The "Women in Gaming" Thread

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Erinys
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The "Women in Gaming" Thread

Post by Erinys » Tue Nov 26, 2013 2:21 am

Greetings forumites! Over the years we have had quite a few threads about women's rights and Women in Gaming.

Some of them have been stickied, from time to time, to help explain the company's policies on certain issues. Kerberos is a progressive workplace, and the company makes an effort to protect and promote the human rights of women and minorities. This company ethos is apparent in the workplace, on these forums, and in our games. Our CEO has tried to explain at times why we discourage people from using the word "rape" as a verb meaning to "to beat someone in a game", for example.

As a woman who has been working professionally in the computer gaming industry since the early 1990's, the subject of women in gaming, female representation in games, and women's rights in general are topics which are of considerable interest to me. And so I have decided to create a single sticky thread here in the Misc. forum where people will be able to get quick and easy access to links, articles and opinion pieces on the topic.

Please post articles and links and discussion on this topic to this thread whenever you wish. Please ask questions or pose issues of interest whenever you wish. But keep in mind that any and all discussion has to be kept civil and mutually respectful. The same rules that apply to the whole forum apply here: no bashing of people by sex, gender or sexual preference, no bashing of people by religion or lack thereof, and no hateful personal attacks in general.

Deliberate trolling or attempts to drag the thread off into personal attacks, flaming, or any other weird destructive agenda are just going to be deleted.

I am hoping that this topic will make interesting reading and will serve as a useful resource!

KERBEROS-RELATED LINKS

GAMAZON: Adventures of a woman in Gaming

First, I should make it clear that I do write (rarely) opinion pieces on the WIG topic myself. My occasional blog on Gamasutra is called "GAMAZON", and while I haven't been on Gamasutra lately, some of my older articles still get linked and re-posted elsewhere from time to time. I may start writing occasional articles again now that Kerberos is a fully independent studio, and if I write anything on this topic I will post links here.

Dead Girls Have More Fun
Seven Questions For Scorpia
Battle of the Breasts
Make Me a Man
Ugly. You Can't Has It.
The Iron Burka
Feminist Whores Power Activate

The Bust/Waist/Hips BS Tumblr
This Tumblr represents an attempt to collect images of female-playable characters or avatars which are designed by female game developers or artists. I am extremely proud to have our female avatars from the Sword of the Stars universe included there, and even more proud that one of our characters was the first image on the Tumblr.

GENERAL INTEREST LINKS

Anita Sarkeesian's "Feminist Frequency" Videoblog
This young woman has a real genius for saying things that people do not want to hear, and bringing up issues which make people uncomfortable. Her web series, "Tropes Vs. Women In Gaming", is always thought-provoking and often ire-provoking, because it tends to kick us out of the comfort zone and make us defend our assumptions and habits. People should thank her for this, but unfortunately we all usually get mad before we get glad. Like any gadfly, whether you love or hate her is directly dependent on how often you're the one who gets stung.

Official Wesbite
Youtube Channel

MAKE ME A SAMMICH
This blog is billed "on being a women in the USA" but the author is a female (and feminist) game developer. She writes a great deal about bigotry generally and about sexism and sexual assault in particular, but she also writes well about issues of gender and representation in gaming and geek culture. Trigger warnings for anyone who may have difficulty dealing with honest and forthright discussion of sexism and sexual assault, and how the two intersect.

Make Me a Sammich blogs tagged "games"
Make Me a Sammich blogs tagged "geekery"

Rock, Paper, Shotgun Articles.
RPS has a great deal of editorial content and commentary, and there are male and female feminists on staff who are doing some pretty good work these days. This list will probably never be a complete sample of the good articles and questions they're asking, but links are always good to have, and I will keep adding them.

On Heroes of the Storm, Female Designs in MOBA's
RE: That Heroes of the Storm Interview
Tropes Versus Women in Videogames Vs. The Internet
Take a Bow: the Ms. Male Character Explored


Miscellaneous Articles and Resources:


League of Legends Gender Disparity Analysis - nice statistical analysis of the depiction of male and female bodies in LoL, and how the approach differs based on gender.

More to come!
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Eleahen
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Re: The "Women in Gaming" Thread

Post by Eleahen » Tue Nov 26, 2013 9:00 am

This blog of a female gamer contains many examples of how women are treated in online games:
http://www.notinthekitchenanymore.com/
Mostly contains audio samples with transcripts.

