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Anita Sarkeesian, more up for nominations at Women in Gaming Awards
Anita Sarkeesian, more up for nominations at Women in Gaming Awards
March 19, 2014 | By Kris Ligman

March 19, 2014 | By Kris Ligman
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Held just off the beaten path from the Game Developers Conference, Microsoft's Women in Gaming Awards is an annual event geared to honor the contributions of women from across the games industry. This year's nominations include Journey developer Robin Hunicke and Tropes vs Women in Games creator Anita Sarkeesian.

"These awards are an opportunity to recognize the accomplishments of women in gaming by the community that may otherwise go unnoticed," says organizer Karen Randhawa, speaking with Gamasutra. "They provide recognition for individual contributions, but also allow us to celebrate the success as a collective."

First held in 2008, the Women in Gaming awards has grown from an event for 70 people to more than 250, a reflection of the growing interest in representation and egalitarian hiring practices seen across the industry.

This year, the event is set to honor 14 nominees across its three awards categories, which highlight the work of newcomers, innovators, and public-facing ambassadors. Those nominees are:

Rising Star Award
  • Anna Tito (Gameplay Engineer, KIXEYE)
  • Dawn Rivers (Lighting Engineer, Harmonix)
  • Olga Zinoveva (Producer, 343 Industries)
  • Tamara Miner (Technical Program Manager, Riot)

Innovator Award

Ambassador Award

Past awardees include Ouya brand evangelist Kellee Santiago and Ubisoft's Jade Raymond. An invite-only event, this year's awardees will be announced on Thursday, March 20th, just off-site from GDC. This year's mistress of ceremonies is games educator Colleen Macklin.

"We believe in promoting the inclusion and advancement of women in the games industry and technology as a whole," says Randhawa, who in addition to leading the WIG Awards event serves as a staffing consultant for Microsoft. "We hope that this event provides an enriching experience to the women who attend and continues to drive this community forward in tackling challenges as well as growing their representation."


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Comments


E Zachary Knight
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I feel bad knowing only two names on those lists. I will have to look more into the other women on them.

Benjamin Quintero
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it's a big industry man, don't feel bad. The game industry is not the short list it used to be. Now it seems your name only makes the headline if you are a rabble rouser. It's probably a good thing that you don't know their names; it means they are busy working.

Jennis Kartens
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I feel bad that one very specific women dominates this article through the headline and even a picture...

Scott Lavigne
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My immediate thought as well. When I got down to the categories, I expected her to somehow appear in every one.

Freek Hoekstra
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I hate to be a jerk here but as there is a : Microsoft's Women in Gaming Awards, is there also a male counterpart to this, I mean isn;t what we are going for equality and therefore making an arbitraty gender distinction actually the root of the problem...

again I don;t want to offend people with this but this seems to reinforce gender inequality rather that combat it imho.

Katy Smith
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Yes, it's called "Every Other Awards Show Ever". -_-

//less snarky reply

You can't look at it like that. Thinking that way assumes that a minority group (in this case women) are on equal footing socially to the majority group (in this case, men). In the games industry men have "privilege", so an awards show featuring only men doesn't make sense. In order to try to equalize minority groups, it's important to have [minority] in games awards. It's the same reason it's important to have black history month / Hispanic history month / international women's day, etc.

Dave Bellinger
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@Katy

I think these awards shows should definitely be around, but that said there is a concern with institutionalizing something that should seek integration. Black History Month is a great example; does anyone have any idea when we can say that history is just a big enough, widely enough taught part of simply "History" that we don't need to dedicate a month to it? I don't think the finish line is ever in sight for that reality, if it ever does exists unfortunately.

That said, I don't think Black History Month, nor awards show that highlight women's accomplishment in gaming are responsible for reinforcing their own existence really, I just think the better perception here is "looking into your neighbor's bowl to make sure they have enough".

