Too Many Reasons For #1reasonwhy

Boy's Only sign with Why? painted on it

Like so many things that seem like a little thing at the time, Filamena Young created a hashtag on Twitter to help her and others respond to Luke Crane's question of "Why are there so few lady game creators?"

I don't know if either one of them foresaw the upwelling of game industry professionals in all disciplines sharing simple, short descriptions of the things that make it hard to work there. Though once it started to grow, I don't think anyone was too surprised at the accompanying swell of vitriol.

I'm not going to address the companies trying to take advantage of it, or address the crudest and most hateful ways some have chosen to respond to women answering Luke's simple question. Every time I let myself refresh the list, I see someone has found a new and interesting way to drag the conversation towards the Pit of Despair, lurking among the more common spammers and kitchen/sandwich jokes. It's still moving very fast, and if I tried to keep up, this article would be an even bigger wall of text and some of it would be very rude.

And while I could spend another night with my jaw clenched, typing furiously in 140-character chunks, I thought it would be best to step back and breathe a bit. Instead of replying to individual entries, it might be better to summarize my rebuttals to some trends I've found in the negative responses on Twitter and the commentary section attached to some articles.

What about (a short list of games with female leads)? SEE! There are women in games!
Outside of the fact that the issues being addressed are about how the female workers in the industry are treated and not about the games, it's still an incomprehensible thing to say.

Everyone comes up with those same four or five names, and all of them are from games that are at least four years old. Jade from Beyond Good and Evil is practically a poster-girl for this discussion; that game came out on November 11, 2003. Alyx Vance is usually high on the list. HalfLife 2 came out on November 14th, 2004. Oh, to be kind, we can use Episode 2 which was released October 10th, 2007. Portal (whether you're talking about Chell or GlaDOS) came out October 10, 2007. Mirror's Edge recently came back into play with it's announcement of a sequel, but Faith had already joined the list when it was released on November 12, 2008. Elika from Prince of Persia is the most recent I can think of; that one was released December 2, 2008.

For a comparison point, how many total games are released in a year? Well, that's a harder number to get in toto, but I can get some raw estimates. In 2008, EEDAR reported that 1,092 games were released. In 2009, there were 1,099 games released. So a rough estimate of a thousand games a year.

Say we are generous and stipulate there's 10 total popular good examples. Considering people's varying interpretations, that's probably not too far off -- some people do think that Bayonetta is a good feminine portrayal. That's 10 out of the estimated 9,000+ games that were released since Beyond Good and Evil came out. I'm not going to try to go all Nate Silver on something as subjective as what people think about character portrayals, but I can't think of any measure where 1/900 would seem like an equitable arrangement.

Even if we ignore quality of portrayal and just say anyone with boobs counts, we're still in a bad place. EEDAR released a report recently that a lot of people are looking at. They took a sample of 669 action games, shooters, and RPG's games released for this current console generation. Less than 300 games in their sample had the option of a female lead. There were only 24 female-only leads. To extrapolate that with our estimated full release numbers, out of the 7,000+ games released in that timeframe, that's approximately 250 games. With either set of numbers, that's roughly 3.5 percent.

The ESA says that women make up 45% of players, and women over 18 are the largest growing demographic. In fact, according to their numbers, there are more women over 18 playing than boys under 18 these days.

Some would write that off by saying that's all just girls who play Angry Birds. No, I don't think so. According to BioWare, 18% of gamers who played Mass Effect played FemShep. How many of those are actual girls is hard to say, but I believe the guys who like Jennifer Hale are at least partially balanced by the women I know who played the male Shepard because of the crap they get online if they don't. Remember: The single-player campaign has to be tied to multiplayer to get the Readiness percentages applied. Still, 18% is a heck of a lot better than 3.5%.

You may not be able to trust every statistic you're offered, but you can't write off an order-of-magnitude swing in even the most conservative estimates as being within the tolerance band for the statistical model. Times have changed, but not the way you think. What was never good enough is now doubly insufficient.

