Summary Of The Book 'Gender Trouble'

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32 Bit Bust and 64 Bit Waist: Cross-Gender Play in Video Games In her book, Gender Trouble, Judith Butler describes gender as a performance. She argues that traits and behaviors are understood as belonging to a gender and that, through the performance of these gender markers, people gender themselves and each other. A person can perform gender in a variety of ways. Dresses, for example, are readily noted as a feminine marker; monotonous voice pitch is readily tagged as masculine. Gender performativity reaches across multiple contexts, both the embodied and otherwise. Video games are an interesting medium in which to examine gender performativity, for several reasons. In video games, players are removed physically from the action and interaction within the game world. Video games are also one of the few…show more content…
In fighting games, for example, each character is equipped with a different set of skills—choosing a character of another gender, then, is not seen as any more significant than choosing a different weapon (MacCallum, 2008). Importantly, neither the player choosing the cross-gender character nor other players see the choice as reflective of the player themselves. The gender of the character used does not, in itself, play into the gender performance of the player. However, players do use the gender of the set character they are playing with to perform their own gender. For example, players of the game Tomb Raider control a busty, scantily clad woman named Lara Croft. There is no conception that men who play this game are feminized by controlling her—rather, many men use her to reaffirm their heterosexuality, citing that they enjoy playing her because they find her attractive (Schleiner, 2001). Regarding the recent reboot of the game, the executive producer Ron Rosenberg said that Lara was designed for the player to want to protect her—an affirmation of masculinity (Schreier,

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