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!