It seems clear that video games and masculinity are intimately linked – the players, games and industry itself work to produce a gendered space and an erotic imaginary often centered around men and maleness. But why? And why is this seen as ‘natural’? By theorizing masculinity as inherently unstable and performative, we can begin to unpack the logics of ‘proving’ – the constant and inherent need to demonstrate masculine behavior through competition, mastery and domination. And where better to do this than in the virtual, prosthetic and cultural space of videogames?
Derek A. Burrill is Associate Professor in the Department of Media and Cultural Studies at the University of California, Riverside. His book, Die Tryin’: Videogames, Masculinity, Culture (Peter Lang, 2008), is the first single-author monograph on gaming and masculinity. His work has also appeared in Text Technology, Modern Drama, Social Semiotics and Television and New Media. He sits on the editorial boards of Games and Culture and The Journal of Games and Virtual Worlds.