Thursday, October 25, 2007

Boys vs Girls

I would like to start this entry by re-affirming that I think virtual worlds are fascinating. Second Life is only to grow in popularity, and Club Penguin (for kids) is probably the cutest virtual world. If the players of Club Penguin weren't all under 18 (which makes it harder for them to be research subjects), and if asking for their email addresses was even possible (Club Penguin only allows chat using phrases coded into the game), I would be tempted to study that virtual world instead of World of Warcraft.

Tangent aside, I start slogging through the news that has piled up in Google reader over the week, and I find this article. It's a short one, so you should all read it, but I know you probably won't, so here's the important sentence:

"On Tuesday, the company said it launched two online worlds--one for boys and one for girls--under the brand Kraze."

Yes, you read that correctly, not one virtual world, but two. "One for boys and one for girls." The times are few and far between when I wish that slapping my computer in my office would cause my somebody's head to sting somewhere else in the world, but this is definitely one of those times. Why do girls have to have a separate virtual world than boys? Why can't we foster platonic cooperation between the sexes? Are the worlds designed differently, one with trucks and one with dollies? What if a girl wants to play with the trucks? What if a boy wants to play with a doll? Does the game require children to play in the world of their own gender? What about children who do not have a gender (intersexed children)? What about children who are biologically female or male, but present as the opposite gender (trans children)? Why does this company feel the need to reinforce the gender binary? In the words of my friend Will, who greenlighted this project?! (It took all my effort not to swear just then; my grandma reads this blog.)

My Thursday was going so well. Damn you, Playhut!

Edit: Apparently I need to catch up on all of my new items in Google reader before blogging. Virtual World News also covered the story, and they offered a link to the website for both the boys' world and the girls' world. And I thought the story couldn't get any worse. Even the music for the sites has been designed with gender in mind. I'm going to go cry now.

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Blogger jai said...

noooooo.... separate sites for girls and boys? with separate 'girly' music for the girls and 'guy' music for the boys? dear god, will the madness never end?

October 30, 2007 1:41 PM  
Blogger indil said...

Do girls play games as much as boys? Why not? Is it because girls don't like to play video games? Or is it because girls don't like to play the video games that boys like to play and boys like to play the majority of games out there right now? It's old news that boys and girls like different types of games. Tailoring a game for a specific sex to maximize the possible enjoyment of the experience is smart, not ignorant.

Of course, my point is moot in this particular case if the only differences between these two games is the style of music and pinks instead of blues, in which case I would join you in heckling them.

November 02, 2007 2:04 PM  

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