“ the interaction between gender and the use of computers involves a negotiation between established orders and libratory beliefs and behaviours that challenge convention.
Every new medium is a site for cultural negotiation on issues such as sexuality and gender so it’s not surprising to find the same old sexiest patterns arising in the discourse around computers.” (Kinder, 2000)
in school context, while boys were more likely to play games, to program, and to see the computer as a playful recreational toy, girls tended to see computers as a tool rather than an interesting artefact in its own right. (Ogletree and Williams 1990; Culley 1993)
Many times educators themselves had a part in creating a culture that alienated girls in school from getting more involved in new technology.
When a group of educators with software design experience was asked to design software especially for boys or for girls, they tended to design learning tools for girls and game activities for boys. When they were asked to design software for ‘generic’ students, they designed software that had similar game attributes, previously designed to fit boys’ estimated likeness.
In a research by Yasmin B. Kafai, - there were significant differences between the games designed by girls and the games designed by boys according to the use of violent feedback, characters, and game genre. (Kafai, 1996)
Studies that have focused on school environments have found girls reporting stress when working with educational software that has violent themes. (Cooper, Hall, and Huff 1990)
" Computer games as we know them were invented by young men around the time of the invention of graphic displays. They were enjoyed by young men, and young men soon made a very profitable business of them, dovetailing with the existing pinball business. Arcade computer games were sold into male-gendered spaces, and when home computer game consoles were invented, they were sold through male-oriented consumer electronics channels to more young men. The whole industry consolidated very quickly around young male demographics – all the way from the game-play design to arcade environments to the retail world - and it made no sense for a company to swim against the tide in al three of these area at once… Given all these barriers, who knew if girls and women would play computer games or not? Were there intrinsic gender differences that caused females to be repelled by computer games? How should we understand the exceptions – games that attracted a higher than usual percentage of female players, like Mario Brothers, Tetris, and Myst ?What would it take to design a computer game a large numbers of girls really like? "
- תקופה מוקדמת יותר , בסביבות אמצע שנות ה -90, בהן בנות היו קהל סרבן ותעשיית משחקי המחשב חיפשה דרכים בכדי לפתות את הקהל הנשי .
משנות האלפיים ואילך , בהן בנות מוכרות כסקטור פוטנציאלי רווחי ושוק המשחקים יוצר משחקים לקהל זה בהתאם להנחות והשערות שחלחלו בתקופה המוקדמת יותר והיוו את הבסיס לתפיסה הגורפת של מה בנות רוצות ואוהבות במדיה
In 1991, in a study conducted by Eugene Provenzo showed that out of one hundred arcade games that were examined, 92 percent contained no female roles whatsoever . Of the remaining 8 percent, 6 percent had females playing the “damsel in distress” role, and only 2 percent had females playing active roles. However of these active roles, most were not human, such as “Mrs Pacman” and “Mama Kangaroo”. (Provenzo, E 1991)
“ We’re still sort of like the dancing dog…One marvel less at how the dog dances than that the dog dances at all…"Back when I was working at Origin Systems I asked this producer, 'Why don't you make games to include your female players?' And he looked at me and said, 'I have more left-handed players than I have female players and I don't make games for left-handed people. Why should I make games for you?'“
“ With the arrival of such titles as Donkey Kong and Dragon’s Lair , the idea of ‘fun for the whole family’ began to fade away. By the 1990s’, the market had firmly established itself as a “males, ages 13-25’ domain, and publishers began to churn out title after title aimed squarely at that market. As the competition increased, the companies began to try to outdo each others with their machismo slants in order to capture a larger share of this tightly defined market.” (G.Ray, 2004)
In a study conducted by Christine Ward Gailey in 1993, found Gailey that most of the game characters at that point of time followed a traditional set of gender stereotypes, including the portrayal of good but passive princess as objects which motivate the action, and bad erotised women as competitors, who must be, as Gailey argues, strike back by the male protagonist. (Gailey 1993) Gaile, C. 1993. “
- Men and women approach the computer with different attitude.
Men see the computer as a machine to be challenged, something to be mastered, overcome, and be measured against.
- Female approach to computers as ‘soft’; Women tend to work with a computer in a cooperative manner, meaning that instead of trying to ‘dominate’ the machine, as men usually do, women attempt to work with the computer to achieve their goals.
