A study on the gender consciousness of League of Legends’ female players

- Lam Wai Wang

It is time to say that I am finally graduated! Same as my classmates, I was required to do an honours project and have finished it in the final academic year. I would like to express my gratitude to people who helped and inspired me when I was accomplishing the project. Without their support, I could not even finish it punctually.

Mark Twain, the well-known author, said that “the secret of getting ahead is getting started”. As known to all, the most difficult part is how to get started. I struggled on choosing the topic at first. Most people think that a social science student should do their honours project with probing social issues. But I do not agree with this mindset after a discussion with my friends. My project explored women’s gender consciousness when they play the well-known online video game ‘League of Legends’. I strongly believe that everyone should investigate a topic in which they have a great interest.  I believe that a well beginning is half done. For instance, I love playing ‘League of Legends’ and have deep understanding of this game before I started the project. Besides, I am interested in gender issues including different areas such as gender stereotypes, gender equality, gender recognition, etc. While there are some female characters designed in the game, developers instil some gender ideology in it. I think this is a great chance for me to link the two interests together. However, conducting a project does not work the same as playing a game. I have to study different gender theories to support my statement. There are a huge number of references that needed to be read for the development of my own theory. I was very concentrated on my work and thus I spent so much time. When I tried to adopt research approaches, I found many ways to analyze gender issues, but I was probing the issues through minority interest, therefore, I was confused about how I could explain the concepts clearly.

I adopted game analysis and in-depth interview with interviewees as my research approaches. I thought these two are more suitable methodological approaches than the others. Through this research project, participants who are not familiar with the game also got to understand the instructions of the game, more than that, they even could realize the characteristics of the female characters. My research was made significant with such findings. Besides, I chose in-depth interviews with interviewees and set four criteria before I did the interviews. I believed that I could get some reliable data of real-life experience from females through conducting interviews. Apart from the above, there are benefits of my research approaches. For instance, I provided some basic information of the game that will make it easier for participants to understand. These are the main reasons why I adopted the two approaches.

There are several challenges I mentioned in the above. To be honest, I was struggling to set the research questions. If I set irrelevant questions, my investigation would not be objective and I would not get a fair result. I learnt that it is important to be a real university student that should have academic discussions with classmates and the supervisor. Having a discussion with different people enhances us to get rid of our typical ways of thinking. The main purpose of doing a research is to train ourselves to be more innovative. Also, we should not be shy of asking questions when we are meeting our supervisor as s/he will help you wholeheartedly. I really appreciate all the support I have received from my supervisor Dr. Chan.

In a nutshell, I know my honours project is not a perfect work, but honestly I made a great effort. It reflects my learning outcomes in these four years that cover not only the theories, but also the proper attitude of seeking knowledge.