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Twitter hashtag '#1ReasonWhy' exposes sexism in game industry
Twitter hashtag '#1ReasonWhy' exposes sexism in game industry
November 27, 2012 | By Mike Rose




Game developers took to Twitter over the past 24 hours to raise their concerns over sexism and harassment within the video game industry, with hundreds of examples of poor treatment revealed.

The Twitter hashtag #1ReasonWhy started late last night as a means for women to explain "1 Reason Why" they don't feel comfortable in the game industry. The momentum of the topic highlights the ongoing issue of gender equality in the game industry workplace.

The topic quickly gathered considerable speed and force, with numerous notable figures in the industry putting forth claims and accusations about situations they had found themselves in.

"You shouldn't have to be this brave to just go to work when your job doesn't involve violence, weapons or risk," tweeted Leena van Deventer, video game correspondent for Tech Talk Radio.

"There's not enough investment in AAA games about something other than war, cowboys, football, cars," lamented Reality is Broken author and game designer Jane McGonigal.

"It can be subtle, a disdain for inclusive management, conflict resolution, creative non sequiturs, holistic development," added Kellee Santiago, formerly of thatgamecompany.

"Creating appropriately dressed female characters is viewed as a rarity, rather than the norm," noted Tomb Raider writer Rhianna Pratchett.

Elsewhere, video game designer Caryn Vainio commented, "I got blank stares when I asked why a female soldier in a game I worked on looked like a porn star." Tara J. Brannigan, community marketing manager for PopCap Games, added that she has "been groped by strangers at least once at nearly every major conference."

The Twitter movement makes for solemn reading, and emphasizes the incredible issues that our industry still faces when it comes to sexism and misogyny in the realm of video games, whether it's from players or within the workplace. Of course, these gender issues in the industry are far from new, and Gamasutra's Leigh Alexander discussed taking the dialogue further by looking past symptoms earlier this year.


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Comments


Isaiah Taylor
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I'm not happy that these things have happened and continue to happen. But I am happy that THIS happened.

Joe McGinn
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Sexism in game industry thread warning. Joe Wreschnig to start flaming everybody in 3 ... 2 ... 1 ...

Paul Marzagalli
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To offer a partial counter-point for discussion...

My problem is when workplace issues get conflated with creative issues. Stuff like what Kellee mentions or other tales about encounters at conventions/conferences/PR events/etc. and the online harassment are absolutely issues. Stuff like what Jane McGonigal or Rhianna Pratchett discuss can be considered issues, but they shouldn't be tied together. One is a simple matter of workplace and business respect, the other is a matter of creative and commercial design. I don't like the idea of using one set of circumstances as leverage against another. Artists ought to be able to follow their creative impulses and businesses have an imperative to design and market a product in a way that they believe will make for a successful venture.

That doesn't exclude these things from being discussed, but tying those matters into workplace/sexism/harassment issues strikes me as false, agenda-driven, and harmful. I'm thinking specifically of the Hitman and Tomb Raider trailer controversies from earlier this year when I felt any salient commentary was lost in a sea of unhelpful and untruthful accusations of sexism and misogyny. I am forever leery of any movement that seeks to curb creativity and define what is acceptable (regardless of intentions). I'm for a wider umbrella, not a differently shaped one.

Joel McCoy
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Which is a more concrete limitation on the definition of what is artistically "acceptable":
- Angry responses/criticisms of a work online
- The availability of funding for particular projects

Now which of those disproportionately curbs the creativity of those with marginalized viewpoints, and which is wielded in response to creations coming from established sensibilities?

Your argument seems to be that checks on creative expression built into the present system (funding channels, marketing models, establishment consensus) are acceptable and right; any from outside or at the margins (criticism, scholarship, lived experience) is agenda-driven and harmful.

Simply put, it's asserting: things which have been made should continue to be made; we live in the best of all possible creative worlds.

E Zachary Knight
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I actually think they tie in perfectly. One of the barriers to women working in game development is the idea that games and game development is a man's area of expertise. This is perpetuated by the type of games created and the content created in them.

When a woman approaches her supervisors/the game designer with an idea and is immediately struck down because it doesn't fit the ideal man-game, that is a sexism problem.

For example, the response Caryn got when pointing out the absurdity of the clothing of a female soldier was basically a resounding, that is what MEN want. It wasn't about what made the best design and creative sense. It was about what men expected to see in games.

Similar for Jane. The games industry has this weird idea that men's and women's games cannot coexist and be one and the same. Men's games are the bread and butter and women's games are all about fashion, shopping, cooking, and pet care. For many studios, suggesting otherwise is an attempt to subvert the domination of men in the industry.

If we continue to treat gaming as a men's hobby and ignore the desires and needs of women gamers, then we will continue in and perpetuate an industry that women feel they are not welcome in.

Vin St John
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Paul -
In a world where problem A isn't a significant problem, you're right- Problem B should not be conflated with it.
In a world where they're both significant problems, they feed into one another. Women working in the games industry don't just want to be allowed an equal opportunity to create sexist, male-oriented games - they want the opportunity to create games that appeal to women as well as men.
In many industries, products/services/brands are created to serve both men and women. Sometimes those companies will intentionally put themselves in a niche to market solely to men or women (or some other way of defining a group) and that's fine (well, actually, it's pretty stupid, but apparently it works for them). In the video game industry, though, companies are almost entirely catering to men, even when they don't think of themselves as a niche men's brand. When they cater to men, they aren't doing the smart thing of having a similar product catering to women. And in many cases, none of this is even necessary - what they should really be doing is creating a single product that men AND women can enjoy, because gender is not what defines a player's interest in a game.

Matt Robb
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"Similar for Jane. The games industry has this weird idea that men's and women's games cannot coexist and be one and the same. Men's games are the bread and butter and women's games are all about fashion, shopping, cooking, and pet care. For many studios, suggesting otherwise is an attempt to subvert the domination of men in the industry."

And action movies are geared towards males while romantic comedies are geared towards females. Spike is for males while Lifetime is for females.

Males dig conflict and living vicariously through superhumans. We've had a lot of practice at simulating these things in games, and then marketing the results to the males of the world. Therefore the money-men see them as the safer bet.

Complaints about funding for games oriented towards the female consumer (or simply not designed to specifically cater to the male consumer) won't be resolved until someone establishes the market demand for such a product. You either need to find a money source amenable to the idea or go full indie.

You also can't expect a team that prefers to make the video game equivalent of a cheesy action movie to suddenly jump on the bandwagon. Assemble a team of like-minded people that want to make your product.

