Journal article Open Access

"Everyone can make games!" : the post-feminist context of women in digital game production

Harvey, Alison; Fisher, Stephanie

After over a decade of scholarly research and well-documented harassment, sexism, and other forms of exclusion and marginalization, digital games culture is currently the object of heightened attention and discourse related to diversity and inclusion. This paper considers the context of this shift with a particular focus on the relationship between gender-focused inclusivity-based action in the form of women in games incubators, post-feminist discourse, and the neoliberal context of digital games production. As opposed to rife anti-feminism and similar "backlash" sentiments, articulations of post-feminism within the digital game industry provide insights into the tensions inherent in introducing action for change within a conservative culture of production, particularly for women in the industry. At the same time, the contradictions and tensions of the post-feminist ethos allow for actions that function through this logic while subverting it. Through a brief consideration of three exemplary post-feminist articulations by visible female figures in the North American digital games community, this article explores the challenges and opportunities presented by the gaps and contradictions of post-feminism in games culture and production. It concludes with equal measures of caution and optimism, indicating future directions for study and activism. ; The file associated with this record is embargoed until 18 months after the date of publication. The final published version may be available through the links above.

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