Research in Consumer Behavior: Consumer Culture Theory
Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Video gaming, which remains culturally embedded in masculine ideals, is increasingly becoming a leisure activity for female consumers. Guided by social dominance theory, this paper examines how female gamers navigate the masculine-oriented gaming consumption context.
Eight avid female gamers (ages 20–29) participated in-depth interviews, following a phenomenological approach to better understand their lived experiences with video gaming. Data were analyzed using phenomenological procedures.
Findings reveal an undercurrent of gender-based consumer vulnerability, driven by stereotypical perceptions of “gamer girls” in the masculine-oriented gaming subculture. Further, the findings highlight the multilayered, multidimensional nature of gaming as a vulnerable consumption environment, at individual, marketplace, and cultural levels.
The culturally embedded gamer girl stereotype provides a foundation upon which characteristics of consumer vulnerability flourish, including a culture of gender-based consumer harassment, systematic disempowerment in the marketplace, and conflicting actions and attitudes toward future cultural change.
This research suggests female gamers struggle to gain a foothold in gaming due to the socially and culturally constructed masculine dominance of the field. Our research study provides a stepping-stone for future scholars to explore gendered subcultures and begins to address the dynamic interplay of power, gender, technology, and the market.
Harrison, Robert L.; Drenten, Jenna M.; and Pendarvis, Nicholas. Gamer Girls: Navigating a Subculture of Gender Inequality. Research in Consumer Behavior: Consumer Culture Theory, 18, : 47-64, 2016. Retrieved from Loyola eCommons, School of Business: Faculty Publications and Other Works,
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