Prove the market and the viability of the product, and the money will follow. But you have to prove it first.

Caryn Vainio
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Paul:

The two are tied together more than you might think. The way that men see women portrayed in media like games, TV, movies, etc. has a direct effect on how they actually treat women. There's research that shows this. So if we continue to portray women as weak, oversexualized, and not too bright, then men in the workplace will continue to treat their female coworkers as weak, oversexualized, and not too bright. Conversely, by getting men to treat female coworkers with the respect and behavior they would their male coworkers, it can change their outlook on how they see women in general, which can lead to them creating less stereotypical and negative female characters, because they have a real-life investment in people they know who helped shape their foundation for creating those characters.

Doug Poston
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@Matt: "And action movies are geared towards males while romantic comedies are geared towards females. Spike is for males while Lifetime is for females."

There are plenty of examples of specialized content but, for the most part, the real blockbusters are inclusive of all genders.

Movies like Avengers, Thor, and Captain America were as action packed as they could get, but still tested well with female audiences.

The same is true with most of the "good" TV shows (like Dexter and SOA).

There are plenty of successful games that have been gender inclusive as well (PacMan to RockBand).

E Zachary Knight
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Yes Matt. The answer to the lopsided gender balance in the games industry is to kick out anyone who doesn't like it and make them build their own industry. There just isn't any place in this industry for people who have dreams of equality in representation.

Matt Robb
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@Doug, any good content will test well in general, but that doesn't mean superhero movies aren't targeted at a specific audience.

I totally agree that many gender inclusive (or gender-irrelevant) games do well. My kids are hooked on Minecraft (2 boys, 1 girl). My wife and I play RockBand and other music games together.

That's where the argument in the article gets somewhat weird. For example, a shooter with female soldiers who look like porn stars. What is the target audience? I would disagree that it's just males in general. They're aiming at a specific type of male, one that arguably is more likely to (perhaps foolishly) purchase a product because of that kind of content. If you consider a person with that outlook as being foolish, then you also consider that kind of person a target for extracting more profit when compared to a less-foolish person. The businessmen are exchanging less-profitable customers for more-profitable customers with such decisions. The people making these games likely tend to lean towards the target audience group themselves, and so are not the ones you should be looking at to support the cause.

None of this is good for games as an art form, but it makes sense from a business perspective. Don't look to people that are "part of the problem" to fix it. Provide the alternative products and prove the market and the rest will follow.

Tay Allen
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http://www.trredskies.com/tag/sexualization/

I had an entire post to submit but some opinions are too complex to voice succinctly in this kind of forum so I'll leave the bulk of what I would have written to the words of my dear friend found in the link above.

There isn't room under *any* umbrella for industry-marginalized and the current attitudes regarding the subject to exist. I think it's arrogant (with all due respect) to be dismissive of or intellectualize perspectives that are impossible for you to experience first hand.

The industry needs to look in the mirror when it asks why there are few women and minorities or "others" in it - or stop asking at all.

Matt Robb
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@Knight, I never suggested anyone be kicked out of any industry. I suggested that the people with the wisdom to recognize the better way band together and create products that demonstrate the better way. It's my hope that quality products made by such people would be so successful that the T&A+Violence approach would be the marginalized group.

The better way can be discussed until the end of time, but until it is displayed, it won't do much good.

Jeff Alexander
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>There are plenty of successful games that have been gender inclusive as well (PacMan to RockBand).

Ironically, Pac-Man's creator was expressly targeting women when he made it. He couldn't think of a good arcade game design involving boys or fashion, so he made it about eating because girls love dessert. (http://gdcvault.com/play/1014631/Classic-Game-Postmortem-PAC)

Bryan Vaccaro
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"Companies can do whatever they want if it makes money"

Michael Rooney
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I'm glad somebody said this. There is a start difference between acknowledging sales demographics and negatively discriminating against people. There are definitely some horror stories, but lumping in so many non-issues only makes the issue look more excusable.

I'm also really surprised by how many people are not willing to talk to HR or take legal action for some of these things. If all you're willing to do about a problem is post about it on the internet, of course nothing dramatic is going to change.

Paul Marzagalli
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I tried writing a general reply to many of these posts, but it was way too unwieldy. A few people hit on some of my talking points, but if you'd like for me to respond directly, just drop me a note or tweet!

Vin St John
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@Matt Rob - What you are suggesting and what the women posting on Twitter are suggesting is the same thing. You are all saying "Hey you people who know that women and men aren't all that different, and all you people who are sick of idiotic female character design, and all you people who hate sexism in the workplace! Let's start ACTING that way when we make games!"

Emppu Nurminen
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What I don't get in this industry is why people, who are clearly mansplainers, are far more often praised than called out for their actions? The demeaning way they talk, not only to women, but also other guys, who are shy and sensitive to present their ideas, hurts a lot the creative force of the industry, when people are afraid of expressing their opinions, thoughts and ideas.

People make the karma happen, it just doesn't happen out of blue.

Chris Hendricks
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"There's not enough investment in AAA games about something other than war, cowboys, football, cars"

This shouldn't just be something women bring up. There are plenty of men that don't care about those things either.

Christian Nutt
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LIKE BUTTON

Kelly Kleider
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@ Mark Taylor
Your post makes no sense and seems to be made up on the spot. Name one war game sponsored by NATO.
What have GTA and the Sopranos to do with any of this?

Amir Barak
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@Mark
Doom, really?

Interesting if true, do you have any sources that could verify the NATO connection with these game engines?

Toby Grierson
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America's Army is common knowledge. If that's the only one you're going to back up, you're talking out of your rear. Bring data.

P.S. "doom funded by nato" turns up nothing relevant.

Toby Grierson
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Are you liking your own posts?

Amir Barak
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@Mark
"Taylor" - infinite sum?

My name is Amir, not Barak; Barak actually means Lightning (rather than denoting my "racial" origin :P )

Anyways, I fail to see NATO in any of these references you give, unless the US Army has become NATO? Maybe I'm missing something.

Licensing game engines to whatever purpose is common knowledge and common use-case of a 3D simulation based software. It's not the same as FUNDED by the military. Also, the army does not use the game itself to train its soldiers, can you imagine a US Marine trying to do rocket-jumps? and even with America's Army, the commercial release is more of a recruitment tool than training.

And what about companies that use 3d software to train their workers (BP for management, factories for safety training, etc)...?

p.s.
wow, talk about derailment of the original intent of the article. Sexism exists in the game industry (and other industries) and in games because people are stupid.

Jen Hamilton
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I've been in games development a long time. I don't feel any bias from my male peers.

