2014 CGSA Conference: Borders Without Boundaries

On May 29, my colleague Maude Bonenfant and I gave a talk entitled “Bridging Boundaries Between Game Studies and Feminist Theory” at Brock University (St. Catharines, Ontario, CA). We showed how relevant feminist theories can be for game studies, even if they were not developed during the digital era or in regards to new technologies. More precisely, we demonstrated that Simone De Beauvoir’s (1949) concept of the “Second Sex” can be useful to study the Ms. Male and the Smurfette character tropes. We also suggested that Luce Irigaray’s (1977) theory on women as “currency of exchange” helps to understand that the princess kidnapping plot perpetuates the archaic conception of women as spoils of war and as men’s properties that can be exchanged in order to cement or break alliances. We showed that Betty Friedan’s (1963) concept of the “feminine mystique” could be helpful to understand why female characters should not be depicted as natural-born happy homemakers. We finally demonstrated that the “serial girls” figure, recently developed by Martine Delvaux (2013), is useful to study the repetitive and homogenous representations of women in video games’ narratives, advertisements and conventions. In light of those examples, it became clear that game studies and feminist studies can mutually benefit from the establishment of more bridges between the two disciplines.

We took advantage of our stay in Niagara Falls (Ontario, Canada) to visit surprising and colourful attractions, such as the Dracula’s Haunted Castle and the rainbow falls!