Deep Strike: Playing Gender in the World of Overwatch a Case Study of Geguri in Esport

Tuesday, 17 July 2018: 08:30
Oral Presentation
Yeomi CHOI, Korea National Sport University, Republic of Korea
Nida AHMAD, University of Waikato, New Zealand
Janine SLAKER, Michigan State University, USA
Electronic sport or “eSport” has grown to a global-sport entertainment industry with a projected growth of 1.5 billion dollars (USD) by 2020 (Dunn, 2017). Despite its development and considerable attention from scholars within several disciplines, sport academics have largely focused on a philosophical question of whether this activity can be defined as sport (Funk, 2017). Scholarly interests and debates on the importance of eSport as a cultural space where diverse identities and representations traverse have been neglected within sociology of sport literature. The number of females entering the eSport community-- both as gamers and spectators-- is growing, yet the eSport arena remains overwhelmingly male dominated, and female gamers face online abuse and harassment in the form of sexism and/or racism (“Very few women”, 2016). For this presentation, we provide a case study of the South Korean female gamer, Kim Se-yeon, also known as Geguri, to discuss issues around gender in eSports. Drawing from feminist cultural scholarship, in particular, Judith Butler’s theory of gender performativity, we conducted a textual analysis to address the androcentric and misogynistic nature of the contemporary gaming culture of eSport. It is further suggested that eSport has a subversive potential to de/reconstruct the inflexible categories regarding sex and gender in sport.