But...

Repeatedly being told by the boss you should make coffee for your male counter parts because you are the only female lead = sexism. Masking it under the ruse of being a joker = lame, and exceedingly unprofessional. It not only made me feel very awkward, but even more so my male counter parts.
=I quit.

David Croeser
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How these clowns get into management positions is something which continues to baffle me.

Matt Robb
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Usually it's because those asshats are just stabbity enough to get ahead but not so stabbity that they get fired.

Michael Rooney
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It's definitely better to post about this on gamasutra than to talk to HR or sue the company for discrimination.

Jen Hamilton
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I did form a complaint with HR straight away. Nothing changed. When I brought up the discrimination in my exit interview (being the major reason why I was resigning) I was told very sternly that if I pursued any action, I had better think twice. As they would pursue ruining my reputation. So basically out right threatened me. I wasn't worried about finding another position in the industry. I just wanted it behind me, and avoid a dirty fight, since I didn't want to fight in the first place.

Michael Derry
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@Michael Rooney, I took the last two words of her post to mean that Jen did (or would) quit her job due to such a situation, so this isn't 'just' posting about it on the internet.

It's also not exactly easy to sue your current employer and still have a job in the industry at the end of it. Win or lose, it's going to be pretty awkward to work for someone you took to court at great expense.

Do you really think the potential for future lawsuits won't cross an employers mind at least once when they consider whether to hire someone who has sued their boss before? Even if the new boss would never do anything wrong and, in the end, doesn't let it ~consciously~ play a part in the hiring process, would you really want that hanging over your head the rest of your career? This is a pretty small industry where people get hired through word of mouth. Taking drastic action to improve the whole industry is harder than 'just' posting about it on the internet and MUCH harder than complaining on the internet about other people not taking drastic enough action.

Michael Rooney
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While I'm glad you formally complained about it, it has been my experience that a lot of my co-workers will just silently suffer and are surprised when their suffering continues.

Jen Hamilton
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I had no intention of taking action. You're right, it would be suicide. I didn't like how he treated me, but in the end that says more about him then it does me, and I might add, it shouldn't reflect on 99% of male game developers or the industry as a whole.
He had no respect from the team (male and female) for many things he said, to many different people. After I quit I still helped out my team on tech and pipeline stuff, as well as hiring. They were a great team, and I really enjoyed my time there. My over all experience is a very positive one. I'm not going to let one bad apple ruin the great memories I have.

Jen Hamilton
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Well there are bad apples in any industry. Male dominated or not.
I personally feel the games industry is probably one of the least offensive work environments to be in.

Jen Hamilton
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I'll open up a can of worms here.
I was just chatting about this very subject with a colleague, and I remembered I was working at a studio (which will remain anonymous) where my producer told our female art lead and myself not to get pregnant for the next year, because things were heating up, and crunch was on the horizon. It was brought up on 2 different occasions. His delivery was more suggestive manipulation. I didn't feel offended by this...

Thoughts?

Christopher Thigpen
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I would never say anything so obtuse as that to any of my team. "Don't get pregnant." is a direct sexist remark. How many of the male members did he say "Don't get your wife/lover pregnant." to? I would assume, zero.

Some people just have no couth or manners.

David Croeser
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Context is always important when considering things which were said. In your case it does sound as if he was behaving irresponsibly. If there is even the slightest chance that his remarks could be interpreted as a genuine suggestion there would be a case for discrimination.

E Zachary Knight
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As a family man, I find that demand to be very uncalled for. For one, the woman he said it to could have been trying for a child and have been having trouble getting pregnant, or just could not get pregnant at all and being sensitive to the fact. Even without those issues, it is still a very stupid thing to say. It implies that women are careless or that having a family is a burden on the workplace.

I can't really find an equally distasteful thing to say to a male colleague. However, he might as well have said to anyone "Divorce your spouse and get rid of the kids now so they don't get in the way of our production schedule."

Matt Robb
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I'll add to the choir and say that's a pretty jacked up thing to say to someone. But since you weren't offended, and you interact with the person regularly, it's possible you took it in spirit it was offered, in that the producer doesn't want to lose personnel during crunch time and wasn't afraid to offend someone to convey that fact.

Still, pretty messed up.

Toby Grierson
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It's disgustingly wrong.

I would be offended if he said it to me. I've caused more trouble for less. But he wouldn't, because even though my family does compete for my time, I have a magical penis and that makes it all better.

A person whose time isn't affected by family has something wrong with him. (Or her.)

I do know a woman who was forced out of work by a female manager. She (the manager) decided that the pregnant woman was suddenly her mortal enemy and raised hell until she was gone. She was coming into work and trying hard; there was no material basis.

Some people seem to have a pathological urge to control others' reproduction for the sake of it. This behavior needs to be stamped down into a pit.

Mathieu MarquisBolduc
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Its wrong, not because you're a woman, but because your family planning is none of his business.

Im taking a wild guess, but I imagine that fathers dont get much of a paternity leave wherever you lived at that time. Using my "reverse sexism" card, I want to point that this particular brand of discrimination is far less frequent where fathers and mothers are treated the same. It doesnt make it ok, however it is hard to convince people to treat men and women the same way when the rules arent.

Jen Hamilton
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"reverse sexism" card. This is why I find this topic so interesting... steering away from the main topic a bit. But it's an interesting example to get right to the root of it. I personally am shocked at how little paid paternity leave employers allow. I dare to go here ...men are the bread winners women are the baby makers? I don't know about you but I don't like getting pigeon holed. Fathers get 2 days (Two! They get more paid leave for Christmas) paid days for "birth", and 3 weeks drastically reduced pay subsidized by the government here. I don't think that's really fair for anyone involved.

Your point is equally valid in my opinion.

Dave Hoskins
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I always got Christmas and Boxing Day off as official non-booked holiday. If two days leave a year is good enough for the fictional Jebus character from "two thousand" years ago, then a whole two days is good enough for my own child! Yay paternity.

Mitzura Arghezi
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Every time I feel a little under the weather, my boss asks me if I am pregnant, even though I repeatedly told him to stop doing this. The lead programmer once yelled at me in front of the entire team to "shut up because I am a man".

There are many stories each and every one of us could tell, and there are many degrees of offense we as women can take. Can our attitude or industry movements such as this one change something? I don't think so, which is why I simply try to forget these small offenses or defend myself there and then. What counts for me as a problem are these things:
- are salaries for women in the industry lower than for men in similar positions?
- does the industry favor men over women (hire less women, or choose to hire a man over a woman if similar qualifications are offered)?
- do women have a different, harsher set of rules they must abide by?

