Recommended reading for feminist gamers

Are you a feminist gamer? Are you interested in feminism and gaming and want to know more about how they interact? Check out our list of recommended books, videos, and websites!

Being a gamer and a feminist can be confusing, or seem contradictory in some communities, but it doesn’t have to be that way – if anything, loving games and wanting to think more critically about them is a great entry into feminism (as is loving books, movies, or any other sort of media).

Here are some recommended texts, videos, and resources for being a well-informed feminist gamer:

We Should All Be Feminists (Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie)

Adichie’s excellent and very digestible book (as well as the eloquent and charming TED talk that inspired it) is one of the best introductions to feminism that you can find in 2015. It simultaneously celebrates, uplifts, and demystifies feminism, making it accessible and attractive to everyone (which is probably why Sweden elected to give a copy to every 16 year old student).

Pick it up on Amazon: We Should All Be Feminists

Feminist Frequency


It almost goes without saying, but I would be terribly remiss if I didn’t mention Anita Sarkeesian and Feminist Frequency. I don’t need to comment on any of the controversy surrounding her or her video series, Tropes vs. Women in Video Games, because others have done a better job elsewhere, but she has to be included in any conversation about gaming and feminism because, well, no one else is really what she’s doing.

Her videos break down some of the issues with modern gaming and do a good job of applying basic feminist media criticism to games in much the same way that it has been applied to books and movies for half a century. The videos can be a little dry, but they’re an excellent resource regardless.

The Will to Change: Men, Masculinity and Love/Feminism is for Everyone (Bell Hooks)


All of Bell Hooks’ works are great for feminists, new and old, especially Feminism is for Everyone, which is one of the best introductory texts you can possibly read. She also has a lot of really excellent lessons for men who want to be feminists, and is very understanding of how the patriarchy can hurt them as well. Here’s a relevant excerpt:

“The first act of violence that patriarchy demands of males is not violence toward women. Instead patriarchy demands of all males that they engage in acts of psychic self-mutilation, that they kill off the emotional parts of themselves. If an individual is not successful in emotionally crippling himself, he can count on patriarchal men to enact rituals of power that will assault his self-esteem.”

Pick it up on Amazon: The Will to Change: Men, Masculinity and Love

GeekFeminism Wiki


This is a great resource overall, with links to just about every conceivable conversation you might want to have about feminism or any term that you might be hung up on, but it’s especially useful for its list of Feminism 101 topics. It’s also one of the few places where you’re going to be able to get a good grasp on the

John Scalzi

John Scalzi, super-nerd and author of beloved science fiction works like Redshirts and Old Man’s War, does a really great job of demonstrating how to be a good feminist even if you happen to be a privileged white dude. His best post on the subject is White Male: The Lowest Difficulty Setting There Is, but his blog and Twitter feed are full of wisdom and good conversations about

Angry Jack Video Series (InnuendoStudios)


This is a six-part series that unpacks a lot of the anger that a certain segment of the online population has toward feminists and women in general, especially certain figureheads (Anita Sarkeesian is mentioned several times).

It’s not terribly academic, and it makes a lot of assumptions, but the series does a good job of addressing the atmosphere of anger surrounding these conversations and correctly identifies the source of a lot of frustration. If you’re looking for some lighter fare, this is a good place to start and to get the gears turning on feminism in gaming.

Check it out on YouTube: Angry Jack

A Cyborg Manifesto (Donna J. Haraway)

Haraway is a professor of feminism and women’s studies and an absolute luminary in the field, notable for her insightful and ground-breaking writing on the intersection of feminism, science, technology, and information.

Haraway is a brilliant theorist, but a consummate academic, and her work can sometimes be inaccessible, but if you’re willing to put the time in, this is a great way to drill down on important questions about women and feminism in technology (and gaming).

Download a free PDF from Georgetown University or pick up the full book on Amazon: Simians, Cyborgs, and Women: The Reinvention of Nature


Unlocking the Clubhouse: Women in Computing (Jane Margolis and Allan Fisher)


This excellent text by Margolis and Fisher addresses the issue of representation in computing and technology in a really excellent way, debunking a lot of the pervasive myths about women in tech. In a climate that’s full of misinformation, it’s really great to have a text that’s so supremely grounded and well researched to refer to. 

Pick it up on Amazon: Unlocking the Clubhouse: Women in Computing

Leigh Alexander

Leigh Alexander is a very prolific and insightful game critic and developer with a lot of great articles under her belt that have nothing to do with gender or feminism, but some of her best work focuses on representation and the plight of women in gaming.

Interestingly enough, despite ending up on the wrong end of a certain hashtag movement, she has been one of the most vocal critics of bad games journalism, and has written a lot of good words on the subject, if you’re interested in that sort of thing.