If you don't like it, then start your own company!
I'm not an entrepreneur. I'm a developer and a writer. Others are artists, designers, you name it. Why do we have to do something we're not good at to prove to you that we're good at anything?

And even if we did, we would still have to be involved in an industry that feels stacked against women. Female-led companies don't get anything like the same support from publishers and venture capital. That translates to less marketing money, and that translates to lower sales. And they are flat-out ignored by the industry press, which also equates to lower sales.

Companies like HER Interactive have worked hard for years in the shadows, making solid games with established IP's. They've been winning awards in the regular realms since 1999 for their series of Nancy Drew adventure games. Have you heard of them? With the recent resurgence of the adventure games genre, you would think this would be right up there.

But it's not. Just Google on any of the game titles and you'll see tumbleweeds rolling through, because the industry press ignores them. I did find a good article on Gamasutra about the company from 2007 I'll link here. IGN did review the Wii version of one of their games with a 7.5 score, but that was a two-fer; they got the whammy the big gaming press hands out for being a kid's game on top of the whammy for having a female protagonist.

It's a shame. These are solid, well-written games. They're exactly what we keep talking about when we discuss smart heroines not trading on cleavage. The only people that seem to pay attention to them are outside the industry. When I called out their last release in the relevant Game of the Week post, people were baffled. It's not like I even gave it the title.

Sorry, but separate is not equal in this situation either.

There are few women in the game industry because women aren't interested in games.
I see this one all the time for the rest of the technical fields as well. And it's just as much B.S. here as it is there. The fact that there are women here at all shows me how overwhelming the interest would be if we could address the actual barriers to entry.

If you had spent your youth being told not to worry your pretty head about it — that girls can't do that, that if you do that boys won't like you, and even if you try you'll fail (and often others in your class or the people in charge will do things to help make sure of it) — maybe you would think about looking into something else, too.

And even if you screw your courage to the sticking place and continue on because you really love it, things don't get much better. Let's see, I can work ridiculous hours, be treated like crap by my management, coworkers, community and customers alike, have all my decision-making, contributions, and accomplishments second-guessed and invalidated by virtue of my underwear, be paid less for the same work, and be discriminated against if I ever decide to do something crazy like have a family or a life. Geeze Louise, I can't imagine why anyone wouldn't just jump right on that!

That's happening in all industries.
I will agree with that, as far as it goes. My Daily Planet job is in the business-software realm, and I have a whole 'nother set of stories for that. But I'm waiting for someone to explain why that makes it okay in the games industry.

Bueller?

Sexism exists, but shaming isn't the way to fight it.
One commenter on Kotaku actually hauled out The Scarlet Letter, declaiming how this hashtag was going to stigmatize men, sullying their names and destroying their livelihoods. I don't know what Cliff's Notes version he read when he was assigned it in school, but this is Twitter. It's not like there is room to put names and stuff in 140 characters. No specific person is being shamed or driven out of town. People are just talking about things that have happened to them, and a lot of them are using their real names.

And, as much as I wish hanging names on these guys would do anything, real life has shown us different. We've got the saga of Brad Wardell and his adventures in workplace misogyny as an example of how a man can proudly admit to aggressive sexist behavior, in writing, publicly in an industry forum as well as in emails described in the publicly released case documentation, and still have men defending him and calling the woman who took him to court for it terrible things.

Maybe people who post that are feeling guilty by association because someone is talking about this in general? I get that this conversation might be uncomfortable, but I have a hard time feeling sorry for that. Imagine how uncomfortable it is to have this stuff directed at you, day in and day out.

And, by the way, if any of these commenters do have a good idea for what should be done about this problem, I'd really be glad to hear it.

Girls suck at games.
The epitome of cogent responses to this topic. I have a female friend with a gun-mounted chainsaw you need to meet. And another who has a lovely but deadly way with a Hidden Blade. But you wouldn't know who they were even if you could survive long enough to see the name floating above their head. To avoid listening to your crap, they both play muted and with gender-bent gamertags.

