writing down ideas for narration. Here’s one; very rough form of a joke but could be funny? With editing and polishing and the like?

 

The industry continues to use mostly male protagonists and objectify women and many gamers feel women should stay away from video games, and often harass them.

But which came first?

It’s like the chicken and the egg, where the chicken happens to be a multi billion dollar industry made up of mostly guys and the egg is made up of thousands of guys who think shouting Tits or GTFO is a suitable response to a woman wanting to be part of their team.

And neither this chicken nor this egg has the decency to be delicious foodstuffs. In fact, to push the metaphor even further, you could say they’re both pretty rotten.

Advertisements

2012: Your Year in Gaming Misogyny

Link to vicarious Existence. 

HIGH BRO-FIVE, BROS! You (yes, you, and you know who you are) can feel very proud of yourselves.

In 2011 it looked a little bit like the gap in attitudes about women in gaming had started to close. That women no longer had to prove that they deserved to be at the video game table. True equality hadn’t been achieved, but big strides had been made, right?

Peter Griffin from Family Guy in his No Girls Allow pillow fort.

The price of male freedom is eternal vigilance against women looking to ruin our totally mature and reasonable fun.

Thank god 2012 came along and showed that the No Girls Allowed Club was still alive and kicking in video games. After all, if women played video games, WHAT WOULD MEN HAVE LEFT? We all know that women are only good at destroying the joint. If you accept one female playing Call of Duty before you know it that title will be full of flowers and ponies and unicorns and not the manly totally awesome violence that’s a boy’s birthright.

It might have looked for a while there like gamers were moving away from being dominated by the kind of men who see “women” as a synonym for “mother who loved me too much and not enough”, but we’ve fortunately swung back. Here’s a breakdown of some things month-by-month.

January:

Kotaku kicked things off by identifying possibly “the most sexist gamers on the planet” who were complaining about the strength of Nuns in Shogun 2. HAHAHA, oh hindsight, you rascally scamp. Those guys didn’t even come close. And funnily enough, Nuns caused problems later on in the year too.

February:

If there is ever a category of gaming that is purely for men, it is fighting games. Because men are best at fighting everything in real life [citation needed], which is perfectly transferable to electronic simulations. In February some people involved in a broadcast fighting game showthought that perhaps the female competitors shouldn’t be exposed to sexual harassment. Fortunately the coach of one of the teams was around to express the entirely sensible point that “The sexual harassment is part of the culture. If you remove that from the fighting game community, it’s not the fighting game community“. Absolutely right – if I can’t ask a woman totake off her shirt when playing a fighting game, it’ll totally ruin my experience.

There was also the case of BioWare writer Jennifer Hepler saying that she’d like more focus on writing in games and to see more good writing in games over combat systems which she wasn’t really into. For these comments (made over five years ago) she was called CANCER INFECTION BLIGHT VERMIN DISEASE SEWAGE PLAGUE WASTE, was invited to kill herself over Twitter and received harassing phone calls at home.  Which is entirely rational behaviour from her mostly male audience. How dare BioWare games focus on stories?

March:

A white nerdish guy in glasses with a laptop.

The Straight White Male Gamer only wants to play the role of a straight white male in video games, okay?

BioWare managed another rare feat in 2012 – not only did theyruin the entire Mass Effect series forever through bad endings andincluding a real world female character  that most people would miss, they also forgot who their player base is: straight white males. That’s right – with all the homosexuality and equal attention for women and … err, other non-male things, I guess, they’ve clearly forgotten who buys their games.

It was obvious that ever since having gay characters in Jade Empire (released 2005 for Xbox, 2007 for PC) that the studio was clearly ruined for all time and was close to death for not meeting the needs of its customers. And when someone pointed out how “making us male gamers […] happy” should be BioWare’s focus, along comes some BioWare-employed moron who writes about privilege and inclusiveness and a heap of other things that didn’t stop Star Wars: The Old Republic SUCKING HARD (and not in that completely-hot-lesbian way that is acceptable to straight white males).

April:

The Oatmeal pointed out how easy women have it in online gaming. If a woman screws up, everyone is nice to them, whereas if a guy makes a tiny little error, they get yelled at. Woman having it easier when gaming online is a stone-cold fact that can never, ever be refuted.

