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Posted by patrickklepek
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!

Staff
Edited by Bartz

Everyone's a little bit [sexist]. it's true...

Posted by skcusnatnivlem

video games

Posted by Cincaid

Oh dear, this will not go well. Nice article though!

Posted by sixpin

Hey, Patrick is back.

Posted by ashenozzie

It's suprising that this is something that's still an issue in 2012. This should be ancient history.

Posted by zombie2011

I really don't remember anything about Faith, and i played through Mirrors Edge a couple times.

Posted by AlexW00d

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. :(

Posted by dancinginfernal

@ashenozzie said:

It's suprising that this is something that's still an issue in 2012. This should be ancient history.

Posted by CaLe

Baldism is worse than sexism. At least sexism gets some goddamned attention. Baldism never does. Fuck that shit.

Posted by martyarf

Patrick, I hope you'll bear this in mind next time you make comments like you did excusing the awful misogyny in the FGC.

Posted by snattu

This is horrible.

Posted by Taiyo
Edited by Droop

Faith is "one of the most memorable protagonists"? I fucking LOVE Mirror's Edge, but come on. That's there is just straight up bullshit.

Posted by Ruggles

@AlexW00d: You should put a little effort into making your comment comprehensible, that would be nice.

Posted by Arx724

Sexism happens both ways and everywhere. Try picking up a relative/friend's kid from kindergarten as a guy.

People need to stop giving a shit.

Posted by ChrisTaran

Yep, you're right about the eye rolling!

Posted by psychpunk

Patrick's tweet is really the bottom line for the male side.

Posted by Aetheldod

Sexism in the work place is horrible.

Posted by Neurotic

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

Yes, but neither will this hashtag ultimately. I share your sentiments, Patrick, especially the part about empathy (which I think is lacking in all areas of life, not just this one) but I can't help but be a little cynical about what this 'movement', for lack of a better term, will actually achieve.

Posted by patrickklepek

@martyarf said:

Patrick, I hope you'll bear this in mind next time you make comments like you did excusing the awful misogyny in the FGC.

How'd I excuse that? I think we pretty well blasted it on the podcast, but my news story was Just The Facts because it spoke for itself.

Staff
Posted by Fireburst

@ashenozzie: You'd certainly think so. It's disheartening to see.

Posted by ReV_VAdAUL

Good on you for doing articles like this Patrick. Institutional sexism is easy to ignore so things like this attempt to bring the issue out into the light are worthy endeavors and definitely worthy of highlighting.

Posted by depecheload

@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.

Posted by Worcanna

@AlexW00d: This is often said by people who simply wish that there isn't a problem. No, It is mostly men who are the cause of things. Sorry but "People" doesn't cut it.

Posted by martyarf

@Arx724: Women experience the consequences of sexism far more than men ever do. Trying to equate the two experiences is dismissive and dumb.

Posted by MildMolasses

@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

Posted by pyromagnestir

@zombie2011 said:

I really don't remember anything about Faith, and i played through Mirrors Edge a couple times.

I played through it only once, but it was just a few months ago, and yeah I don't remember much about her at all. She's iconic because of her look and not really for any reason relating to her actual character.

Posted by NDart

Faith, a memorable character? Really? Fun game but hardly anything to write home about on the story/character front.

Edited by Bollard

@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. :(

This.

@ashenozzie said:

It's suprising that this is something that's still an issue in 2012. This should be ancient history.

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.

Things like this just prove there is change already happening, and it won't always be as bad. But just like everything: business, film etc, you can't remove sexism entirely. It happens.

@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.

If I, as a white man, said that most white men "can't or won't try to" be not racist, would you say that's not bull? Personally I take the comment as out of place because it's assuming the majority of people are like that.

Posted by ZHabermann

I think the comment about getting flirts is less about being a woman and more about men. Dudes like girls, well most of them. But point is how exactly is someone flirting with you sexist? Because some men out there are going to see women and be interested in you. The only way this would be just and fair is if all men were bisexual and everyone in the gaming industry were posting tweets about how david jaffe having a hard time because everyone flirts with him at E3.

