Lara as a subject of desire for lesbians complicate the picture? See, for example:

http://www.lesbiangamers.com/2008/02/doomsday—lara.html

9. Kennedy cites other critics who, noting the huge growth of the cosmetic surgery industry, and the “sad irony that … that real women are more and more likely to use [medical] technology in order to become more like virtual women who fundamentally are just technology.” Is this connection a coincidence, or have digital cultures significantly increased the pressure on girls and women to look like quasi-fantasy celebrities and techno-fantastic females?

10. Clearly, Kennedy refuses the easy binary suggested by her title, icon or cyberbimbo, instead making the case for the truth of each side of this divide, and for a more nuanced understanding of the varied uses to which game characters are put by actual players.

11. How might the research in Hall’s article revise the ideas in Kennedy’s?

12. Why do you think the game industry is behind the curve in regard to its audiences views?

Sarkesian, Tropes vs Women

1. What do you see as the most negatively impactful gender tropes in games?

2. Which of Sarkesian’s tropes do you think are in decline in gaming today?

3. What do you see as the most effective means of transforming representation in video games?

4. What are the weaknesses of Sarkisian’s analyses and how would you augment her approach?

5. What aspects of Sarkesian’s analyses do you think most account for the vitriol directed at her?

Gender Harassment in Gaming & Women Gamers Fighting Back

1. What do you see as the main causes of gender harassment in games?

2. What experiences, if any, have you had (as recipient or observer) with this kind of harassment. and what, if anything, did you do about it?

3. What do you see as the best solutions to this problem? What ways of “fighting back” do you think are most likely to be effective?

Your welcome to use external sources just to get your background information about content but all the sources you will need is listed below. If any of the the links don’t open, just use an external site. This is not a research or an essay, but you still need to cite properly every time you draw direct information from any of these sources or any external ones.

Sarkeesian, Feminist Frequency (After reading about the context, view at least two of Sarkesian’s “Tropes vs. Women” videos

Kennedy, Lara Croft: Feminist Icon or Cyberbimbo? On the Limits of Textual Analysis

Hall, Games Industry Gets Kids Gaming and Gender Wrong

O’Leary, In Virtual Play, Sexual Harassment is All Too Real &

Ito, Female Video Gamers Fight Back

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