May:

Tentacle Bento – a card game based on a type of anime porn that involve women and particularly inquisitive tentacles – launched with a Kickstarter but were knocked back. Fortunately Mike Krahulik of Penny Arcade – a gaming comic site with a very large reach – was there to tweet his support for the game and let his followers know where they could send money to support the game. Because if you start even vaguely censoring titles that involve the sexual assault of school-age girls, the terrorists win.

Batman: Arkham City was a great game, only enhanced by the female characters generally being downplayed and the main ones referred to as ‘bitch’ all the time. There were some complaints about this, but fortunately Rocksteady decided to completely ignore the issue and release the Harley Quinn Payback’s a Bitch trailer to promote its new DLC.

June:

Nuns again cause issues, with those in the Hitman: Absolution trailer being the kind of super-sexy assassin hit squad nuns who Hitman violently kills. IO Interactive were of course surprised by the criticism this trailer (which was in no way marketing chum, designed to stir up the sharks of outrage) received – after all, aren’t they giving the people the “fun” we all wanted to see?

Before June, you wouldn’t have heard of Anita Sarkeesian; during this month, she seemed impossible to get away from. Her foolish attempt to do a bit of gender roles examination within video games provoked the entirely sensible backlash against her that featured personal abuse, death threats, rape threats and a bunch of public character assassinating. Because video games are for boys – always have been, always will be – and we don’t need intellectual women coming along and messing things up, thanks very much.

In a similar vein, Ubisoft used Aisha Tyler in its E3 announcements and (unlike most women at these events) actually had her say something about gaming. An attractive women talking about gaming at a gaming-related event? That’s completely off-target for the video gaming demographic – what could Tyler know about gaming anyway?

A man standing awfully, awfully close to the vulnerable Lara Croft

“Make sure you tell everyone that this isn’t sexual assault. Because it totally isn’t.”

Crystal Dynamics totally wimped out. After announcing that Lara Croft would have to go through an attempted rape in the grim-and-gritty reboot to the Tomb Raider series and getting a lot of people excited, they walked it back so that the most she faces ismore garden variety not-sexual-assault-he’s-just-standing-very-very-close-to-her. Oh, and lots of building her up to break her down again. Because women can’t start out strong – that’s just too unbelievable.

And finally from E3 was Kotaku writer Katie Williams complaining about male PR reps taking the controls off her and not letting her play because they don’t think that she – as a woman – can. I’m sure they were just doing it so you could take extra-good preview notes, Katie.

July:

Tekken Tag 2 released a great trailer that showcased their female characters. No, not really in-game, but models in tight clothing cosplaying to look like those characters. Now THIS is what the target market wants when it comes to fighting games!

2012 shall go down as the year that True Geeks got tired of all the fake women who come to our events just to bask in Nerd Glory. Joe Peacock rightly tells us how tiresome it is that hot women show up at these events just to get attention from us males. There should be a test or something that stops these women getting in. Guys at these conventions would, of course, automatically pass through the convention gates on account of the XY chromosome set-up being inherently set to ‘geek’.

August:

Borderlands 2 announces a “Girlfriend Mode” that will let the FPS incompetent play with their much superior FPS-skilled boyfriends.  How nice of Gearbox! Although if you want to access this mode, it costs extra and was released after the main game, meaning that any girlfriendswould be a long way behind the boyfriends who started playing Borderlands 2 at launch. And it’s so typical of women to make us spend extra money on them just so that we can play together.

September:

Stardock’s Brad Wardell and former employee Alexandra Miseta are locked in legal action of different varieties. Miseta has accused Wardell of sexual harassment and in response he’s suing her for ruining the launch of Elemental in 2010. Prior to this Wardell had never mentioned Miseta for being behind the highly recognised problems with Elemental, but he wouldn’t be counter-suing her if he didn’t have a strong case, now would he? Besides, it’s his right as boss at Stardock to be “inappropriate, sexist, vulgar, and embarrassing” and Miseta has no right to complain about it, especially when “[her] nipples look better on TV”.

As a tip to the guys out there: you have to be careful when you put your penis into the hand of a women at a gaming party. Timing is everything. If you do it too soon, it’ll just come across ascreepy. Showing women pictures of other women’s boobs that you’ve taken over the course of the evening is always a winner though.

October:

A picture of Felicia Day.

These Fake Geek Girls show up all the time to conventions, aiming to grab any geek they can for the purposes of marriage.

