To all the mothers and the sisters and the wives and friends
I‘m going to talk about something I am evidently unqualified to talk about. Women. I have met some and they seemed very nice people on the whole. I read, seemingly more and more often with every passing day, about the way that women are treated online, particularly in the game community and their lack of representation in the game industry. It makes me angry. So here, I will write about that.
|To crush your enemies, see them driven before you|
I will not be accused of being a shrill moaning harpy. I won’t be asked to make anyone a sandwich, nor will I be accused of being a lesbian, asked to suck anyone’s cock or be threatened with rape. Partially, this is because those who have met me understand that I view other humans as lunch with a temporary stay of execution. Let the Wookie win, as they say. Mostly, it’s because I’m a man and so people will read what I have to say rather than switching off their brain and spewing out some astonishingly unimaginative sexist bullshit.
It strikes me as incredibly bizarre to think that men talking about the mega-sexism in the game industry, pointing at it and screaming and banging their ham-sized fists on the metaphorical game-table and bellowing that “this will not stand!” could have more effect than the same outrage expressed by the women actually suffering it. However, it seems very likely true. So here I will stand and bellow.
I am bellowing
So first up, is this a problem at all? Yes. Yes, this is a problem. The gaming community contains an incredible number of idiots. Go here and read this article about Saint’s Row 3 by Emma Boyes. It’s a good article, well reasoned and the complete opposite of anything aggressive or hectoring or provocative. It defends a game that has been attacked for sexism. It’s a great piece.
Then read the comments and it’s just a roll-call of complete fucking bullshit. Angry, shouty, stupid, illogical, emotional, insecure ranting, brought forth from the depths of the internet’s prick cabinet. If that exact same article had been written by a man, not a single one of those comments would have been written. That’s because they have absolutely nothing to do with anything that’s said in the article and, more importantly, because men don’t get handed this shit. That said, it didn’t stop The Hulk coming under attack for daring to call a sexism a sexism.
|and to hear the lamentation of their women|
The even worse part are all the articles I can’t link to because they were never written. There is a gathering number of smart and interesting women who state that they don’t write what they want to write because of the abuse they will get for doing so. Read this to see what I mean. When they do write, they don’t speak their minds because of the abuse they will get for doing so. There are even more smart and interesting women who don’t admit to doing this, but secretly self-censor to keep themselves out of the crosshairs of the legion of poisonous clowns that would otherwise ladle depressing filth upon their good work.
It’s really bad for the game industry to have an atmosphere where women have to self-censor in order to avoid or placate a bunch of duck-brained super-ninnies. How can it be good for games to have the opinions of half the entire world cut-short or cut-out entirely, because the other half are peppered with socially-handicapped dick-weasels, determined to spoil everything for everyone because fuck you, that’s why. I remember when trolling was a art. On this subject, in this arena, it’s a disease, and not a very good one at that.
But but but but but but but but but
‘Ooh, if you can’t take it, get off the internet’ comes the call from over clutched handbag. Well if you can’t speak to a woman without resorting to wholly unimaginative sexist copypasta, how about you get off the internet? He who repeats sexist tropes wins? I think not. Sexism can be funny, same as racism, homophobia and so on. But only when it’s used to actually say something. You look at Stewart Lee or Louis CK and they will take sexist concepts and wield them to carve great ideas, explain great truths. They won’t use them to make women feel bad for no fucking reason, they usually use them to make men feel like shit for being fattening idiots. Just as it should be. But if you get it wrong, then face up to it. Don’t do this.
|Take these broken wings and learn to fly.|
And if you’re thinking ‘well I’ve never said anything like that’ then I don’t care. What have you done to stop it? When this happens, what will you do? What have you done to help the tiny handful of women in the game industry that you do know get their point across without being swamped in blandly, endlessly iterating threats, insults and bile? It’s really bad for the game industry that women don’t feel able to talk openly, so it’s now your job to help them do that, however you can. That’s your job, that’s what you have to do, because that’s what a decent person who cared at all about either women or games would do.
ur a fag
On a completely different note, this shit doesn’t even make any sense from a commercial perspective. From the perspective of a lizard-like being that cares not for people and only for money, the sexism that rides the industry like a pernicious, whispering, idiotic jockey is still a really bad thing.
Social games are often played by more women than men. PopCap reports about 54% women playing its games. But the number of women employed in the industry is, depending on who you listen to, between 7% and 15%. I suspect the 7% is probably closer to the truth.
The game industry is happy to lobby for tax credits, happy to lobby for better computer science teaching in schools (something that will probably help address the gender gap, admittedly) but seem to be doing close to nothing to get more women involved.
|Every day I'm levelling.|
And this isn’t some white knight bullshit. This is just business. The more diverse your team, the more diverse your products, the more attitudes and angles will be considered and the better your product will be. The more money you will make. In a world of freemium, of mass-market gaming, of digging out those few whales that will bring money and fame to your game, you need to have as broad an appeal as possible. More diversity in your company will bring more diversity to your product. So form a more diverse team. And if the people just aren’t there for you to hire, make damn sure you’re pressuring everywhere you can to ensure that these people do exist in the future.
Diversity doesn’t mean women making games for women, by the way. I don’t believe that you have to be your customer. But more diversity just makes everything better, more nuanced, more knowing, more understanding. Better.
Even if you don’t think that fairness and equality are intrinsically valuable things to fight for, it’s still by far a better idea to be as inclusive as possible just to make more money. There is simply no excuse, beyond laziness and fear. Don’t be scared and lazy, it’s not very manly.
It just sort of vandalised itself
And worse still, if we don’t do something about this ourselves, one day the big bad government will get involved and make us do it. Norway already insists on quotas of women at the highest ranks in companies. It might not be the last place to do so. Hate speech will come to include sexist language and censorship will weigh heavy on the internet. If you won’t moderate yourselves, eventually people with guns and courts and locks and keys will come and moderate the shit out of you.
|The city this hero deserves.|
So men, this is important and it needs you to do something about it. Of course women need to keep doing what they’re already doing, but we should be helping them and we are not doing enough. This is me trying to do something about it. It may not be quite the right thing, it may be very small, but I’m damn well going to find out.
This is my straw. I hope the camel is suffering.