Black Women and Video Games By: O’Neika-Joy Hinnant
The Exigency I have chosen to focus my study on the lack of Black female opinions in academic gaming research I chose this topic because various research articles on female video gaming failed to interview African American women.
Why Video Games? Video games are quickly becoming the number one form of mass consumed media. Consalvo, Hopson, Lee, Royse, and Undrahbuyan have argued that the omission of certain content could also create distorted views of reality. In contrast, when diverse groups are not included in media content, there is a message that the missing groups are unimportant and powerless (99).
Why Video Games? When opportunities for direct contact with racial group members are lacking, the media serves as important agents in the formation and reinforcement of racial stereotypes (Dalisay and Tan 8).
Research Study I want to discover if Black women participate in video gaming or do they see their exclusion as a deterrent This study seeks to rehash questions asked in previous video gaming research studies in order to gain insight into the video gaming preferences of Black/African American Women.
Method- A Survey
Seventy five women participated in the survey. 52% were African Americans, 32% were Black Americans, 6% were bi racial and 10% were multi racial black women. The ages ranged from 18-65. The median age was 27.
Do Black Women play Video Games?
How Often? 38% play every now and then. 18% hardly ever play
How Long? Eighty four percent play 1-2 hours Fourteen percent play 3-6 hours
What genres of Video Games Do Black women prefer?
Will the presence of a female character make Black women want to play Halo Reach (a shooter game) ?
Will the presence of a Black female character make Black women want to play Resident Evil 5 (Horror game)?
Are Black women interested in games that allow them to construct environments that reflect their identity or games that are already created?
Will Black females choose animal characters that are gender neutral or will they choose an African avatar?
Are Black women affected by Eurocentric ideals of Beauty? No---65% of the participants felt that Black video game avatars with fair skin, small nose, small lips, and long flowing hair are not ideal representations.
Are Black Women Affected by the Visual rhetoric in video games that promotes Eurocentric ideals of thinness? Yes 51% of the participants thought Sheva’s body was just right 18% thought her body was ideal
Conclusion In order for women of color to be recognized within new media spaces academic researchers need to include Black women in their research demographics. In revealing the power differentials, we may begin to re-imagine marginal groups existence within the technological narrative even as they reconstitute it for their own identity (Hobson 112). Researchers should remember that all the men are not Black; all the women are not white, Black women exist as Black women (Taylor 236).
References Consalvo, Mia, Mark Hopson, Joon Lee, Pam Royse, and BaasamjavUndrahbuyan. "Women and Games: Technologies of the Gendered Self." New Media & Society 9.4 (2007): 555-76. Sage. Web. 9 Sept. 2010. <http://nms.sagepub.com/content/9/4/555>. Dalisay, Francis. and Tan, Alex. "Assimilation and Contrast Effects in the Priming of Asian American and African American Stereotypes Through TV Exposure." Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly 86.1 (2009): 7-22. Print. Hobson, Janell. "Digital Whiteness, Primitive Blackness." Feminist Media Studies 8.2 (2008): 111-26. Print. Taylor, Ula. "The Historical Evolution of Black Feminist Theory and Praxis." Journal of Black Studies 29 (1998): 234-253.