Conference presentation
Open access

When the medium is (not) the message : intersectionality and procedural rhetoric in vegan video games

Publication date2020

Ethical veganism as an historic philosophy represents a complex intersection of rights discourses that translates into lived practices of care and sustainability based on equal respect for other-than-human animals, the natural environment, and women. This intersectionality promotes anti-speciesism, anti-racism, anti-vivisection, anti-militarism, anti-poverty (especially food scarcity), anti-capitalism, anti-colonialism, anti-extractivism, and the rights of labor, women, LGBTQ+, environment, and other-than-human animals. Vegan feminists, for example, note the shared discursive feminization of “animals” and “Nature” as exploitable resources within hetero-patriarchal anthropocentrism. Communicating this intersectionality through activism is a challenge met, in part, through contemporary digital technology including social impact video-games. This presentation examines the design of vegan games created by PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) through Ian Bogost's concept of “procedural rhetoric”: the process of “learning by doing” that is prescribed by the rules that control player behavior within the game system. When the procedural rhetoric of the game medium is not consistent with the activist message, conflictual relations emerge that have implications for the rhetorical "animalization" of women and the discursive "feminization" of animals. In contrast, a positive example of an intersectional video-game (though one that is not promoted as "vegan") is offered by the Iñupiaq puzzle-platformer "Never Alone" (2014).

  • Videogames
  • Ethical veganism
  • Animal rights
  • Gender
  • Environment
  • PETA
  • Ian Bogost
  • Procedural rhetoric
  • Intersectionality
  • Ecofeminism
Citation (ISO format)
MADSEN, Deborah Lea. When the medium is (not) the message : intersectionality and procedural rhetoric in vegan video games. In: Art, genre et environnement : vers une intelligence de la nature ? (Cours en études genre). Genève. 2020. 23 p.
Main files (1)
  • PID : unige:146827

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Creation12/18/2020 3:06:00 PM
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