"Shut up and play"

Vivian James and the presence of women in gaming cultures

  • Mahli-Ann Rakkomkaew Butt The University of Sydney
  • Thomas Apperley Deakin University
Keywords: #gamergate, gaming cultures, gender, harassment, Vivian James


The creation of Vivian James, illustrates #gamergate’s function of policing participation and enjoyment of videogame culture. Through a shared embrace of an underdog status elements of gaming culture have become hostile to the inclusion of women. The design of Vivian James suggests that #gamergate is eager to present itself as including women, but presents female positionality in gaming in toxic and problematic ways that seeks to policing female 'intrusion' into digital games through the threat of violence.

Author Biographies

Mahli-Ann Rakkomkaew Butt, The University of Sydney

Mahli-Ann Butt is a doctoral candidate at the University of Sydney in the Departments of Media & Communication and Gender & Cultural Studies. She is the Diversity Officer for the Digital Games Research Association (DiGRA) and the Editor-in-Chief of Press Start Journal. Mahli-Ann researches the complex entanglements of online/offline and private/public spheres of gaming culture and its intersections with identity and affective labour.

Thomas Apperley, Deakin University

Tom Apperley is a user experience researcher that specializes in digital games, education technologies, and experimental interfaces. He is an Associate Professor at Deakin University.

How to Cite
Butt, Mahli-Ann, and Thomas Apperley. 2018. “‘Shut up and Play’: Vivian James and the Presence of Women in Gaming Cultures”. In Decolonising the Digital: Technology As Cultural Practice, 39-47. Sydney: Tactical Space Lab. http://ojs.decolonising.digital/index.php/decolonising_digital/article/view/ShutUpAndPlay.