If this happens (and it happens), I hope someone who has the power can act. While this is impossible now, I don't see it impossible in the future (union, or a stronger IGDA).

For the rest, we just need to speak up, fight and don't let stupid stories happen, if they bother us.

And frankly, I would like to see a list of successful games studios and indie projects led by women. There are some, but we have to admit there are very few, and that is no one's fault but women's. Mine included :) but I am working on fixing this!

Matt Robb
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The main logic behind long maternity leave vs little to no paternity leave has to do with breast-feeding. The mother can do it, the father can't, so if only one parent stays home, you default to the mother.

Of course, if you aren't breast-feeding or are fine with pumping a day's worth in the morning, none of this is relevant.

Paul Marzagalli
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Jen, let me play second chair in your devil's advocacy. I have nothing scientific to add, only anecdotal experiences. My feelings run close to Zachary's - that family planning is a very private and not necessarily easy thing for many couples. There are countless reasons why the timing can be both bad and a tremendous blessing at the same time. I think there are better, more general ways to address readiness and commitment to a dev team than by singling out that element (and, to use your phrase, opening up a can of worms).

What I will add is that, through the years, I've heard from a lot of men and women (mainly the latter) in all fields (particularly education) who felt absolutely screwed over by co-workers who had children and were gone during critical times. In pretty much every example that I can recall, they felt some element of bad faith/abuse of the system was involved. I'm sure in some cases this was true, which at least lets me see where your producer might have been coming from (inappropriate or not). Still, I always default to the unknown element of family planning, and that when it happens, everyone just has to adapt to it professionally and personally.

Anyways, your comment made me think of those numerous conversations past. Great posts, Jen!

Luis Guimaraes
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@Mitzura Arghezi

Good look with your new studio.

Liza Shulyayeva
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I don't think I'd be offended by this either, to be honest. Pregnancy can take out a key part of the team for a considerable amount of time. I wouldn't want someone crucial to the project to have to go on leave for months at a time around such a critical time either.

Joe Zachery
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Just want to say if we are going to go after issues lets go after all of them. This seems similar to way this country handle all issues. Let's give the women their rights to vote. Then many years later we will tackle the black minority problem. When you could really try as a united front take on the way things are done to everyone. Their are problems they way this industry deals with women, blacks, and consumers in general. Let's not act like one side is getting it worst when everyone is being mistreated!

Justin Sawchuk
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"There's not enough investment in AAA games about something other than war, cowboys, football, cars,"
What does this have to do with anything. So I guess women dont like war, cowboys, football or cars, yeah thats not sexist at all. Can you imagine if we said lets make a game about baking, washing windows and shopping... to attract more women gamers.

Joshua Hawkins
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Reading these makes me feel like I'm working in a completely different industry than these women. In 5 years in the industry I might of witnessed 3 minor instances sexual discrimination none of which where as bad as most of these. Sure you're going to have a few instances, but that's the case in any industry... even female dominated ones.

The reason I bring this up is because think of the young women that are thinking about a career in video games reading your horror stories. You're becoming the #1reasonwhy they won't go into the game industry. You've painted a picture that game developers are all horrible sexual preditors, and you can't make it as a woman, and that's just simply not true.

Kate Craig
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I can't help but sense there's an underlying theme in the first paragraph of disbelief. Like you might not have seen it personally, and seem a little dubious. The point of the tag was (and I suppose is seeing that it's still going) to let people know that these things have happened in the past, and to show people who haven't experienced it what it can be like. Because when/if it happens, it can be super subtle, which is almost even more pernicious.

If you're concerned about future recruits shying away, I'd focus first on listening to what's being said now, by women currently in the industry. Once some of these concerns are addressed, the idea of scaring away future devs will (with any luck) be less of an issue.

Liza Shulyayeva
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To be honest, me too. I'm not doubting that these women are telling the truth, I just feel very disconnected from it. I've been involved in the games dev community in one way or another since about 2008 and have never felt disrespected or discriminated against as a woman. I suspect that it comes down to being lucky to be surrounded by mature individuals and not experiencing the serious issues other women have plus just not finding minor things (or what I consider minor things) personally offensive to me.

Jen Hamilton
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You seemed to have missed my earlier post :


"Well there are bad apples in any industry. Male dominated or not.
I personally feel the games industry is probably one of the least offensive work environments to be in. "

My experiences are madder of fact, since they are relevant to the topic. It's not as though they didn't happen. They are bound to happen regardless of industry after being in one for 18 years.

Jen Hamilton
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My male colleagues where way more enraged than I was regarding the comments made by my sexist boss. They were the ones that where pointing it out to me, and very upset about it. I find 99.999% of men in a game dev environment if anything VERY protective and respectful of their female colleagues. I imagine far more than other industries.

No matter what industry though, you are bound to get some ignorant people. It could be pointed at race, sex, creed, class, you name it.

Jason Harwood
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Well said Jen. There are always ignorant people around and this is no exception within the games industry. I believe that much of this behavior comes from studios where there is a very poor company culture that not only allows, but seems to encourage the 'boys only club' style of behavior.

Personally, I consider myself very fortunate to work in one of the (if not the) greatest studios on the planet where we all pull together. Though we are imbalanced in our recruitment ratio of men to women (which is improving), women are welcomed and treated with respect.

In the past twelve months especially we have had to face the fact that more women would be working for us as we expand and this is an issue that we have addressed as a company, as there have been many instances where we have had zero women working here.

The bottom line is that if any person has been deemed good enough to be hired through our stringent hiring process, then they deserve to be here regardless of their gender, color or awkwardly large shoe size.

Regine Abel
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I have to concur here. I too have gotten the whole "go make coffee" jokes and my male colleagues were far more offended by it than I was. I don't think there is more discrimination and sexism in this industry than in any other but there is no denying that it exists. While I have had a few unpleasant experiences, like you I have found most of my colleagues to be very respectful and protective of the females on the team.

The one thing that probably annoys me the most though is people's usual reaction (in and out of the industry) when I tell them I work in games. They automatically assume I'm HR, the receptionist, finance or marketing. When I say I'm on the dev team they jump to the conclusion that I'm an artist or a writer because what else could a woman be, right? When they find out I'm a game designer not working on casual or kiddy games (though I did at some point!), they fall off their chair because I'm either the first female designer they have ever met/worked with, or they didn't think one could look "normal" (i.e. not a punk, goth or tomboy) and least of all working on a "real" game. *rolls eyes*

Tucson Bagley
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Since many others (to surprise and glee) have already pointed out that many women are fans of the current AAA line-up of war games and cars, while some men find them tiresome, I'm going to tackle this quote instead:
"Creating appropriately dressed female characters is viewed as a rarity, rather than the norm."