Why does the Women in Gaming Awards exist? Because women in gaming deserve recognition, period. Minorities, majorities, etc., not important. "Why isn't there a Men in Gaming Awards?", when you hear that question just turn that age old suggestion back around: "Go make one then."

Luis Blondet
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Making separate awards "for other groups" just breeds segregation, not to mention the subtle message that says that people that have been put in these "groups" are inferior, thus they need help with their own awards because they can't compete in the "real" award show.

I'm with Morgan Freeman on this one. A few of us can recognize the damage and subtle insult of special treatment.

http://youtu.be/GeixtYS-P3s

Dave Bellinger
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@Luis

I think for as bad as having gender focused awards can be in terms of segregation, seeing those people as being 'inferior' and pretending that perception isn't the real problem is worse.

I was actually going to mention Morgan Freeman's perspective on Black History Month, but then I remembered he's just an actor, and while he has no doubt endured many poor consequences as a result of his race, referencing his viewpoint on these topics is merely an appeal to his celebrity status. His perspective may be interesting, but it shouldn't carry any more weight than any other person in a similar situation, yet it does because of perception.

What I'm trying to say is: people should be able to have their awards show because they want to honor someone. Saying they shouldn't because it makes them look inferior in YOUR eyes is a poor argument.

Luis Blondet
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If enough people want to honor someone with an award, why do they need to make a competitive award show? Can't they just give it to the person they so desperately want to award without including other nominees?

Specialty award shows and special treatment "honors" are insulting because of the aforementioned reasons and no, it's not just "in my eyes", it's in lots and lots of people's eyes that are labeled in these "groups". Being an actor or not has nothing to do with Morgan Freeman's argument. Trying to discredit the logic of his argument with his vocation is a poor argument.

A few years ago when Alexandra Kosteniuk wasn't the famous "Chess Queen" she posted something about a big women's tournament on Facebook that showed up in my newsfeed. I was very puzzled when i read "Women's Tournament". Sure, you can argue that genetics is pre-disposed to make all linebackers male in American Football and other sports designed to be dominated by male genetics, but Chess?

Why a "Women's Tournament"? I thought that it maybe just for a lark or some other harmless opinion, but when i asked her about it she said that it is because women are not as good in Chess as men. This is coming from Alexandra herself! I beg to differ and argued that there was no genetic advantage in strategic thinking and memorization separated by gender and she ended up arguing that "women are just not as smart as men".

She couldn't source her opinion, ofcourse, but she was still being defended by other female Chess players from Russia, while all the women that backed my argument were from other countries.

My point with this story is as before; special awards, honors, recognition, competitions, etc, carry the subtle message that said people in said group are somehow handicapped and must have their own "thing" in order to have anyone in said group win an award. This goes for Women's Chess, Black History Month, Puertorican Day parade, etc.

Dave Bellinger
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-I was not "discrediting" Morgan Freeman's opinion, I was putting into context that his opinion should carry no more weight than anyone else as remotely associated with the topic. i.e. Morgan Freeman's opinion on Black History Month is just as valid as John Smith's opinion on it, a black plumber of the same age that lives in Hoboken, New Jersey (Disclaimer: made-up guy), but appealing to Morgan Freeman instead of John Smith is an appeal to his celebrity rather than the relevancy of his position.

-It doesn't matter if 99% of the population considers the Women in Gaming Awards insulting; that's not how awards shows work. Awards Shows are set up by individuals who want to honor other individuals. It really has nothing to do with me or you if neither of us is honoring or the honoree, so your opinion on whether it's "insulting, inferior, etc." is invalid. It has nothing to do with you.

-Alexandra Kosteniuk's opinion on chess is hardly relevant to whether or not your perception about the Women in Gaming Awards, or specialty awards show in general for that matter, are acceptable. Your point with that story that these carry an implication that the people involved are 'inferior' is entirely your own perception. I'm not saying people don't share your perception, they probably do, but why should your perception on something you have literally nothing to do with matter at all?

