The Female Gaming Experience [Safe Space]

Hypatian wrote:

Apparently Jenn Frank has now decided to quit writing about games. The final straw was when she was chosen as [em]the[/em] example of "corruption" in the two-sides-to-every-story article Al Jazeera ran on GamerGate. Completely missing, of course, the same important context that the original accusation was missing, which she should never have had to even state in the first place.

It's actually that specific nonsense that sent me fleeing to the GWJ desperately seeking some form of sanity. I was literally blind with rage - and I do mean literally. Everything over the past weeks has angered me and obviously there have been worse threats and actions taken, this was the straw that finally broke my mind. We can't even reasonably ask these creators to stick it out and "ignore the haters". The amount of cruelty they have to endure - let alone the threats - combined with the fact that it's hardly the most financially rewarding career path ... you can't expect a rational person the persevere, regardless of how passionate they may be.

I fear that Arthur Gies' tweets tonight will be prophetic and we will start to see creators (both on the development and journalism side) start to retreat from community interaction. That's actually been one of my favourite trends in the last 6-8 years. The toll it takes is starting to get too high and that is just depressing.

I know this isn't entirely on topic, but I really needed to find some stable ground to try to collect myself. And I'm glad that I was able to find some here.

I just sent a tweet to Jenn Frank thanking her for her work. I understand why she is leaving, but it sucks. Maybe we should all send nice tweets and messages to voices we appreciate. I imagine they need to hear that they are reaching reasonable, agreeable people now more than ever.

First Breitbart comes out with a story supporting GamerGate fiction, now Al Jazeera. Swell. Next up: Fox News, you can count on it.

pseudoprime1979 wrote:

I just sent a tweet to Jenn Frank thanking her for her work. I understand why she is leaving, but it sucks. Maybe we should all send nice tweets and messages to voices we appreciate. I imagine they need to hear that they are reaching reasonable, agreeable people now more than ever.

I did the same, but sadly the cruelty and attacks feel so much more resonant than any appreciation I could articulate.

Dropping in to repeat the already expressed sentiment that I'm glad GWJ is here. I haven't participated in any of these discussions, but have been reassured throughout these events this week by remembering that there's a sane and mature and compassionate community that I'm a part of, and didn't even need to check to know that these are the sort of responses that would be found here. Thanks, everybody.

I talked about all of this with my wife last night; trying to figure out how to grow in my reasoned consideration of feminist voices and understanding of women's marginalized experience. I was exposed to an amount of feminist thinking as an English major, reading feminist critiques of various literature, but didn't really give them a lot of credence at the time because I bounced off the fervor/extremeness of their rhetoric. It wasn't until the past few years, listening to my wife as she studied issues of women having choice taken away from them in the context of birth and explained to me the common-sense reality of marginalization and injustice in the female experience, that I saw the forest through the trees of feminist rhetoric. Over the last year, watching FemFreq's videos and reading the increasing amount of coverage of women's treatment in the game industry brought it home to me in an additional way.

Anyway, I'm resuming (Christian) theological graduate studies this year and have an opportunity this semester to bring feminist theological studies into my reading as another source for my research paper, which I'm thinking I'll take, to keep this broadening understanding going and hopefully help form a theological understanding that encompasses the female experience and encourages compassion and equality and justice, that I can then bring back to our church and advocate for such things as I have the opportunity.

So, hopefully, in my individual realm this will form part of narrative that is ultimately productive and fruit-bearing. I hope this will be the experience in the broader video game community as well, and that this will be an ultimately productive stage and not destructive like it seems to be at the moment; but my optimism is not a-flutter.

Lovely post, danopian. I'm genuinely very glad to hear that there are folks like you are actively participating in wanting to change the harmful or negative behaviour around you. Nothing really to add here, except my thanks.

This is a great break-down of the truly harmful, backwards bullsh*t that is the "nobody touch Patreon!" games-journalism reaction to GamerGate:

http://sufficientlyhuman.com/archive...

I absolutely agree with the bit at the end about genuine full disclosure. The system *is* broken, just not in the ways the GamerGate die-hards are howling about.