You're just complaining/it's not that bad/I've never seen that/That's only one time....
This one is sort of a catch-all for a lot of these responses, because I find it very difficult formulate a rebuttal to any particular one that doesn't include liberal use of unladylike language. It's just one more instance of being marginalized, invalidated, and dismissed due to my gender and age.

Just because something doesn't happen to you doesn't mean it never happens. And if you haven't seen this, I'm sorry, but you haven't been paying attention.

My most recent example was one I couldn't explain in 140 characters, or I would have slapped it up on Twitter. I was standing in the Halo 4 midnight launch line down at my usual game store. It had all run basically the same as my article on launches. I had gotten my receipt cleared, been assigned a ticket section, and said hello to many of the usual suspects on the way back to my spot.

Someone official was taking pictures of the line. As he took each shot, he had the people in the viewfinder cheer, which made it clear who he was aimed at. He started at the front, and then continued along it a section at a time. He skipped around me. An acquaintance behind me asked him why. He said flat out it was because he didn't want pictures of someone's mom in the materials.

For the record, none of my kids were with me and I'd just spent 15 minutes in a lively debate about some of the new weapons with some of the people in front of me that should have made it quite clear I was there in my own right. The acquaintance didn't say anything more, and the guy went on down the line. Later on, a different marketing guy came by to take more pictures, and he took pictures of my section of the line without comment. I don't know if I got into those or not, but I really didn't care by then. That incident and an annoying little 'tweener loudly going on about how the game sucked and was being turned into Call of Duty (even after someone else in the line made him admit he hadn't even played it yet) had combined with the dreary weather to take the shine off the whole night for me.

It's not like I'm moping around, eating ice-cream in my pajamas over this. I went home and blew holes in my first Prometheans before a sense of responsibility towards the next day's work sent me to bed. I'm not over-fond of having my picture taken anyways. I'm not mad at the acquaintance. He actually asked the guy and what do you say to that level of weapons-grade idiocy? But being written off yet again makes my blood boil.

Judging by the volume of that hash tag, I'm not the only one who has these issues. But no matter how many speak up, somehow that doesn't get through, and I don't know how to reach those who can't seem to understand.

The hashtag itself is still galloping along at full clip, and the internet has galloped right along with it. Articles discussing it have gone even as far as mainstream publications like Slate and Time Magazine. Industry stalwarts like Patrick Klepek over at Giant Bomb, Jim Sterling at Destructoid, and Luke Plunkett over at Kotaku have also weighed in.

And the question many have been asking is, now what? That's not a simple answer, either. Just raising awareness is helpful, but there is more out there.

  • There are many supporting articles and blog entries linked from various tweets where women have written longer descriptions of the issues they face, and what they think needs to be done about them. Search them out if you sincerely want more meaty input.
  • To compliment the list of woes, game writer and author Rhianna Pratchett created #1reasontobe. It's a hashtag that collects inspiring statements explaining why women stay in the industry in the face of all of this.
  • Concrete action to help is also in the works. #1reasonmentors is another hashtag acting as a clearing house for men and women working in the games industry offering to help others get their break into the industry.

Comments

Where is that black and white guy clapping picture? Because that's the first thing that comes to mind when I read this article. Well done!

Parallax Abstraction wrote:

Where is that black and white guy clapping picture? Because that's the first thing that comes to mind when I read this article. Well done!

...

Get thee to Netflix and watch Citizen Kane ASAP.

...

IMAGE(http://thumbs.newschoolers.com/index.php?src=http://www.halforums.com/xenforo/attachments/citizen-kane-gif.4830/&size=400x1000)

nemebean wrote:
Yew wrote:

The example that always comes up is when someone is called to task for his bigotry/sexism/homophobia and declares that to be intolerance of the same kind as that of which he is being accused. Then he plays the wounded party.