Asking to motorboat women at a gaming convention is also totally cool, provided you film it and can find one that says yes. It doesn’t matter how many said no and felt uncomfortable at the same request because edited video footage never lies.

Three in five female gamers claim to have been taunted or harassed online using sexist language, requests for sexual favours and / or threats of sexual violence. Obviously these women just can’t take an“inappropriate, sexist, vulgar, and embarrassing” joke.

November:

Chivalry turned out to be appropriately named – no female characters were included in the game because it would “overall harm the way the community would play the game” since men and women are unable to play online appropriately together. Now that’s some true chivalry – keeping female characters out of a game so that female players won’t have any chance of suffering abuse from it. I hope all the women said thank you to those devs for excluding them for their own good.

#1reasonwhy trended, with females in the video game industry talking about the kind of negative experiences that mean there are so few women game designers. Probably because they can’t do math – the tag was #1reasonwhy, but it turned out there were hundreds of reasons why!

December:

WB Montreal and Gameloft tried to make women a key part of their end-of-year parties, with WB Montreal allegedly letting you eat off models’ bodies and Gameloft having topless women in body paint on display. Gameloft came out later claiming that the women weren’t supposed to be topless. Damn women! Always taking their clothes off without people asking them to!

The Next Twelve Months:

We guys have set up a pretty good amount of momentum for keeping video games as a safe male space. Now the important thing is to keep focus, ensuring that:

  • Women are blamed for standing up and complaining about gender issues in games and also blamed for not doing enough to stand up and deal with gender issues if it really is that important to them;
  • That all women working in video games are treated with suspicion at best, hostility at worst and always, always judged in terms of physical appearance; and
  • Most importantly, if you are a guy, downplay the issues as much as possible. You can use well-reasoned arguments like “it’s realistic for women not to be as strong as men when killing dragons / aliens”, “most True Gamers are male and the industry is just catering to that” and “it’s just a video game so it doesn’t matter that all female characters look like porn models in it”.

Crucially, don’t change. We need to make sure that video gaming remains as hostile as possible to your mother, your sister and your daughters to ensure video gaming retains its place as something only basement-dwelling manchildren get involved in. That’s the way of the past that will lead us into a glorious future.

Happy New Year, bros!

Sexism in Video Games [Study]: There Is Sexism in Gaming

Link.

Written and Researched by: Emily Matthew
There are certain common conceptions about sexism and gender as they relate to gaming. Influenced by the recent influx of gender and sex-related video game discussions within the community, I was interested in finding out how much of these are actually true and how much they affect gamers– both male and female – as well as the gaming community. For this reason, I designed a twenty-question survey to find out more.
I am well aware that sexism isn’t just an issue of men versus women, and I wanted my study to reflect that. My survey was aimed at gamers of all genders in order to see who sexism affects in the gaming community, who is perpetuating sexism, and to what extent the things that we think we already know about sexism in the community are true or false.
This survey was created online and distributed to various gaming communities online as well as through social media such as twitter and facebook. The survey remained open for participation for approximately one week and garnered 874 responses – almost a third of which were accompanied by additional comments, examples, and clarifications. I also received nearly 200 comments on the purpose or topic of the research itself. Some of these comments were as telling as the hard data, and some are included in the report below.

IS SEXISM PREVALENT IN GAMING COMMUNITY

Immediately following the demographic questions, participants were asked “Do you feel that sexism is prominent in the gaming community?” The response was overwhelmingly “yes.” 79.3% of all participants believe that sexism is prominent in the gaming community. 7.1% responded “no,” and 13.6% of respondents were not sure if sexism is prominent in the community. A “yes” response was 7% more likely to come from a female gamer than from a male gamer. Male gamers were almost twice as likely to respond “no” than were female gamers – a telling response when one considers how perspective affects opinion. Men and women who were not sure about the prominence of sexism in the gaming community showed a difference in percentage that is within the margin of error.

