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Critical Youth Studies Reader

Preface by Paul Willis

Edited By Awad Ibrahim and Shirley R. Steinberg

This book won the 2014 AESA (American Educational Studies Association) Critics Choice Award.

This reader begins a conversation about the many aspects of critical youth studies. Chapters in this volume consider essential issues such as class, gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity, cultural capital, and schooling in creating a dialogue about and a conversation with youth. In a society that continues to devalue, demonize, and pathologize young women and men, leading names in the academy and youth communities argue that traditional studies of youth do not consider young people themselves. Engaging with today’s young adults in formal and informal pedagogical settings as an act of respect, social justice, and transgression creates a critical pedagogical path in which to establish a meaningful twenty-first century critical youth studies.
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31 Why Is My Champion so “Hot”?: Gender Performance in the Online Video Game, League of Legends

← 369 | 370 →CHAPTER 31

Extract

“You’ve got dangerous eyes …. I like that.” —Miss Fortune the Pirate Hunter, League of Legends

Gaming Discourse: An Introduction to the Power of Avatars

Through imitation and simulation in video games, gamers are learning a range of cultural roles, both negative and positive in nature. When it comes to gender, more specifically, which games we are attracted to can depend strongly on our gender, and the agency we are given when it comes to learning gaming discourse. For example, with four brothers, my need to adapt and thrive on video games directly related to my brothers’ being willing to play with me. Looking past the notions that ‘boy games’ and ‘girl games’ exist, and that gender is the only influence for choosing the kind of game with which one interacts, a difference in gaming interaction becomes more prevalent. While many female gamers play ‘boy games,’ their interaction with these male-centric games, and the male gaming world as a whole, involves a great deal of reinterpreting digital identities. This chapter will explore the complicated space of gender representation in gaming, and how girls and women learn to negotiate the creation of digital identities when designing an avatar themselves is not an option. Exploring the online ‘real time strategy’ game, League of Legends, I argue that when gaming, female gamers are forced to interact with a male-created gender identity far different from their own self-image. When game creators allow players selected options of representation in the game,...

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