Date Thesis Awarded


Access Type

Honors Thesis -- Access Restricted On-Campus Only

Degree Name

Bachelors of Arts (BA)




Meaghan Stiman

Committee Members

Thomas Linneman

Claire McKinney


This thesis uses data from non-participant observation and ten interviews to analyze the strategies that women use to remain in the online gaming sphere, despite constant backlash from their male counterparts. While we know about how women deal with sexism in the workforce, and how they experience it in the household, video games provide researchers with an example of sexism unhindered by in-person social norms or anti-harassment policies. This paper shows that instead of responsive strategies, women have developed in-depth preventative methods to hinder their teammates from discovering they are women. By doing this, they are attempting to put a stop to the rampant sexism they experience before it even occurs. What this strategy does, however, is put the pressure of potential discovery solely on the women’s shoulders, resulting in them carrying an immense emotional burden. In response, women created their own communities of other girl gamers and men that they trusted so that they could play without this pressure. However, this is not a long-term solution, as they are still separating themselves from the larger group, resulting in a never-ending cycle of exclusion. These findings contribute to an understanding of this cyclical female exclusion across all male-dominated spheres, and they suggest a possibility of disruption of these cycles and eventually, true inclusion.

Available for download on Wednesday, May 07, 2025

On-Campus Access Only