Hardware and Games

It isn’t much of a stretch to say that the hardware store is a space that is primarily gendered as male—a place where men buy tools and materials for construction. Whether professional or weekend do-it-yourselfers, the stores promise encounters with physical labor—selling things for—designing, building and fixing.

They sell hardware.

So imagine my surprise when on a visit to my local Menards, I walked past a display selling software—”Value Video Games.” If there is a male that is configured as the inverse of the tanned, shirtless “handyman” working outdoors on the roof in the sun, it is the pasty, slightly flabby, basement-dwelling player virtually adventuring in a video game. Handymen work. Gamers play.

As an aspect of human culture, gender is, of course, always virtual and changing. I was, nevertheless, surprised to find software for sale in a hardware store.

Software in a hardware store.

Software in a hardware store

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