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Girl Games: Adventures in Lip Gloss (13 Feb 1998)
Furthermore, in her quest to design games that are "intrinsically meaningful to girls" by addressing "their most important needs and interests," Laurel discounts the possibility that boys learn techniques for success in the business world--including competitiveness and drive for achievement--from "action games." Depriving girls of that training will not change the way the economy operates; in fact, it will more likely serve to perpetuate the sexist status quo.

Experts in the fields of sex equality and socialization agree. "This is just another example of the tawdry history of sex difference research that is driven by stereotypes and results in reinforcing those stereotypes," says Dr. Barrie Thorne, Professor of Sociology at U.C. Berkeley and author of the definitive text Gender Play. According to Thorne, who has 20 years of experience studying play patterns of girls and boys, "most researchers are now focusing on variation among girls, and among boys, and on areas of commonality, rather than on simplistic claims of dichotomous gender difference."

In other words, if we truly want to integrate girls into the technological and gaming worlds, we need to focus on destroying the stereotypes that keep them out. "Given that computers are so integral to the high-paying math and science employment opportunities," Thorne says, "It is tragic that a profit-motive is driving so much of this product development. These developers, who claim to be working in the best interests of women, are dressing up the stereotypes they reinforce in a demonstrably false mantel of science."
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