Listening to the radio yesterday the woman talking was describing items in their latest exhibition on irons. She went into great detail about the subtle differences, the introduction of the the electric iron and she described the beautiful ceramic surface… and then she recounted the difference this had made to women. These electric irons, these small household appliances had been part of a massive change in women’s lives. I knew this. I knew that the face of housework had been changed dramatically by these inventions. But I hadn’t understood was the repercussions of these inventions, certainly not from a social point of view.
Women’s time had been freed up…or rather it was now possible for us to do even more housework with greatly improved gadgets. What the voice on the radio had told me though, was that these revolutionary irons had led to women becoming far more lonely within the home.
Washing days had changed from being group activities where women gathered, washed, hung their washing out and ironed their clothes together. These devices had brought technology into their homes, changing the sociable activity of wash day into a solitary domestic chore. It made me think about social media: about all of our technological pursuits; all of my ‘friends’ on Facebook, the social games I play. Do we really believe that sitting behind a keyboard, behind a monitor, behind a computer is making us social, sociable? What does that mean? Is liking your friend’s birthday on facebook, their latest photo etc. really a replacement for a cup of tea and a chat?
Women’s lives were once full of drudgery, or so we’re told, but it was genuinely sociable drudgery. We, in the civilised world, no longer have this type of drudgery in our lives. Now they are full of social games and sociable apps. and linked-in to everyone we’ve ever encountered, or not? Is playing a network game the same as sitting in a room and playing a game with your friends? I wonder are we now, as they would have us believe, much better off with our household appliances, individual laptops and our digitally sanitised, drudgery-free social networks?
Comments OffPosted in Games & PlayFeb 28, 2012
I can only talk about the world as I see it: So I can only talk from the position of a mother with a nine year old daughter. I’m not trying to make any great claims, it’s just what I observe. I don’t know if things would be different if I had given birth to a boy.
My daughter is a healthy consumer of computer games in a variety of forms. I say healthy as she consumes them in small amounts every now and again, and for at least half of the time with her friends. So she is a social gamer in that wider sense; she does it to be sociable.
Her favourite games at the moment involve dancing; madly matching the movements of an on-screen avatar, and running around trying to keep a host of hungry penguins satisfied. I’ve never seen her running around a landscape with a gun. In fact I can’t ever remember her playing a game which involves killing anything. I will leave our games out of this discussion since there was a small amount of coersion involved in that particular engagement
I wonder what the experience of a mother with a young boy is. Are the games they play the same? At what age do their sons hang up their dancing shoes and pick up their ground-to-air missile launchers? Certainly many of the older boys I know do play games involving heavy weaponry. Was there a moment in their lives when their behaviour changed? Or were these the games they progressed to when they became consumers of “serious” games?
As I said at the beginning I don’t have a point to make other than to question how and when dancing becomes forgotten in favour of the more serious pursuit of war.
You can ready the full article here: http://www.gammalounge.com/en/gb/articles/2000/01/01/urzoo-at-gamehorizon