When asked if they had ever been the subject of “sex-based taunting, harassment, or threats while playing video games online,” 35.2% of participants said yes and 61.3% of participants said no.
Women were four times more likely than men to have experienced taunting or harassment, with 63.3% of all female participants responding that they had. The stories that these women told me regarding their experiences are similar to what one might think of regarding this topic. “Cunt,” “bitch,” “slut,” and “whore” were common slurs. The threats were largely of sexual assault. Much of the harassment was based around asking for or demanding sexual favors or comments that revolved around the traditional gender role and stereotyped behavior for women in Western society. Many of the insults were based on the subject’s weight or physical appearance.
15.7% of men also reported that they had experienced sex-based taunting, harassment, or threats while playing video games. While this is in the minority, it is still of concern as sexism. The comments directed at these gamers, however, are different from those directed at women in some very telling ways. Most of the men who provided additional information on their “yes” response to this question experienced comments that revolved around them not fitting a masculine gender role. These men were often called “fags” and compared to or told that they were women and labeled with stereotypically feminine words.
For those who identified as intersexed, identified with a sex that was not listed, or did not identify with any sex, the sexual harassment that was experienced largely related to not fitting into any norm. Those participants in these demographics had almost all experienced intentional misgendering from other players.

For women, the sexism experienced is about being female. For men, it is about not fitting a standard of masculinity. In short, this sexism is always about “male” being the normative sex and “not male” or “not sufficiently male” being reason for insults, shaming, and bullying. This means that men who fit (or present) a masculine, normative standard are those who are most unlikely to be the victim of sexism.
The responses to the question “Have you ever received an unsolicited proposition while playing video games online?” shows that this happens in much the same ratio between men and women as does general sexism, but that propositioning is slightly less common than sexual threats, taunting, and harassment. 32.0% of all participants said that they had experienced an unsolicited proposition while playing video games. 59.7% of women and 12.2% of men.
The difference here, as found in the comments and clarifications that I was sent by some participants, is largely in the tone of the proposition and the reception therein. Both sexes reported receiving propositions with the exchange of money, goods, and in-game assistance as a deal. However, men were more often offered sexual favors if they would pay for them (“I’ll send nudes for gold” was a provided example.), and women were more often offered payment if they would perform sexual favors (“Show me your tits and I’ll help you,” quoted one female participant.). In addition to this, more women described the propositions that they received as “gross,” “dirty,” “vulgar,” or “inappropriate” than did men. From the clarifications I received, when men were approached with an offer of sex they were more likely to accept the offer than women were.
A further distancing between men and women in terms of experienced sexism is apparent when reviewing the data that the survey received in response to the question “Have you ever experienced sex-based harassment that began while playing a video game and continued outside of the game?” Only 9.8% of all participants reported that they had experienced this sort of harassment. However, women were nearly 7 times more likely to experience this than men were (at 19.5% for women and 3.0% for men). This suggests that those who harass women are motivated to pursue the subject of their harassment once the game is finished in order to continue to harass them. Those who harass men don’t experience this motivation to the same extent, and so women are more likely to experience sustained sexism than men are.
Similar numbers were reported in response to the question “Have you ever felt unsafe because of sex-based harassment while playing a video game?” 9.6% of all participants answered “yes.” 19.4% of women and 2.2% of men experienced this. This means that women are nine times more likely than men to feel unsafe in this situation. A handful of women commented further on this, and all of them expressed that their fears were rape or sexual-assault related, which is unsurprising considering that some studies report that as many as 1 in 4 college-aged women is sexually assaulted. Where rape is a real, common occurrence for women in the average gaming age group, it is not surprising that threats of rape made while gaming causes more concern for women than for men.
Women were also much more likely to quit playing a game because of sex-based harassment than were men. 35.8% of women reported having quit playing temporarily because of sexism, and 9.6% reported that they quit playing a certain game permanently because of harassment. The numbers for men in the same areas were 11.7% and 2.6% respectively – about a third of the percentage for women in each case.
Another polarizing question was “Have you ever obscured or lied about your sex while playing video games to avoid unwanted attention or harassment?” 67.5% of women said that they had obscured their sex. Only 5.8% of men said the same. That means that women are nearly 12 times as likely to feel the need to conceal their sex while playing video games as men are. Two men sent clarifications to me regarding why they conceal their sex sometimes when they play video games. Both prefer to play with female avatars, and both have previously been harassed because they identify as male but play female characters. Again, they are being harassed because they don’t conform to normative masculinity.
When asked if they had ever avoided playing on a public server to avoid being a target of sexism, 50.6% of female respondents and 10.3% of male respondents said that they had. Beyond this, many women clarified by saying that they don’t play video games online at all in order to avoid sex-based harassment either that they had previously experienced playing online or that they thought they might experience. While women are five times more likely to avoid playing on a public server to keep away from sexism, there is another difference between when men and women choose to do this. Many men sent clarifications about this question to say that they avoid specific servers that they know to foster a sexist community whereas many women said that they avoid all public servers and play only in environments they know that they will be comfortable in.
When asked “Have you ever been the subject of sex-based comments, taunting, harassment, or threats in the gaming community while not playing a video game?” 45.5% of women said that they had – almost 5 times the percentage of men who said the same. Similarly, when asked if they had ever had their gaming taste, ability, or skill questioned because of their gender, 77.8% of women said that they had (compared to 6.4% of men). Those men who said that they had been the subject of these comments and judgments related that they were often judged for liking games that were “for girls.” One man said that he had been called a “faggot” when he said he didn’t like playing violent games. Yet again, the sexism against men is not because they are men but because they aren’t “male enough.”
Occasionally, women in gaming are labeled as something like “attention whores.” The woman who plays video games for attention or uses her sex for special treatment while playing is a common stereotype in the gaming community. The response to “Have you ever intentionally used your sex as leverage when asking for favors, goods, or attention while playing video games?” shows that this stereotype is only true in the vast minority. 9.9% of female respondents said that they had done this at least once. What is perhaps more interesting is that when asked “Have you ever lied about your sex in order to receive favors, goods, or attention while playing a video game?” 12.9% of male respondents said that they had.
The comments and data from these two questions point to an interesting conclusion: Some male gamers use the stereotype of a female “attention whore” to their benefit by pretending to be female in order to garner special benefits. Many of these men even kept images of women that they found on the internet in order to supply those gamers who helped them with nude photos and proof that they were female. In essence, an individual using femaleness to attain special favors and gifts from others while playing video games is more likely to be a self-identified male posing as a woman than to actually be female.
When they were asked if they had ever participated in sexist behavior and comments, only 9.4% of participants said “yes,” with 10.6% of men and 7.3% of women giving this answer. Men were only 3.3% more likely to exhibit sexism – a number within the margin of error. This means that men and women are exhibiting sexism at very similar rates. Comments sent in by these people to clarify their answers also show that individuals who exhibit sexism do not only do so to people of the opposite sex. Men are perpetrating sexism against other men, and women are doing the same to other women.
When asked if they had ever intervened in a conversation to stop sexist comments and behavior, 53.2% of participants (54.6% of women and 51.9% of men) said that they had. Both men and women sent in comments regarding why they had trepidation about defending others from sexism while gaming. Both were afraid of having the negative attention turned toward themselves – men often concerned with the label “White Knight” (which relates to a man who defends a woman in the hope of sexual favors) and women were concerned with the same sexual harassment that was being received by the person they might have defended.

