Book Chapter: Kim Kardashian: Hollywood and Feminism

Abstract: Kim Kardashian has received much attention for her media empire, including her game, published by Glu Mobile. The game’s premise plays a role in what I characterize as “Feminine Play Style,” an emerging mode of video games that functions through assumptions about an idealized vision of the woman player and her relationship with leisure time.

This is What a Feminist (Game) Looks Like.

As video games become an increasingly mass medium — not intended for niche audiences but deployed with different genres, styles, and platforms — it is an apt time to rethink the role of feminism in gaming. Feminism, as it is deployed in this paper, considers feminism as discursive, exceeding “women” as its subject, per Judith Butler, and is instead about how systems facilitate emancipation (Butler, 1990). In this way, I consider three categories of how we can think about what a feminist game might look like: (1) technological deployment, (2) game mechanics, (3) game narratives. Using Kimberlé  Crenshaw’s (1989) designation of “intersectionality” (ie, the interdependence of systems of oppression), I break down the feminism inherent in games such as Stardew Valley, Life is Strange, and Monument Valley.  This approach of considering the feminism of games that already exist allows us to be forward-looking at the future of the medium as well as the future of the industry.