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Emma Vossen responds to the eSports-inspired dress by Cranium Apparel

Thursday, March 28, 2019

GI alum Emma Vossen published an essay entitled "Why the 'Gamer Dress' is about so much more than just a dress" in response to Cranium Apparel's new eSports-inspired dress design and their tweet announcing the product. Vossen's thought-provoking and powerful essay argues that the eSports dress and Cranium's accompanying tweet represent the pervasive gender discrimination in games culture that disenfranchises female gamers.

The offending tweet:

The dress was designed for female eSports players and is priced at $53 USD. When asked if any women were consulted in the design of the dress, Cranium Apparel responded "Unfortunately No".

Vossen discusses how the dress is a manifestation of the idea that female gamers are only acceptable if they conform to a dichotomy imposed on them of being 1) sexual objects, or 2) unfeminine. She says the accompanying tweet further conveys the idea that men are still the gatekeepers of the gamer identity.

This tweet is saying 'sorry our toxic pit is so toxic! Here is a dress for you to wear while you swim in the toxic pit: also it shows off your tits and ass!'

Emma Vossen, from "Why the 'Gamer Dress' is about so much more than just a dress"

Vossen's essay follows an auto-ethnographical form - she discusses a handful of her personal experiences as a female gamer in order to help us understand the underlying issues that the eSports dress represents. Her experiences are examples of "that unique flavour of sexual harassment female gamers are subjected to", which Cranium's dress and tweet perpetuate.

Vossen concludes the essay with a call-to-action for what influencers and members of games culture should be doing in order to make the culture more inclusive for female gamers:

That something should be constantly including women in work and discussions about games at every level, it should be speaking back against the bigotry in games culture, it should be changing your own language and behaviour to make women feel more welcome, it should be supporting and amplifying the voices of those speaking out about these problems, it should be simply respecting the continued existence and visibility of women gamers themselves, no matter who they are, what they play, or what they wear.

Emma Vossen, from "Why the 'Gamer Dress' is about so much more than just a dress"
 


For more about the eSports dress, check out GI alum Alexandra Orlando's YouTube video.

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