CFP: Gender violence and virtual worlds

Alon Lischinsky alischinsky at
Thu Jul 18 08:49:13 UTC 2013

(With apologies for cross-posting)

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Call for Papers
Workshop: Virtual Gender
Gender violence and virtual worlds: brave new world(s) of regulation?

(The Open University, Walton Hall, Milton Keynes)

Virtual Worlds and Online Games now play a large part in society and
social past times; they are popular and mass culture. Women actively
participate in various online environments and Virtual Worlds, forming
a significant part of these communities.

However, Virtual Worlds provide a different space for people to
inhabit. Cyberspace has traditionally been regarded as a lawless
environment – as much for its jurisdictional difficulties and absence
of regulation, as for its lack of physical nature. In recent years one
could observe a sudden emergence and major growth of cybercrime, with
particular rise in cyber stalking and cyber-harassment. What is
particularly intriguing is that many of these crimes take a
gender-based form, such as gender-based violence, sexual harassment or
cyber-pornography, which primarily victimize women (or rather female
avatars and characters).

Despite their prevalence cybercrimes, and gender-based cybercrimes in
particular, remain unregulated. Where regulation occurs, it is largely
in the form of Acceptable behaviour and Codes of Conduct. The
difficulty then arises then with enforcement. Furthermore, various
attempts at discussing the issue of misogyny in online environments
and cybercrimes against women meet a strong, opposing and somewhat
alarming response, such as one directed against Anita Saarkeshian, a
feminist games critic, blogger and the author of the Tropes v Women.

These recent developments and paint a rather alarming picture of the
gender inequality in virtual worlds and prompt a question about the
need for regulation of such behaviour in online environments and in
virtual worlds.

The Ignite© (UN)CONFERENCE is designed to create an opportunity to
discuss these pressing, contemporary issues in an informal,
multidisciplinary environment. Our event will take a form of Ignite
sessions which are designed to stimulate discussion and exchange of
new ideas in a short period of time (
Presentations should be no longer than 10 minutes. After the Ignite
sessions, separate sessions will be run to further explore these

We are hoping to attract a range of participants from various
backgrounds, who are interested in participating in this event and
contributing to the discussion. You do not need to be a game player to
join! Please submit proposals of no more than 200 words including a
brief biography and 3 keywords to Kim Barker (Birmingham Law School)
and Olga Jurasz (Open University) at: virtualgender at by 25
July 2013 and join the debate on twitter @VirtualGender.

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