lunes, 24 de noviembre de 2014

Being a woman in the videogame industry

Almost everybody has been hit by a certain series of happenings which we've come to call GamerGate. Thanks to GamerGate a lot of the old "women in gaming" debate has been sadly undusted.

Let me clear this out: Being a woman in the videogame industry is not a big deal. 

I have not been frowned upon, nobody has thought less of me, I have encountered no special obstacles whatsoever, sorry to disappoint you. So what's the deal with people who think women are more or less just because.

For me the saddest moment in the whole discrimination issue was when I was at GDC back in 2012. Everything was going wonderfully according to plan, I had met a lot of interesting people and even managed to make a few friends. And there I was, in the San Francisco cold post-winter winds, when I saw a large line forming to enter an event. This event was called: "Women in Gaming". And almost everyone on the line was, well, women....

For me, the discrimination is self inflicted, and the whole thing is ridicoulous, by being overly victimized or extremely feminist, women have drawn the line and have insisted that there is a difference, fighting to vanquish what's not vanquishable, because it is not existent.

It's true that we have both genetic and history to blame for our lack of participation in this industry a few years back, but that is not so right now. Even if we were engineered to think about raising families and worry about keeping the house clean, these are clearly stereotypes which aren't really true today.

Throughout my life, I've been called a tomboy because I like games... by women! As if games were a specific asset for men, and women who took part in this were weirdoes. 

I wouldn't put myself in a special place just because I'm a woman, I won't recognize any event, comment, hashtag that separates me from the rest just because I'm a woman, no matter if that separation puts me below or over men. 

So I'm sorry to dissappoint everyone, but GamerGate is not really about gender inequality, it's about people who can't manage their personal lives and who think that everyone should be involved in what is clearly not of public interest.

The day the self-inflicted discrimination ends will be the day that women stop calling each other tomboys for liking games, and stop going to events called "Women in Gaming", unless of course, there is a parallel event of equal importance called "Men in Gaming".

Even more, many people have come to ask me how did I manage to enter in the videogame industry being a woman. I have to supress my eyes from rolling as I answer "Just like if I were a dude".

So women, don't be discouraged, there's nothing to fear, this industry is big enough for women and men, and we all would live happily if it weren't for the auto discrimination some women veterans are inflicting upon ourselves, and very publicly so.

You can also find this article in Destructoid:

4 comentarios:

  1. (I am @esaulgd on Twitter. Form would not let me authenticate.)

    Hello. I'm glad to you have been lucky enough to avoid any issues of sexism so far in your career. However your positive experience does not mean that the negative experience of many other women is any less true. The existence of sexism as a pervasive problem in both games and the larger tech industry is very well documented.

    At this point, claiming that the problem doesn't exist smacks of denialism to me.

    I think recognizing that there are unique issues facing women, and that they should be tackled specifically, does not constitute self-segregation. It is only natural that the people most affected by a particular problem are the first to organize to tackle it.

    I believe it IS a problem that the audience for anti-sexism events is mostly women. But the ones in the wrong aren't the women attending, it's the men that are attending.

    1. Seeing "ambient belonging" mentioned in the Wired article (I really, really don't give a shit about Polygon, and won't contribute my clicks to their site) is just a description of the self-inflicted discrimination. It's saying "I don't feel comfortable in this field."

      Basically, the problem is a bunch of jackasses saying that women aren't welcome in STEM. This mostly comes from social critics (like what you've linked), where the implication is that women face structural opposition in these fields. How will anyone feel comfortable with going into a field that they're going to necessarily do worse at due to stuff that they have no control over?

      That's my read on "ambient belonging," at least. You're promoting the sense of scary STEM, and that's what makes people uncomfortable in the field.

    2. Exactly this. I work on a team of mostly women who are closer to retirement than me. When I ask younger women why the don't go into IT I'm told it's because of how hostile the IT industry is to women.

      What happens is the click-bait media holds up and parrots around a few cases of women being mistreated and that becomes the preceived norm. Then younger women feel they don't stand a chance in a career where they'll constantly be held back by men that just keep them around for eye candy and quotas.

      If anyone is to blame for the lack of women in STEM fields, it's the media.

  2. Hi there! Thank you for your comment, followed you on twitter, we even went to the same university!

    What I was trying to say is that even though these problems are a fact (as you say, a documented fact), there are also men oriented misstreatments, so maybe calling them a gender-oriented problem is making the problem bigger and bigger by acknowledgng it as gender oriented.

    I'm not in denial, but if I made a fuss out of every mistreatement I've had and made it personal, I would hurt the industry instead of helping, This also happens if I am a radical feminist. Long story short: no extremes.

    I have found many more mistreatment towards men than towards women, and yet I have found much less documentation on men oriented mistreats than on women oriented mistreats. Why is it that it seems more relevant to the general public when it´s a woman the one who's being mistreated than a man, and people don't say that this industry is sexist towards men,

    Even more, the people who have most mistreated me and other women have been mostly women, so women can mistreat women, and women can mistreat men, and men can mistreat men, but when a man mistreats a woman, hell breaks loose.

    People have been talking about sexism in this whole GamerGate incident, but really it seems more to me like a childish tihng that snowballed into more childish things.

    So, bottom line, I gotta be clear, I don't diminish anyone's suffering, and I don't say that one should refrain from expressing their free opinion, but it´s a great time to sit down and think if this is really about gender, because I've seen the whole harassment thing going both sides, and it would do much better if people started acting and understanding that it´s both ways than complaining and saying this industry is too small for women.