This seems to be a culture that starts before anyone even gets near the games industry, and it goes beyond just the clothing they wear, and spreads into the body types, faces and silhouettes of female characters.
Many a time I have been on an art forum, in the company of many talented and studious artists looking into the comic, game or movie industries, only for quite a number of them to get some rather odd comments such as:
"This is looking great, but I don't feel she's feminine enough. Maybe take out some of the bulk obscuring her waist, and make her breasts bigger."

"Female faces don't look like that, you should give her bigger eyes and lashes for a start. Then make her chin thinner, and her lips could probably stand to be lusher as well..."

"She should be showing more skin!"
- All on a single sculpt of a female archer, who in my opinion was wearing too little armor as it was.

These are all sentiments that get repeated, and it gets tiresome. It results in female characters in armor that wouldn't protect anything, with the same body as every other female in the game, who all also have awkwardly similar faces. I had thought better on the subject until I saw this happen more than once.

Regardless, I feel that the games industry is an open place for women. In Australia, at least, I feel like I'm really encouraged quite often, and I've attended quite a few conferences focused on Devs asking how they could go about attracting attracting more women to the industry.

Josh Rough
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What is Santiago talking about? How on earth is she linking holistic development and sexism?

Toby Grierson
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I lol'd at that line.

Granted I'm making an assumption about what "holistic development" means, but I'm 100% sure I've never seen it genderized. Ever. In fact I thought it was the thing to be doing now.

But I've also never anyone (besides myself) use the word "holistic" for it, and to be perfectly honest it does feel genderized when we call it "holistic". I think it's a word that gets thrown together with "natural", "herbal" and other buzz words in female-targeted advertising. Why (and if) that is and why (and if) it works is a whole other nightmare to unravel.

So I always see it called "multi-disciplinary". Does that sound more masculine? I think it does. It sounds |---| this close to military jargon.

So I kind of expect a "holistic development" / sexism connection to be complex to unravel and likely boil down to something agonizingly trivial like men having bad associations with the word for esoteric reasons they're not consciously aware of.

If someone said that disliking the idea is a psychological blockage that'll be more prevalent in men, I'd say there might be something to look into, but to say it's misogynist is jumping the gun.

Someone else have a different angle on this? I dismissed it at first but now I'm super curious.

Paul Marzagalli
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Josh and Toby, I took it to mean a passive-aggressive approach. Think Iago whispering into Othello's ear or when we hear about bad locker room guys in sports, or that excessive contrarian/complainer/gossiper in a work force. It's the kind of stuff that seems gender-neutral, but may have its roots in something more prejudicial.

That's not to say that all examples have those kinds of origins, but I took Kellee's comments to mean that these problems aren't always as overt as the other tweets would have you think. If I'm wrong, Kellee, I apologize! :-D

Todd Boyd
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I would like to mention that I am uplifted by the amount of rational and sympathetic discourse in this article's comments section. I was half expecting a flurry of "here we go again" thinly-veiled misogyny, and I have rather pleasantly been proven wrong.

Toby Grierson
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Likewise.

Michael Rooney
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I think the problem is that people associate all related issues together. People are generally supportive of more rational issues. Issues that tend to be more knee jerk irrational reactions tend to exhibit more "here we go again" responses.

Unfortunately the most vocal are often the most extreme for any cause, and extremism tends toward irrationality. Twitter seems to have empowered the moderates in this case leading to more open/accepting/rational discussion.

Nejc Eber
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I find Jane McGonigal comment a bit sexist. And girls are not interested in playing sports games, driving games and shooters, and all boys are? I haven't played a military shooter in years and I don't care about racing sims. What does that have to do with anything? Even big movie blockbusters are mostly about explosions and some sort of battles. Investors green-light what sells. CoD, GTA sold millions and people wanted some of that profits. Currently Minecraft and League of Legends are selling crazy so we already have a lot of similar games. And It's really funny how she says to many football games. Are there more than two company's that make them? If you have heard or read anything that Michael Pachter said, you would know how corporate people think. Everything is a profit deal for them and they don't care if it's Sims, Farmville, CoD, GTA, Guitar Hero or Dance Central.
She said she would like to see a GTA level of game without violence. Easier said than done. Everyone in gaming industry is struggling with making interesting interactions that don't involve fighting. Making millions of dialogues is much more expensive and challenging than creating a shooter. You point your gun and someone dies. It's similar to real life. Everyone can destroy things but not everyone can create them. How can you sell a game that require a lot of investment and skill? It's hard if it's not a e-sport game.
Another thing: people like to talk about how female characters are dressed in games, but how are male characters portrayed in games? In blockbuster games they are mostly strong macho types with arms bigger than their heads. If you are fighting against sexism, please fight for both sides. I am not saying that warriors should be skinny short boys, but come on.
Anita Sarkeesian pointed out in her kickstarter (Tropes vs. Women in Video Games) how when there is a fire, you have to call the boys, but tell me how that isn't true? You do need a strong individual for this type of a job and boys are anatomically generally stronger than girls. There are exceptions and there are female cops and fire-fighters, but they are more an exception than a rule. You can have a game where girls would be fire-fighters, cops and boys would be cooks and child care workers, but what would be the point of that? I am not a fan of football and cars but I know that a lot of guys are. Acknowledging that man and woman are different and should be treated equally is the right thing to do, not distorting reality and making exceptions the rule. If your boss sends you for coffee because you are a girl, that is sexist, but if you like getting coffee for colleges, and boss says you shouldn't do it because it's not good for the image of the company, because they don't want to look sexist it's also wrong.
I am against sexism and at the same time don't like how people start attacking all sorts of things that doesn't really have to do anything with the sexism. Sexism in workplace = wrong, but it is not the reason we are getting so many shooters.

Michael Rooney
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I think you point out one of the large problems with the sexism in games movement in general, or at least as it is frequently displayed by feminists.

It's very common to view any sort of sexual discrimination, not necessarily negative discrimination, as negative. Here are a couple places where I think gender discrimination is demonized but can be acceptable:

1. When it isn't negative and is merely stating factual differences between genders. Your firefighter example is apt here. Firefighters have a pretty brutal set of physical standards to meet that are physiologically more difficult for females.

