Code Before Content? Brogrammer Culture in Games and Electronic Literature

Critical Writing
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Abstract (in English): 

Electronic literature exists at the intersection of the humanities, arts, and STEM: an acronym that itself defines a contested battleground of technical skills. The lack of diversity in STEM has received considerable scrutiny, and computer-related fields particularly suffer from a lack of diversity. Salter notes that this has contributed to the rise of “brogrammer” culture in disciplines with strong computer science components, and with it a rhetorical collision of programming and hypermasculine machismo. Brogrammer culture is self-replicating: in technical disciplines, the association of code with masculinity and men’s only spaces plays a pivotal role in reinforcing the status quo. Given this dramatic under-representation of women in computer science disciplines, the privileging of code-driven and procedural works within the discourse of electronic literature is inherently gendered. The emergence of platforms friendly to non-coders (such as Twine) broadens participation in electronic literature and gaming space, but often such works are treated and labeled differently (and less favorably) from code-driven and procedural works that occupy the same space. Salter argues that electronic literature communities must be aware of the gendered rhetoric and socialization surrounding code, and be vigilant against the tendency to value code (and, by extension, male-coded labor) over content when evaluating works in this form.


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Title Developers Year initiated
Twine 2009
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Hannah Ackermans