Also I'd like to point out one particular story:
Aftermath

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Re: The "Women in Gaming" Thread

Post by fiendishrabbit » Tue Nov 26, 2013 12:44 pm

http://www.gamingaswomen.com, fairly self descriptive. The bloggers are women, the subject is games and gaming and the two perspectives very frequently intersect.
As the sites own description says it's mostly analog, but most of it applies to computer games as well.
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Re: The "Women in Gaming" Thread

Post by Erinys » Tue Nov 26, 2013 8:07 pm

Very cool! Thanks guys. :)

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Re: The "Women in Gaming" Thread

Post by Nspace » Tue Dec 03, 2013 7:20 pm

A very nice (and long) article about the story behind the stereotype of video games being for boys only: No girls allowed
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Re: The "Women in Gaming" Thread

Post by Erinys » Fri Dec 13, 2013 10:31 pm

Latest article from Ian Miles Cheong, a rare game journalist who is also a male feminist, about an explosion of insane misogynist rage which took place when a successful indie dev team chose to hire a female community manager.

Image

Be Respectful and Considerate: Might No. 9 Kickstarter Explodes with Misogynist Rage

“Be respectful and considerate.” Advice that usually gets people far in life, and that goes a long way on the internet, and it is also something Kickstarter asks of its users before they post comments. Unfortunately, many users have been anything but, as a ruckus broke out on Comcept’s Mighty No. 9 Kickstarter backer page yesterday over the hiring of a new community manager.

This new community manager, Dina, presented a piece of fan-art which she made for the upcoming spiritual successor to the beloved Mega Man series, whereby she announced her presence to the community. This alone would not have been enough to raise anyone’s ire, but her artwork depicted the main character as a woman, which was apparently a grave sin for at least some very vocal fans of Mega Man. “After all, it’s Mega Man, not Mega Woman!” was one of the most frequently used arguments against the estrogenization of the beloved robot.

Finding fault with her presentation, these persons decided to pry into Dina’s personal life by combing through her Twitter account for other transgressions against the human race, and found that she had written tweets supportive of feminism and linked to one of Anita Sarkeesian’s videos. In a similar case, her being initially hired as a community manager and artist became tantamount to BioWare’s employment of Jennifer Hepler as a writer for the Dragon Age games—sometimes dubbed as the “cancer that is killing BioWare” by particularly well informed readers.

These vocal individuals went so far as to produce a video “calling out” Dina’s past with “dirt” on her—because sympathising with the feminist cause is indeed enough to demonize someone according to these people. The vocal, well informed fans have since been calling for her resignation from the developer. At this point, these individuals have flooded the game’s development forums, and are trying to hold the game hostage by asking for refunds.
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Re: The "Women in Gaming" Thread

Post by Erinys » Sat Dec 14, 2013 1:04 am

Attempts to bar or hinder female game developers from finding an audience on Project Greenlight--see the harassment of Zoe Quinn.

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Article on Indie Statik: Female Game Developers Can’t Even Submit A Game To Greenlight Without Receiving Harassment
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Re: The "Women in Gaming" Thread

Post by Mecron » Sat Dec 14, 2013 1:35 am

wow...this is getting grotesque.

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Re: The "Women in Gaming" Thread

Post by Vanish » Sat Dec 14, 2013 1:44 am

Erynis wrote:Please post articles and links and discussion on this topic to this thread whenever you wish. Please ask questions or pose issues of interest whenever you wish. But keep in mind that any and all discussion has to be kept civil and mutually respectful. [...]

Deliberate trolling or attempts to drag the thread off into personal attacks, flaming, or any other weird destructive agenda are just going to be deleted.

Being very much mindful of this (as should anyone reading my post), and in the interest of a "healthy" discussion where we can all learn something, I've a question to ask. Unrelated to gaming, but definitely related to the subject.

What is your stance on the concept that it may be unfair for some women to be paid the same wage as men, in physically-demanding labor that involves protecting or saving the life of other human beings (e.g. Firefighter, Police, frontline combat, etc.) ? From a genetic standpoint I don't think anything makes men more "physically apt" than women, however there is evidence that this aspect of a job is sometimes overlooked, during training or job interviews.

Morally, what do you feel is the "right" way to be progressive? How do you feel about certain organisations being pressured into displaying unconditional equality, possibly overlooking certain job pre-requisites to avoid gender bias?

Naturally, men can also be sensitive or "physically inapt". At this point dawning 2014, the mythos that can surround both genders seems to be fading, which is a good thing. Still, at this time, our culture may yield more physically apt/aggressive men and more pacifist/sensitive women, hence why the potential for such an issue may still be on the table.

It's very hard to point to material which wouldn't be construed as having a hidden agenda, but from a humanitarian point of view, I found certain arguments worth a mention. For example, men's tendency to be protective (of women) in the presence of threat, possibly causing additional danger (and/or factors to consider) in the line of duty. We're talking about things such as breaking up a fistfight in a bar, neutralising & cuffing a suspect on your own (your partner being too busy to assist) or ramming-in the door of a building during an emergency. Some believe being more "apt" at this should mean a difference in salary, but even bringing something like this on the table would have a large political impact, currently. What are your thoughts on this?

