Carly A. Kocurek, PhD - Games, Scholarship, Media

Casual Thinking. Serious Gaming.

Call for Participants in Documentary Project on Women in Gaming Culture

Category : Digital Media, Gaming, Gender, Research Dec 10th, 2013

My colleague Jennifer deWinter and I are putting together a short documentary project, and we are looking for contributors. Please pass along the call here and consider participating. If you have any questions, feel free to get in touch.

Call for Participants in Documentary Project on Women in Gaming Culture

Tentative Title: Trolls Under the Bridge: Vitriolic Comments Directed at Women in Gaming Communities

Jennifer deWinter, Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Carly Kocurek, Illinois Institute of Technology

In gaming culture, a number of participants rely on social media to connect with others, play games, and seek support. Indeed, social media provides a mechanism by which we can share and comment on our work and others. However, women suffer from a disproportionate amount of hostile commentary in social networks. In other words, women will post a game or a critique of a game or participate in an online game, and if comments are enabled, then these women are frequently attacked with aggressive and sexually explicit language. This pattern, we find, is the dark side of gaming, denying women recognition for their skills, thoughts, and creative processes.  Further, as games go online and involve social components, these verbal attacks tend to happen directly to women players—with men attacking women players over in-game chat. Women are forced to choose between being driven away by these treatment from what is no longer a safe place or staying and trying to navigate a situation that has no clear end.

We are seeking contributions from women engaged in gaming culture as players, critics, scholars, creators, and the like. We are planning a scholarly documentary in which women read the comments that they have received for making public their participation in the gaming community.

To participate in this project, all we ask is that you

  • provide a brief written account of the situation—what did you do that invited commentary, and
  • use a video camera and video record yourself reading your choice of comments.

Once we have collected a number of these videos, we intend to edit them together to emphasize the long string of terrible comments directed at people, and this project intends to put a face on those people.

Accompanying this video would be a short narrative that explores these comments, contextualized in gaming culture.

The final piece will appear in Kairos: A Journal of Rhetoric, Technology, and Pedagogy. All participants will be credited in this project.

If you are interested in participating, please email your name and your situation to either Jennifer deWinter (jdewinterATwpiDOTedu) or Carly Kocurek (ckocurekATiitDOTedu) by January 15th. Videos to be submitted by February 15th.