Despite a fear of this turning into a thing (or fuck, perhaps because of that fear) I wanted to try to talk about #1ReasonWhy a little bit. Rather than risk destroying the industry thread with the subject (where it has peeked out on occasion) I got the go ahead to isolate the discussion elsewhere. Lets do our best to keep things civil here.
Short version: #1ReasonWhy started in response to Luke Crane's (curator/supervisor of Kickstarter's games section) tweet asking why there were so few women game developers. Writer Filamena Young responded and included the #1ReasonWhy hashtag, after which the floodgates opened. Women from every corner began using the tag to illustrate the particulars of the obstacles they face specifically as women in the gaming industry. If you want to leap directly into the stream, it's still got some life in it over here
. As you can imagine, it's made up of women explaining the annoyances and hurdles they deal with, some allies and advocates asking what they can do to help, and of course the very behavior that results in the creation of a phenomenon like this. Dive in at your own risk.
I get a lot of my industry news and links out of these forums, and though this subject has popped up on occasion I noticed I personally hadn't spent a lot of time reading what was being said by the women writing. From my point of view that pretty much means I was contributing to the problem.
Aside from just not giving the subject a lot of attention, we've also got a lot of the basic attitudes around here that make something like #1ReasonWhy necessary in the first place. You can't talk about women protagonists being a marketplace failure because the question is immediately turned around to a "Well what if men were the protagonists." I don't want to pick on anyone, but that's one of the worst possible responses to hearing a gender-specific complaint, because it immediately takes the subject away from the topic of women and attempts to divert it into something else. You can't point out insulting character design without hearing about how men are portrayed, or people behave as if it's an isolated incident and not a discussion that's had every month because it keeps happening.
The community seems to have a hard time in general understanding the context that these complaints come up in. Namely, as part of an ongoing string of offenses that specifically belittle or ostracize anybody who isn't a straight white guy. One of the articles I read pointed out that the atmosphere in the gaming community isn't unlike that of the military, and that bugs the shit out of me, because my time in the Navy was marked by the most offensive atmosphere I've ever seen.
Rant out of the way, I thought some other people might be interested in digging into the articles surrounding the whole campaign, so I gathered some of my favorites up.
is long-winded as fuck, but basically boils down to advice on how to help put some of these nasty attitudes behind us.
wrote up a really solid account of some of the not uncommon issues she's faced, and how she's had to deal with them if she actually wanted to be part of the gaming community.
An older personal account
from a woman playing Guild Wars and the shit she was subjected to, which covered basically every one of the more horrible sides of human nature. Racism, misogyny, homophobia. Depressing, but enlightening.
And (finally) a much shorter article
from a female game dev student. If you don't feel up to the longer articles above, here's some bullet points.
I'm not trying to lecture, because it's not like I haven't been guilty of some of this shit in the (hopefully distant) past. Mostly I thought it would be good to have a place to talk about these worthy issues openly and RESPECTFULLY PLEASE.
So, any thoughts on the campaign, possible next steps? Is this a mark of the death of these kind of attitudes or the next big reason to be a dick to a group of people? Will this have any effect at all, or is it just another brief Twitter explosion that we'll all forget in the next week?