The whole fiasco is such a clustercuss. Never has something like this gone down in a space that is so decisively my backyard — as a fan of games & gaming (tabletop first, but VG too), as someone who supports the goals of feminism & equality, as someone who's followed & supported these particular creators for a while before all this, and as a person who left college years ago with a major in Journalism & Mass Communication. The summer has been full of awful news that I can't even begin to speak to, but I can't just read & educate myself on this stuff like I usually do in the face of rampant -isms and injustice. Everywhere I look, people I expect better of just don't get it. Thankfully, everyone in my circle of geek-friends has all matured independently to be on the same page about this kind of crap, so at least I don't have to burst a vein listening to madness/arguing with the ignorant IRL, too.

I completely understand the women & others who are leaving. It's a tragedy, I hate it, but I get it. I hope more people with the clout of Tim Schafer voice their support for the Anita Sarkeesians out there. And I do think it is key for big-name white dudes to help push this charge forward — they are the heroes of those who refuse to hear the message. Imagine if tomorrow Gabe Newell pulled a Tim Schafer. For once the jokes about breaking the internet in half would be true.

GamerGate also ran Mattie Brice out of town, I've just found out.

I don't think I've ever been angrier than I have been this past month. That's about all I got.

I'm with Amoebic, thanks for your post, Danopian. Particularly on the topic of having choice taken away from you in the context of birth, but that's a whole other discussion that probably doesn't belong here.

casktapper wrote:

I fear that Arthur Gies' tweets tonight will be prophetic and we will start to see creators (both on the development and journalism side) start to retreat from community interaction.

A non-feminism related example, but over at Kingdom of Loathing the creative lead pulled back significantly from interacting with the forums earlier this year due to a constant buzz of negativity/toxicity that we, the moderation team, let persist on the main forum for the game for several years until he snapped. We've been trying to clean up the mess but it's definitely an uphill battle because people are entrenched in their ways of interacting with others and there's a lot of entitlement to combat.

It's nowhere near on the level of what's been happening over the last few years, but constant negativity has an palpable effect on people and it will lead to them either pulling back or interacting elsewhere.

_nthdegree wrote:

This is a great break-down of the truly harmful, backwards bullsh*t that is the "nobody touch Patreon!" games-journalism reaction to GamerGate:

http://sufficientlyhuman.com/archive...

I absolutely agree with the bit at the end about genuine full disclosure.

The Kotaku throwing the baby out with the bathwater approach is stupid and incredibly harmful because it's essentially giving into the ransom. It's not that hard to say "hey, this author supports this creator on patreon" or "this authoer is supported by this creator on Patreon" at the top of an article. Richard Cobbett does this with anything relating to his coverage of Wadjet Eye games (as Dave Gilbert is one of his patrons), Rock Paper Shotgun does this all the time when possible conflicts or interest arise (ie. any game Jim Rossignol has worked on, or when John Walker wrote about Broken Sword: Director's Cut), and (when he was at Ars Technica) Ben Kuchera would disclose when preview trips included hotel stays paid by the publishers.

Kotaku took the lazy way out on this issue, which is incredibly sad to see.

ClockworkHouse wrote:

And you have a development structure at almost every major studio where human resources are so horribly mismanaged that only dedicated super fans are going to be willing to work in perpetual crunch mode for lousy pay, carried on by the prestige of making video games; but that mismanagement selects out any number of opportunities for diversity as people who are outside of the demographics likely to be dedicated to gaming, or who are older and have families and might be able to bring a more mature perspective, turn away from even thinking about working on games.

This right here is very true. In my 20's, I went back to school to get a computer science degree because I loved computer/video games and wanted to develop/design them, but two things ended up putting a stop to that idea. The first was that even though I enjoyed learning about computer architecture and design and liked all the math and theory, I just really didn't like programming much at all. Short spurts of it for fun, sure, but sitting there hour after hour after hour...nope! The second was all the stories coming out of the industry (that STILL hasn't improved and has even seemed to get worse) is that if you work for a gaming company, you WILL work 100+ hours a week on location in a tiny cubicle for indeterminate amounts of time under horrible slavedriving management, get paid very little for it, and there will be a very large chance that you will be out of work and looking for a new job very frequently between projects. People talked about this atmosphere as if it was the greatest thing since sliced bread because hey, you're working on GAMES and that makes any type of employee abuse okey-dokey, but it just made me cringe.

