Mapping Gendered Play


  • Nick Taylor


To better understand boys’ privilege and girls’ educational disadvantage with regard to video games, this presentation takes up Jo Bryce and Jason Rutter’s recent challenge to confront the ways girl gamers are rendered “invisible” by gaming communities, researchers, and designers. From the fall of 2004 to the spring of 2005, Jennifer Jenson and Suzanne de Castell’s EGG (Education, Gender and Gaming) project carried out a gaming club for girls at a local elementary school in the Greater Toronto Area. Not only did the project provide female students with a “safe” space to attain and practice gaming competency – which they were consistently denied at home – but it provided an audio-visual record of girls’ play allowing for critical explorations of gendered gaming practices. At one point in the footage, a gaming session between five girls is interrupted when two boys enter the scene and try to hijack their play. Using the MAP (Multimodal Application Program, developed by Suzanne de Castell and Jennifer Jenson) tool to visually chart and analyze the co-ordinated reactions of the girls as they put down their controllers and hold their bodies immobile during the boys’ disruption, this paper explores the tenuous relationship to video games these girls enjoy, even within a space ostensibly devoted to their play.




Foundations and Frames