Advertisement

The Abject Scapegoat: Boundary Erosion and Maintenance in League of Legends

  • Elyse Janish
Chapter
Part of the Palgrave Games in Context book series (PAGCON)

Abstract

In the wake of the qualification of the first woman (Remilia) to the professional tier of League of Legends, the North American e-sports community erupted with debates about what her presence might mean for League, e-sports, and women who play games. The debates reveal an obsession with maintaining boundaries that seem to erode easily in digital gaming spaces: between male and female, gamer and athlete, human and technology, for example. Focusing on her alleged transgender status, the gaming community shored up these boundaries through discursively abjectifying Remilia, using transphobic tactics to figure her as an insignificant spectacle. In this way, she became a scapegoat for the gaming community’s larger, unacknowledged anxieties about boundary erosion, a phenomenon which has the potential to challenge cisgender masculine privilege in gaming spaces.

Bibliography

  1. Apstein, Stephanie. 2015. E-Sports Nation: How Competitive Gaming Became a Flourishing Spot. Sports Illustrated, October 29. http://www.si.com/more-sports/2015/10/29/esports-competitive-video-gaming.
  2. Boatman, Brandon. 2016. Remilia Has Left Renegades. HardcoreGamer, February 2. http://www.hardcoregamer.com/2016/02/02/remilia-has-left-renegades/190696/.
  3. Butler, Judith. 1993. Bodies That Matter: On the Discursive Limits of “Sex”. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  4. Campbell, Colin. 2015. Smite, Sexism and the Soul of Esports. Polygon, November 3. http://www.polygon.com/features/2015/11/3/9660094/smite-sexism-and-the-soul-of-esports.
  5. Caslav Covino, Deborah. 2004. Amending the Abject Body: Aesthetic Makeovers in Medicine and Culture. Albany: SUNY Press.Google Scholar
  6. Chang, Tiffany K., and Y. Barry Chung. 2015. Transgender Microaggressions: Complexity of the Heterogeneity of Transgender Identities. Journal of LGBT Issues in Counseling 9: 217–234.  https://doi.org/10.1080/15538605.2015.1068146.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Conditt, Jessica. 2015. League of Legends’ First Pro Female Player Weighs Her Options. Engadget, August 13. http://www.engadget.com/2015/08/13/league-of-legends-female-pro-player/.
  8. Eberhard, J.T. 2015. Professional League of Legends to Get Its First Female and Transgender Player. Patheos, August 15. http://www.patheos.com/blogs/wwjtd/2015/08/professional-league-of-legends-to-get-its-first-female-and-transgender-player/.
  9. Fairclough, Norman. 1995. Critical Discourse Analysis. London: Pearson Education Limited.Google Scholar
  10. FPS Diesel. 2015. LCS Has Its First Female?/Riot Silencing the Controversy? YouTube Video, August 16. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pacBVDJxDlQ.
  11. Gronnvoll, Marita, and Kristen McCauliff. 2013. Bodies That Shatter: A Rhetoric of Exteriors, the Abject, and Female Suicide Bombers in the ‘War on Terrorism’. Rhetoric Society Quarterly 43: 335–354.  https://doi.org/10.1080/02773945.2013.819989.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Halberstam, Judith. 1993. Imagined Violence/Queer Violence: Representation, Rage, and Resistance. Social Text 37: 187–201.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Harold, Christine, and Kevin Michael DeLuca. 2005. Behold the Corpse: Violent Images and the Case of Emmett Till. Rhetoric & Public Affairs 8: 263–286.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Kennedy, Helen W. 2002. Lara Croft: Feminist Icon or Cyberbimbo? On the Limits of Textual Analysis. The International Journal of Computer Game Research 2 (2). http://www.gamestudies.org/0202/kennedy/.
  15. Kristeva, Julia. 1982. Powers of Horror: An Essay on Abjection. Trans. Leon S. Roudiez. New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
  16. LeJacq, Yannick. 2015. The League of Legends Championship Series Has Its First Woman Player. Kotaku, August 14. http://kotaku.com/the-league-of-legends-championship-series-has-its-first-1724136651.
  17. Lombardi, Emilia L., Riki Anne Wilchins, Dana Priesing, and Diana Malouf. 2002. Gender Violence. Journal of Homosexuality 42: 89–101.  https://doi.org/10.1300/J082v42n01_05.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Lorek-Jezińska, Edyta. 2014. The Body, Desire, and the Abject: The Corpse and Cannibalism Is Monty Python’s Flying Circus Sketches. In Nobody Expects the Spanish Inquisition: Cultural Contexts in Monty Python, ed. Tomasz Dobrogoszcz, 23–34. London: Rowman & Littlefield.Google Scholar