I'm the type of person who believes in working in order to live rather than living to work. No matter how much people may love their jobs, the above way of working is a very fast track to burnout. I just refuse to work in that type of environment given ANY other choice.

I decided that I'd just rather have fun playing games whenever I wanted rather than feeling 24/7 pressure over them.

Hence this is one story as to why one female didn't get professionally involved with the gaming industry.

I love how in this "Zoe Quinn scandal" you see hundreds of mentions of Zoe Quinn's name to every one of the journalist who supposedly (but didn't) gave her favorable mentions on websites in exchange for sex. If it were true, you would think he would be equally responsible for the fiasco, if not more so. Gee, I wonder why I don't hear about him more often. You know, if this were actually about corruption. And if any of it were true.

I love how concerns about "journalistic integrity" have resulted in only female writers and people interested in social justice being harassed. Meanwhile, all of the major "gaming news" sites are still free to run ads from big game corporations because that can't possibly be a conflict of interest.

I love being concerned about clicking on even innocuous news stories on gaming websites because the comments are RIGHT THERE and the top one is very likely to be something vile about women or the dread social justice. Stories about iOS games, Assassin's Creed, Gone Home, whatever, doesn't matter, it's an appropriate place to express just how badly you want anyone who is not a straight white male gone already.

I love how including a woman in your game at all is "political" and "risky" but making a game where a straight white man violently dispatches hordes of people doesn't have any "political" ramifications at all and is all in good fun.

I love how the existence of games that don't cater to you, personally, is ruining gaming. I mean, I just ignore games like Call of Duty that hold no interest to me.

I love how, if the sexualization of women and men in games were reversed, a bunch of small minded twits would immediately flip out about how they're going to catch the gay. No wait, that one's not a sarcastic love. I actually would love that. It would be hilarious.

The funny thing is, I spent years thinking there was nothing especially wrong with gaming because I pretty much did like it the way it is and I thought people being upset over things like bikini armor was a bit silly. But more and more I see a group who wants anything not straight white male driven far away from the industry at any cost, and even if you like things the way they are you are merely tolerated, not welcome. I mean, sure, I play a wide variety of games, many of them targeted at men, but it's not like I'm a "real gamer." At any moment I could do something crazy like ask for a female character as a protagonist! That would ruin gaming forever!

EDIT: Re: Bekkilyn's post above: I'm a female programmer who could probably easily get a games industry job if I wanted to, but I don't for those exact reasons. Good post.

Hypatian wrote:

Apparently Jenn Frank has now decided to quit writing about games.

SocialChameleon wrote:

GamerGate also ran Mattie Brice out of town, I've just found out.

Yeah, and the people supporting GamerGate are seeing this as a win. I just don't get it. I guess your voice has been "heard" or whatever. yaaay.

bombsfall wrote:

I don't think I've ever been angrier than I have been this past month. That's about all I got.

Yeah, you and me both, man.

BadKen wrote:

I think probably The Sims is seen by the Angry Gamer Brigade as a "female-centric" game or a "casual" game. It is certainly played by a lot of women, and nobody gets dismembered in it. So r/gaming has decided that The Sims 4 is pure sh*t, created by the bastion of evil, EA, who keep making horrible games and charging money for them.

I'm just not really feeling Sims 4 right now and do have some concerns over it, though in my case it's because I've been a huge Sims fan in general and have all the Sims 1, 2, and 3 games, expansions, and most of the store content and am just meh about going through it all over again right now.

Nevertheless, I am a member of some dedicated sims gaming forums that I visit regularly whenever I get back into my sims moods, and while there may be a lot of women playing, the sims games are NOT casual by any means anyone could think. Now every game will have its casual players who just play for a bit and then move on to something else, but many of the sims players on these forums have been playing sims games for YEARS. Many have gotten into making any number of mods and have learned various programs such as 3D Studio and Milkshape to create new things for these games. They have also learned how to use the Sims 3 world editor to make new sims worlds, and that editor isn't very user friendly at all. Sims players have truly done some amazing things in these games and have spent numerous hours developing their worlds, neighborhoods, legacies, and families. Many devoted sims players don't have the time available to play much of anything else. These players are in my book very hardcore and makes the people who buy and play CoD games every year look like babies by comparison. These ladies (and gents) are truly amazing and very dedicated to sims, which has many more complexities to it than many other games.