That one drives me absolutely bonkers.

"You shouldn't be intolerant of Albanians/women/LGBT people."

"Well you're intolerant of my position that Albanians are the spawns of Satan, so you're just as bad. Help, I'm being persecuted!"

"... No, it's... wait, what? Are you...? Gah!"

The only winning move is not to play.

When I was in college, I had a politics class (I think, could have been philosophy too since there was a lot of overlap) that discussed this very issue. Essentially it boiled down to this: Tolerance of intolerance is intolerance. Someone taking the position "Albanians are the spawns of Satan" (or similar) is clearly intolerant, and being tolerant of that position would not make you tolerant. It makes you complicit in the intolerance. The tolerant reaction to that is, counterintuitively, intolerance.

Not that knowing that helps in online discussions with nutjobs (nothing does), but I've always felt it helped me evaluate arguments like this. If there's any doubt, looking at it this way will clear it up in a hurry.

That is only true depending on how tightly you define tolerance, who's tolerance it is, what is the context, and what do you do about violations of norms. Do you want to punish people for thoughts, for example? Tolerance can look like a live and let live society (where I like to live) or an ideologically dogmatic state. While I was a grad student I often found the people that advocated the most for diversity and tolerance were the same people who would say stuff like "I hate having Christians in my class" or "The only good Catholic is a lapsed Catholic" (Direct quotes BTW).

It is stuff like this that make talking about the article's issue so problematic. Often in talks on discrimination, collective guild is implied or directly assigned, although that is not the case here.
When your previous experience with talking about discrimination aimed to make you ashamed for who you are as opposed to any wrong you may have done yourself, you are going to react against talking about this kind of stuff, even if it is not intended in that way.

black and white guy clapping:

IMAGE(http://i249.photobucket.com/albums/gg203/Joksutin/Michael%20Jackson/mjclap.gif)

Chumpy_McChump wrote:
Tenebrous wrote:

From what I understand, the game industry is a harsh place to work and makes allot of demands on time. People in general do not like this and I think it might be especially hard for women with childern.

Unless they're still breast-feeding, I think you meant to say 'people', not 'women'.

You said that better than I would have. This is why I edit instead.

Tenebrous wrote:

I wonder how much of the backlash against what Colleen is talking about is denial of the problem and how much is white guys who are tired of hearing that white guys are bad, evil opressors and reading that into the narrative when it is not necessarily there.

It's easy to take that sort of defensive position, and it's easy to make things personal, but in large part this is a systemic, cultural issue. Like how you probably didn't mean to sound sexist in the above, assuming that the mother would be primary caregiver in a family. What makes conversations like this important is that they help change the culture, and challenge our assumptions.

Keithustus wrote:

black and white guy clapping:

IMAGE(http://i249.photobucket.com/albums/gg203/Joksutin/Michael%20Jackson/mjclap.gif)

Thanks, I got a couple of odd looks because of the spontaneous blast of uncontrolled laughter.

Keithustus wrote:

black and white guy clapping:

IMAGE(http://i249.photobucket.com/albums/gg203/Joksutin/Michael%20Jackson/mjclap.gif)

IMAGE(http://i249.photobucket.com/albums/gg203/Joksutin/Michael%20Jackson/mjclap.gif)

wordsmythe wrote:
Chumpy_McChump wrote:
Tenebrous wrote:

From what I understand, the game industry is a harsh place to work and makes allot of demands on time. People in general do not like this and I think it might be especially hard for women with childern.

Unless they're still breast-feeding, I think you meant to say 'people', not 'women'.

You said that better than I would have. This is why I edit instead.

Tenebrous wrote:

I wonder how much of the backlash against what Colleen is talking about is denial of the problem and how much is white guys who are tired of hearing that white guys are bad, evil opressors and reading that into the narrative when it is not necessarily there.

