Monday, 4 March 2013

Video games seems to have a woman problem


And no, I don't mean period pains, give me some fucking credit. It's been a while since I've chucked my two cents worth of opinion into the torrent of sewage that is gaming media, and the continuing hot topic, much to the dismay of internet misogynists, of sexism in video games. The seemingly never ending argument between the politically correct and angry lady-haters came to my attention when I read of a Sony  Online Entertainment's is offering a scholarship to American graduates on Gamesindustry International as part of their, "Gamers In Real Life" (G.I.R.L.) design competition where the successful student wins $10,000 towards their tuition and a paid internship with SOE. Not bad eh? But unfortunately the writer of that article,  the shockingly entitled  and unfair Rachel Weber, had to piss on everyone's bonfire by bringing up a interview with SOE senior VP of global sales and marketing, Laura Naviaux (another bloody woman) who said he hoped the G.I.R.L. scholarship would encourage more women to work in the production of video games,

"We want to help make the games industry even that much more
approachable and our goal with the G.I.R.L. Scholarship is to provide an easy
way to usher even more women into the industry"

You only have the read the litany of boring bastards that comprise the Gamesindustry.biz comments section (yes, Bruce Evriss, we're talking to you)   see G.I.R.L. as unnecessary tokenism. Even though the scholarship is open to both male and female undergraduates, most  see it as as a bad thing that is being sexist to men or not warranted because they don't see it as  a important issue, much like any gaming forum which brings up the topic of sexism/feminism in gaming. Those people would ask why is there any need for G.I.R.L. or other initiatives. like a women only gamejam. Why do such events that want to focus solely on women that work in gaming -by which I actual making of video games- treated with either the lazy indifference of, "Well I've not seen any sexism so it can't be a actual problem" or mouth-frothing, "Those damn ladies want to cut our bollocks off and make us only play Farmville" rantings of the men's rights activists. Or as everyone else calls then, "fucking morons." Of course in between those two extremes are plenty of gamers and industry workers who don't hate women, treat any positive action for women in games without contempt or think of them solely as sex objects. But the moderates tend to be drowned out by the extreme minorities on the internet. Who, ironically, are the very answer to their main question, why do we need things like G.I.R.L?

Granted, the G.I.R.L. scholarship is most likely, deep down, a way for Sony to pat themselves on the back and go, "Look, we might hire a woman to work for us in the design department. We've fixed gaming culture!" But Laura Naviaux's comments about wanting G.I.R.L. to encourage more women to seek work in the games industry are what should be focused on. Because that's the main reason why these things occur. A fair few people will tell you the main reason there are so few women working in the creative and programming side is because there are so few applicants. So why is that?  Why do so few women want to work for developers?

One only has to look at the recent twitter trend of #1reasonwhy and some of the  reactions to it - and the no doubt psychotic reaction the Tropes vs Women will get- to see women in gaming is a issue. It's only now people have had to chance to actually discuss it so openly. And even then, a lot of these women were branded as being whining feminazis who were making a big deal out of nothing. As if speaking out about such things hurts video games. And if they did receive ill-treatment, then it was some how their fault. You do realise how fucking insane that is, right? No wonder so few women want to work in that environment
I only said I didn't like seeing semi-nude models at launch events

If you honestly don't believe any of the anecdotes that #1reasonwhy is a real issue within the industry and culture of video gaming or worse, think anyone, female or not, should just accept abuse and harassment as part and parcel of playing games, then I'm sorry to put this to you, but you've got to take a step back from gaming as a whole and get some fucking perspective, because your myopic  view of things seems to have deprived you of basic human empathy. A lot of people in gaming, from CEOs, to producers and gamers seem to employ a strange duality of playing the victim and the bully, if and when it suits them. Publishers will cry out over supposed lost sales from pirated and pre-owned games (because they honestly believe they are both as bad as each other)  and how they need support from gamers, then gouge them with microtransactions and locked off DLC and inconvenient them with draconian DRM. And you only have to look on any gaming forum, and you'll find threads (rightfully) speaking out over the currant misrepresentation of gaming in the media and how gaming has become the currant tabloid boogieman. And those threads will be right by a thread of angry overreactions at fake nerd girls, attention whores or why any female who suffers abuse based purely on their gender are being whiny crybabies who should just put up and shut up. You know, just like how some publishers, producers or game journalists do to gamers who bring up a grievance.
From a outsider's view it looks insane.

