Intersecting Oppressions and Online Communities
Employing qualitative methods and drawing from an intersectional framework which focusses on the multiple identities we all embody, this paper focusses on oppressions experienced by women of color in Xbox Live, an online gaming community. Ethnographic observations and narrative interviewing reveal that women of color, as outsiders failing to conform to the white male norm, face intersecting oppressions in main stream gaming. They are linguistically profiled within the space based on how they sound. Specifically, Latina women within the space experience nativism, racism, sexism, and even heterosexism as many identify as sexual minorities. African-American women experience racialized sexism stemming from the duality of their ascribed identities. The women within the study have responded by segregating from the larger gaming community and have created their own clans (similar to guilds) and game with other women. The purpose of the clans depends on the type of oppressions experienced by the women within the space. This article analyzes this behavior in the context of linguistic profiling showcasing that this type of behavior can only occur within the setting of anonymity and disinhibition. With the diffusion of advanced technologies in video gaming, there has been a displacement of real world inequalities into virtuality.