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FREE REIGN: VIRTUAL GAMING AND THE MANIFESTATION OF MALE DOMINANCE
Posted by: Write My Essay on: January 3, 2018

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In the past decade, the gender gap in the Internet world and gaming society has reduced (Sveningsson, 2012). The percentage of female gamers has increased to 38%. The study reveals that male people dominate the gaming community and play real games; such is not a case with the females. The gender has influence on choices in both the real and the virtual world. For example, it is generally observed that the women characters in games are often weak or that of damsels who need a hero to save them from villains (Cassell & Jenkins, 2000). In all the male-dominated occupations, the females feel under-utilised and are introduced to bias behaviour (Feyerherm & Vick, 2005). The international researches have shown that the lack of adequate training and mentorship opportunities form the basis for professional hindrances for women. [Are you asking the question “Write my essay for me?” Get help here.]These experiences are negative, and have been a base for the movement of women from male-dominated occupations to those that are female-dominated (Damaske, 2011).

Other hindrances that stop women from accomplishing their goals in male-dominated occupations are expectations from themselves. Women are not too sure of their own competencies; they feel inadequately equipped with resources and are less confident. The gender inequality is also exhibited by salary discrimination in some areas. (Ashraf, 2007; Feyerherm & Vick, 2005; Hicks, 2012). In these areas, men have more resources and are equipped with more powers to practice discriminatory policies and ideologies (Damaske, 2011; Mathur-Helm, 2006). In all the service sectors, the males have a better graph for career progression, as they have a higher rate of presence and availability for longer hours in the work environment. The females, on the other hand, are unable to impress their managers, in this context, as many of the women face family obligations (Cha, 2013), as females are often treated as primary caregivers in the family. When women frequently switch between work demands and family priorities, they might feel over burdened and are unable to maintain a work-life balance (Du Plessis & Barkhuizen, 2012).

In the male-dominated environment, men try to succeed by playing political games, backstabbing, aggression, overconfidence, point scoring and “stitching people up.” However, women try to use mentorship, participatory leadership styles by being fair, and caring, which is more unintentional and due to basic feminine nature. Some women try to adopt male behaviours and are finally caught between resisting and adjusting themselves to male politics (Davey, 2008). This is also shown in London’s gender pay gap. The dominance of the finance sector has its highest pay gap in Britain, and this is usually in the areas of maths and sciences (Greater London Authority, Closing the Gap, 2008).

The starting point of determining gender and behaviours associated female psychology should be analyzed. “Is the construction of the category of women as a coherent and stable subject an unwitting regulation and reification of gender relations?” (Butler, 1990). It is unfortunate that even female writers critique the women and technology interactions, describe the women as users and objects for technology. From the available research, it appears that social constructs identified by feminism have been imposed on females through a framework that is male-centric. This applies to the gaming world and use of technology, and in the virtual world as well. [Are you asking the question “Write my essay for me?” Get help here.] The number of women is fewer, for those who succeed in male dominated society and are remarkable achievers, without any compromises to their own identity (Royse et al., 2007). There is no compromise from the technology front; however, majorly, women have to compromise, and this causes them to easily get trapped into male-centric social net.

The women prefer games which have more interaction than competition. The women are more inclined towards social interactions. The women also try to refrain from games that sexualise the characters. Mostly women are shown inferior and in need of help in all the games, and dependent on a hero. This shows that in the stereotypical society, women compromise. The gender identity does not convince the females to enter any competition. In the 1980s technology analyses was shifting from women’s access to examining the processes by which development and use of technology. The core concern of feminism was the relation between women’s work and technology. “Have gender preferences and stereotypes changed with the millennial generation? … Could it be possible that the interactive nature of gender and technology along with the more liberal political and social leanings of this generation have contributed to a true bending of gender that is different from prior and more traditional generations?” (Kapidzic and Herring, 2011). The answers seem to be no. It was found that young females wanted to show themselves as reactive, emotional, friendly, available, and polite. However, males pretended to be dominant, manipulative, and assertive. A study explored that in gaming technology, communication by a female voice was 3 times more likely to get aggressive comments or negative reactions. (Kuznekoff & Rose,2012).

In organisations, the major practices that depict discrimination and bias among males and females are: First, inadequate resources for female colleagues; second, bias policies and infrastructure; third, stereotyped spill over gender biased roles, and women-related expectations; fourth, male resistance and male prejudices; and, sixth, related work-life balance needs for women and their physical work identity. A woman’s need to take charge of the family and take care of household work apart from daily jobs is also included as a side point. And the last point is health issues, physical issues with women and negative work perceptions for women.