SEXISM STUDY DEMOGRAPHICS: WHO TOOK THE SURVEY

The survey opened with some general demographic questions. When asked “What sex do you identify as?” 499 (57.1%) of the respondents were male and 356 (40.7%) were female. These numbers – particularly the ratio of men to women in gaming – are similar to those which have been reported by other studies. They support the idea that the majority of the members of the gaming community are male, but perhaps some might be surprised that the number of female members comes even close to that of the male majority.
32.4% of all participants were between the ages of 20 and 23. Only one participant, a male, was under 13, and only one participant, who identified with no sex, was over 51. 77.7% of all participants were between the ages of 16 and 27. The average male participant was between 20 and 23, as was the average female. There was no statistically significant difference in the ages of male and female participants – the distribution across age ranges was roughly the same for both groups.
Participants were asked which genre of video games they play. The most popular genre was “RPG,” which garnered 14.8% of all responses. The least popular genre was “Simulator” with 6.0% of all responses. The difference between the percentage of men playing a particular genre and women playing that same genre was never greater than 3.2 (12.6% of men and 9.4% of women played “Shooters”), which falls within the margin of error for this study. This suggests that men and women have roughly the same taste in video games.
This information is interesting in light of arguments posed in response to other studies. Some of these arguments suggest that the population of women in gaming (41%) is only so high because there is no differentiation between “casual” and “serious” gamers – that people who play only casual games should not be considered gamers and that making the distinction would lower the number of female gamers as reported by such studies. This study shows that this is not the case. In fact, no women who responded to this survey played only casual games. Women were 2.0% more likely to play casual games than were men (again, a number within the margin of error), but these same women also enjoyed other game genres.
Similar data ranges were apparent in response to the question “What devices do you use to play video games?” The most popular device for gaming is the PC, which garnered 24.9% of all responses. The least popular device for gaming is the Mac, with 3.4% of the responses. The difference in the percentage of men and the percentage of women playing video games on a given device were statistically negligible. The largest difference was between men and women playing the Nintendo Wii; women were 1.1% more likely to play this console than men were. While this is a number well within the margin of error, it is the only difference between men and women as far as consoles and devices are concerned that was over 1.0%. The rest of the responses were only different by a fraction of a percent. It is clear that there is no real difference in the gaming devices selected by men and those selected by women.
49.4% of gamers who participated in this survey play video games for a few hours a day. Women were 4.6% more likely to play video games a few hours a week than were men, whereas men were 6.2% more likely to play video games a few hours a day than were women. The percentages of men and women who play video games more than four hours a day were only 0.8% different from one another – with 16% of women and 15.2% of men playing at this frequency. The average male gamer and the average female gamer both play video games for a few hours a week.