It's easy to take that sort of defensive position, and it's easy to make things personal, but in large part this is a systemic, cultural issue. Like how you probably didn't mean to sound sexist in the above, assuming that the mother would be primary caregiver in a family. What makes conversations like this important is that they help change the culture, and challenge our assumptions.

To deny the reality that women are more often the primary caretaker, and more affected as parents by onerous work conditions (long days, 7 day weeks), is damaging to women. It undermines efforts to improve work conditions because if it isn't affecting all the fathers in the industry, why would would changes need to be made to support mothers who want to work in the industry?

Here are some quick stats from NOW:

Number of stay-at-home moms, in 2004: 5.6 million

Number of stay-at-home dads: 143,000

Among mothers of infants, percentage in the labor force: 55%

The percentage of women who gave birth to their first child and returned to work within four months: 51%

Percentage of mothers, ages 15 to 44, whose oldest child is age 3-5, in the labor force: 67%

Percentage of mothers, with children age 5 and under, employed full-time, year round: 33%

Percentage of mothers, ages 15 to 44, whose youngest child is 12 or older, in the labor force: 80%

http://www.now.org/issues/mothers/facts.html

HipGamer, I do apologize for leaping to the wrong conclusion. I am sensitive to this topic, and jumped in without thinking enough.

Elysium wrote:

HipGamer, I do apologize for leaping to the wrong conclusion. I am sensitive to this topic, and jumped in without thinking enough.

I'm glad it got brought up -- I worded my post ambiguously, and I can see how it could have been read as my being an ass to momgamer. My fault for posting when tired.

And hey, it's heartening that at least a few folks think I'm not a total jerkface

Great article, momgamer! Said everything I ever wanted to say about the subject.

Happy to see those that said "Twitter hashtag? lol!" were pretty much proven wrong. It's wasn't useless. It did accomplish something. Women in the industry rose up, gathered together and are now offering support to those who had negative experiences and providing encouragement to women who are starting their careers. We're improving the situation one step at a time.

This event really helped me. I realized that I wasn't the only one who had bad experiences. Some of these women shared stories that were similar to my own. I was sadden by what I read at first but now I feel like a much stronger person. It's hard to explain. If anything ever happens at work again, I will speak louder than I ever did and not live in fear of having a target on my back or listening to my name said in hush tones because I stood up for myself.

I'm pretty new to GWJ and I can't stress enough how fantastic it is to find a place where gamers talk about these kinds of issues. Really great read momgamer, thanks.

That's happening in all industries.
I will agree with that, as far as it goes. My Daily Planet job is in the business-software realm, and I have a whole 'nother set of stories for that. But I'm waiting for someone to explain why that makes it okay in the games industry.

Bueller?

Sure, but if it's a problem common to most tech-related industries then a lot of the answer clearly lies outside game-specific issues. In my experience of recruiting developers, you'll get 20 men and 1 woman applying.

My wife went to school for engineering, and is working for an automotive tier 1 supplier in plastic injection molding. There's a lot of discrimination in that field as well, let me tell you. Fortunately, my wife has thick skin and a ready loud voice, and doesn't back down easily. I call her mighty mouse

I don't comprehend exclusionary systems, they make no sense to me. I like doing things with women. I have a woman (a mother) on my friends list on PS3 who I play CoD games with, she's awesome and doesn't take crap from anyone (this is why she's on my friends list). I can honestly say though, in all the time I have played with her, I have never heard anyone saying anything negative about her based on her gender. I know this thread is about people misbehaving, but I just wanted to say there is some hope.

Ok, this is in Swedish, but I assume the gist is that Paradox is gender-neutral employer, and is supportive of pregnant devs:
http://www.aftonbladet.se/wendela/ar...

Tanglebones wrote:

Ok, this is in Swedish, but I assume the gist is that Paradox is gender-neutral employer, and is supportive of pregnant devs:
http://www.aftonbladet.se/wendela/ar...

