Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Modes of Using: Cellphones/Casual Gaming

I was interested to note the reappearance of the genderization of technology this week; cellphones are marketed in Korea in the same way that casual games are conceived of in the gaming world: as "feminine, light and playful" (Yoon). Again, the feminine technology is taking on the role of the technology for mass consumption. Yoon contrasts the cellphone with the computer in terms of the way in which it has been presented to the Korean market - computers, presumably, are seen as serious, "masculine." The Yoon article adds the layer of the association with youth and youth culture that characterizes the cellphone, and creates a connection between the feminine and the playful and Korean teen culture.

The fact that Yoon goes on to document the ways in which cellphone technology has been framed as a force for the disruption and destruction of culture and family is worth looking at through the perspective of cellphones as "feminine." Traditional conceptions of femininity usually paint women as strengthening or centering elements in the home; I wonder how the "feminine," "mass-consumption" technology has come in this case to represent just the opposite: a force for the dismantlement of culture and the disruption of the lives of Korea's youth. What is going on here with respect to the meaning attached to femininity and technology?

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