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Gaming's Women Raise Sexism Awareness With #1reasonwhy Movement on Twitter

It's easier to keep quiet about the industry's problems, but that doesn't change anything.

Mirror's Edge, featuring one of gaming's most memorable protagonists regardless of gender, was (surprise!) written by a woman.

It’s always healthy to seek out new perspectives, especially when they're coming from folks whose life experiences couldn’t be more different than your own, and it challenges your assumptions.

It’s why I’d strongly encourage you to scroll through the #1reasonwhy hashtag on Twitter, a movement over the weekend to encourage women in game design to relay stories from being a female in the video game industry, and why it can be so hard.

Is every woman’s experience in the industry a negative one? Of course not, but it would be ignorant to ignore what is obviously a very real issue regarding sexism in the games industry. It's a topic that could use the spotlight, and given the general Internet reaction to talking about problems like this, useful to (try and) motivate thoughtful discussion, despite any blowback.

Please keep that last sentiment in mind as you read through some of the contributions I’ve picked out, and if you’re a woman in games hoping to reach out to those struggling, that’s what the #1reasonmentor hashtag is for.

And if even if you look at these tweets, and roll your eyes at this latest flareup, take a deep breath, scroll through the hashtag, and try to imagine yourself in their place. The tweets are genuine, the stories are real, and it's not mindless complaining about how hard life is. As a male, the hardest part about this discussion is you really can't imagine yourself in their place, which is why I suspect these movements have, like clockwork, intensely negative responses. I can't profess to know what it is really like to be a female in the video game industry, and I'll never know, but I can do a better job of listening to those who are living it right now, and do my part to make it a better environment for them.

Here are a few of their stories:

#1reasonwhy b/c when my desk was nr the door, most clients thought I was the receptionist. This didn't happen to male dev after desk swap

— Helen Smailes (@helz_bells_) November 27, 2012

#1reasonwhy because when I tell people I'm a designer, I without fail get "Really? You don't look like you play games. Guys must love you."

— Alexis(@VernaVenisa) November 27, 2012

I'm hesitant to do PR for the game I'm working on, for fear of backlash. #1reasonwhy

— Jennifer Keating (@jm_keating) November 27, 2012

#1reasonwhy Because I still have to keep saying: “But what if the player is female?”

— Rhianna Pratchett (@rhipratchett) November 27, 2012

Because our lead designer used to yell about there being "a vagina in the room" and nobody called him on it, boss included. #1reasonwhy

— UrsulaV (@UrsulaV) November 27, 2012

I'm ashamed to admit I've also been conditioned to be critical of my fellow females in the industry just because of their sex #1reasonwhy

— Caitlin (@CritterBucket) November 27, 2012

#1reasonwhy: Because gamers assumed I was a 'booth babe' at a games convention, and always asked my male colleague the "serious" questions.

— Amiz4Eva (@Amiz4Eva) November 27, 2012

#1reasonwhy Because at a games networking event, someone asked for my business card and proceeded to flirt via text the next morning.

— Kristen Halloran (@anetherealtwist) November 27, 2012

BC when, females in the game industry are really made visible by the media it's bc of this and not bc of the games they make. #1Reasonwhy

— Sebastian Jackel (@DerDackel) November 27, 2012

When every female character I want to include "has to make sense" but making everybody a dude needs no explanation #1reasonwhy

— Bridget N. (@Barbeauxbot) November 27, 2012

And why do people continue to stay quiet about these issues? Take a guess.

#1reasonwhy You're all crazy aren't you? Just DONT GIVE A FUCK,jeez stupid women.

— Andrew.V. (@AndrewVareikis) November 27, 2012

#1reasonwhy Men have as much problems in the industry, difference is most men get through those hard times and fight for there place.

— Menno Gouw (@Madmeyno) November 27, 2012

I contributed my own bit to the #1reasonwhy movement last night with this:

#1reasonwhy is, as men, most of us can't, won't or don't understand, and we don't try nearly enough to. Because it's hard. We can do better.

— Patrick Klepek (@patrickklepek) November 27, 2012

I don't think that's too much to ask.

Also, I just got this press release in my inbox. Good timing, Tecmo!

