Friends With Benefits: Plausible Optimism and the Practice of Teabagging in Video Games

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Games and Culture, ISSN: 1555-4120

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Myers, Brian
SAGE Publications
gamer; video games; culture; teabagging; media audiences; practice theory; gender; sexuality; Communication
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article description
Recent scholarship in gaming studies has challenged the field to investigate and critique the hard core gaming audience (stereotypically seen as straight, White, cis-gendered male gamers) in a way that does not reinforce either the perceived marginalization of gamers or broader social hierarchies of gender, sexuality, and class. This article demonstrates a way to acknowledge the complexity of this audience without dismissing its most virulent tendencies via practice theory and weak theory. Using data drawn from a qualitative survey of 393 self-identified first-person shooter video game players, this article looks at the specific practice of “teabagging” in online competitive gaming contexts. Ultimately, this article argues that drawing attention to the gaps and fissures that local gaming practices can produce in broader structures of gaming, sexuality, and class can help critical gaming scholars encourage and cultivate such practices as well as construct new, reparative alliances between different fields and communities.