Wednesday, 28 November 2012

The Plight of Women in the Game Industry

#1ReasonWhy

I'm going to be completely honest here; I'm somewhat leery of talking about this topic. My apprehension doesn't come from misogyny or misgivings about whether what's being said is truthful, but rather because I'm afraid that because of my own perspective that I may not be able to properly relate the true scope and impact of what's going on.

I can't be sure what the exactly catalyst for this is. Part of me thinks that it might be a response to all of the recent ridiculous outcry over "fake geek girls" that's been going around, but this is something that has much more profoundly distressing implications. Right now on Twitter searching for the hashtag #1ReasonWhy reveals some truly disheartening tweets coming from women in the industry about how they've had to put up with being treated as second class citizens, abuse, being patronized, and sometimes not even feeling safe at events that are designed to pay homage to their professions.

Of course, by the time you're likely to be reading this, the hashtag will likely be bombed with idiots saying stupid shit. I'm fairly positive of this because it was already happening to a good extent when I checked the hashtag myself. Seeing people trying to dismiss or make light of this problem -- and yes, it is a problem -- is almost as bad as the root discrimination in the first place. A lot of websites have already started covering this, but I'm not trying to jump on the bandwagon here. Some of what I've read has been truly disturbing to me.

And what worries me even more is everything that's not being said.

I believe that this blog post, written by Katie Williams, strikes a chord with the final line "Because I’m scared to post this on Twitter." I can't help but wonder how many tens, if not hundreds of women in the industry are in the same position as her right now. Wanting to speak out but too fearful of the scorn and even the potential loss of work that doing so might bring.

I can't even begin to understand what some of this must be like. I'm a white male, that's basically life on easy mode. But having to put up with crap just to do a job that you want to do, to pursue a dream you love? That's just wrong. I'm not talking about the trials that everyone may face, I mean to be put down and dismissed just because of your gender?

The whole gaming scene has been looked at like a boys club for too long, and not talking about, dismissing, ignoring, or even making light of these problems isn't helping the industry or people's perceptions of it one bit. I applaud those women that have been brave enough to share their stories, and I hope that rather than meeting with scorn or disbelief that people will instead strive to change.

I fear though, that may be asking something that is nearly impossible, at least at this time.

1 comment:

  1. I remember this one time when my class had to do a project on the impact of women in the field of our choosing, and how they affected others. My first instinct was (of course) to see what women had done in the gaming industry...but it only took me about half a day to realize that I could only name one, MAYBE two women who fit the bill. Since I couldn't turn up anything, I had to settle for women who worked on comics.

    It was frustrating, but looking back it was probably more worrisome than I would have guessed, and SHOULD HAVE been more disturbed by it. I can only begin to imagine what sort of positive effects having more women in the industry/positions of power would do for games -- and if not that, the politics surrounding them. But...man, this is some grisly stuff.

    I'm glad (so to speak) that these injustices -- and that's really what they are, when it comes down to it -- are being brought to light here and elsewhere, so in that regard maybe there's a chance for things to get better. But the biggest question now that this stuff is more evident is "Okay, what do we do about it?" Or more personally, "What can I do about it?"

    Jeez. I don't even know where to begin...

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