Not a perfect translation, but enough to get the idea:

Google Translate wrote:

Got a dream job in the fourth month
Petra was employed by a company that saw skills - not pregnant belly

Without a job and with plans for children.

Overnight Petra Tell became unemployed and thought his career was screwed.

But salvation came in the form of a dream job - during pregnancy.

- I could never imagine that I would get a job when I was four months pregnant, says Petra Tell when we meet her at the new office in Stockholm.

On the twenty-third floor with panoramic views in four directions working Petra Tell.

She has just come into their tasks and become accustomed to his new role. In four weeks she has a daughter and go on maternity leave for eight months.

Last winter, she had just lost their jobs and the future was uncertain to say the least. She was 38 years old and together with her partner she longed for children.
'Got to make or break'

- I was really worried about the future and his head pounded in all matters. I searched the web for others who had jobs when they planned for children, but found only sad stories of women who have been fired or mistreated. To us a child is important and it was make or break, says Petra and continues:

- I searched a lot of work but in the end I gave up and prepared me for being unemployed for our daughter to come and that we would only have an income to live on.

She could never imagine that an employer would recruit someone who could only work for a short period before maternity leave.

When a friend told me about the position of public relations manager at game company Paradox Interactive hesitated and she thought she had no chance.

- I was persuaded, but wrote large and clear in the application that I was four months pregnant. I did not want to deceive anyone and knew that they would probably choose someone else.
The right person important

But as in other interviews have been a major problem here was no barrier at all.

- After a week I got the job. Sure, friends and acquaintances wondered why I got the job when I soon disappear, but all have been positive and curious about which company is so brave.

For her employer recruitment was an easy decision.

- We were looking for a key person in the company and the most important thing was to find the right person. Petra's upcoming maternity leave was such a small part, we think more long term than that. Petra is the best person in the market for this job, says Petra Tells Director Susana Meza Graham, adding:

- We want to show our employees that family is important and natural part of life. With us, it should always be possible to combine family life with a career.

Petra is planning to take parental leave for eight months, then takes her boyfriend over and stay at home as long.

Keithustus wrote:

There are software companies that have very good gender and maternity policies. My wife's huge company, for instance. But they develop enterprise software for other large corporations instead of consumer products, so maybe that is an important varible.

Very large companies tend to be in a better position to lose people for large stretches of time. They have lots of projects in the fire at once and a (more or less) steady stream of work, and they tend to have organizational structures without single points of failure (which can support the loss of a single individual for a while).

Small companies with one, maybe two projects? Yikes. You've got deadlines, you've got one person in charge of one thing, and if they're gone your whole project can grind to a halt.

The gaming industry is going to be even worse, since everybody wants a piece of the action. There aren't exactly lines forming to make Bob's Boring Business Software 95, and good employees who can withstand that kind of monotony are rare and valuable enough that employers tend to try to not screw them over. But fresh game devs? Man, they're a dime a dozen. Let the old folks with kids just take a hike.

I do think crummy work environments with bad benefits impact women more, because there's no getting around the fact that even if they're not ultimately the primary caregivers for all children, they are universally the ones who grow the little things and pop them out, and that's gonna take time.

There are software companies that have very good gender and maternity policies. My wife's huge company, for instance. But they develop enterprise software for other large corporations instead of consumer products, so maybe that is an important variable.

Stengah wrote:
Tanglebones wrote:

Ok, this is in Swedish, but I assume the gist is that Paradox is gender-neutral employer, and is supportive of pregnant devs:
http://www.aftonbladet.se/wendela/ar...

Not a perfect translation, but enough to get the idea:

Google Translate wrote:

For her employer recruitment was an easy decision.

- We were looking for a key person in the company and the most important thing was to find the right person. Petra's upcoming maternity leave was such a small part, we think more long term than that. Petra is the best person in the market for this job, says Petra Tells Director Susana Meza Graham, adding:

- We want to show our employees that family is important and natural part of life. With us, it should always be possible to combine family life with a career.