Helen Kennedy in her study on female Quake players and female Quake clan showed that there can be other alternative pleasures possible for women gamers who played the 3rd first person shooter game.(Kennedy, 2003)
Elisabeth Hayes’s case studies of women learning to play Morrowind argued against the generalisation that occurs in underlining gender position in players’ preferences and at the same time disregarding their other subject positioning. (Hayes, 2005)
“ Maybe it’s a problem that little girls don’t like to play games that slaughter entire planets. Maybe it’s why we are still underpaid, still struggling, still fighting for our rights. Maybe if we had the mettle to take on an entire planet, we could fight some of the smaller battles we face everyday.” (Riot Grrrl Nikki Douglas 1998)
A Dating Game - Epyx presents Barbie (Mattel, 1984)
Ken: “Hi Barbie, It’s Ken. Would you like to go to the pool?”
Barbie: “Sound like fun!”
Ken: “Great! See you in an hour.”
Barbie’s missions: shopping and dressing-up activities for going out on different set-up dates with Ken, to the pool, tennis, and the prom. The tasks had to be done under a certain time limit and Barbie’s reward would be the final actual date with Ken to a picnic .
However, the player’s punishment for not being ready on time for the date would end up with a raging Ken, filling the screen with visual nonsense and freezes.
1994, ‘Sanctuary Woods - Hawaii High: The Mystery of the Tiki.
New Core Values:
character-centred plots, issues of friendship and social relationship, lack of violent themes, bright colourful graphics, and a considerable reduction of game specific action tasks.
The elimination of a death failure to the character, or hardly any either game punishments for making mistakes, a happy narrative ending for the crooks, who upon being caught, decided to give up their life of crime and fled away.
Jennifer, a New York high school girl, visit Hawaii and her adventures in trying to return a stolen Tiki doll to the museum. In accordance with quest games of that time, it was a click your own adventure game, offering the player several spaces to explore on each level.
“ girls (roughly) between the ages of six/seven to eleven years who are “on the age of adolescence”, not yet ‘big girls’ but no longer ‘little girls’ and seemingly ‘wise beyond their years’
( Gilligan, C, Brown, 1993 M, L. Meeting at the crossroads)
“ Tweendom” - frequently the focus of adults’ moral fright about the death of innocence and the disappearance of childhood. Moreover, the focus of the commodification of girl’s culture as marketing towards girls had intensified as well as moved downward.
“ As far as my motivation is concerned, there are a couple of things. One is the idea that I can help lead the way into the future for this huge mass of girls – to see what the possibilities are for them, to say to them, “Playing with computers is fun, but what you can learn on the computer is useful to you.” I felt like I had a lot to share with the world in that regard. And I have this sort of mission, if you will, that I want all those girls who are now six and seven, when they’re twenty-six and thirty-six and forty-six, to still be using computers as a tool, and to remember that it’s all because of Barbie. And they can say, “And the first thing I used was ‘Barbie Fashion Designer’, or they can say, “That was a product that was meant for me. That was something I had a real connection to…”
(Martin, Cited in Cassell and Jenkins, 1998, p.137)
“ girls compete horizontally while boys compete hierarchically; meaning that girls assert social influence and structure relationships while boys seek to dominate and defeat. Appropriately, girls gain social status by affiliating with some people and excluding others, whereas boys gain social status by achievement and physical domination; girls want multi-sensory immersion, discovery, and strong story lines, and boys want speed and action; girls succeed through development of friendships, and boys through elimination of competitors. And, while girls play "to explore and have new experiences with degrees of success and varying outcomes," boys, according play "to win “
"Eight-to-12-year-old girls just have an intense fascination with characters who span media forms, They love that ubiquitousness, that feeling of, oh my God, this character's everywhere! We want girls to hang out with ‘Purple Moon’ wherever they go. And that pervasiveness, we believe, will help us deliver on a suite of experiences that is just really really relevant and meaningful to them." ( Laurell, 1998)
“ In the case of the Rockett series, Purple Moon does not only perpetuate the stereotype that girls are only interested in boys, clothes, and being popular, but also perpetuates other stereotypes such as the snobby popular blond girl and the smart Asian with glasses.”
Rockett wails , "It's only the first day and already I'm blowing it fashion-wise!"
“ At ‘Purple Moon’ we played with various structures for interactive narrative and tried to do positive work for girls in the context of popular culture. I took a lot of hit from some people who call themselves feminists for portraying girl characters who cared about such things as appearance, popularity, belonging, betrayal, and all the other strum und drang of preadolescent friendship. Some people thought I shouldn’t do that because girls shouldn’t behave in this way. But they do, you see. And who they become depends a great deal on how they manage their transit through the narrows of girlhood.”
