The Double-Edged Sword of Online Gaming: Unpacking Masculinity in Video Games and Twitch

The Geena Davis Institute held a virtual salon event that explored masculinity in video games. Hear from experts and gain insights on promoting positive portrayals and inclusivity in the gaming community.
Tuesday, August 17, 2021

On August 17, 2021, the Geena Davis Institute hosted an insightful virtual salon titled, "The Double-Edged Sword of Online Gaming: Unpacking Masculinity in Video Games and Twitch." The event focused on the institute's latest study, which explored the experiences of boys and young men in popular video games and the Twitch gaming community to examine masculinity in gaming. The study was conducted in partnership with Equimundo and funded by The Oak Foundation. Moderated by Anita Sarkeesian, Executive Director of Feminist Frequency, the salon featured prominent speakers and panelists who explored the intersection of gaming, gender, and social impact.

Speakers and Panelists

Event Highlights

The event commenced with opening remarks from Geena Davis and Gary Barker, who set the stage for an in-depth exploration of the study's findings on masculinity in video games. Subsequently, Soraya Giaccardi presented key insights from the research, highlighting the dual role of gaming as both a source of enjoyment and a space where toxic masculinity can manifest. The panel discussion, led by Anita Sarkeesian, delved into the implications of these findings with perspectives from industry professionals and academics.

Key Takeaways

  1. Representation Matters: The study underscored the need for more diverse and positive representations of masculinity in video games to combat stereotypes and promote healthier identities.
  2. Community Influence: Twitch, as a leading gaming platform, plays a significant role in shaping gamers' experiences and attitudes, emphasizing the importance of community guidelines and moderation.
  3. Role of Content Creators: Streamers and influencers have the power to set positive examples and drive change within the gaming community by promoting inclusive content and behaviors.
  4. The representation of masculinity in gaming and its impact on young men.
  5. The unique culture of Twitch and its influence on gamers.
  6. Strategies for fostering a more inclusive and positive gaming environment.

Actionable Insights

  1. Promote Diverse Characters: Game developers should prioritize creating diverse and multifaceted characters that challenge traditional notions of masculinity.
  2. Encourage Positive Interactions: Platforms like Twitch need to enhance their moderation policies and support content creators who foster respectful and inclusive environments.
  3. Educational Outreach: Organizations and educators can leverage findings from this study to develop programs that educate young gamers on healthy masculinity and digital citizenship.

The event highlighted the transformative potential of media and community in shaping perceptions and behaviors, underscoring the Geena Davis Institute's commitment to fostering gender equality and inclusivity in all forms of entertainment.

Subscribe to our YouTube channel for more insights and updates from the Geena Davis Institute and visit our website for detailed reports and upcoming events.

Like what you see?  Become a member of the Geena Davis Institute.

Be part of the conversation and follow the Institute on Social Media @geenadavisorg.