There’s a new article on Waterloo English’s GI Janes, featuring PhD candidate Elise Vist. The article, by Megan Scarborough, is currently featured on the University of Waterloo homepage.. Here’s an excerpt:
“Rewriting the story of women in gaming: Can Frodo be a woman?”
When Elise Vist entered the gaming world she felt she had to prove herself not just as a gamer – but as a woman in gaming.
So when she arrived at the University of Waterloo to pursue doctoral studies, she co-founded GI Janes, a Games Institute group designed to raise the profile of women in gaming.
“I wanted a space to talk about what it felt like to be a woman who plays games,” says Vist, a PhD student in the Department of English Language and Literature, who co-founded the group with researchers, Emma Vossen and Judy Ehrentraut
Last semester, the group hosted a number of game nights with an emphasis on teaching women how to play and create games. They hope to expand their offerings to include more workshops for women in gaming. The GI Janes website is also used to talk about games from a female perspective.
The researchers were inspired after taking a class on adaptations of Lord of the Rings. The series didn’t resonate with them so they created a machinima – a short film recorded inside of a video game – entitled Lady Hobbits.
They created female characters in Lord of the Rings Online and reenacted the first four chapters of The Fellowship of the Ring. “We wanted to show that you can change the gender of the main characters and still be true to the text without reinforcing stereotypes,” said Vist. “Being able to rewrite the story for ourselves created a sense of empowerment as women.” With Frodo and Sam portrayed as women, the two felt a stronger attachment to the narrative, says Vist.
You can read more here.