"This is just another example of the tawdry history of sex difference research that is driven by stereotypes and results in reinforcing those stereotypes..most researchers are now focusing on variation among girls, and among boys, and on areas of commonality, rather than on simplistic claims of dichotomous gender difference."
“ The problem was that the company’s actual games were lame little adventures made with Macromedia Director. They were too short, and offered poor value for the money. The artwork consisted of cartoony sketches. The voice-overs and sound effects were no more than adequate. Worst of all, the themes of the games were insipid: giving advice to friends, getting into the right crowd at school. In the planned series of soccer games, the entire first game was devoted to finding out who would get onto the team — you didn't even get to play soccer. God, who would want to relive that nightmare,”
"We believe Michelle Kwan Figure Skating will be at the top of a lot of young girls' holiday wish lists this year. This title is easy-to-use and will provide hours of fun for girls who dream of collecting bouquets of roses after skating a flawless routine in front of a packed arena. Michelle Kwan Figure Skating provides a balanced mix of fashion, music, pageantry and competition."
“ I have a problem with pink games or what’s called fluffware and that’s games that are designed for the stereotypical interests of girls. You are lumping women in this category that is so ridiculous because women have a broad range of interests and you’re loosing a whole market by doing that.” (Beradette LaCarte, 1996)
“ The design team purposely avoided killing-punishments in the game. The team identified ‘fatality’ locations; areas in the game where the player was given the opportunity to make a choice that might result in death. At these locations the game information was saved automatically without the player’s knowledge. If a fatal choice was made, the player was shown a video clip of the vampire attacking, and was then given a screen that said, “Try Again?” The scenario could be tried again, or the player could leave the area to try a different route, starting from the point where she entered the location with the fatal choice. (Garner Ray, 2004)
Magnet Interactive Studio’s CD-ROM Chop Suey (1995)
“ I think people who enjoy games and traditional CD-ROMs expect a specific kind of journey and result at the end. Chop Suey is really joust about the journey. Suddenly at the end it’s kind of the beginning again. It’s all the same thing. I know I like that more than something that’s really aggressive or violent. “( Gesue 1998)
Aunt Vera whose life “was a series of magical stories like little pearls on a long, long necklace”.
Although diverse in their range of topics, what these games and many other that followed had in common was a certain believe that girls prefer games that offer non-aggressive play activities, are not too complicated to use , and that correspond with existing girls’ preferences in play, media, and literature.
Her Interactive - Nancy Drew (1997- today) IBM - Crayola Magic wardrobe (1997), Crayola Magic Princess (1997) EA - Michelle Kwan Figure Skating (1999). Microsoft – Purple Moon – Rockett’s series Girl Games trend
- Henry Jenkins sees a correlation in the emergence of a gender-specific game space with existing traditional paradigms of creating separate contents for boys and girls.
- The conventions of the nineteenth - and early twentieth – century boys’ stories and play habits, as providing a basis for the production of game spaces that acquire ‘rough-and-tumble’ qualities and that are removed from domestic space or adult supervision.
- Girls’ digital products as following a paradigm, developed in earlier children’s literature for girls, that was “ domestic in setting, heavily didactic, and morally or spiritually uplifting. “(Jenkins, 1998 p.277)
“ what these girls’ games should have done, and yet haven’t, was to help girls develop the self-confidence and competitiveness demanded of professional women by teaching girls to explore “unsafe” and “unfriendly” spaces and by offering a similar ‘complete freedom of movement’ so often promised by boy’s games and yet rarely seen in girls’ products (Jenkins, 1998)
“ The space of boy books reflected on boys’ specific assumptions of play preferences. This was a space of adventure, risk taking and danger. Girls’ space, in contrast, was a space of secrets and romances that offered very little room for exploration. If the boys’ book protagonists escaped all domestic responsibilities ( Huckleberry Finn, Treasure Island ), the girls’ book heroines learned to accept family and domestic obligations. (Little Women, Anne of Green Gables).”
“ You see this picture of a little boy with a stuffed bunny in one hand and a Lego gun in the other. You could almost freeze-frame that moment in development…if becoming a boy means becoming tough, then boys may feel at an early age that they have to hide the part of themselves that is more caring or stereotypically feminine.” (Gilligan, 2005)
” In a society where many men and women are alienated from members of the other sex, one wonders whether males might be more comfortable with and understanding of women’s needs and perspectives if they had imaginatively shared female experiences through books, beginning in childhood.” (Segal, p.183)
The first children’s book that was published in 1774 by John Newbery , A Little Pretty Pocket-Book , was sold with a ball (for boys) and pincushion (for girls) to “delight and instruct “Little Master Tommy, and Pretty Miss Polly”.
