Women in the game industry are currently revealing some of the crap they have to put up with in the videogame industry, using the #1ReasonWhy hashtag to explain why there aren’t as many women in the business as there ought to be.
“I had to make my own game in order to see someone like me as a main character,” explained Mattie Brice, also adding, “Men write about sexism and get praise, and I silenced and degraded for writing the same thing a week, month, year before.”
Ashly Burch revealed, “I am confronted with rape or violence in the comments section of Hey Ash videos,” while writer Rhianna Pratchett offered, “Creating appropriately dressed female characters is viewed as a rarity, rather than the norm.”
“Men like me are badasses, so cool and hilarious. I’m a disrespectful loud-mouthed bitch,” said former Destructoid writer Leigh Alexander, while Rowan Cota wrote, “If I succeed, I’m exceptional. And if I fail, I’m proof that women shouldn’t be in the industry.”
The #1ReasonWhy list is well worth reading through, especially if you’re a guy like me who has, for a long time, been clueless about the extent of the shit women deal with in gaming (and still has way too much to learn). Of course, some assholes have come into the conversation with predictable venom, but most of the topic has been host to eye-opening, if somewhat depressing, stuff.
It’s not just women, either. Rock, Paper, Shotgun writer John Walker revealed he gets threats and abuse every time he addresses these issues, “And *I* have a penis.”
Katie Williams wrote a particularly revealing post on the subject, too large for a single Tweet. She recounts a number of instances of discrimination and judgement. As with almost every contribution to the tag, it’s more than worth your time to read.
“Because I’m sexually harassed as a games journalist, and getting it as a games designer compounds the misery,” wrote Lillian Cohen-Moore.
“Because conventions, where designers are celebrated, are unsafe places for me. Really. I’ve been groped,” wrote filamena.
It’s one of those things where it’s great to see such a turnout of people supporting each other, but sad that such a turnout was able to happen. A tag like this ought not to be so popular, but it is, because we’re all pretty shit at making this industry open to everybody, and I do include myself in that criticism.
There’s positivity, too. #1ReasonMentor has those successful in the industry offering aid to those struggling, while #1ReasonToBe shares some good experiences and reasons why the women who are in the industry stay in the industry.
So yeah, go read it, tap into your empathy, and maybe show some support of your own. If you want to — and it wouldn’t hurt if you do. Videogames aren’t a zero-sum game, and you’re not going to lose anything if you open it up to more people. Some folks seem to fear that’s the case. It’s not.
Videogames will lose nothing by making it more inclusive to wider demographics. It really can only stand to gain.