“Women’s Online Gaming Communities: Don’t Hate the Game, Hate the Players”
Pervasive stereotypes such as ‘women don’t game’, ‘women don’t know how to game’ and ‘women don’t play violent videogames’ have long saturated the media as an explanation of why there are not more women gaming. The purpose of this presentation is to address these stereotypes and examine the online gaming experiences of women in Xbox Live that may explain why women appear absent in online gaming spaces. Using data from the GamerchiX Forum, I will discuss issues of harassment that women experience, and how the GamerchiX community (consisting of 2700 female gamers) offers different types of social support to address and overcome these negative gaming experiences, and how GamerchiX creates a safe, secure and encouraging community of female gamers. Moreover, I will explore the role GamerchiX plays in the lives of these women outside of gaming, which often encompass forum discussions that are not related to gaming at all, face-to-face meetings and associations in such spaces as Facebook.