“ The passivity that is the essential characteristic of the “feminine” woman is a trait that develops in (the young girl) from the earliest years…She is dressed in inconvenient and frilly cloths of which she has to be careful, her hair is done up in fancy style…to develop grace she must repress her spontaneous moments…The delights of passivity are made to seem desirable to the young girl by parents and educators, books and myths, women and men: she has thought to enjoy them from earliest childhood.”.
Historically girls have relied on two primary methods for achieving femininity. The first strategy involved shunning all behaviours and activities that are conventionally associated with masculinity. Girls stop taking classes such as football and boxing, and become more concerned about gender-appropriate cloths and all manner of social behaviours.
The second is to display their investments in traditional gender norms in adhering to behaviours and practices commonly associated with women.
“ There is… a greater degree of uncertainty in society as a whole about what it is to be a woman. This filters down to how young women exist within this new habitus of gender relation…It might even be suggested that…girls…have been “unhinged” from their traditional gender position”.
“ Let's Talk About ME! Provides you with the opportunity to explore your body, your relationships, your personality and your potential, all within the privacy of your own interactive experience Let s Talk About Me can best be described as an activity center for 10-14 year old girls. The game combines quizzes and mini-games with more exploratory activities like horoscopes, and fashion designers. The game was designed to specifically appeal to girls, there is no combat, and the most of the games have no right or wrong answers.”
Contemporary feminist academic discussions of fashion and feminine cultures of consumerism - fashion is being considered as a source of pleasure and power that can be beneficial in assisting girls with the development of their identity and social relations.
Researches have shown that girls’ consumption of commercial media products has an important social function, helping young girls to express themselves assertively and to form relationship with other girls.
"What all these new girl products should have done was to open up different ways the interactive medium can integrate into our free time and our social time…What needs to happen is for girl games to get out of the realm of gender and into the realm of design." (Dangelmaier, cited in Weil 1997)
In 2001, PlayStation released its first console version to the popular ‘Konami’ arcade game Dance Dance Revolution . (DDR). It was an instance hit with the girl audience. In Europe, Dance Dance Revolution was released by the name of Dancing Stage .
DDR has rapidly become a pop–culture phenomenon with references in other media including movies, books, music videos, and TV shows. Likewise, tournaments of DDR are held worldwide with participant competing for higher scores and better performances, and on the web DDR has generated a big Internet fandom to support its phenomenon.
“ For girls who have grown up with technology," said ‘eMarketer’ Analyst Debra Aho Williamson " there is no significant gender gap in Internet usage, and the rise of activities that are particularly appealing to young females, such as social networking, will result in even greater usage.". (Williams, 2007)
Q: How might the technology change if girls start using computers more often?
“… if we were to develop something that we interacted with “in a more feminine manner”, it would have to be something that was more able to respond to you. You couldn’t just act upon it and do things and have not known anything about you. If computers are going to be changed by a girl’s interaction with them, they need to be more responsive to the individual girl who’s using them. (Heather, Cited in Justin and Cassell, 2007, p.160)
“ while girls and women have increased their use of the Internet and personal computers as much as men have, the number of women in the IT and game industry has not changed significantly. Over the last ten years, the number of women enrolling in college has increased to surpass that of men. While numbers in the sciences have gone up, women are still vastly underrepresented in computer science and the game industry – in these two fields women are virtually unseen and unheard of both in academia and business.”
"Most online sites are focused on violence and competitiveness; I wanted to create a positive online environment for young girls who are creative and interested in fashion. They are looking for alternatives to shoot 'em up and kill 'em up games.”
Games present us with uncommon game play that supports friendship in its activities and that introduce us with substitutes to conceptual ‘boys’ toys’ activities with which to save the world . Aptly, their winning system is often heavily associated with witticism and sauciness as part of the game’s rewards. Kim is an acknowledged leader who displays such qualities as assertiveness and competitiveness alongside physical strength , and agility . And while their themes negotiate with issues of fashion and consumerism , the core topics of the emergent ‘girl digital culture’, their approach to the subjects is distinctive as they provide space for girls to join – or play alongside – the traditional boy action culture