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Saturday, June 16, 2007

Liveblogging GIA: Hilde Corneliussen: World of Warcraft as a playground for feminism.

Freeform notes from Game in’ Action Conference in Gothenburg 15th June 2007.

Hilde Corneliussen: World of Warcraft as a playground for feminism.

Corneliussen 12

Mainly 3 strategies for including girls and women

-play games as they are

-pink games for girls

-Cross-gendered games.

WoW moves towards this.

-In-game activities.

Special female roles. Romantic partners, romantic conflict, mothering.

Example. Adrian, human girl elected as leader. When new leader to elected she wanted to chose. Seduced a male successor.

Need female roles to drive the male driven story forward.

Gender only exists as male and female. No technical difference to the characters play-role.

Though males and females of the same race – males always bigger, but from different races a female character can be bigger than a male.

The hyper sexualised features are quite moderate in WoW compared to other games such as Tombraiders Lara Croft.

Difference in PC representation between horde and alliance, alliance being more human likes, horde more monster like. Female horde characters more alike alliance chars.


Presence of females gives an illusion of normal life, habited area.

Night elves only race with more females. Coincides with how the race would be perceived.


Roles… female guards, non stereotypic roles for females in wow. Challenging stereotypical roles. No special emphasis on it, which make it seem normal.

Traditional activities with feminine association are used without regard to gender.


Peter: I disagree, there is gendered armour. Re-establishes gender. Same piece of armour on a female char shows more skin than on a male.

HC: yes but you don’t need to wear it, and you can have other clothes under it.

Peter: but hey.

TL: Norms about what you should wear… in a raid guild can require you to wear certain things to survive the instance. In the succession of the game there is a line. On middle levels it’s covered but up on high end it goes back to the traditional hyper sexualised.

Jonas Linderoth: just a comment… the affordances of the game. We had so high hopes when we studied the Sims, crossing boundaries. But no. It was extremely traditional boys playing were rebuilding the stereotypes, and the same seem to happen in WoW.

HC: I didn’t have time to present the whole thing here, but in the paper I go through different feminist stances

Maria: Did you take into account what type of server the play is on? Rp/normal/pvp?

HC: no, this is the first step in my study. I look at what frames allow us to play, and then look at how it is played. To watch gender bending.

Jon: are you planning to look at the sexualisation of the male body? The deformation with a lot of muscles, the fact that you can’t show your belly.

HC: males in shattarah show their belly with a little bikini top. Yes I do look at that. Muscles say something about power while breasts sexualises.

Jenny: yes and designed by males.

HC: blizzard wrote on a forum they had to make the male bodies more masculine, they lots of critique for not making them enough male.

Staffan B: isn’t sex power?

HC: Lara croft – very powerful body but in the last scene she comes out in a romantic dress. Female dwarfs, small and stocky, not attractive according to western stereotype

Here are pictures of the slides (photos on Flickr)