SEXISM SURVEY COMMENTS AND COMMUNITY’S REACTION

According to this study, most gamers recognize sexism as a prominent force in the gaming community. While it is mostly directed at women, some men experience it as well. Only a minority of gamers say that they’ve perpetuated sexism, and a majority say that they’ve stepped in to stop it. These numbers are heartening for anyone who, like me, is concerned about how the gamers, and people in general, treat one another.
I myself received some interesting reactions and treatment when I opened this survey up to the public. For the sake of statistics and simplification, I counted the comments that I received that were directed at the purpose of the survey (as opposed to those that were in direct response to survey questions) and then categorized them as either: Definitely Positive, Definitely Negative, and Non-Definite.
Encouragingly, those comments which were distinctly positive outnumbered the comments which were negative. The majority of these were methods of solidarity and encouragement – praise directed at myself for undertaking the project or support for the project itself. Comments such as “I’m proud of you.” and “You’re doing a great thing.” were common. Perhaps the most encouraging were the handful of comments – 9, in total – that came from people whose outlooks were changed because of the survey.
One individual said that he was surprised about the topic. He hadn’t previously considered that sexism occurred in gaming. After having taken the survey, he spoke with his wife (who is also a gamer) , asking her if she had ever experienced sexism while playing a video game. After she said that she had, the man became more conscientious of what he and other players were saying and how they were behaving while playing games online, and he decided to start speaking out against sexism when he saw it.
While these responses were quite encouraging (as I personally like to see a community aware of its biases and discrimination), there were plenty of comments to provide a counterbalance to the positivity. I received 34 comments that I would classify as “negative” – just over half the number of positive responses. These negative responses were largely comments directed at me personally as opposed to the purpose of the research, and most of them were vile, sexual, and entirely profane.
An even dozen of the negative comments that I received addressed the topic in a way that showed negative opinion while remaining what I see as professional in tone. The 22 remaining negative responses were consisted of or contained personal, profane attacks against myself. All of these comments came from men, and they all contained gender and sex-based insults. Eight of these comments featured sexual content – descriptions of what should be done to me. One of them was four paragraphs long and particularly vivid. These eight are not anything that I would deem acceptable to reproduce here. This comment is fairly representative of those made by these 22 men: “Yoru[sic] survey is retarded and so are you. There’s no sexism in the video game community, you stupid cunt. All you bitches play cause you like the attention that nerds give you. You can’t get it anywhere else cause you’re fat disgusting whales. You ruin video games. Shut the fuck up, tits or gtfo, and make me a sandwich. I’d say I hope you get raped, but you’re such a slut you’d like it.”
What was most surprising, and slightly disheartening, were many of the 87 comments that fit into neither the positive nor negative categories. A number of these comments did not involve personal opinion on the subject matter in the study. These were things like “I’d like to see the results of this.” or “This is an interesting survey.” Such comments composed approximately a third of the non-definite responses. The remaining two-thirds, however, might be represented by this comment: “I really do feel for the people who are discriminated against when they play video games. I know that a lot of women get harassed just because they’re female. But I don’t see what we can do about it. Is sexism a problem? Yes. Is is bad? Yes. Does it happen in the community? Yes. But there’s no fix for that. There are always going to be bigots, so what’s the point in fighting it?”
While I can understand this opinion, to me it represents a sort of conciliatory perspective. It’s a recognition of the problem, but an unwillingness to stand up against it. The people who made such comments – both men and women – are those who have either given up or never tried. In some ways, too, I feel that these individuals misunderstand the ways in which sexism can be fought and in which gains can be made for gamers who want to see a community free of sexism.
I can’t argue that eliminating sexist opinion from every individual in the community is realistic, and it’s not one of the goals that I personally hold when arguing against sexism. What I do think is achievable, however, is eliminating the normalization of sexism in the community. When people stand up in sufficient numbers against those who harass players because of their sex or gender – when we stop laughing, joining in, or letting it slide and start handing out bans, saying “That’s not okay,” and refusing to play with bigots – then eventually there is a standard that even those with sexist leanings will begin to conform to.
Surely not every bigoted person will be swayed by public opinion enough to stop expressing their sexist thoughts, but there’s going to be a number of them (how big that number is I can’t be sure) who will consider being judged, scolded, ostracized, or made to look foolish when they use sexist slurs and insults to be enough of a deterrent to stop using them in mixed company. When sexism is less expressed, it becomes less normalized for those entering the community as well. When new gamers see that calling a woman a cunt or taunting a man for being beaten by a woman is frowned upon, they are more likely to learn not to do it. It’s a change that will take time, but it’s one that I and others believe is worth working toward.