2. When it is used for dramatic/artistic affect. The Tomb Raider hubub over the sexual assault scene is the best example I can think of here. Sure it's sexual assault and sexual assault is bad; THAT IS THE WHOLE POINT OF THE SCENE.

I find it much less a, "if we stop talking about it it will go away," situation than a, "if I am allowed to freely express myself without being prematurely or wrongly demonized it will go away," situation.

Toby Grierson
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"And girls are not interested in playing sports games, driving games and shooters, and all boys are?"

That's not exactly the issue.

It's absolutely true that it's not like every dude wants to play GTA and every woman wants to play shopping. The _data_ says there's no shortage of women playing our manly men games. That's the fact, regardless of what anyone wants to say about "factual differences between genders".

But at the same time, practically all cultures have a notion of masculine and femininity.

McGonigal is pointing out that only masculine things are seen as legitimate.

Gender is biological, biologically inspired and partly just plain shit we make up. And practically _everybody_ subverts it one way or another. But the causal chain is irrelevant; the fact is that feminine things are more likely to resonate with a given woman.

Let's reverse it a little.

Suppose 99% of games are about "feminine" things. Nurturing, shopping, whatever we're tossing in that bucket at the moment, I don't care. And let's say 20% of dudes love these games. (Sims is painted as feminine but there's still a huge fraction of male players.)

Now suppose someone says "Let's make a game for dudes, one with car chases and guns and shit!"

Is that sexist? For a given definition of sexist, let's say yes.

But if everyone agrees it's a guy's thing, and if guys actually would quite like it, how is it fair to guys to say "you cannot have your thing, because along with everything else that happens to be called masculine, it sucks"?

Nejc Eber
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But like I said, there is really no shortage of casual, music, dance, strategy, pet games. Company's make what sells. The thing is that it's harder to make cooking, adventure, shopping, fashion, non-violent open world games commercially viable, because games in this genres haven't received much success. We are seeing some success with adventure games with Kickstarter and Double fine, Amanita Design and Telltale Games, Minecraft managed to make an open world building game financially viable, but that is it. If you would like to see more games that you like, than make them! Don't write about what you would like and make what you like. Other than Kellee Santiago, Kim Swift and Jane Jensen, I haven't really heard about many indie game female leads.

Kristen C Stewart
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"Another thing: people like to talk about how female characters are dressed in games, but how are male characters portrayed in games? In blockbuster games they are mostly strong macho types with arms bigger than their heads."

There's a difference between how men are often portrayed in popular media (muscled power fantasies) versus how women are often portrayed (sexual fantasies). See http://reelgirl.com/2012/05/what-if-the-male-avengers-posed-like-
the-female-one/ for good visual examples.

"If you are fighting against sexism, please fight for both sides."

That's a bit of a straw man. Most of the people I know who are bothered by the portrayal of women in comics & games are pushing for greater diversity in body shape, race, sexuality, etc. for BOTH genders.

Nejc Eber
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@Kristen Stewart: Ok, I went a little stupid with that comment. But still, you must give that this has a lot to do with how women portray themselves in the media. If you look at Britney, Ke$ha, Rihanna, Nicki Minay, Lady Gaga, Katy Perry and than at Bruno Mars, Kanye, The Lumineers, Justin Bieber, Train etc. you would get the exact same picture as with The Avengers. It is not just men's fault that situation is how it is. A lot of woman say it is their right to dress and act sexy and if you look (for example) at the Halloween costumes (time when people dress in their favourite characters from movies and games), a lot of them like to dress and act this way.

You could turn around the whole thing and say that they do it, because media shows that this is the only way to be perceived as attractive and I would say there is point to that, but I really don't know what is a good answer to that, because I don't really understand this whole mainstream scene. But yeah, I agree with you that there is a difference and that arguing that people aren't fighting on both sides is a bit dumb.

Kristen C Stewart
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@Nejc Eber: Yea, it's a complicated problem, and both men and women feed into it. There's a difference between the pop stars you mentioned (women dressing the way they want) and industries like comic books & video games where depictions of women are created by developers, though.

Regardless, I think things on the whole are getting better.

Matt Board
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Hey Guys, Quit being d*cks to the ladies. Didn't your mother teach you any manners?

Jesse Curry
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Why aren't more women founding games companies to make all of these female-focused games that I keep hearing about?

It seems like there are plenty of women dissatisfied with the current state of the games industry; why not form a company and change it?

Toby Grierson
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AFAIK some are trying and I'm sure some'll speak up here. A woman way up above mentioned trying to do her part.

But I'd like to point out there will be less if there's headwind to get into the industry, get connections, funding and so forth. Entrepreneurs are already overwhelmingly male in any case.

Give it time. There's even some female game designer superstars now.

Vin St John
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I imagine that the aforementioned rampant sexism in the games industry, which already prevents many women from every considering entering it, could be equally harmful to a woman's ability to gain traction at the studio where she is employed, rise the corporate ladder, make meaningful professional contacts, recruit a capable staff, generate public interest, or make enough money at her current job to invest in creating her own company.

Carlo Delallana
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Creating a bubble around the problem (or in your suggestion forming your own island state) doesn't solve the issue.

Social change happens when you actively participate in the disruption of negative behavior, attacking it at the root.

Johnathon Tieman
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@Jesse: This doesn't apply across the board, but the ones doing the loudest complaining are skipping a rather important step. They have decided to ignore that AAA video games are a business, not a social endeavor, and want people with lots of money to invest in a poorly-defined idea known as 'female-friendly gaming'. What never gets mentioned is that all the AAA games produced today went through twenty to thirty years of indie experimentation before they ever reached the point of being a proven financial investment. It's been said before (by myself and others) that these people need to spend all the time they use complaining to come up with game designs and indie games to prove the concepts and market viability. Once they prove they have a viable business model, the money men will invest.

John Hahn
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If I were a mechanical engineer and I wanted to design cars for a living, and I deeply cared about the environment and wanted to make "green" cars, I probably wouldn't take a job working for Ferrari. And if I did take a job at Ferrari I definitely wouldn't complain about the gas mileage of Ferrari cars to my coworkers and demand that the company stop making sports cars and expect to be taken seriously about it. See my point? Joining a company that's highly successful at making a particular type of product for a particular market demographic and then demonizing that company precisely because of the kinds of products they make and expecting them to change seems strange to me.

Amir Barak
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And then twenty years down the line when the environment is screwed up and you and your kids have to breathe through a sewage I'd bet you'd be thinking: "F*** why didn't I take that job at Ferrari and try to change the way things are done...".

Michael Rooney
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Or you'd be thinking, "Man this environment sucks, but at least I have this awesome Ferrari to drive around in!"

