The role of gender in Chinese esports culture: an empirical research of women's participation in esports in China

Peng, Yun (2021) The role of gender in Chinese esports culture: an empirical research of women's participation in esports in China. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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This thesis investigates women’s participation in esports in China and the role of gender in esports culture. By referring back to the way the gender gap been explored in other game studies, this work concentrates women’s preferences, motivations and difficulties they met in participating in esports. In order to carry out convincing and reliable discussions, this empirical research draws its data from a questionnaire with 252 responses, six focus group interviews with a total number of 39 players and 10 in-depth interviews with industry professionals. The fieldwork looks at both women’s participation in esports as general players and their participation in the esports industry. By analysing primary data, this research looks at how women’s participation in esports intertwined with the esports culture, even the broader game culture. Additionally, this thesis makes efforts to illustrate how the role of gender been formed in the esports culture.

Start from participating in esports as a general player, this research reveals five core difficulties that influencing women to play esports games, including technology engagement, in-game skill master, gender stereotypes, players’ previous game experience and the Chinese game history and policies. Opposite from the difficulties, this thesis presented women’s motivations and preferences of playing esports and emphasizes that women’s motivations for playing esports are multiple and dynamic. In detail, social interaction, achievement, immersion and obtaining career development were identified to be attractive elements. This thesis further presents discussions of how mobile esports managed to attract women and why the mobile esports should be noticed as an important dimension of understanding players. Apart from participating in esports as general players, the last part of this thesis discusses women’s participation in the esports industry, including areas of professional esports play, esports online streaming and esports commentary. This work reveals the masculinity of the culture becomes more obvious in these areas. In general, there is a narrowing down the gender gap in esports play that largely benefited from the development of mobile esports. However, the gender gap in esports as a whole remains to be notable and is particularly obvious in the esports industry. This thesis argues the esports culture shows a strong masculine tendency, which largely result from the problematic gaming culture, women absent from PC esports and the gender gap in the esports industry. The masculinity in esports culture in turn influenced women’s participation in esports negatively. The gender gap in esports is neither because women are not interested in competitive games, nor because they are incapable of playing complicated games. It is the masculinity in esports culture and the masculine hegemony in the esports industry that strengthens the gender gap and related stereotypes in this area. As a result, the increasing number of women players are still outside the core of the esports culture.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: esports, gender, participation, culture.
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Colleges/Schools: College of Arts & Humanities > School of Culture and Creative Arts > Theatre Film and TV Studies
Supervisor's Name: Barker, Professor Timothy and Boyle, Professor Raymond
Date of Award: 2021
Depositing User: Miss YUN PENG
Unique ID: glathesis:2021-82072
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 24 Mar 2021 17:04
Last Modified: 08 Apr 2022 17:05
Thesis DOI: 10.5525/gla.thesis.82072

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