Patrick Klepek on Google+
1671 Comments
Edited by TheQuotedNegro

I'm actually very glad that this movement exist and all movements where people are trying not only to express that what is accepted as the norm is kind of skewed, but also that they are trying new avenues of actions and commentary to change that. As a man I don't always see it, but it doesn't effect me so I'm not looking. I DO, however, understand how frustrating it is to try to work in a field where you aren't looked at as someone who fits. And it can really be disheartening and infuriating.

Also: I though Mirror's Edge was a terrible game. Who the hell does a free running game in 1st person? The whole point of free running is to see how cool it looks...

Posted by bemusedchunk

This is a great movement, but it's not enough.

People pasting hashtags or stating what color their bra is (BLUE!) won't ultimately do anything.

It is a start, but there are much more effective ways to spread issues...

Posted by Rain_1

I hope that hashtag gets used enough (I'm thinking 775 million times is a good number, right? :D). This is a real problem that needs addressing.

Posted by Everyones_A_Critic

I can't roll my eyes hard enough. I'll pop a blood vessel.

Posted by crow13

So when will we get to hear a female voice on the Giantbomb Podcast? :)

Posted by C0V3RT

This type of shit's embarrassing.

Posted by Veiasma

@MildMolasses said:

@fartGOD666 said:

Meanwhile red-blooded men get their God-given men's rights stripped from them as feminazi-run game shows banish the iconic Booth Babe from the American landscape. Strange days...

Probably because those "God-given" rights for men are "God-taken" rights for women. And if you need scantily clad women to interest you in a game, then you are the problem and the exact reason why things like this need to be brought out in the open

God-Taken? I wasn't aware booth babes were slaves. Chill out on the hyperbole.

Posted by Fin

Everyone is subject to being disrespected and overlooked in life. I personally don't think it happens to women more than men, even in the games industry. There will always be cases , but is it really so bad that someone thought you were a receptionist or booth babe because you were a female? It's a genuine mistake stemming from the fact that almost all receptionists and booth babes are women, it doesn't have to be taken as insulting.

Posted by bloodsoul5

@martyarf said:

@patrickklepek: You don't remember what you said on the podcast? You and Jeff went to painstaking lengths to explain the "culture" of the FGC, eager to place the rape threats in "context". You don't remember Brad saying something to the effect of "You guys are nuts, this guy is a fucking psycho"?

The rape comment was made towards a character in MVC3, Phoenix, who is considered to be extremely cheap. Get over it.

Posted by Llama

@fartGOD666: This has nothing to do with mens or womens rights. I'm pretty sure there are loads of women who wont stand for this shit and will kick your ass in an instant if you treat them like this. I'm pretty sure there's loads of men in the industry too who have shitty bosses and get humiliated on a daily basis.

Posted by mcmax3000

@AmericanNinja said:

first world problems. Its just a video game.

It's not. For people in the industry, it's their place of work. Nobody should be treated like these women are in their work place (or anywhere, really).

Posted by AlexW00d

@depecheload said:

@AlexW00d said:

Patrick your comment is just as fucking sexist as the things you're trying to call out. Why does it have to most men? Why not just people. We're all people goddamn it, you shouldn't give a fuck what our chromosomes are. :(

No it's not. It's like saying that white people could do more to combat racism against blacks, or straight people can do more to combat homophobia. He's saying men ARE capable of doing that. That's, like, the opposite of sexism dude.

It reads like he is saying most men don't bother trying or even understand how to try. Which is bullshit.

Posted by LikeaSsur

Is there a problem in the industry? Yes, and it's a shame when people try to jump on the stupid claims and then dismiss the problem entirely.

Also, I'm detecting a bit of prudism and irony in the caption beneath the picture. Who really cares who wrote Mirror's Edge? I don't see a lot of men going "Look at who designed Gears of War, a man!" Patrick, it's just as bad if you elevate women above men.

Posted by DarkbeatDK

New costumes for DoA5? Sweet! It's my fighting game of the year!

Posted by FluxWaveZ

Uh, I love Mirror's Edge, but Faith is anything but memorable. She's pretty cool, I guess.

Edited by AlKusanagi

edit: Addendum- I forget sarcasm doesn't translate across the internet. The following post is purely a sarcastic response of me thinking of possible defenses of the topic.