I think his point was rather that going to a company with different goals/ideals than yourself and demonizing them for it makes less sense than going to a company that aligns with those goals/ideals or making your own company with your goals/ideals in the first place.

Nejc Eber
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@Amir Barak: Why do you think that you would have more chance with changing anything by going to Ferrari instead of going to a firm that is going towards the goal that you are fighting for?

John Hahn
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@Amir Barak: I applaud your optimism about your ability to change the world, honestly I do. However, let's step into reality for a second. When you join a giant corporation as a non-executive employee you are almost certainly NOT going to have the authority or clout to make fundamental changes to that company's business model. If you have an ideology that is absolutely at odds with a given company, you are better off NOT joining that company than joining it and trying to change it from the inside. You'd be better off joining a company that's inline with your own ideals or starting your own company.

Here's another example: If I were devoutly religious I wouldn't go to work for a hardcore porn company and then try to get them to "see the light" and change their business model to make Christian themed videos.

Amir Barak
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Lol, you're the first person ever to applaud my optimism (and I suspect that's only 'cause you don't know me). I usually have a very low opinion of humanity as a whole :P

By your logic then no honest person should ever go into politics.

I understand your point of view here but I'm also saying that sometimes work is work and you need the money so you take it where you get it. Just because you end up working for a hardcore porn company doesn't mean you can't at least make yourself heard. Just don't get offended when you get fired (although I'm pretty sure most hardcore porn companies nowadays are less sexist than game companies even though I only worked in one of those industry types... I'll let you imagine which one :D )

John Hahn
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@Amir Barak: If you are desperate for a job because you are starving and unemployed, and you take a job at a company that has an ideology that conflicts with yours, then you aren't going to make waves that could get you fired. You are going to keep your mouth shut, get paid, and put food on the table. If you aren't desperate for a job, and your primary goal is to "make the world a better place" then my original point still stands.

Also, you said this: "By your logic then no honest person should ever go into politics."

Actually it's more like this: If you are going to go into politics, you are better off joining the party that shares your ideology rather than joining the other party and hoping to change them from the inside. In other words, if you are republican, you should join the republican party. You shouldn't join the democrat party with the intention of turning them into republicans. And if you do that, you certainly shouldn't be upset when you fail miserably.

Amir Barak
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Haha, well played! :D

That's where metaphors and analogies fall down I guess. In the end neither you nor I can argue away the racism, sexism and other human ailments that plague both games and the companies that make them. Sure, not all of them are like that but enough of them are. It's mostly the reason why I don't play rubbish games (and I assure you that my idea of rubbish is pretty much most of the "big" game names).

John Hahn
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@Amir Barak: I agree with your thoughts, but I think most people who champion a cause take the position of "I don't like something, therefore we need to change it or get rid of it.", and I think a much better approach is, "I don't like something, therefore we should make more of what I do like."

See the difference? I don't think that we should be trying to get rid of oversexed male and female characters. I think we should simply be making more games that have normal looking characters. I think there's enough room in the market for both visual styles to coexist. Like in movies, you have the shallow summer blockbuster popcorn flicks that involve pirates or super heroes (and these make most of the money), but then you also have plenty of the more cerebral meaningful art house films.

In the games industry, we have an overabundance of games that are analagous to the summer popcorn flicks, and very few games that are analagous to the cerebral, meaningful art house films. I don't think the answer is to get rid of the former. I think the answer is simply to create more of the latter.

Karin E Skoog
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The timing of the hashtag was personally interesting because I came across it while trying to find local female game developers (programmers, level designers, etc.). Why was I doing this? Well, I realized how infrequently I connect with women in the game industry...much less female developers. Last night, I perused the free 100 search views on LinkedIn a couple times (using different keywords) and found only a handful of female game developers, leading me to the same question that prompted the hashtag discussion - Where ARE all the female developers? Those are the women I'd like to speak to, learn from, discuss games with, heck, even PLAY games with (and avoid the issues so prominent for women in online gaming).

I'm really lucky with the company where I currently work. Here, I haven't experienced anything even remotely similar to what other women frequently experience in their work environments. For quite some time, I haven't had to deal with the sexism that I experienced in retail. For this, I feel even luckier to be where I am now but saddened that beyond these doors, there is a whole world of female game developers who struggle unnecessarily.

Unfortunately sexism - and racism - will always be there, but at least it's being discussed...(and out of that discussion, maybe I'll even get to connect with those local female game developers via the mentor hashtag). Hopefully, these Twitter hashtags will also prompt more talks at the game studios where sexism is so widespread and will implement change in the way sexist comments are dealt with at those places. People are being made more aware of what kinds of comments are inappropriate and will (with any luck), make them think twice before making said comments. Some comments, I'm sure, are due to ignorance. People don't always think before they speak and are unlikely realize the larger impact of their insensitive comments, such as making the industry a less appealing place for their sisters, cousins, nieces, daughters, etc.

Education is part of the key, and my hope is that race is also raised to such widespread discussion. After all, it's inexcusable that the creator of the cartridge, Jerry Lawson, was recognized by the IGDA just one month before his death in 2011. http://goo.gl/46s4S

Karin E Skoog
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More food for thought - http://goo.gl/R8ARS - written in response to Kotaku's article last year "Why I’m Worried About My Daughter’s Video Game Future," which can be viewed at http://kotaku.com/5898858/why-im-worried-about-my-daughters-video
-game-future.

Juliette Dupre
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Can someone explain to me why men don't often complain about the huge muscles and oversexed versions of men in video games? Regardless of whether the portrayal of women in video games are appropriate or not, I feel like men are often depicted with the same way mentality. But I've only heard male colleagues complain about portrayal of men very, very rarely.

John Hahn
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You might think that big buff oversexed males would bother men the same way that oversexed females would bother women, but typically, they don't. Let me explain it like this:

Big muscular male action heroes are meant to play into the male fantasy of being a big buff action hero. This is why Arnold and Stallone action movies make so much money. In the same way, oversexed female vixens are meant to play into male sexual fantasies.

So, strangely enough, oversexed male and female characters are both meant to play into male fantasies, and this is why it's almost always females that complain about them. Men and women are very different creatures in that way.

Kristen C Stewart
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Like I said above, there's a difference between how men are often portrayed in popular media (muscled power fantasies) versus how women are often portrayed (sexual fantasies). See http://reelgirl.com/2012/05/what-if-the-male-avengers-posed-like-
the-female-one/ for good visual examples.