– See more at: http://blog.pricecharting.com/2012/09/emilyami-sexism-in-video-games-study.html#sthash.Kf2qjYsw.dpuf

Studies find the Video Game Industry is Male Dominated. Nobody is Surprised

By Ruby Mountford.

Near the end of April, the unlikely topic of Video Games was brought up by the UK minister for equality, Chi Onwurah. “Only 6% of those who work…  in the UK games industry are women, despite the fact that they make up 50% of those who play the games.” She said.

Is hearing that the gaming industry is dominated by men a shocker?

No. Not really.

Video games, and the culture surrounding them, have been considered extremely unwelcoming to women for some time. With over 85% of characters in games being male, and an overwhelming majority of the development team being male, there is little to no room for female perspective in development. It shows.

Off the top of my head, I can think of a handful of games that have a female protagonist, and one of those is Mrs Pacman. If I exclude games that give you the option of choosing gender, I can count them on one hand. The male voice is deafening in the games industry, and yet the number of women who play videogames is rising rapidly. A study published by Entertainment Software Association last year claimed that 47% of all game players were women.

So why aren’t there more women in the industry?

Gabrielle Toledano claimed in her article Women and Video Game’s Dirty Little Secret that the sexist culture in video games is exaggerated, and that the industry wants to employ more women, but there aren’t enough of them applying.

And yet, other women in the industry are saying that it is as bad, if not worse, then you would expect. Last year, under the hashtag #1reasonwhy, people within the gaming industry tweeted one reason why there were not more women working in video games. A selection of these tweets, from both men and women, is displayed with a quick analysis at Kotaku.com, and ranged from work place prejudice to outright groping.

A screenshot of two #1reasonwhy tweets

Also touching on #1reasonwhy, an article by Leah Burrows on The Boston Globe interviewed a number of women who worked in the the industry, with reports how women coped working in an environment that was at times “openly hostile towards women.

Is there a solution? Things do seem to be getting better, albiet slowly. In Burrows’ article, Courtney Stanton, a game designer and founder of the networking group Women in Games Boston, was quoted saying “It’s true, the industry is not as actively bad as it used to be, but not actively bad is an embarrassingly low bar.”

Simply saying ‘you should hire more women’ isn’t going to fix this problem. The issue is attitude, and that will take time, and a whole lot of fighting.

Posted under: Blogging
Dated: May 31 2013

2 Comments

  1. emmawatson says:

    I’ve never played video or online games, because they haven’t interested me. Yet, one of my closest friends is obsessed. Name any character from any game and she’ll know who you’re talking about. It’s a shame that an industry so popular among both men and women mainly employs one gender. Perhaps education is the answer. That way, people will realise why being “openly hostile” towards a certain gender is wrong, and that women are equally suitable for the job as men are.

  2. Ruby says:

    Emma:
    It’s a bit of a vicious cycle; women see the games and see the male influences in them and are put off, and without a female voice in production the way women are being shown is changing very slowly.
    But I think that, given the number of women playing games now, and wanting to play games that show women as strong characters in their own right, sooner or later companies may realise that they’re not quite getting it right, and they might just need more than 6% of their work staff to be women if they want to know how to appeal to the female market.