Choose a response:

1. Sexual harassment laws exist for a reason. Use them.

2. Got a problem with it? Get out of the industry and make room for someone else who would kill for an industry job.

3. Make an all female run game studio and change the industry.

4. Point out any number of double standards regarding treatment of males.

5. Whose bright idea was it to open all these game studios in kitchens anyway?

Posted by Vashkey

I'm sorry, but I get really frustrated when I see this sort of stuff. This is a hobby. Gaming is just a pass time.

More men are into gaming. So obviously it's more often going to be designed around men. Just like how beauty products are more often designed to cater to women.

Men are not portrayed any less stereotypical in videogame than female characters and EVERYONE is insulted and slandered in online multiplayer games regardless of race, gender or creed.

No one deserves any special recognition on their hardships over a HOBBY.

Posted by JOURN3Y

I'm glad that gender inequality and discrimination are topics that are being brought up. Awareness of a problem is an important first step in finding solutions to the problem. It is important to have empathy on this issue since this is a topic most men have not considered or thought very much able. It is very easy to table a conversation if it has no immediate importance to yourself. This issue is not exclusive to the video game industry. Women are everywhere, they are little more than 50% of the world population, doing all sorts of jobs and careers alongside men. We maybe a long ways away from finding the solution to gender discrimination but at least it is a topic being talked about.

Posted by jozzy

@CaptStickybeard said:

Oh.

She has a point, just a shame it dominated those specific Giant Bomb shows. Also, I am not sure the reaction from the community would've been different if it was a man doing the exact same thing. Interesting though.

Posted by ReV_VAdAUL

@Chavtheworld said:

@AlexW00d said:

Also I think it's a lot because gaming until very recently wasn't super mainstream, and was especially a male dominated industry. Boys were into games, so when they grew up you're left with men making games, and very little female representation. Isn't any excuse but games were never a particularly mature medium.

This is an interesting point given computers in general until relatively recently were considered a "boy" thing so boys were given much more access to computers by their parents at a younger age. So hopefully games being seen as more of a thing for everyone will contribute to more women over time being given the chance to get into the industry and create a kind of positive feedback loop.

Posted by RudeCubes

@Llama: Dude did you just skip that second bit

Posted by Shensai

It makes me sick that shit like this still happens in the work place and society. I don't tolerate any form of that crap in my department.

Posted by MikeGosot

To be fair, i'm totally okay with the fanservice of Dead Or Alive. The fact that Bayonetta is considered a "strong female character", and that Dead Or Alive is OMGSOSEXIST is something that will confuse me forever. Then again, i'm not a woman.

Posted by Winsord

@sub_o said:

One of the way to counter this is to have Tecmo releasing Dead Or Alive, with scantily clad men fighting and hugging each other, complete with oversized dongs and cloth physics on them. Boing boing.

You mean UFC?

Posted by fartGOD666

industry hasn't been the same since PC Accelerator died. I do what I can to preserve the centerfolds I have, but in time they will fade... duuuust in the wind

Posted by DevourerOfTime

@martyarf: Not saying the situation is sunshine and rainbows in either the FGC or the larger video game community, but a lot of people within the FGC were horrified by what transpired earlier this year, both by the actions of a few and the gross sweeping statements made by the media and general outside observers.

In fact, focusing on one subsection of the culture and labeling it as the sexist bunch is just creating a scapegoat that ignores the effect this issue has on everyone in this industry and community.

Posted by MrMazz

@AmericanNinja: It's not just a video game these are peoples jobs. Big Difference

Eh Fait probably not one of the most memorable characters ever. Than again probably the first character to jump to mind when looking for memorable female protagonist.

Posted by Jumbs

@Vashkey said:

I'm sorry, but I get really frustrated when I see this sort of stuff. This is a hobby. Gaming is just a pass time.

More men are into gaming. So obviously it's more often going to be designed around men. Just like how beauty products are more often designed to cater to women.

Men are not portrayed any less stereotypical in videogame than female characters and EVERYONE is insulted and slandered in online multiplayer games regardless of race, gender or creed.

No one deserves any special recognition on their hardships over a HOBBY.

I'm sorry, but have you ever thought the reason more men are into gaming is because of the inherent sexism in the industry? Maybe if games were more than dick-waving most of the time, more women would play them?

Posted by MildMolasses

@Veiasma said:

@MildMolasses said:

@fartGOD666 said:

Meanwhile red-blooded men get their God-given men's rights stripped from them as feminazi-run game shows banish the iconic Booth Babe from the American landscape. Strange days...

