Women in Esports : A Qualitative Study on Shared Experiences of Women in the Esports Industry
Sammanfattning: This thesis aims to gain a better understanding of the experiences of women in the esports industry. This is achieved through the exploration of the concepts of sexual harassment and gamer identity with the help of collective identity, stereotype threat and various aspects of feminist theory as the main theoretical framework, accompanying a thematic analysis of semi-structured interviews conducted with seven women in various positions within esports. The results of this research add to the body of existing literature that highlights women’s position as a stigmatised and marginalised group within the gaming community. The interviews yielded strong feelings of collective identity experienced between women in esports, linked by shared experiences of harassment. Further, the strong presence of fragile ‘geek masculinity’ and hegemonic, masculine power structures was confirmed through the experiences of the respondents. This caused the women to adjust their behaviour, as several respondents note that they lean into more masculine behaviours frequently to thrive in the environment. At the same time, participants were oftentimes aware of the issues in the industry, making active efforts to speak out against them, and some even offered possible solutions towards improving the environment in an effort to make it more accessible for women and therefore more equal.
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