  19. Magnet, Shoshana. 2006. Playing at Colonization: Interpreting Imaginary Landscapes in the Video Game Tropico. Journal of Communication Inquiry 30: 142–162.  https://doi.org/10.1177/0196859905285320.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Martino, Wayne. 2000. Policing Masculinities: Investigating the Role of Homophobia and Heteronormativity in the Lives of Adolescent School Boys. Journal of Men’s Studies 8: 213–236.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. McDonagh, Eileen, and Laura Pappano. 2008. Playing with the Boys: Why Separate Is Not Equal in Sports. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  22. Messner, Michael A. 2002. Taking the Field: Women, Men, and Sports. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.Google Scholar
  23. Miller, T. 2001. Sportsex. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.Google Scholar
  24. Nadal, Kevin L., Avy Skolnik, and Yinglee Wong. 2012. Interpersonal and Systemic Microaggressions Toward Transgender People: Implications for Counseling. Journal of LGBT Issues in Counseling 6: 55–82.  https://doi.org/10.1080/15538605.2012.648583.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Namaste, Viviane K. 2000. Invisible Lives: The Erasure of Transsexual and Transgendered People. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  26. Ratan, Rabindra A., Nicholas Taylor, Jameson Hogan, Tracy Kennedy, and Dmitri Williams. 2015. Stand by Your Man: An Examination of Gender Disparity in League of Legends. Games and Culture 10: 438–462.  https://doi.org/10.1177/1555412014567228.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Scott, Suzanne, and Ellen Kirkpatrick. 2015. Trans Representations and Superhero Comics: A Conversation with Mey Rude, J. Skyler, and Rachel Stevens. Cinema Journal 55: 160–168.  https://doi.org/10.1353/cj.2015.0060.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Sedgwick, Eve Kosofsky. 1985. Between Men: English Literature and Male Homosocial Desire. New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
  29. Shaw, Adrienne. 2014. Gaming at the Edge: Sexuality and Gender at the Margins of Gamer Culture. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.Google Scholar
  30. Stotzer, Rebecca L. 2009. Violence Against Transgender People: A Review of United States Data. Aggression and Violent Behavior 14 (3): 170–179.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Taylor, Nicholas. 2009. Power Play: Digital Gaming Goes Pro. PhD diss., York University.Google Scholar
  32. ———. 2011. Play Globally, Act Locally: The Standardization of Pro Halo 3 Gaming. International Journal of Gender, Science and Technology 3: 228–242.Google Scholar
  33. Taylor, Nicholas, Jen Jenson, and Suzanne de Castell. 2009. Cheerleaders/Booth Babes/Halo Hoes: Pro-Gaming, Gender and Jobs for the Boys. Digital Creativity 20: 239–252.  https://doi.org/10.1080/14626260903290323.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Taylor, T.L. 2006. Play Between Worlds: Exploring Online Game Culture. Cambridge: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  35. Taylor, T.L. 2012. Raising the Stakes: E-Sports and the Professionalization of Computer Gaming. Cambridge: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  36. Travers, Ann. 2006. Queering Sport: Lesbian Softball Leagues and the Transgender Challenge. International Review for the Sociology of Sport 4: 431–446.  https://doi.org/10.1177/1012690207078070.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Vanderhoef, John. 2013. Casual Threats: The Feminization of Casual Video Games. Ada: A Journal of Gender, New Media, and Technology (2).  https://doi.org/10.7264/N3V40S4D.
  38. Verticalex. 2015. Remilia the LCS Girl. YouTube Video, August 13. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gdeXFdcCgbI.
  39. Warr, Philippa. 2014. Esports for All? How to Get More Women into Pro Gaming. The Guardian, July 31. https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2014/jul/31/esports-how-to-get-more-women-into-pro-gaming.
  40. Weber, Shannon. 2016. ‘Womanhood Does Not Reside in Documentation’: Queer and Feminist Student Activism for Transgender Women’s Inclusion at Women’s Colleges. Journal of Lesbian Studies 20: 29–45.  https://doi.org/10.1080/10894160.2015.1076238.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Witkowski, Emma. 2012. On the Digital Playing Field: How We ‘Do Sport’ With Networked Computer Games. Games and Culture 7: 349–374.  https://doi.org/10.1177/1555412012454222.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Elyse Janish
    • 1
  1. 1.University of ColoradoBoulderUSA

Personalised recommendations