You would have to live under a rock to have missed the drama that is going on surrounding the low number of women in STEM industries. From #ShirtGate, the attempted boycotts of women’s games, and online harassment of several females from all areas, it’s something the media has been reporting on widely without offering many solutions. As a woman in the gaming media, I thought I would weigh in with my thoughts on how to help my fellow ladies.
I highly understand the need to criticize someone, and in many ways it can be extremely helpful. I often use twitter to spitball ideas, and my readers will tell me what they think would be interesting, or what they didn’t like in my articles. From this I can improve my writing, and give my readers what they want. However, the people who come on twitter to tell me to go kill myself, hack my emails and attack my website because they don’t like me, are not really helping me stay in the field. You cannot claim you are helping women in the industry if you also then attack a female developer because you don’t like her politics. A good rule of thumb is to think “would an meanie do this?”. For example, “would an meanie call a woman a dumb c**t because she wrote an article?” Ok now step away from the keyboard.
That being said, a huge amount of messages I receive from people are overwhelmingly supportive. Of all the tweets, comments and emails I receive daily, I get a huge amount of love and support from the internet. While the 1-2% of mean tweets I get hurt a lot, it is easy to ignore them. When the media deliberately chooses to share stories about women being chased from their homes instead of about the women’s development charity which surpassed their target and received over $70,000 to help women in gaming you create an atmosphere of fear and helplessness in the industry. Consider for a moment that whispered ghost stories of women scared from gaming, might just be the very thing chasing them away.
Do you know what’s awesome? Portal, Left 4 Dead and the female developer who made them; Kim Swift. Milk Tea, the semi-competitive Smash Player is also awesome, along with video gaming academic, Jane Mcgonigal, and libertarian sometime tech journalist, Cathy Young belongs in this group too. These are the people we should be talking about; these are the people to support. Let’s talk about all the amazing achievements women have made in gaming, and not the times when they scare or are themselves scared.
Keep your Kid Gloves
Women are very different to men. We have different biological strengths and weaknesses, we like different things, and we often solve problems differently. This is why it’s great when you have a diverse team of all backgrounds and genders, in media, in development and in reviews so that you can work off a large range of perspectives. However, pussy-footing around women because you are scared you might offend them is not helpful. Gaming is a great equalizer. Don’t give concessions to women just because they own different genitals. There’s no shame in having a girl beat you at a game, and there is no need to agree with a woman on a development project, just because; boobies.
I know this article won’t change anything, but hopefully it can make a few people think. Now you can go back to the important task of calling me a men’s rights activist on twitter.