Exploring gendered play


"How are digital games gendered in the everyday lives of female players?" That is the main research question of this doctoral study. The aim is to investigate the meanings female players ascribe to the practice of gaming and how they identify themselves as a gamer. Consequently, we get thorough understanding of the ‘gendered’ nature of digital games.

In the past few decades, digital games have evolved from simple arcade machines to high-profile games in which thousands of players are daily immersed. In line with these changes, digital games play an increasingly important role in the lives of a variety of people including women and girls.

The growth of this female gamer segment is impeded, however, by the persistent view that digital games are still ‘male territory’, causing a gender split in gameplay between men and women. Although many researchers have explored gender-based differences in gameplay, few have focused on the diversity of gaming activities in which female players indulge.

Moreover, they generally provide a fragmented account of gendered gaming practices instead of focusing on an integrated framework that distinguishes between meanings of technology, content and context.


This research question will be addressed from the multidisciplinary field of cultural studies combined with insights from media studies, audience studies, feminism and other perspectives.

Duration of the project

The project runs from 01/01/2013 - 31/03/2016.

Staff involved

  • Prof. dr. Jan Van Looy
  • Lotte Vermeulen

Financed by

  • University Research Fund (BOF)

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