That's awesome.

My wife is an RN, and without getting into the myriad details, getting on maternity leave and having everything in order at her work was ridiculous. Absolutely ridiculous. RNs, as you might be aware, are more often than not women, and women more often than any other gender get pregnant (fact!)—so you'd think the hospital authority HR would be very familiar with the process of when their RNs apply for maternity leave. But it was like it was the first time it's ever happened—forms being missed, departments not talking to other departments, deadlines passing without the right info being submitted. CRNBC couldn't/wouldn't even prorate her ~$500 license for the two half-years she wouldn't be practicing.

And that's in a female-dominated field. Insane.

Women pay more for deoderant too. Just sayin

Dakuna wrote:

Women pay more for deoderant too. Just sayin

That goes for health/sanitary/Cosmetic products, generally, if its marketed to women. Which is why I generally buy "men's" products if I'm on a budget. I've heard excuses like the fragrances and packaging and so on can be more costly, but not necessarily why. I suspect it's related to that whole "women end up doing most of the household shopping" thing we've discussed before. Appeal to the purchasers to increase your profit.

Dakuna wrote:

Women pay more for deoderant too. Just sayin

Just stop sweating and then use whatever scent you want. There's no reason to bundle the perfume (which is why there are gender-specific deodorant products... I guess?) in with the actual active ingredients.

I want to thank you all for your posts. It was hard to post this, knowing what's happened before. So far, mostly so good.

However, I have a new story. Careful what you ask for, Chairman Mao; you may get it.

I just got back from the grocery store. I had to get some tests done at the dr's and stopped by one the way home. Ran into some people I know; former coworker and his wife who I also used to go to church with. He spotted me down the aisle, then came up to me and started informing me how I had grossly misrepresented things in this article and I should retract it. After a couple minutes he had reduced himself to repeating his same points more loudly. His wife came up behind him and sent him off after something. I hadn't even gotten a chance to open my mouth yet. She apologized for him, and after we had chatted a moment, then proceeded to tell me she's read it too and that if I came to her women's weekly group at her new church I would be less angry and feel a lot more at peace with my place in God's plan. I demurred and detached as soon as I could.

Got home with the groceries, got them put away. No rest for the wicked. Not even the EXTREMELY wicked.

momgamer wrote:

I want to thank you all for your posts. It was hard to post this, knowing what's happened before. So far, mostly so good.

However, I have a new story. Careful what you ask for, Chairman Mao; you may get it.

I just got back from the grocery store. I had to get some tests done at the dr's and stopped by one the way home. Ran into some people I know; former coworker and his wife who I also used to go to church with. He spotted me down the aisle, then came up to me and started informing me how I had grossly misrepresented things in this article and I should retract it. After a couple minutes he had reduced himself to repeating his same points more loudly. His wife came up behind him and sent him off after something. I hadn't even gotten a chance to open my mouth yet. She apologized for him, and after we had chatted a moment, then proceeded to tell me she's read it too and that if I came to her women's weekly group at her new church I would be less angry and feel a lot more at peace with my place in God's plan. I demurred and detached as soon as I could.

Got home with the groceries, got them put away. No rest for the wicked. Not even the EXTREMELY wicked.

Well someone's gotta do the devil's work! Sorry to hear about that, but thank you for sharing. I work as one of 3 guys in an office of 30 or so people, so I'm not in a position to see this kind of behavior very often (The ladies treat us just fine though).

Dakuna wrote:

Women pay more for deoderant too. Just sayin

Strangly enough, that trend reverses itself for Body Glide (the running anti-chafing stick.) In the local Running Room store, the women's version (which is identical to the men's version, but in a pink case and gives you twice as much) is only a dollar more expensive.

I'm going to try to express my concerns thoughtfully. I may screw this up, and apologize if that's the case.

We all get it.

The head honcho where I work is a woman. The mistreatment of men there hit some extremes. I could launch into so many horrible experiences but will focus on this one: She has told to my face, "the world is a rotten place because of men."

