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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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