Gaming masculinity : trolls, fake geeks, and the gendered battle for online culture / Megan Condis.

by Condis, Megan, 1984- [author.]Looking glass.

Series: Fandom & culture: Publisher: Iowa City, Iowa : University of Iowa Press, [2018]Description: x, 138 pages : illustrations ; 23 cm.ISBN: 9781609385651.Subject(s): Masculinity in popular cultureLooking glass | Video games -- Social aspectsLooking glassNote: Includes bibliographical references and index. Alternative form: Electronic version: Condis, Megan, 1984- author. Gaming masculinity (DLC) 2017060010 9781609385668
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Enhanced descriptions from Syndetics:

In 2016, a female videogame programmer and a female journalist were harassed viciously by anonymous male online users in what became known as GamerGate. Male gamers threatened to rape and kill both women, and the news soon made international headlines, exposing the level of abuse that many women and minorities face when participating in the predominantly male online culture.

Gaming Masculinity explains how the term "gamer" has been constructed in the popular imagination by a core group of male online users in an attempt to shore up an embattled form of geeky masculinity. This latest form of toxicity comes at a moment of upheaval in gaming culture, as women, people of color, and LGBTQ individuals demand broader access and representation online. Paying close attention to the online practices of trolling and making memes, author Megan Condis demonstrates that, despite the supposedly disembodied nature of life online, performances of masculinity are still afforded privileged status in gamer culture. Even worse, she finds that these competing discourses are not just relegated to the gaming world but are creating rifts within the culture at large, as witnessed by the direct links between the GamerGate movement and the recent rise of the alt-right during the last presidential election.

Condis asks what this moment can teach us about the performative, collaborative, and sometimes combative ways that American culture enacts race, gender, and sexuality. She concludes by encouraging designers and those who work in the tech industry to think about how their work might have, purposefully or not, been developed in ways that are marked by gender.

Includes bibliographical references and index.

Table of contents provided by Syndetics

  • Acknowledgments (p. ix)
  • Introduction: The Gamification of Gender (p. 1)
  • Game Break: Bro's Law: Army of Two and the Perils of Parody in Gaming Culture (p. 11)
  • 1 "Get Raped, F **** t": Trolling as a Gendered Metagame (p. 15)
  • Game Break: Far Cry 3: The Heart of Darkness (p. 38)
  • 2 Sexy Sidekicks, Filthy Casuals, and Fake Geek Girls: Meme-ifying Gender in the Gaming Community (p. 44)
  • Game Briak: Hacks and Mods: Remaking the Classics (p. 68)
  • 3 No Homosexuals in Star Wars? BioWare, Gamer Identity, and the Politics of Privilege in a Convergence Culture (p. 72)
  • Game Break: Will the Circle Be Unbroken? BioShock Infinite and the Evolution of Hardcore Gaming Culture (p. 86)
  • 4 From #GamerGate to Donald Trump: Toxic Masculinity and the Politics of the Alt-Right (p. 95)
  • Epilogue: The Dating Game: Gender Performance and Gamification in the Real World (p. 107)
  • Notes (p. 115)
  • Works Cited (p. 121)
  • Index (p. 137)

Reviews provided by Syndetics


Condis (English, Stephen F. Austin State Univ.) concisely summarizes and analyzes the cultural phenomena around Gamergate and similar attacks on women in cyberspace. In this short work, she covers trolling, gender theory, geek and gamer cultures, and meme theory, among other topics. This brevity is useful in that it effectively communicates the main issues and some historical background, but the approach has some risks. Condis makes many broad generalizations that oversimplify a complex situation and may perpetuate the very binaries that she criticizes. Even the subtitle of the book, "Trolls, Fake Geeks, and the Gendered Battle for Online Culture," suggests a sort of war between men (bad) and women (good) for dominance in digital media. There is enormous individual variation in gamer culture and attitudes toward gender identity. Selecting the most egregious examples of bad behavior and presenting them as the norm can lead to flawed conclusions. By writing in the first person, Condis does make clear that she is expressing her personal opinions. The book would be much stronger if it recognized the diversity of perspectives and participants in online culture and how these have evolved over time. Summing Up: Recommended. With the caveats above. All readers. --Elena Bertozzi, Quinnipiac University

Author notes provided by Syndetics

Megan Condis is an assistant professor in the department of English and creative writing at Stephen F. Austin State University. She writes and designs free-to-play games about her research on her website, She lives in Lufkin, Texas.