Many outlets have offered opinion of the latest outcry saying women are vastly underrepresented in games today. Although you’ve probably read about it on more credible sites, I wanted to share my thoughts as well. Thanks for reading.
I am a 22-year-old white male. I embody gaming’s target audience: between 18 and 25, male, and playing games since I was a kid. I am the target of those ads emphasizing violence in Assassin’s Creed 3 or the playful side of warfare in Call of Duty: Black Ops 2. Without us, no game would break financial records and the industry would be much different.
That said, games are primed for me. According to statistics I like brooding male protagonists, hyperbolized action sequences, explosions, more explosions, even more explosions, and to feel like the world is my murdering oyster. Games make me powerful.
The industry behaves similarly: they’re 22-year-old white men at heart. They denounce gender equality. They believe a video game is a male right, a signature of the XY species. And they are staunchly protective of this belief, because complaints to the contrary get ignored as nonsensical pablum. A waste of time. Why spend time arguing about who develops games and not actually develop games?
It is all pathetic. It is in the industry’s psyche to affirm games as “a guy thing”. That all women are touchy, sensitive figures who prefer to make their game-playing boyfriend a sandwich instead of joining in (and probably winning).
But as an industry I want to write about one day, I pose to you collectively one simple question: Why?
The subtle (and sometimes obvious) sexism discourages women from entering development, thus the industry is only hurting itself. Instead of male-dominated boardrooms, female input could broaden a game’s reach, leading to more sales and more attention. As well, it would make the games market more competitive: everyone won’t be so single-minded as to strictly advertise for the prized 18-25 male demographic.
That’s why reading through #1reasonwhy and #1reasontobe is heartbreaking. The hashtags are filled with sexist stories and disheartening accounts of how brutally women get treated in games and other industries. Knowing some people behind beloved titles believe gender is a rite of passage into games development leaves an empty feeling in my stomach.
As a male, I flip through these tweets aware I’ll likely never experience any of this. Even if I do start writing professionally somewhere. It’s even weird to think about.
But the gender gap in development is certainly a pressing issue, especially as more instances flare into conversations. 2012 has been an eventful year in terms of the growing acknowledgement of gender inequality and how it actively persists. Tomb Raider and a random Gearbox designer spurred debacles early this year, though I wonder if #1reasonwhy is a turning point leading to full acceptance.
I’m not the only blogger to comment on #1reasonwhy nor should I be, so below are the words of other sites:
To the readers: What are your thoughts on this whole thing? And do you disagree with anything I have stated?
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