Open Conference Systems, Catac 2016

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ME AND MY STEREOTYPED AVATAR: THE CONSTRUCTION OF GENDER IDENTITY IN SECOND LIFE
Catia Ferreira, Carla Ganito

Last modified: 2016-06-14

Abstract


Digital games are cultural representations that convey the gender system. The narratives of gender that have shaped the gaming industry since the 1980s were highly influenced by gender stereotypes. The representation of the female, although based on stereotypes, has evolved hand in hand with the representation of women in other media. But what happens when players are given the opportunity to develop their own digital representatives? Virtual worlds are among the online games that allow a higher degree of personalization of the avatar and, in order to contribute to a better understanding of how gender identities are being performed within these digital environments, this paper will present a case study of Second Life. A qualitative methodology was used based on netnographic research. The data collection methods included participant observation and auto-netnography. We would like to propose that to examine how gender is represented in games that enable the creation of the avatar allows us to deepen the analysis on the relationship that has been established between gender and digital games.


Keywords


digital games, avatar, stereotypes, gender

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