Women can adapt various techniques to cope up with male dominated occupations like: adoption of male characteristics, mentorship, motivation and appreciation, challenging work environment, recognition and rewards. The studies show that not only married women who have children face the challenge of role conflict, as it is also there for the single women. Many career-oriented females still have to cook, shop, do housework etc. Throughout society, a female is termed as caretaker of the family (Finnemore & Cunningham, 1995; Mostert, 2009). In a male-dominated society, the females have much more burden, as males are expected to be devoted to only work, and females have a challenge in meeting the work-life balance, trying to cope up with the job challenges and the duties at home. The females, even after having much more talent do not get recognised much in their career, as they are unable to provide extra hours to work, and are mostly compared to other employees, who are males and can work longer hours. Males are able to put in much extra time and effort as compared to females. Despite so many pitfalls, women are now able to cope with their personal and professional lives. Some of the strategies to achieve the same have personal cost attached to them. For example, (Harris and Giuffre, 2010) and (Watts, 2009) suggested that the male-dominated occupations might cause females to choose to delay or fore-go the ability to bear a child, so that they are not refrained from their jobs. Most of the females also compromise on the job front, by declining better career opportunities or by not going to far places for further training that might help them grow in their occupations (Mathur-Helm 2006). The women are generally found conflicting and struggling due to two opposing behaviours. They use feminism and try to use the male characteristics. Women, in male-dominated society, can also be mentored. The mentor function should be supporting in work, attending emotions and maintaining the work-life balance. There are several other aspects that motivate the females. Despite of such highly challenging environment, the females try to cope with male dominance. Many women have turned towards the optimistic approach for future career possibilities and changes towards bringing about equality among males and females.

The success and recognition achieved by women, by pioneering and standing against all odds, gives a reassurance to the females to remain in a job in male-dominated occupations. The woman has different terms to define success in their career. These terms are intangible and are internal satisfactions like achievements, accomplishment, influence and recognition of self. The organisations must understand how women perceive their career success (Sturges, 1999).

A very good example of being gender bias is virtual absence of females for experimental trials for advanced medical technologies. The biological gap among males and females has major health consequences, but the researchers are examining male subjects only. This has flawed the medical science’s research. As for breast cancer, when a male subject was being tested and treated, that treatment was not applicable for females. There is bias in areas of medical research in terms of lack of female researchers, and if the subjects are females then they are generally middle class, and have inadequate funding (Giudice, 1991). There is a similar notion that men typically have heart diseases, so the subjects for research are men. However, it might not be correct, and this leads to a risky situation for female heart patients. Women are more prone to heart disease, and can have the risk of another attack, within first year of the first heart attack. As the heart diseases are termed as male illness, the females receive less aggressive care (Young and Kahana, 1993).  The male dominance was not there from the beginning. Historically, the hunter-gatherer society was not predominated by either of the sexes. Both the males and females had to hunt for themselves to survive. We are unaware of the reasons for emergence of male-dominated societies. The males are termed as heads of the household, in terms of legal and cultural aspects of the family. Even a newborn child bears the surname carried by its father, though he is carried and delivered by the mother. It is the perception of men towards the role of women in the society that actually defines how females are treated (or mistreated). Most of the countries have male-dominated judiciary systems and governments. The institutions are patriarchal, which means they are governed by the regulations favouring men and try to define, regulate and control women.

There are various places where women are treated as lower/subordinates to men only because of their sex. They are also subject to exploitation, humiliation, violence and discrimination. These discriminations are over rights like the right to education, the right to food, employment, decision-making etc. It is not because of biological differences, which is by nature, but due to their gender discrimination. This gender has been evolved by society. As stated earlier, and it was not there in the history of hunters, but as society emerged, the aspect of gender came into light. This inequality in the hierarchy of society is due to socio-cultural factors like aptitude, desire, ability, roles in society etc. These differences and perceptions are totally manmade.

The subordination of women varies from one country to another. This control over women is historical and has been passed from generation to generation. This control is practiced in all kinds of institutions like family, society, race, class, offices etc. The personal household roles and social roles of both men and women are different. The theories of men supremacy have been challenged by the feminists, as there is no historical evidence. This opposition becomes stronger by the saying that biological difference might differentiate the roles of men and women, but it nowhere shows the supremacy of men over women (Rowbotham, 1981). “Feminism is an awareness of patriarchal control, exploitation and oppression at the material and ideological levels of women’s labour, fertility and sexuality, in the family, at the place of work and in society in general, and conscious action by women and men to transform the present situation” (Bhasin and Khan, 1999). It is a struggle for women to attain a balance in work and profession while retaining respect, dignity equality and freedom to control their lives.  The feminist theorists generally have 4 major concerns (Jaggar and Rothenberg, 1984 in Mandell, 1995). The first concern is, gendered nature of all social and institutional relations is understood. Second is considering the gender relations as painful areas due to inequalities in social lives. The third concern is that relations are not natural. The feminist’s theorists reconstruct the theories about men and women. And the last one stated that they have challenged the arrangements favouring men over women.

