The game has changed, yet there's many outdated rules that need to be reinvented.

Patriarchy is a social structure in which cisgender men are considered to have a monopoly on power, and trans and cisgender women are expected to submit. It exists within families with traditional cisgender fathers taking a dominant role, in school, on the streets, and in the workplace. It is systemic domination affecting every part of our society. It upholds structural violence and discrimination.

The first human societies likely were not patriarchal. Many indigenous communities today are also not patriarchal or have chosen a matriarchal path. Scientists aren't exactly sure exactly when male dominance began, but many believe it likely occurred around the birth of the agricultural revolution when cisgender men were able to control more resources.

Patriarchy makes a binary assumption, which endangers and devalues those who don't identify as the gender assigned to them at birth, and creates a gender caste system. It's used to govern, exploit, and oppress women. Patriarchy negatively affects cisgender men too. Though men benefit in terms of power, numerous studies have shown that it also creates insecurity and unhappiness among cisgender men.

Patriarchy manifests itself in unequal representation across the gaming industry and beyond.

We are sharing the voices of the gaming industry and beyond who are reinventing the rules through their skill and advocacy.

Hear their stories and experiences, consider how this relates to your own life, and learn about ways in which you can take action.

"The patriarchal norms that inform misogyny and sexism don’t do boys and men any favors. A lot of the issues in gaming are tied to sexual objectification and denigration of girls. But we should likewise be talking about what it means to dehumanize boys and men. We don’t really talk about boys and men as violence objects. Those things are interrelated, especially as they are manifested in gaming."
 
—Soraya Chemaly, Writer and Activist
 

 

 

“Women have been devalued in games. We see the sexualization of them in games. Sometimes they’re subject to rape and abuse. Or they’re there just as a focus for the main character to have something to do."

 
—Dr. Kishonna Gray, Professor, Scholar & Gamer
 

 

"White male is the default mode for humanity. The more deviations from that, the farther away you are from default human. Anyone who isn’t a white man is less human. The media reinforces that to the nth degree by placing white men at the center of games, TV shows and movies, instead of showing the shared humanity of us all."

 
—Carolyn Petit, Writer, Editor, and Feminist
 

 


For more on gender equity, technology, and gaming...

Watch the Tropes vs Women series on Feminist Frequency which examines limiting, sexist patterns associated with female representations in games.

Explore Gender Shades, a tool that uncovered large racial and gender bias in AI services from companies like Microsoft, IBM, and Amazon.

Read Why Does Patriarchy Persist? by Carol Gilligan and Naomi Snider.