Call: Mechademia Conference on Asian Popular Cultures


September 25–27, 2015

Gaming / Gender

The recent rash of death threats toward feminist media critic Anita Sarkeesian after her polemic on the violence toward women in video games has focused attention on what has always been “accepted” as a given: video games are made by males for males.

In the crosshairs of a narrowed, constructed male gaze, representations of women have indeed been predominately the sexualized subjects of extreme violence in gaming. This is the case despite the fact that women also play video games, critique and write about video games, and even create video games.

A Guardian article from September 17, 2014, stated, “While ‘hardcore’ gaming is clearly still rooted in its traditional user base (playing games is considered the most entertaining media amongst males aged 16-24), what the study shows is a widening audience who are exploring games through new platforms.”

Additionally, in light of the fact that in spite of its massively misogynist aspects, indeed many women not only play these hardcore video games, but actually apparently enjoy playing them; we question how to address these problems—not only just the rampant misogyny, but the broader abuses that can underlay the misogyny; those societal issues of class, race, ethnicity, gender, and sexualities.

  • How women are depicted is not always strictly about sex and violence, but being as those are significant factors, how should women be portrayed in games—particularly action/war games?
  • Is gaming as exclusively a “man’s world” and the only role for women being the over-sexualized, highly “consumable” victims?
  • Do videogames, anime, and manga simply reinforce negative gender, ethnic, class, and racial stereotypes, or is there a possibility for critique embedded in the games or cultures that produce and consume them?

These topics represent only a few of the broad concerns over issues of gender and gaming currently in the news. This conference invites scholars, fans, and creators to consider the situation and respond with presentations as we expand the discursive field against the vast mediated (dis)information found on the web.

Send panel proposals and abstracts to

Deadline for submission is September 15, 2015.

All proceedings are held at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design in Minneapolis, Minnesota.