This is such a beautiful one to focus on because it can be juxtaposed perfectly against the article. There's a problem that goes deeper than "men treating women badly." Oh, make no mistake. These men are doing horrible things. They are treating women badly. It is evil and inexcusable.

It also strikes me as short-sighted to make this a men versus women issue. Spinning it the other way (as Kotaku seems to love doing) is just redecorating the same evil.

As I see it, the issue goes deeper. People enforce the concept that belonging to any group makes them superior to people in another group. The isms apply here. Racism. Sexism. Let's go further. Homophobia? Yeah. Politics: "Some pundit said something dumb OMG they're ALL evil!" Riiiiiiiiiiight.

The men in the industry who do these horrible things will hopefully be named and their reputations sent to hell. They deserve it. NDAs be damned.

There are two more fears I have every time this issue comes up.

1. Anyone who belongs to the same demographic as these offenders is not automatically guilty of the same sins. In this case, that means "men." This has less to do with the women who are going through this rotten thing, but more to do with any guy who does care and might feel guilty. If you want to feel guilty then feel guilty about sitting at your computer, uselessly feeling guilty, and doing nothing more to help. Or, you know, do something to help. Then don't feel guilty. Or actually do something else amazing then don't feel guilty. Either way, it wasn't you the bad thing. It's not yours to pay penance for.

2. The incredible people who are enduring this pathetic behavior (the women in question) need to be told every step of the way that they are, in fact, incredible people. You don't get to that position without drive, spirit, intelligence, and any combination of great qualities. What these men are doing is wrong. Absolutely wrong. [i]It horrifies me to think that the concept of "victim" might punish the real heroes and serve victory to the real villains. No victims. Awesome, strong, brilliant people who deserve a way out of this rotten position.

Parts of this article brought tears of frustration and anger to my eyes. I really identify with so many points but this especially:

"If you had spent your youth being told not to worry your pretty head about it — that girls can't do that, that if you do that boys won't like you, and even if you try you'll fail (and often others in your class or the people in charge will do things to help make sure of it) — maybe you would think about looking into something else, too."

I could hear the voices of male and female acquaintances alike from middle school and high school telling me that only boys played games and alluding that if I wanted to play video games there was clearly something wrong with me. Even into adulthood I shied away from even playing Guitar Hero at a party for fear of people's judgement and by this point I felt I wouldn't ever be good at playing games anyway.

It wasn't until I met my boyfriend and he encouraged me to play Gears of War 3 with him and his friends that I came out of my shell. When I got frustrated that all I was doing was running around looking up at the sky, he took me aside and practiced with me. Now, I'm blazing forward playing games without him and starting to think about what making my own games would be like.

My attitude moving forward, whether it's a healthy one or not, is to just completely ignore negative comments or any random BS I might encounter and act like a girl playing/writing about/ making /critiquing video games is the most normal thing in the world. This, however flawed and silly, works for me.

Wow, that's a great article, momgamer.

One thought struck me especially hard, when I read this counter-argument:

That's happening in all industries.

And I thought to myself, "Yeah, but we live in an industry of shared fantasy spaces, of things created from whole cloth. Can't we imagine something better than the status quo?"

Oh, and quixotic.June... welcome! You've come a long way, if you're actually on a gaming website. Sounds like your conversion is already complete, it's just a matter of catching up.

Leaving all the other BS aside, we have numerous threads on 'great games I might have missed', including a recent one for the 360. If you'd like to catch up with the real gems from years gone by, those are great places to get suggestions.

I cannot, for the life of me, understand how fundamentally broken some people are. What logical process allows for you to read about inequalities in your hobby/industry and respond by saying "Well, I'll do something to put that WOMAN in her place"?

Momgamer having acquaintances accost her in the middle of the bread aisle as a result of an opinion article is just ludicrous and unacceptable. How can someone actively oppress discussion like that?