[-empyre-] Week 3: Online Representation

Anna Everett everett at filmandmedia.ucsb.edu
Sun Apr 19 00:15:58 AEST 2015

Kishonna, your remarks about the media capitulations to
diversification as a smart business expansion move (rather than it
being the right thing to do) is well taken, especially your concern
about who controls diversity narratives in media. What I appreciate
about your book _Race, Gender and Deviance in Xbox Live: Theoretical
Perspectives from the Virtual Margins_ is how your concept of
"resistance griefing" articulates well the means by which women of
color (WOC) leverage their collective group identities (queer, Latina,
African American, and other underrepresented communities) to diversify
networked gaming spaces.

It even seems to me that your "resistance griefing" idea is fertile
for extrapolation to other internet spaces to call attention to
ongoing oppressive regimes policing certain bodies both online and
offline. So, returning to the #blacklivesmatter campaign, for example,
I recall how some dominant groups took issue with the hashtag activism
around the black lives matter campaigns in the wake of the Ferguson,
Ohio, and New York murders of black men by white policemen by calling
instead for an "all lives matter" campaign. While it is true that all
lives matter, emphasizing "black lives" in this context is not a
zero-sum gain. I would be interested in your thoughts, as well as
others on the forum, about best practices for promoting inclusive
diversity efforts online.


On Wed, Apr 15, 2015 at 7:35 PM, Gray, Kishonna <Kishonna.Gray at eku.edu> wrote:
> ----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------
> The previous week of Empyre segues nicely into this weeks topic on Online representation. Although a broad topic, scholars have been engaged in meaningful work to privilege the marginalized within virtual communities.  As Week 2s conversation revealed, although there have been great strides within the field of gaming, we still have a ways to go to make digital spaces more equitable for all to actively participate.
> This weeks topic focuses largely on online representation in general.  As Anna Everetts work reveals, we must begin to employ an intersectional examination into the digital lives of online participants.
> Stemming from my previous work that focused heavily on women and gamers of color in Xbox Live, my current work explores how marginalized users of virtual spaces resist and continue to actively participate in spaces relegated for the hegemonic elite.  So for instance, in a recent book chapter, I focus on how women in Xbox Live, while not welcome as full participants, create their own communities outside the boundaries of the gaming community.  Using the lens of cultural production, many women identify safe spaces in fan communities, feminist blogs, and others, and continue to contribute to gaming culture.
> While there are other examples, there is no way to truly theoretically conceptualize their experiences and responses which led me to the formation of a Black Cyberfeminist theoretical framework.  Previous frameworks such as Cyberfeminism, technofeminism, and others may address women within internet technologies, but they fail to capture the intersecting reality that many women and other marginalized users of digital technology may face.   Black cyberfeminism, as an extension of virtual feminisms and Black feminist thought, incorporates the tenets of interconnected identities, interconnected social forces, and distinct circumstances to better theorize women operating within internet technologies, and to capture the uniqueness of marginalized women.
> I think the work that Anna Everett is so important and timely.  The current impact that the Black culture has had within film (Tyler Perry, Lee Daniels, etc), television (Scandal, Empire, How to Get Away with Murder), social media (Black Lives Matter, Black Twitter, etc), and even music (J. Cole, Jay-Z, Beyonce) reveals not only the consumption power of the Black community but also their direct contributions to a culture that has long excluded their participation.
> But the question we have to continue to ask ourselves: is this true inclusion or media's hand being forced to diversify? And even with continued diversification, we have to critically challenge the imagery being deployed.  Is it stereotypical? Is it progressive? Who's actually in control of the narratives? Etc.  So there is cautious optimism and one that scholars like Drs Everett and Brock are currently engaged in.
> Kishonna
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Anna Everett, Ph.D.

Department of Film and Media Studies
2322 Social Sciences and Media Studies (SSMS) Bldg.
University of California
Santa Barbara, CA  93106-4010
Email:  everett at filmandmedia.ucsb.edu
Phone: 805.893.8706
Fax:   805 893.8630

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