A few days after the conference “Equity, diversity and inclusion” which took place on November 24, the jeu.video team was able to interview the speaker Gabrielle Trépanier-Jobin.
Hello Gabrielle, can you please introduce yourself?
My name is Gabrielle Trépanier-Jobin, I am a Quebec researcherI am a professor of video games and cultural industries at theMedia School of the University of Quebec in Montreal for seven years. To talk a little more about my past, before becoming a professor, I did a post-doctorate. This is the equivalent of researcher. The latter took place at MIT “Comparative media studies“. I was a sociology professor at Concordia University. I did all my studies at the University of Quebec in Montreal in communication.
I worked on all kinds of subjects related to video games like the identity of the players in connection with their avatar. This also concerns cheating in games or immersing players. There are also representations of women in games, feminism in games… Currently, I am conducting research on equity, diversity and inclusion in the Quebec video game industry.
Why did you decide to conduct this research?
I already had a good background in women’s studies before I started working on video games. For my master’s, I became interested in representations women in film and television. In high school, a class taught me awake to the following reflection: “how do women construct images of women in media?“. This course was different for me and it stimulated my interest in this field of study.
Subsequently, linking video game and feminist studies was natural. There were many issues, things to observe. This was related to representations of women, the toxicity of gamers and the under-representation of women in the gaming industry. When I started to look more closely at the subject, I found that the claims of feminists on the companies that create the media lacked numerical support. But, above all, I observed that there was a problem and I wanted to dig into the question.
Did the results you presented to us during the conference change your vision of the video game industry?
Not really. These results confirmed my intuitions and those of many people. They also came to support other research and interviews conducted with non-cisgender or racialized women in the gaming industry who showed certain discrimination, sexism, harassment or disparities.
Do you play video games? If so, what are your favorite game genres?
Yes absolutely! I play platform and puzzle games which do not last more than five hours. Because I have a very busy schedule. Having a very completionist spirit, if I decide to embark on long games such as Red Dead Redemption or Fallout, I will want to go to the end!
Among my favorite games are Greythe games of That Game Company. Abzu is one of my favorite games! At the moment, I play a lot of board games (hence my attempt to create one), play in groups or face to face. I had missed it during the COVID-19 pandemic.
I also play games as part of my job and to accompany my students (Animal Crossing, Tomb Raider…).
Insofar as you multiply the conferences, first of all in Canada and now in France, have you noticed notable differences in the field of fairness in video games?
Quebec and French cultures are similar. But, I have not studied them in comparison and I can only guess. However, in France there are major problems of sexual harassment and Sexism compared to Quebec.
How would you define the concept of equity?
Equity is about many things as I explained in the lecture. Pay equity, equal opportunities given to people regardless of gender or socio-demographic characteristics. This concerns hiring, career. There is also the treatment and the tools available to them. In an ideal world, equity would be 50/50, but there is a long way to go. The number of women interested in the video game industry is minimal. Moreover, parity cannot take place, but measures are put in place.
Within the games themselves, the characters and their roles become varied. It’s a good thing because then we create different works. Obviously, being able to see female or non-cisgender characters helps validate our identity. In addition, it allows us to no longer question our legitimacy within the world of games.
I warmly thank researcher and professor Gabrielle Trépanier-Jobin for answering our questions. We wish him a lot of strength to continue his work.