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Technologically Resisting The Patriarchy: Women In The Gaming Industry

Lifestyle

Despite video games having long been perceived to be a male-dominated sector, there is significant evidence suggesting that this is starting to change. Social media giant Facebook, recently launched its "Women in Gaming" initiative, which allows women in the video gaming sector to connect, with the long-term goal of increasing the diversity within the gaming landscape. However, there are many female torch bearers who are already taking the genre by the scruff of the neck and creating a space for women in the future of the video gaming industry.


Women and the Casino

Photographer Courtney Aszatalos recently began shooting in casinos to observe the fascinating cross-section of women enjoying time with their friends, while playing their favourite casino games. The results from Aszatalos were not only stunning, but presented a fascinating social dynamic.

Women have long been champions of the casino but research recently shows a rapid shift from physical trips to the casino to mobile experiences, colliqually known as “live casino.” As a recent review of Spin Palace points out, online casino now offers a plethora of options to those wanting to play from the convenience of their own home. Live casino is just one of many features available to those wanting to take advantage of the offers and bonuses that online casino players enjoy.

Tomb Raider

There's been a fair bit of debate recently with regards to the best female video game character of all time. But in our eyes, Lara Croft is head and shoulders above the rest.

With an impressive 16 game back catalogue, including an online slots game where you can plunder ancient treasures and land sizeable jackpots, Lara Croft is living proof that, digital or otherwise, women can conquer the gaming industry with the right tools at their disposal.

It's also worth pointing out that the recent movie remake starring the radiant Alicia Vikander is well worth a watch and demonstrates that Lara can seamlessly hop between the big and small screen whenever she pleases.

Fortnite

Epic Games' flagship title Fortnite is undoubtedly the most popular video game on the planet (at least for now) and this is in part down, to the number of women currently playing the game. The game is particularly popular on the streaming platform Twitch, with gamers live streaming their experience so others can take part in the fun. A quick look around Twitch shows that the number of prominent female streamers is increasing by the day and this is certainly encouraging news moving forward.

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"The balance is slowly being restored. All that's left for us to do now is take over. Watch this space"

This Is Just The Beginning

Whether it's online casino or female-fronted video games, women are starting to get noticed within the gaming industry and it's about time. For too long the gaming industry has been a testosterone-fuelled free-for-all, but with more and more women finally confidentiality entering the space, the balance is slowly being restored. All that's left for us to do now is take over. Watch this space.

Culture

A Modern Day Witch Hunt: How Caster Semenya's Gender Became A Hot Topic In The Media

Gender divisions in sports have primarily served to keep women out of what has always been believed to be a male domain. The idea of women participating alongside men has been regarded with contempt under the belief that women were made physically inferior.


Within their own division, women have reached new heights, received accolades for outstanding physical performance and endurance, and have proven themselves to be as capable of athletic excellence as men. In spite of women's collective fight to be recognized as equals to their male counterparts, female athletes must now prove their womanhood in order to compete alongside their own gender.

That has been the reality for Caster Semenya, a South African Olympic champion, who has been at the center of the latest gender discrimination debate across the world. After crushing her competition in the women's 800-meter dash in 2016, Semenya was subjected to scrutiny from her peers based upon her physical appearance, calling her gender into question. Despite setting a new national record for South Africa and attaining the title of fifth fastest woman in Olympic history, Semenya's success was quickly brushed aside as she became a spectacle for all the wrong reasons.

Semenya's gender became a hot topic among reporters as the Olympic champion was subjected to sex testing by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF). According to Ruth Padawer from the New York Times, Semenya was forced to undergo relentless examination by gender experts to determine whether or not she was woman enough to compete as one. While the IAAF has never released the results of their testing, that did not stop the media from making irreverent speculations about the athlete's gender.

Moments after winning the Berlin World Athletics Championship in 2009, Semenya was faced with immediate backlash from fellow runners. Elisa Cusma who suffered a whopping defeat after finishing in sixth place, felt as though Semenya was too masculine to compete in a women's race. Cusma stated, "These kind of people should not run with us. For me, she is not a woman. She's a man." While her statement proved insensitive enough, her perspective was acknowledged and appeared to be a mutually belief among the other white female competitors.

Fast forward to 2018, the IAAF issued new Eligibility Regulations for Female Classification (Athlete with Differences of Sexual Development) that apply to events from 400m to the mile, including 400m hurdles races, 800m, and 1500m. The regulations created by the IAAF state that an athlete must be recognized at law as either female or intersex, she must reduce her testosterone level to below 5 nmol/L continuously for the duration of six months, and she must maintain her testosterone levels to remain below 5 nmol/L during and after competing so long as she wishes to be eligible to compete in any future events. It is believed that these new rules have been put into effect to specifically target Semenya given her history of being the most recent athlete to face this sort of discrimination.

With these regulations put into effect, in combination with the lack of information about whether or not Semenya is biologically a female of male, society has seemed to come to the conclusion that Semenya is intersex, meaning she was born with any variation of characteristics, chromosomes, gonads, sex hormones, or genitals. After her initial testing, there had been alleged leaks to media outlets such as Australia's Daily Telegraph newspaper which stated that Semenya's results proved that her testosterone levels were too high. This information, while not credible, has been widely accepted as fact. Whether or not Semenya is intersex, society appears to be missing the point that no one is entitled to this information. Running off their newfound acceptance that the Olympic champion is intersex, it calls into question whether her elevated levels of testosterone makes her a man.

The IAAF published a study concluding that higher levels of testosterone do, in fact, contribute to the level of performance in track and field. However, higher testosterone levels have never been the sole determining factor for sex or gender. There are conditions that affect women, such as PCOS, in which the ovaries produce extra amounts of testosterone. However, those women never have their womanhood called into question, nor should they—and neither should Semenya.

Every aspect of the issue surrounding Semenya's body has been deplorable, to say the least. However, there has not been enough recognition as to how invasive and degrading sex testing actually is. For any woman, at any age, to have her body forcibly examined and studied like a science project by "experts" is humiliating and unethical. Under no circumstances have Semenya's health or well-being been considered upon discovering that her body allegedly produces an excessive amount of testosterone. For the sake of an organization, for the comfort of white female athletes who felt as though Semenya's gender was an unfair advantage against them, Semenya and other women like her, must undergo hormone treatment to reduce their performance to that of which women are expected to perform at. Yet some women within the athletic community are unphased by this direct attempt to further prove women as inferior athletes.

As difficult as this global invasion of privacy has been for the athlete, the humiliation and sense of violation is felt by her people in South Africa. Writer and activist, Kari, reported that Semenya has had the country's undying support since her first global appearance in 2009. Even after the IAAF released their new regulations, South Africans have refuted their accusations. Kari stated, "The Minister of Sports and Recreation and the Africa National Congress, South Africa's ruling party labeled the decision as anti-sport, racist, and homophobic." It is no secret that the build and appearance of Black women have always been met with racist and sexist commentary. Because Black women have never managed to fit into the European standard of beauty catered to and in favor of white women, the accusations of Semenya appearing too masculine were unsurprising.

Despite the countless injustices Semenya has faced over the years, she remains as determined as ever to return to track and field and compete amongst women as the woman she is. Her fight against the IAAF's regulations continues as the Olympic champion has been receiving and outpour of support in wake of the Association's decision. Semenya is determined to run again, win again, and set new and inclusive standards for women's sports.