Why Be A “Gamer”? : How Apologetic Behavior Affects Females’ Self-Identification as “Gamers”
Fay, Martha J.
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Women face difficulties in how they self-identify in today’s society. Those who choose to self-identify with a second, stereotypically male label such as being an athlete, will embrace the second identity but will rarely identify as both at the same time. Professional women athletes tend to exhibit an apologetic identity when addressing the public. This apologetic behavior includes assuming traditional gender scripts where they may be classified as maternal, sexy, or child-like. Research has shown that while women athletes will reflect an identity of an athlete, they will put being a woman first and being an athlete second. Another traditionally male label is that of a “gamer” which is most often associated with the image of a white male. While this term has been defined many different ways, for the use of this study, the term “gamer” is defined by the individual, following Hall’s (1966) idea that identification allows for a self-definition instead of a static definition applied to the identity from the outside. Similarly, to women’s identities as athletes, women who choose to identify as “gamers” will self-identify as either a gamer, or a woman, but not both, even though men and women play video games in similar numbers. Additionally, studies also found that women who play video games in large numbers internalize a more fluid understanding of gender and associate more as a gamer than a woman. Research has found that apologetic behavior affects the self-identification of women as athletes in that women utilize this behavior in order to maintain being a woman first and an athlete second when demonstrating a public image. Women self-identifying as “gamers” also experience the same divide where they focus on either the identity of a gamer or a woman. However, there is a lack of literature on if or how apologetic behavior applies to females’ decisions to self-identify as “gamers” and if female “gamers” feel the need to present themselves as a woman first and a gamer second. The following research question looks to fill this gap in literature.