Probably because those "God-given" rights for men are "God-taken" rights for women. And if you need scantily clad women to interest you in a game, then you are the problem and the exact reason why things like this need to be brought out in the open

God-Taken? I wasn't aware booth babes were slaves. Chill out on the hyperbole.

Sorry, they should have been separate ideas. By someone saying "God-given," they are implying that whatever the bible says about a man's place in the world is the right way, and that by those standards women don't really get rights.

I wasn't trying to imply that booth babes are there against their will. It should have been a different paragraph. That comment was only related to the way games are marketed. I'm not a fan of hyperbole, and unfortunately that was a formatting error more than anything

Posted by Ett

So the next person to join the GB crew is a woman ?

Posted by Amafi

@CaptStickybeard said:

Oh.

She must not have heard herself on the bombcast. That shit took annoying to a whole new level.

Posted by Maajin

@dragonzord said:

, featuring one of gaming's most memorable protagonists

nope.

yep.

Posted by ReV_VAdAUL

@MildMolasses said:

@fartGOD666 said:

Meanwhile red-blooded men get their God-given men's rights stripped from them as feminazi-run game shows banish the iconic Booth Babe from the American landscape. Strange days...

Probably because those "God-given" rights for men are "God-taken" rights for women. And if you need scantily clad women to interest you in a game, then you are the problem and the exact reason why things like this need to be brought out in the open

God-Taken? I wasn't aware booth babes were slaves. Chill out on the hyperbole.

How is the assertion God gave men the right to booth babes (I'd love to see where that is written in the bible) not also hyperbole then?

Posted by Neurotic

@cmblasko: I don't remember saying it was worthless. What I was getting at is that in, say, two weeks time no-one will remember this hashtag and it will be business as usual. You're right, changing perceptions takes a long time and perhaps I'm just a little impatient for stuff like this to go away.

Posted by Dogma

@MEATBALL said:

Straight up - I have no goddamn idea how to deal with this stuff. I feel like I'm being made to feel guilty for things that other people have done and then feel shitty about myself that that's my gut reaction to this sort of thing. I try not to be an awful person.

THIS. A THOUSAND TIMES THIS.

Posted by mcmax3000

@Vashkey said:

I'm sorry, but I get really frustrated when I see this sort of stuff. This is a hobby. Gaming is just a pass time.

More men are into gaming. So obviously it's more often going to be designed around men. Just like how beauty products are more often designed to cater to women.

Men are not portrayed any less stereotypical in videogame than female characters and EVERYONE is insulted and slandered in online multiplayer games regardless of race, gender or creed.

No one deserves any special recognition on their hardships over a HOBBY.

For people in the industry, it's not a hobby. It's their livelihood.

And yes, everyone is insulted in online multiplayer, but as someone who's XBL friends list has generally been 50/50 between males & females, I can tell you that females get insulted FAR more than guys do.

Posted by KoolAid

@CaptStickybeard said:

More Gawker inspired articles.

Awesome.

While it is true that Kotaku has already written an article on this, #1reasonwhy does not have anything to do with Gawker. And I think we know Patrick well enough by now to know that this is the kinda topic he would like to cover.

Online
Posted by ArrenAshfield

Wasn't Patrick the one that said he doesn't like horror movies with violence against women? Yet if it's a man getting torn apart he doesn't mind? I don't really remember so I could be totally wrong...

We're all the same when we're torn to bits, Patrick.

Posted by Fin

@MrMazz said:

@AmericanNinja: Eh Fait probably not one of the most memorable characters ever. Than again probably the first character to jump to mind when looking for memorable female protagonist.

Derrrrrrrrrrr thats what memorable means derrrrrppy derrrrrr

Posted by bloodsoul5

@jozzy said:

@CaptStickybeard said:

Oh.

She has a point, just a shame it dominated those specific Giant Bomb shows. Also, I am not sure the reaction from the community would've been different if it was a man doing the exact same thing. Interesting though.

She doesnt have a point at all. drunk and annoying is terrible regardless of gender.

Posted by poperamone

I've worked in games for a few years and had struggled to see what all the fuss was about, until I attended gamescom this year. I was utterly shocked and a little disgusted at at how some of my colleagues where treated. Not by spotty kids on the show floor but by supposed adults and professionals at the end of show party. Yes there where way more men than women there but it was no excuse for some of the teenage nonsense that was on display. One guy even grabbed a girls hand and 'jokingly' tried to shove it down his trousers, she hadn't even met him.

