MDST110 Electronic Coursebook for Students
Information Technology and Digital Media Studies
Prof. David Golumbia
University of Virginia
Fall 2004
MDST110 main pageMDST110 syllabus

17. Gender in Digital Media

Mon Nov 08, 2004

A general discussion of recent approaches to gender studies in the humanities and social sciences, leading in to discussions of particular issues in gender and digital media: the mindset of engineering, gender stereotyping, the "paper-doll" model of gender in simulations, and the general trend of gender depictions in media. A brief look at some issues in computer science research from a gender studies perspective.

I. The Social Construction of Gender

II. Computing and Gender

III. Digital Gender Prototypes

IV. Undoing Gender

Study Questions

  1. In what ways is the "performance" of gender roles in MUDs, MOOs and computer games like the conduct of gender roles in real life? In what ways are they different?
  2. How would you feel about your spouse or partner having a virtual relationship with someone else? Where is the line between exchanging emails, IMs or phone calls and a "virtual relationship"?
  3. Have you ever tried chatting or playing a game as a character with a different gender from your "real-life" one? In what ways was the character's behavior similar to or different from your regular behavior?
  4. Can you imagine computers being changed so that more women want to become engaged with them? Or do you think it is all right that there is a "gender digital divide" such that more men than women develop mastery over computers?

Reading for next class

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