Now EA might still be the bastion of evil, but I suspect that many of the people complaining about sims being a casual game has never bothered to play it. Their loss.

I love how concerns about "journalistic integrity" have resulted in only female writers and people interested in social justice being harassed. Meanwhile, all of the major "gaming news" sites are still free to run ads from big game corporations because that can't possibly be a conflict of interest.

Nick Robinson from Rev3Games tweeted something like that last night. That AAA publishers fly writers around the world and pay for hotel stays for review and preview events, but none of the "gamer gate" people are saying anything at all about that.

They say it is about fixing the "corruption" but it is so obvious by who they go after that they aren't actually interested in that.

I walked away from the industry after six years for pay and quality of life reasons. I didn't identify as a woman until later, and didn't come out until about a year after that - but even if I could get sane pay and hours, I'd hesitate to go back now.

schutter31 wrote:
I love how concerns about "journalistic integrity" have resulted in only female writers and people interested in social justice being harassed. Meanwhile, all of the major "gaming news" sites are still free to run ads from big game corporations because that can't possibly be a conflict of interest.

Nick Robinson from Rev3Games tweeted something like that last night. That AAA publishers fly writers around the world and pay for hotel stays for review and preview events, but none of the "gamer gate" people are saying anything at all about that.

They say it is about fixing the "corruption" but it is so obvious by who they go after that they aren't actually interested in that.

It's a "wedge" issue, or if not it's something that they can use to get people on the fence who wouldn't pay attention to the misogyny to chime in. I'm sure there's a proper name for the tactic that I'm not recalling.

I agree their arguments are complete BS in regards to real corruption (and there's similar problems with all expense-paid trips in general tech journalism as well) in the industry. Even then, it's not the writers who should be held 100% accountable, rather the suits who agree to send their staff to these events.

Hey everyone, the Gamers Gate stuff needs its own thread if you want to discuss it. It's related, but off topic for the purposes of this thread.

Certis wrote:

Hey everyone, the Gamers Gate stuff needs its own thread if you want to discuss it. It's related, but off topic for the purposes of this thread.

Done: http://www.gamerswithjobs.com/node/1...

SocialChameleon wrote:

I walked away from the industry after six years for pay and quality of life reasons. I didn't identify as a woman until later, and didn't come out until about a year after that - but even if I could get sane pay and hours, I'd hesitate to go back now.

I can't imagine, honestly. I've been a software engineer for almost 20 years. I've found, in that period of time, that the sexism in the industry is really bad, unfortunately. And I've crunched 60 - 70 hours per week for months on end, not trying to make a video game deadline. I can't imagine staying in the industry. Especially as a woman. Good for you for getting out.

My wife and I were watching a BBC News special last night that looked into rape culture all over the UK, but mostly focused on college campuses and the internet, but keeping the focus on the UK. Except the interviewer Skyped with Anita Sarkeesian (and then there were shots from a camera in the room with her?) and I just...cheered that the story of her original kickstarter ordeal was getting covered. It must have been taped a while ago. Hurray for BBC, which is shown all over Europe. I hope the whole program started many conversations.

Sooooo, Certis, that site update from last year's donation drive that changes our logo up top a little bit is going well, I hope? Coming soon? ^______________^

I'm happy at the work that Anita is doing, I am an enthusiastic backer of her Kickstarter and her organization. The backlash that she is getting (I think) is well beyond of what she was expecting - but what "that crowd of misogynist gamers" don't realize is that they are helping her fulfill her goals. I'm disappointed that it had to be this way but I hope that she sees a little bit of justice in this.

My wife is a teacher at a nearby high school and every year they get the teachers together to get recommendations for speakers for the school year (they typically get 3 or 4). I asked my wife to inquire about getting Anita as a speaker - I even offered to pay the tab for doing so. It never got passed "the committee" for serious consideration. I thought they would say "no" because it was video game related. That was not it - it was because they did not want any controversy about starting any form of feminist discussion - needless to say the people in the school district making these decisions are all men.

