The videogame industry is traditionally associated with a male and adolescent audience, and is characterized by an imaginary that largely reflected (and still reflects) an industry dominated by men. In most video games (albeit with due exceptions) the main characters are men, often depicted in a hyper-masculinized key (God of War), while the female ones have played the role of princesses to be saved (Super Mario Bros), hypersexualized objects (Dead or Alive) and marginal or side characters (Grand Theft Auto). Likewise, queer, transgender and transsexual identities are often represented in a highly stereotyped manner, and they return an imaginary of passive and deviant figures (Super Mario Bros Birch, Revenge).
The videogame industry is predominantly the projection of the imaginary of white straight men: white heterosexual males. Cases such as Gamergate have reiterated the problem of an industry and gaming community that speaks predominantly to men, when it is not openly misogynist, homophobic and transphobic. Such heteronormed representations, constrained in a radical and restrictive woman / man binary, reflect effects of marginalization and stereotypes that operate widely on the social and ideological level. These are, in fact, representations that have causes that precede the advent of video games in the public sphere and that from video games are then reflected and amplified.
Elements of positive transformation start to emerge through an increase in feminist and LGBTQIA (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer / questioning, intersex, and allies) issues in industry, the press and the academy. More and more games feature non-stereotypical female characters (The Last of Us) or fluent and non-heteronormative (Mass Effect) gender identities, or food for thought on these themes (Dad Dating Simulation, Life is Strange). The increasing popularity of video games as a form of entertainment and its continuous expansion between new social and demographic groups - accomplices Internet and smartphones, alongside traditional consoles and computers - have reduced the barriers to access to production and consumption, and allowed to reflect the plurality and diversity of the public.
Starting from the observation that video games are a social practice and a form of representation of immense symbolic impact - not only for their ability to reproduce stereotypes, but also for their ability to be configured as a media for the claim of subjectivity and marginalized instances - DiGRA Italia intends to stimulate a debate with research groups, professionals and players in Italy in the most inclusive and open sense possible. It therefore invites researchers and researchers, scholars, activists, players and enthusiasts to take part in a reflection on the videogame as a cultural product through which to address issues and instances linked to gender, feminist and LGBTQIA studies.
Proposals for studies and research by individuals or study groups are appreciated, as well as creative contributions such as shorts, videogames, animations, art and performance, on topics that include, but are not limited to:
- Representation of women and LGBTQI identity in the videogames industry
- Players and players in the press and academy
- Female, queer and trans characters in the history of videogames
- Gender identity and LGBTQI themes in the videogame in Italy
- Sexuality, pornography and technological experiments
- Looks, fetishes, hyper-sexualization and violence
- Audience and normed ideologies in the production of games
- Continuity between video games and other media: cinema, comics, music, etc.
- Aspects of intersectionality in the relationships between LGBTQI, ethnic and racial stereotypes
- Research prospects and for the production of inclusive videogames
- Political and legislative issues related to gender discrimination
The conference will be moderated by Marco B. Carbone and Ilaria Mariani. The proposals will be submitted to a blind peer reviewing procedure. Final date for the submission of proposals (500 word abstracts, complete papers and other contributions): 16 April 2018.
E-mail to send proposals: firstname.lastname@example.org