Edited to add: I can't answer the entirety of your question, since I'm not a man, but the above link might help. Maybe your male colleagues don't complain because they play video games as a power fantasy.

Regine Abel
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Like John Hahn says, the muscular males play into the male fantasy. They are usually pretty badass looking but I do not find them oversexed. Yes, they are big, muscular, often attractive but also decently dressed. If those same characters were running around wearing thongs, I strongly suspect gamers of both genders would complain about it.

I do not mind female characters being sexy. In fact, I want them to be pretty (scratch that, I want them to be beautiful) and sexy, but not slutty. Kristen Stewart beat me to posting that Avengers picture where they show what males would look like if posed the way females usually are. Look at Tera for example, in this character creation video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R55qZ5M82PE) you can see all the female character classes per race. There are 2 races that are male only. Notice the difference of animation and outfits between the 2 genders. It's especially shocking between the male race at the 4:00 mark and the female race at the 4:45 min mark, the way they wiggle and jiggle with their boobs spilling out, while the males are covered from head to toe with a minimalistic idle animation.

Brandon S
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Hm it not that complicated . Well actually it is .. just gonna try to simplify it without going too deeply into it .

It has more to do with the fact that in the Christian European Religious mythology Sex is a source of the worlds evil. Female sexuality is the main source of that evil and the fall of men American culture is a still a pretty religious society and secular institutions still spawned within a Christian-European subconscious mythology Cultural structure .So regardless of what we call it comes from the same social source. This idea is linked to social decay and moral failure that caused man to do bad things the evil devil sexual temptation (In this scenario guessing teenage boys ). It Really it actually that simple . So if you control the lust of men then you will stop the evil of the world and woman are related to that EVIL if they show them-self in a attractive manner (Demonic lithe and what not ) . That is the mythology in a nutshell

Also the idea that all human sexual impulses are explicitly related to power control negative images ,. is also very christian ,down to the idea that it all related to negative animal barbarism . That all sexuality arises from the white male impulses is also very christian tendency of north Americans to assume anything sexual is related to men and not man and woman . Seriously doubt Kim Karadashin or alot female music stars and sexually attractive woman are living off the money from a male consumer audience .

if you look at some of the replies about how easy it is to link imaginary visual imagery and artistic exaggeration with concrete acts of people abusing and discriminating people by some commentators or implying it . l if someone said that watching a murder on TV causes a murder, people would instantly dismiss you as irrationality illogical idiot , but somehow Sex is just that much more insidious and that much more powerful . So powerful that hunting at the idea alone is just so much more dangerous !That the cultural mythology at work that the religious upbringing of American society as a whole

Why do man not react oversexed attractive male models in the same way? Because male sexuality isn't consider evil I'd guess, there really is no social downside to being an attractive male and no social punishment or being consider sexually attractive to woman , unless your gay . And if we took are heritage stronger after the Ancient Greeks and less after the Christian dark ages even being gay wouldn't be a problem . Has more to do with the society to beliefs on sexuality . I disagree also has anything to do with how the images are posed( Fristly the poses aren't sexually attractive woman far as I know , don't think any woman is lusting after those guys the way they are after the shirtless twilight stars ) secondly , Japan regularly has effeminate male leads and outright cross dressing in mainstream tv and anime . Yet there no huge outcry from heterosexual men of japan , No pthat I am aware ,there no controversy or anything , since alot this was pretty common in Ancient japan and Entertainment along with heavily stylized imagery with no social demand that everything be set in a realistic setting to be appropriate for adults . anyway /Anyway Being male, perfect and attractive ? For a man we can be president, top of the social ladder , Socially respected in all corners culture including within the most religious aspect . There is not one negative image that comes to mind of a man being sexually attractive once you throw out modern christian homophobia from the cultural equation . With Woman ? I can think of hundreds hell could fill an encyclopedia book with them

A Western woman who is sexually attractive is social suspect of being whore, evil , demonic downfall of men and woman etc etc corrupting of all society and culture ,destroying family .A voluptuous or curvy woman Carry so much bizarre religious social-baggage by the end of the day somehow a full pair of cleavage is more Evil than killing people or committing genocide at least the mind of many middle class Americans . Which explain essentially American games

(Huge Outcry over games with titalization or sex from japan ,wither it be fo man or woman (Yaoi) Complete celebration of war games and explosion and killing terrorist ,

I am generalizing here, when I say Western, could pin it down . Any Culture with a very Strong Euro-Anglophone Christian Background and very Religious population descendant from a strongly European social background . If you look at Europe or some places like Netherlands ,attitude toward nudity and sexually attractive images are different . While we might have more in common with modern Ireland than we do with Amsterdam .Sexuality and Nudity is far more tolerated than ultra-violence Since Christianity been on the decline in Europe for a very long time , So attitude have change they no longer mirror the USA so we can't even say it "Western" .

Also I think is are attitude toward realism/Art play a role into the reaction related to art (Realism is consider a real art form by default . No need to even argue it really for the general public ) While stylized or exaggerated art need to have some supporting evidence to why it should be elevated to highly prestigious title of art . Now sound old fashion but I am referring to the general public attitude toward art not the art house elite.

Realistic forms of art are also associated with the adult rational mind , so less realistic forms are Art must be associated with children or perversion . t
and anything associated with woman is inferior (Feminine is naturally inferior to masculine in the patriarchal christian mythology )

SO Modern Anglophone Christian attitude redressed for political correct times. Sexuality and Woman = Evil , + Non-realism or stylized works = child like and inferior /perverted , + No real negative social association with male sexuality beyond being called gay which is culturally specific .Combine all of that , and it pretty much summarizes I think

Amir Barak
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Because to admit that a hero is over-sexualized means to acknowledge that you can recognize sexual attraction to a male type. This is a big no-no for most heterosexual adolescents raised by our society. Personally I don't mind playing a muscle-bound dude any more than a muscle-bound girl if the setting calls for it but I find that minimum dressed anyone in the wrong settings [narrative] breaks me out of the game and I usually stop playing.

Carlo Delallana
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I would love to know what Shigeru Miyamoto was thinking when he came up with the design for Mario and Link. One is a fat plumber who basically dies after 2 hits, the other one starts off as a fairly weak child at the beginning of the game.

Kevin Nolan
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Regine - that Tera video is a very good showcase of this problem. Even more shocking however is earlier in the video where children, especially prepubescent girls, are also sexually posed and dressed. Really Tera?

(Yeah, I'm sure they deploy the usual excuse here about the characters really being adults in the setting or some similar nonsense).

Just wanted to point that out, hope this doesn't derail the conversation.


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