Forward to now where the absolutely filthy response has caused exactly what Anita and her supporters want (and IMO is inevitable) - a discussion about these issues, and by posting such immature and misogynist responses they showed that this is a real issue, and developers are starting to take it as a real issue. At no time has Anita said things need to be a certain way (although she may believe that) - but several times she has presented evidence, her thoughts, and asked questions. Haters then try to prevent the discussion - and although I sometimes think that I live in a culture where attempting to prevent a discussion actually works - it is really a short term strategy that only shows that you'll lose if that discussion happens.

Certis, thanks for the thread. I, too, am tagging mainly for my own education, but wanted to say that this:

Amoebic wrote:

As far as engaging goes, I'll continue doing what I'm doing. Androgynous name, no mic, NO SMILIES IN TEXT, minimal communication, and keep kickstarting the good ones.

And this:

Demyx wrote:

Everyone assumes I'm a man online unless they've been told repeatedly that I'm not. Even in games like FFXIV where I have a female character with a female name I get called by male pronouns.

So except for a few places like here, my primary method of engaging with "gamers" is to hope no one notices I'm female.

...makes me quite sad. I have known that there are problems, hell, I have more than likely "white knighted" at some point on XBL, but I never knew the lengths to which our female friends have had to go to just play a game.

That said, this:

bekkilyn wrote:

(big snip)

Nowadays, I typically don't hide it. I have a female-sounding Xbox Live gamertag and female avatar, play a mixture of male and female characters in MMO's, and will sometimes even get on teamspeak or ventrilo and talk. I've run across a number of guilds, even those made up primarily of males in FPS-type games, who have been extremely respectful. It really does give me hope.

I'm hoping that since the inappropriate behavior of the more degenerate-minded of the gaming community is getting more public attention, the issues will ultimately be resolved, but I still can't help being cynical too, and suspecting that these people will just tend to hide it a bit better than to actually become decent human beings...but we'll see.

...makes me feel a little better.

Flintheart Glomgold wrote:

I'm happy at the work that Anita is doing, I am an enthusiastic backer of her Kickstarter and her organization. The backlash that she is getting (I think) is well beyond of what she was expecting - but what "that crowd of misogynist gamers" don't realize is that they are helping her fulfill her goals.

Some of them do, and that's why they accuse her of faking her harassment and threats. IMAGE(http://rps.net/QS/Images/Smilies/rolleyes.gif)

Demyx wrote:

(Lots of very good stuff)

I love how, if the sexualization of women and men in games were reversed, a bunch of small minded twits would immediately flip out about how they're going to catch the gay. No wait, that one's not a sarcastic love. I actually would love that. It would be hilarious.

(More really good stuff)

This, right here, is awesome stuff! Love it, and I, too, want to see this happen. Hell, if Goat Simulator could actually become a thing...

Mermaidpirate wrote:

Sooooo, Certis, that site update from last year's donation drive that changes our logo up top a little bit is going well, I hope? Coming soon? ^______________^

Yep! It'll actually be on the new site design, which is very close to going into beta. Kristin still needs to do art up, so be patient! I'm looking forward to it too

Flintheart Glomgold wrote:

The backlash that she is getting (I think) is well beyond of what she was expecting - but what "that crowd of misogynist gamers" don't realize is that they are helping her fulfill her goals. I'm disappointed that it had to be this way but I hope that she sees a little bit of justice in this.
...
Forward to now where the absolutely filthy response has caused exactly what Anita and her supporters want (and IMO is inevitable) - a discussion about these issues, and by posting such immature and misogynist responses they showed that this is a real issue, and developers are starting to take it as a real issue. At no time has Anita said things need to be a certain way (although she may believe that) - but several times she has presented evidence, her thoughts, and asked questions. Haters then try to prevent the discussion - and although I sometimes think that I live in a culture where attempting to prevent a discussion actually works - it is really a short term strategy that only shows that you'll lose if that discussion happens.

It's almost reminiscent of that Gandhi quote: "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win".

Sonicator wrote:

It's almost reminiscent of that Gandhi quote: "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win".

Speaking of which: "Why We're Winning: Social Justice Warriors and the New Culture War"

Also, I posted this podcast in the other thread, but it fits here too: Isometric: Rainbows and Sunshine; several women talk about their personal experience.