The religions also support the theories of male dominance. Most religious practices keep male authority at a level higher than females. These laws keep males at superior position in cases of law, marriage, divorce, property matters, inheritance etc. If any inter-cast marriage takes place, then also the religion and values of the males are dominant. Still, in some areas the ‘burkha’ system is followed, which shows that women are insecure and not strong enough to walk ahead of males. There are some male-dominated institutions like churches and states that might lay down norms for reproduction capacity of females (Bhasin & Khan, 1999).

The economists in areas of the labour market tend to explain sex segregation with respect to gaps in household responsibilities (that are for females), human capital, and work (Becker, 1991). The correction of a “gender deficit” can be done by applying equal opportunity policies and socialisation procedures. As per feminists, the problem is not in aspiration and values of females. There is a need to reshape the techno science to adjust as per women’s needs.

In the media, specifically in games and movies, the roles of females are not clear. There are many less movies which are created by women, and based on female characters. The majority of the movies revolve around the male hero and females are found supporting the same. Most of the movies and stories depict women as very weak, who always seeks help from the males to safeguard herself or her interests. The roles of women in all media types have been unrecognised, unaccepted and not appreciated. From the 1960s the gender bias has reduced. Similarly, the videogame parlours were initially the hub for the boys. We seldom find any female going to game zones to play in their leisure time. However, there has been an increase in number of online women game players. The fact is, the game developers tend to develop games keeping the target audience in mind. Most of the players and audiences are college boys. In most of the games, females are generally the target or victims of violence, or else they would be some symbols for attraction. In both the cases, women do not feel the urge to play such games. “Boys and men are permitted to develop unrealistic ideals of the female body type, or to dispense with relating to human women whatsoever, replacing them with easily controlled virtual bots,” (Schleiner 2001).  However, other people try to follow the female images. A female avatar played by a male player breaks down the gender roles, as the males are allowed to wear feminine identity, without a hit that comes with exploring feminity out of the virtual world. The gender influences the behaviour of two people with each other.  This gender discrimination reinforces positions of power in social relations (Butler, 1990). As per Butler, there are no genders pre-existing, but are formed due to cultural practices.The games industry is embedded in society and cultural connections, and so the games reflect the cultural values, depicting domination of males (Jenson et al, 2007). However one can also argue that the technology was not so advanced with respect to game design, to show genders (Krotoski, 2005).

In the majority of gaming studies, the females are minor groups. This minority is applicable to both the online avatars and off screen female players. There are many portrayed in weak roles. However, the number of virtual women being positively represented in games is increasing (Provenzo, 1991). The surveys also show that there has been a steady increase in female players. Also, this number is increasing via virtual avatars being shown as equally successful and strong as the respective male counterparts (Schott & Thomas, 2008).  There are different ways in which players choose the avatars to represent themselves virtually. This is useful to create roleplaying and maintain privacy so that user can play using pseudo names and avatars.

The females can also use male avatars so that there is no feeling of being weak against the counterparts. The pseudo names help the females to challenge the different players without hurting anyone’s ego. Generally, when a player is male, he might feel offended when he loses to a female. So, if a female uses a pseudo name, there are less chances of any ego clashes. However, this is not the right way and this might make female unconfident, and inefficient. She might be a good player, but not be satisfied or content without revealing the correct sex. This is all dependent on the perception and thinking about the way people think about the opposite gender.

Each individual has a unique experience while performing one’s gender within gaming spaces. Masculinity is not just for males, and similarly, femininity is not only related to women (Butler, 1990). The gender bend can show innovative ways of experiencing the combination of avatar and gamer. The gender bending performances show limited challenge within gaming mainstreams (Kennedy,2002). Mostly, men players enjoy playing as women avatars. They like interacting with other men depicting themselves as females. A recent study on gender bending claimed that approx 80% men use or have sometime in past used female avatars, whereas the women did not prefer to change their sex as avatars (Yee, 2007).  In a gamers’ study conducted in 2009, the qualitative experiences of mature women gamers playing online from their personal home computers/laptops were studied. The self-creating notions of the female by creating avatars were totally missing. This change of sex avatars are mainly found by men. Women only focused on change of looks, hairstyle, and skin tones. When female participants of the survey were asked about the change in sex of avatars, it was confirmed that the females are generally termed as weaker to their counterparts. The men generally make themselves converted to a female avatar, mainly due to 4 reasons: The first is the perspective of playing changes. Second is the counterparts are softer and do not use the macho man style. Third is the more invites are being received for participating in group games. And the last is more accessories and customisation options are available with female avatars. The male avatars have basic looks, only the colour of hair and accessories could change. The choices were too limited.

