Young Academics Workshop

Female Figures: Present and Future of Storytelling, Play and Characters

The Young Academics Workshop has been an integral part of the Clash of Realities conference since 2017. It is aimed at young researchers at all levels – from Bachelor to Postdoc – and offers its participants a space to present, discuss, and elaborate their projects.

This year, the Young Academics Workshop explores the present and future of female representation in games, films, and digital media, as well as the (academic and non-academic) discourse surrounding it.

The workshop is open to researchers and creators from all backgrounds and aims to reflect on the present state of female representation in audiovisual media. It furthermore opens a space in which creators and researchers can imagine possible futures of women and womanhood in AV media and share creative and intersectional answers to the complex question of female representation.

The 21st century has brought forward never-before-seen achievements in matters of women’s- and LGBTQI+ rights, as well as major setbacks and backlashes due to these advances. Critical engagement with the role(s) that cultural products play in the construction of gender thus becomes imperative for cultural creators, academics, and designers.

As cultural products, games, movies, and digital media take an active part in the continuous construction of gender. They portray women in ways that can reproduce harmful stereotypes, gender roles, and systems of violence against women – especially trans-women and nonbinary people.

However, audiovisual media do not only perpetuate normative gender roles and dominant cultural discourses, but they also have the power to subvert and reform them. As vessels of activism, they can offer spaces where the male gaze is subverted by the female gaze, where complex female characters and narratives are built, and female bodies can be shown in a diversity that goes beyond cis heteronormativity, hypersexualization, and commodification.