We are fortunate to work in or follow a creative industry that has been solely the product of innovations of the past 50 years. Its time to start showing it in our approaches to the production of , the way we conduct business in and the way we talk about the art form.

Posted by Undeadpool

It's INSANE how much of the backlash on this is clearly fueled by bitterness. It's like an entire community saying "You weren't there when I wasn't getting a date in high school because gaming was still 'nerdy,' so now I exact MY revenge!!!" instead of openly CELEBRATING that gaming is reaching a wider audience and that it's not some deal-breaking stigma. Though it's clearly not just games, it's entertainment in general.

And the BEST part is, as always, how those who've had it all for so many years taking actual equality as them "losing" something.

Posted by Bollard

@ReV_VAdAUL said:

@Chavtheworld said:

@AlexW00d said:

Also I think it's a lot because gaming until very recently wasn't super mainstream, and was especially a male dominated industry. Boys were into games, so when they grew up you're left with men making games, and very little female representation. Isn't any excuse but games were never a particularly mature medium.

This is an interesting point given computers in general until relatively recently were considered a "boy" thing so boys were given much more access to computers by their parents at a younger age. So hopefully games being seen as more of a thing for everyone will contribute to more women over time being given the chance to get into the industry and create a kind of positive feedback loop.

Indeed this is what I hope will happen too.

Posted by NuDimon

Bondage gear in DOA5? Where did i put my creditcard? :3

Posted by Carousel

@Dogma said:

@MEATBALL said:

Straight up - I have no goddamn idea how to deal with this stuff. I feel like I'm being made to feel guilty for things that other people have done and then feel shitty about myself that that's my gut reaction to this sort of thing. I try not to be an awful person.

THIS. A THOUSAND TIMES THIS.

Hey, MEN WITH PENISES You can't possibly ever begin to understand the plight of other human beings. And how dare you try to worm your way out of it by pretending you're a nice person. You can't be nice! You're a man!

Posted by Yorkin

This is one of those subjects that makes me a little ashamed of being a gamer. The stereotype used to be that gamers were all shy, pasty nerds with bad hygiene, living in our mom's basement. Nowadays we're apparently a bunch of racist, homophobic, and/or sexist sociopaths.

Judging by the crap being said over Xbox LIVE, or *cringe* YouTube comments, it's easy to see why people might view the gaming community that way. It's really unfortunate.

I really appreciate Patrick for harping on this issue. It shouldn't be ignored.

Posted by 50hzShinsen

This issue hits close to home, I have a friend who dropped out of her science studies because she couldn't take the harassment and stigmatism attached to being female and studying a vocation which has been historically male-dominated. There are quite a few female scientists out there, always have been but their number pale in comparison to men. No amount of support from friends could help her in this case and she now does care work, a more "socially accepted" job for a woman... Nothing about that sits right with me, not one bit.

As you may expect, I fully support this movement.

Posted by fartGOD666

THE YEAR IS 20XX and women are equally represented in Video Games. The barren ashscape slowly erodes as the searing gusts of smoke and embers swallow the last hardcore gamer.

We were so foolish.... how could we have known....

Posted by bemusedchunk

@Vashkey said:

I'm sorry, but I get really frustrated when I see this sort of stuff. This is a hobby. Gaming is just a pass time.

More men are into gaming. So obviously it's more often going to be designed around men. Just like how beauty products are more often designed to cater to women.

Men are not portrayed any less stereotypical in videogame than female characters and EVERYONE is insulted and slandered in online multiplayer games regardless of race, gender or creed.

No one deserves any special recognition on their hardships over a HOBBY.

What else are "pass times"?

Books? Movies? TV Shows?

There is this huge private sector called the entertainment industry...

Also, I believe more women play games than men, but can't find the exact link. But then again, I'm pretty bad at this hobby called the internet...

Edited by mrfluke

i really dont remember anything about faith from mirrors edge either,

now see, this whole 1reasonwhy with those dudes speaking out is misogyny to me, good on those ladies for speaking out with that hashtag

but is stuff like that stupid doa costume pack dlc really sexist/misogyny? its more perversion to me.