The video games have been audience specific. Generally, these are gender bias. As the multimedia entertainment has become widespread, the games tend to be gender biased and complex. However, the majority of male-dominated games exists. Just as kids are being asked to pick up gender-based toys. If we relate this to happy meal toys that are offered with meals, there is also a segregation of toys on the basis of gender. This has been inherited by the culture of the society. Parents generally never ask a boy to play with a doll, and a kid girl to play with a gun. This all has been inculcated in us with our upbringing. It is not the case that these things might harm any opposite sex, but this is only a cultural notion that has been carried for generations.

As most of the gamers and game developers are males, the society has become used to this kind of segregation. There is a male dominance in case of games arena, also because females change their pseudo names to males. As per ESA2007 the 40% of all videogame players are females. The majority of online people assume that they are playing with male counterparts; however, both parties are not totally sure of the real sex of the other. As technologies are masculine since inheritance, (as per societal gender roles), it is assumed that the performance of games and skills are perceived as related to males. The stereotypical gamer is assumed to be a young adult male. So while marketing the games, they were made attractive by assigning glamorous avatars of women, which convinced the players to click on the game’s link. However, in today’s scenario it is difficult to be gender specific, as women are also totally aware of the technology, and internet usage, gaming and multimedia. When a sample was taken, there were 19 games with 26 human characters displayed on the covers. Out of these, 22 (approximately 85%) were males and the remaining 4 were females. This clearly shows the male dominance. These 4 female characters were also being designed in a way to target the male audience by making them unrealistically thin, attractive and appealing dresses were being chosen for the avatars. On the contrary, the male characters were normally fit, without much efforts being made to change the appearances. The majority of the games on a popular gaming website are male oriented; 27% are driving games, 21% are action games, 16% are sports and 10% are role playing games. One-third of the games were without any female avatars or any female characters. All the games were sports, adventure, or action games.

In the gaming industry, there is only 16% workforce as feminine (Haines, 2004). The dominance of males in this industry confirms that the males develop games only for the males. In almost all the video games, the boys get to act as a lead role, having the potential to get all the arms and resources to achieve their goals. It is difficult to find any female leading character as an avatar to present as a hero. This makes girls lose interest in games. The gender presentation in gaming sites is not proportionate. The stereotyping of gender roles can also be the reason for girls not liking the video games. The number of girls playing games is fewer and the same sector is male dominated (Hartmann & Klimmt, 2006). In adolescent years also, as per our culture, the girls are not much exposed to computers and gaming. As females mature, they do not choose technology as their career, and if they do, the number is too few for those opting for careers in the games development arena. This leads to the gaming industry needing to have a check on the disparity of gender in the industry, and take responsibility to reduce the gap of gender.

Some of the games/videos exclusively have female heroes; however, the industry trend suggests that due to male domination in the games arena, women heroes will not sell. So, these female oriented games have fewer budgets being dedicated to them. The female characters of these games tend to suffer due to much of the importance being given to male heroes. Even if the game does not have male characters, then women characters/avatars will not be fully equipped with all the resources to win the game. The videogames show men as big in all respects. They are tall, large-headed and muscular. These form super heroes, or fantasy-world heroes, who can fight with every danger. [Are you asking the question “Write my essay for me?” Get help here.]

Players like to take these as avatars, as they find their role models in these avatars. Often, male characters can easily carry large weapons, but we do not expect a slim, beautiful and attractive female carrying a big weapon. The attractive characters (females) cannot be used as heroes for the action games. There is a need of a robust personality who can really justify the requirement of an avatar, and encourage the players. The disparity in videogames as per gender has been raised by all, academic, social theory and corporate marketing groups. The women, having a sense of being neglected, have a negative impact in the gaming industry. As there is male dominance of computer industry workers, the videogames have been correlated significantly to males. Games are also a good way to teach computers to the children, and they learn the negative connotations that are communicated about women. [Need an essay writing service? Find help here.]

The females represent a minority in the world of gamers. The feminists who focus on increasing the number of female gamers stress the need to identify the causes of the disparity of gender, and to also reduce the disproportion of this gender segregation. There have been debates about whether to have a parallel industry to develop women-oriented games, and this is a good idea, but only if males can develop a strong heart about losing to a female counterpart.

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