Of course not every gamer displays this openly contemptuous hypocrisy, but enough do to show it's clearly a problem within the culture of gaming. And even if you, yourself have never acted with extreme hostility to a female gamer, sticking your head in the sand over this issue doesn't help. Things like G.I.R.L. exist because maybe female gamers, developers or writers want to meet up in a environment where they no they can be free from the usual judgement and hatred they get branded with? You know, like many people within gaming and geek culture on the whole have do? Granted, you may feel confused or even insulted by such things. And cutting one self off from certain negative aspects of a scene you follow is only a quick fix. But is it really a big deal when once in a while female gamers or industry professionals want to meet up or celebrate other females in their field, and encourage more females to enter it? Is there really no room for that? Hell, G.I.R.L. is only open to American graduates over the age of 18 so you might as well play the racism and ageism card as well.

And to those brave Men's Rights Activists, who seem to have gotten it into their feeble brains that women speaking out about having every criticism and insult thrown at them by drawing attention to their gender -something they didn't choose-recounting how they've been groped at conventions or threatened with unfettered hatred and sexual violence, or even just bringing up the subject of the way females are portrayed in video games (which will all come tho the fore again when the the first Tropes vs Women video arrives in a couple of days) translates as, "I'm one of those horrible women you've read about and I feed off of your constant attention at my tits by pretending to like Doctor Who and tricking you into thinking I like you. And worse yet, I have a differing opinion to yours, so that means I want to completely eradicate everything you hold dear- because that's what you would fucking do- oh yes, I wasn't much impressed how that Hitman trailer seemed to fetishise graphic violence against women, so I'm gonna ban every fucking game with a gun in it!" If you are part of the MRA twat brigade (or just the editor of Now Gamer) who believes I'm just "white knighting," then first off, the term, "White Knight" is supposed to refer to someone (usually male) who tries to "save" a party (usually female) even though they don't need any help. I'm trying to help those that don't deserve it. You!
Because this closed off, circle the wagons at the slightest hint of something or someone different coming into the hallowed world of gaming and/or daring to bring up any sort of criticism, is doing more fucking damage  than any feminazi, fake gamer girl or video series  you imagine could do. And I don't say this from some ivory tower, looking down on you. Because, years ago, I thought in similar way to many male gamers do...or did you think my twitter userpic was actually me?
Yes, I slag off PR people when I'm not shagging my brother


Take it from me, that pointless mindset will achieve nothing. But I don't totally blame every woman hater in the gaming community. Some of them are still quite young and simply just don't know any better, I know I didn't and I still have stuff to work out even at the age of 33. It's no wonder so many boys have a distorted idea of  women when the predominant image of females in gaming are either paid models to act as decoration, hyper-sexualised sci-fi lap dancers or the tired and tested damsel in distress. So they're confused and intimidated when actual women bemoans a lack of relatable or fulled clothed female characters and are not impressed with constantly being called bitch, that fucking tired sandwich line or having pictures of a 16 year old's dick sent to them. And no, because you get treated like shit  online does it give you the right to hurl it back, because last time I checked, two wrongs don't make a right. And following some crappy burlesque dancer on facebook doesn't constitute a real human relationship. One day (hopefully) you'll realise there are actual women beyond the domain of a forum and xbox live and you'll meet them and realise they're real people. And wanting fair or equal treatment doesn't mean the other party has to capitulate everything they do.
There's enough space for women in gaming. Especially now, when we have multiple machines to play games on, and different means of accessing and playing those games. From PC to touchpad, there's more than enough scope for everyone and everything. So we should go out of our way to encourage anyone and everyone to get into gaming. How many Portals, Skyrims, Icos, Skies of Arcadia or Centipedes did we miss out on because the talent that would of created it gave gaming a miss because gaming has yet to take the "Boys only!" sign down.


...And before you bring up Jade Redmond, ask yourself this, does Shiguru Miyamoto or Cliffy B create every single aspect of the games they produce? Art, coding, the lot. And have you every called them attention whore for not doing so?

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