Do you feel you're doing a justice by pointing it out, that the organizers and honoree's of this invent might not be aware that is the perception some people have? If so, kudos, but personally I think they're plenty aware. If not, why bother? Why not just give them a 'Cool, right on' or move along?

-Finally, misogyny is not a trait exclusive to men. I don't know why Alexandra Kosteniuk feels that way about chess, and she certainly has a lot of experience to suggest she would know. That doesn't validate anyone's opinion on the intellectual inferiority of an entire gender, no matter how good she is a chess. Not saying you were intending this implication, but it's how that story came across.

Luis Blondet
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"I was not "discrediting" Morgan Freeman's opinion, I was putting into context that his opinion should carry no more weight than anyone else as remotely associated with the topic. i.e. Morgan Freeman's opinion on Black History Month is just as valid as John Smith's opinion on it, a black plumber of the same age that lives in Hoboken, New Jersey (Disclaimer: made-up guy), but appealing to Morgan Freeman instead of John Smith is an appeal to his celebrity rather than the relevancy of his position."

The reason i chose the Morgan Freeman interview is not because i pretend it is more important than an ordinary person, but mainly because there is an interview of Morgan Freeman making that point on video.


"It doesn't matter if 99% of the population considers the Women in Gaming Awards insulting; that's not how awards shows work. Awards Shows are set up by individuals who want to honor other individuals. It really has nothing to do with me or you if neither of us is honoring or the honoree, so your opinion on whether it's "insulting, inferior, etc." is invalid. It has nothing to do with you."

Something doesn't have to do with me in order for me to make an observation.


"Alexandra Kosteniuk's opinion on chess is hardly relevant to whether or not your perception about the Women in Gaming Awards, or specialty awards show in general for that matter, are acceptable. Your point with that story that these carry an implication that the people involved are 'inferior' is entirely your own perception. I'm not saying people don't share your perception, they probably do, but why should your perception on something you have literally nothing to do with matter at all?"

Maybe because it's true. Segregated events and shows breed just that; segregation on top of being a subtle insult.


"Do you feel you're doing a justice by pointing it out, that the organizers and honoree's of this invent might not be aware that is the perception some people have? If so, kudos, but personally I think they're plenty aware. If not, why bother? Why not just give them a 'Cool, right on' or move along?"

If they are aware that these specialty events for "special" people do breed segregation and subtly insult the people in said "group", then they are despicable human beings, however if they are not aware, then they are ignorant human beings.


"Finally, misogyny is not a trait exclusive to men. I don't know why Alexandra Kosteniuk feels that way about chess, and she certainly has a lot of experience to suggest she would know. That doesn't validate anyone's opinion on the intellectual inferiority of an entire gender, no matter how good she is a chess. Not saying you were intending this implication, but it's how that story came across."

I was very clear on my point to her; women have the same strategic capacity as men and supporting a Women's Tournament just because of the misconception that strategic thinking is dictated by your gender is wrong.

Freek Hoekstra
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@ Luis, exactly.

I feel like women have been doing very well in the original awards, but now they actually might not be chosen as it wouldn't be fair to recognize them twice, so we have now created "unofficial preferential male" overall awards and a female version.

how are we ever going to get rid of misogyny or racism etc when we keep doing this kind of thing??? make it a flat fair playing ground and reward those who are deserving of recognition, regardless of age, race, sex, ideals, beliefs, etc. did they do the best job in the industry?

I know Zuraida buter and I know how hard she works, and she is surely deserving of a reward, but is she more deserving then any of the other people that work incredibly hard just because we want to recognize more women for their efforts? how is that fair? how is that an honor?

again she does fantastic work and is deserving of praise but this feels injust and unfair, and just segregates more of the community. instead give her a "true" reward and nominate her for the overall best off category.

on that note I don't want a male award, and a female award and an overall award. like Morgan freeman doesn;t want a black or white or jewish history month, it just opens up the door to have awards for everything,

which comes down to the Incredibles quote, saying everyone is special is just another way of saying noone is. Therefore nullifying the value of said award.


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