I understand these points where people are using a woman's sex as a negative but then you can't complain when they use it as a positive too. What's the phrase I don't understand have your cake and eat it I dunno...

I think the best solution is for women to become more sexiest, just tip the scales a little.

Posted by martyarf

@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"?

Posted by AmericanNinja

first world problems. Its just a video game.

Posted by mcmax3000

Great round up Patrick. It's pathetic that this is still an issue.

Posted by MEATBALL

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.

Posted by sub_o

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.

Yeah, it's not only in games, women are still being slighted in most industries, even though most of the times they are either equal or better than men.

Edited by scalpel
if you’re a woman in games hoping to reach out to those struggling, that’s what the #1reasonmentor hashtag is for.

If I were a woman, I'd be offended that an issue like this has been reduced to the lowest form of discourse. It's embarrassing that this has become a Giant Bomb article.

Posted by Carousel

Oh.

Posted by DeathbyYeti

"game journalism" really tried to step it up this year with all this sexism stuff

Posted by NDart

@Jumbs: I'm assuming you're referring to misogynists and not MRA's, it would be awful sexist of you otherwise.

Edited by cmblasko

Like I said in the other thread, can't imagine how difficult it must be to have to deal with this kind of garbage on a professional level without outright quitting.

@Neurotic said:

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

Yes, but neither will this hashtag ultimately. I share your sentiments, Patrick, especially the part about empathy (which I think is lacking in all areas of life, not just this one) but I can't help but be a little cynical about what this 'movement', for lack of a better term, will actually achieve.

Why does this movement (or whatever you want to call it) have to solve everything, right now, or else it is worthless? If 1 person reads about these incidents and it impacts them in some way today, then it has achieved something - it would be a success. Social progress has always been slow and meticulous, these things are just attempts to speed things up a bit.

Posted by fartGOD666

@Llama said:

"people walk all over me because i'm a doormat, waah waah"

Mens rights soldiers... we need a hero....

Will you fight alongside us in the gender wars?

Posted by iAmJohn

@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"?

I do remember this and you're way misrepresenting it. They gave the context to establish the argument from certain sects of that community; Brad then made that point and they completely agreed with him. If you think that's acknowledging that there's more to it than solely being sexist but that doesn't stop it from being obscenely sexist and wrong is excusing it, I really don't know what to tell you.

Posted by Arx724

@martyarf said:

@Arx724: Women experience the consequences of sexism far more than men ever do. Trying to equate the two experiences is dismissive and dumb.

Everyone's experience varies. Trying to compare the experience of 3.5 billion people to 3.5 billion other people is indeed dumb (though I guess we're mostly talking about the Western world here).

I try to treat people both equal and based on the way they treat me. Other than that, I don't give a shit about the larger issue and feel pretty good about it.

Posted by Orks

I agree with your post. However I do have to say that I couldn't have named the character in Mirror's Edge for the life of me. Chell is a great example as well I think, however written by dudes.

None the less great article.

Posted by vonFlampanker

I've got to admit I get a lot of different, mostly conflicting feelings on this all at once. Patrick does a good job of heading off my initial reaction of "I don't really want to have this conversation again." I've read through a bunch of tweets under the hashtag and I'm still left wondering if it's an immature dickish minority ruining things for the lot of us (women and men just trying to make kick-ass things) or if there's a chance people who aren't trying to add to the problem are somehow still doing so.

I've worked with and for enough kick-ass women I'd like to think this problem has been worked out of me by their example. Could be the same sort of thing that we (or at least I) run into with our relationships: doing shit unintentionally or even unconsciously and then being too proud to correct it when called out on it. Seen and done my share of that, and I'm probably not through yet.

Posted by wrecks

Women.

Posted by dragonzord
, featuring one of gaming's most memorable protagonists

nope.

Posted by subrandom

I used to work for a very large well known AAA developer who refused to hire women for most roles because "they were distracting"