Tag Archives: muds

Gender and Ethnic Identity in Online Spaces (a mini-paper)

Before modern social media sites started bringing people together online, computer-savvy people could meet in Multi-User Dungeons (MUDs). These were sometimes persistent role-playing game worlds, sometimes social spaces. One in particular, code named BlueSky, was studied during the 90s.

BlueSky was populated almost entirely by straight white men, possibly due to the earlier barriers to entry. Even those who were *not* still performed to that identity, distancing themselves from the aspects of themselves that didn’t fit.┬áDuring this time, high value was placed on meeting other members face to face, almost to verify each others’ identities.

My primary academic interest at this time is in the Korrasami fandom on Tumblr. It is a shipping community that is part of the Legend of Korra fandom that celebrates the canon female/female relationship of Korra and Asami Sato, two bisexual women of color. Likely due to the peculiarities of this pairing, the fandom has a high percentage of women who are attracted to other women. There is likely also a much higher level of diversity within the fandom than in BlueSky, but the specifics will need to be investigated further.

I want to use this BlueSky study to compare how people identify in a more diverse setting and whether they still perform to a particular, assumed majority or not. From what I have observed so far, the members of the Korrasami fandom tend to celebrate their differences, whether it is in the joy of finding other Filipinx fans or discussing the struggles they’ve faced due to gender or sexuality.

Continue below the cut to see the actual paper, complete with references.

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