Hanna’s talk was on women constructing identities. She stated that her work here was based on McRobbie and Garber (1976) and was an approach to the skinning community in The Sims particularly with reference to bedroom culture. She stated that this approach was because of the gendered space of the bedroom, and its alignment as a safe and appropriate space.
Hanna conducted interviews with various individuals involved in this scene of modification. She stated that they wanted to mention that they did not play for long periods of time and that play made them feel guilty because they did not feel like they had done anything (she referenced later the idea of women not feeling as though they have the right to leisure time). One individual, we were informed, stated that it was bad enough to be a geek, let alone a female one. Creativity in this scenario, Hanna stated, was a form of resistance.
This resistance here is considered active. Hanna said that these players are resisting by being female players, by beingThe Sims players (which they considered different from other types of game), and by being atypical players (by building and emphasising content). Making skins, therefore, is also a resistance.
Making skins was stated to be because people do not necessarily like the original skins. EA’s perceived understanding of this allows players to create new skins. Skins here, Hanna stated, are a desire to improve play and to help others. This moves us from resistance.
The anonymity is important, too. Hanna pointed out that because it is so anonymous individuals do not enjoy any form of identity boost from the process. Therefore the resistance becomes guilty and silent. Hanna stated that these skinners do not necessarily talk about such things with their friends, only with other skinners. These achievements, however, can be separated from default achievements in games, although these individuals were stated to not necessarily be bothered to do such things if the tools were not available in the first place.
Finally, Hanna pointed out that the virtually male-exclusive The Sims skinning is isolated from other modding groups, and that there is no communication between the two. Hanna suggested that this is partially due to insecurities in their own experience, and therefore an inability to share this with anyone outside of that community.
Questions included whether or not Hanna had shared this analysis with respondents yet, if there is visible resistance required with regards to subcultures, and the lack of awareness amongst these communities of other modders or places to put their mods.