Katherine Cross


Katherine Cross has articles across a wide range of media from an academic, feminist, and sociological perspective, and she has written very smart, very well-researched responses to various happenings in the nerd and gaming spheres over the past year or two. If you’re looking for an active, up-to-date feminist critic, you should absolutely follow Katherine Cross and read what she has to say.

You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost): A Memoir (Felicia Day)


This isn’t an explicitly feminist text and Felicia Day hasn’t positioned herself as a feminist scholar or anything of the sort, but it is an extremely fun book and contains some very revealing chapters about what it’s like to be a woman on the internet, especially a woman in gaming.

Especially telling is how Day – a woman who put countless hours into World of Warcraft and created an internet show about it – is still accused of being a “fake geek girl.” It’s a very instructive text for understanding why feminism is important to gamers.

Pick it up on Amazon: You're Never Weird on the Internet (Almost)

Published Dec. 30th 2015
View Comments
  • Zanne Nilsson
    Featured Correspondent
    Interesting list, I'll have to check these out!
  • Mathenaut
    There is some solid reading for feminists that are interested in gaming.

    Unfortunately, there isn't much of it here. Parroting the ideas of hipsters with no real knowledge or experience of the medium is a short road to alot of ridicule, and no, being mocked doesn't validate your views.

    As others have pointed out, Liana K, FYC, and others are feminists that are broadly supported or celebrated in the gaming community.

    By no coincidence, they aren't on this list. Which more or less tells you everything you need to know about this list.
  • Robert Guthrie
    I'm open to competing ideas and voices, but I'm a little confused by this criticism. What do Liana K and the Fine Young Capitalists have to offer that make them better choices than people with published works and academic credentials? What's "hipster" about Bell Hooks or Donna Haraway?
  • Mathenaut
    If you want people to learn about feminists in gaming, then it's better to look at successful feminists in gaming instead of trying to validate people who are frequently panned and regarded with little credibility outside of their social circles.

    You know damn well I wasn't talking about Hooks and Haraway.

    Also, GeekFeminism is another good way to never advance outside of the hugbox. Though I guess some people are all about that, I dunno.
  • Robert Guthrie
    Are Felicia Day and John Scalzi and Leigh Alexander and Anita Sarkeesian not feminists in gaming? And successful ones? I genuinely don't understand these objections.

    Also, I'm having a conversation with you here about my choices -- if I was attempting to create a 'hugbox', then I did a poor job.

    I know very little about Liana K and TFYC. What makes them better choices than the people I listed?
  • Mathenaut
    Scalzi is an SF author. Felicia Day is alright I guess, though that is more of a 'popular woman in gaming' than a feminist thing. If that's what you're after, then there are far more skilled women in competitive ladders and whatnot that would better serve the attention. Maybe another topic.

    TFYC is a group of feminists that promote and create ideas for women and make games. An answer to the 'make a game yourself' refrain. The game that they put out most recently got alot of support, even if not the best for what they are working with.

    Liana K is an actual journalist/cosplayer that has been directly involved in the industry for longer than some of the people on this list.

    Not sure what qualifies for success when it comes to Anita and Leigh. Feminist Frequency seems to have distanced itself, and while Anita got alot of easy publicity and controversy, little of it translated to any real impact. Criticisms in depth are a world of another topic entirely.

    Leigh is off in obscurity on a venture of her own that.. well, I suppose she can use all the help she can get at this point. Old industry connections are nice, but the last time she promoted a game, it was Sunset.

    It's not hard to promote women in gaming or would-be feminist ideals. They're nothing new. The controversy usually comes for other reasons, and it's not the kind of baggage you want if you seriously think there is a problem and want to promote solving it.
  • Robert Guthrie
    I still don't really understand your objections, and I'm not clear on what makes your alternatives "better", but I appreciate your civil response and I will look into broadening the list.
  • Mathenaut
    I guess the short of it is that there are far less controversial feminists and women that have accomplished more in gaming than some of the ones you've listed.

    Especially if you want to move beyond preaching to the choir, as it were.
  • Mackenzie Lambert_5420
    I'm seeing a lot of ideologues and not many gamers or female developers. Check out the work of Liana Kerzner, a lifelong female gamer, or support the Fine Young Capitalists, who try to bring more women into gaming development.

    Or actually support game made by female developers like Roberta Williams (KIng's quest), Robin Hunicke (Journey), Mari Shimazaki (Bayonetta), Kim Swift (Portal), or Amy Hennig (Uncharted series).
  • Jay Ricciardi
    This is a pretty fantastic list! I really hope people will look past the popular aversions to the word 'feminism' and the internet haze that surrounds Sarkeesian and L. Alexander and check out some of these awesome resources.

    In particular, I'm still so glad that Haraway is on here! I feel like the thoughts in that essay are only becoming more and more relevant in internet communities, even if no one realizes it. Cyborg Manifesto also incidentally ties in really well with Felicia Day's book.

    (P.S. Everyone who reads internet comments should watch the Angry Jack series, it's pretty exceptional.)

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