I'm very much interested in hearing both sides, and few forums out there are as equally friendly towards both genders.
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Re: The "Women in Gaming" Thread

Post by Mecron » Sat Dec 14, 2013 1:50 am

I think you are being a false intellectual setting up a straw man argument in order to cloud the issue and put forth an agenda in the guise of "debate".

The fact is when I was 25 I could have made cop or fireman fairly easily and there still would have been thousands of women better fit for the job than I was.

Done now.


(also if you were planning to start a "Was Poland asking for it?" discussion, I will similarly cut to the chase.)

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Re: The "Women in Gaming" Thread

Post by Vanish » Sat Dec 14, 2013 5:04 am

The question could have been formulated better. I would still appreciate an answer to it.
Last edited by Vanish on Thu Jul 03, 2014 5:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The "Women in Gaming" Thread

Post by ScoSteSal118 » Sat Dec 14, 2013 5:09 am

Mecron wrote:wow...this is getting grotesque.

:shock: :cry: :evil:
So much understatement...

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Re: The "Women in Gaming" Thread

Post by Erinys » Sat Dec 14, 2013 8:10 am

Vanish wrote:What is your stance on the concept that it may be unfair for some women to be paid the same wage as men, in physically-demanding labor that involves protecting or saving the life of other human beings (e.g. Firefighter, Police, frontline combat, etc.) ?


I have bolded the relevant words in your query.

My stance is that calling it "unfair" for women to be paid the same wage as men, for any labor that they perform, is...sexist. I could fill in many other words there, of course. Like "insane", "evil" and "moronic". But really, "sexist" captures all of those and more.

I'm aware that many men like to claim heroism, athleticism, sacrifice or service in high-stress situations as a male privilege. There is no logical, anatomical or psychological reason that supports male privilege in these categories of human endeavor. But these abilities are widely admired and considered signs of good character and worthiness to lead. So preventing women from demonstrating these qualities is a perfectly good strategy to keep them from proving, on a daily basis, that they have equal value to men.

I also think that anyone who believes that you can become a police officer or a firefighter without passing the physical requirements for the job is...severely lacking in information. You do not become a firefighter unless you can lift and carry 200 pounds, as I recall. Whether you have breasts and ovaries while you're lifting and carrying 200 pounds is irrelevant.

Same is true of police work or combat. If you ever spend any time talking to someone who is career military and works frequently with new recruits, you'll find that fitness standards are often difficult for potential recruits to meet nowadays, regardless of whether they are male or female. The overall level of fitness of the general population is not what it once was, at least in the USA. This is not a gender issue. This is a public health issue.

The rest of your post is really not something I'd care to address point by point. It amounts to a long and continuous plea for sexism as a morally, logically, or legally defensible stance. And it isn't.

There is only a one job which men can do that women can never do. It's sperm donation. Virtually any other profession which does not require a sperm donation can be done competently by a woman, if she cares to take on the role. And barring women from any job or role is always a political act. Specifically, a sexist act.

There is no way to "be progressive the right way" other than pushing through the sexist barriers that forbid female participation or limit female success in various fields...and then weathering the storm of hysteria that ALWAYS follows whenever one group of people loses the privilege that they have taken for granted.

Study the violence that was inflicted on members of the Civil Rights movement in the 1960's when black people quietly and non-violently demanded the right to be seated on public transportation, the right to eat at a lunch counter, the right to be seated wherever they pleased in a movie theater, the right to enjoy a public swimming pool. This was the hysterical backlash of the privileged when their sense of entitlement was violated.

We are seeing the exact same thing now in every professional and social space in which women have quietly and non-violently demanded the right to participate. The military. Geek culture. Gaming.

The rape and death threats, the harassment, the stalking, the brutal attempts to blackmail or destroy companies that employ women in the gaming industry....are just part of a backlash against the visible presence of women in the "privileged space" of gaming. It is the equivalent of all of those racist, backward, hateful freaks who violently assaulted people, turned dogs on them, sprayed teargas in their faces, or kicked them into internal bleeding...rather than let a black person sit quietly eating a sandwich. Or drink from a fountain. Or enjoy a movie. Or go to the pool on a sunny day.

So far as the reference to the behavior of sexist men in the military goes...The argument that sexist men could be especially "protective" of female combatants on the front lines is particularly fatuous, in my opinion. The truth is that the real life sexism we've seen in the military has NEVER been soft, cuddly or "romantic chivalrous". On the contrary, military sexism is particularly savage, ugly, brutal and rapey. The rape statistics within the military are grotesque and are indicative of a widespread, widely supported campaign of gender-based terrorism. Male soldiers who consider women their inferiors are far more likely to sexually assault a fellow soldier who is female, as an act of gender-cide to try and drive her out of their privileged domain, than they are to take any "special" lengths to protect her from the enemy.

By contrast, a male soldier who views a female soldier as an equal and a comrade will go to the same lengths to preserve her life that they would for ANY fellow soldier. Good men will fight and take serious risks to save the life of any comrade. It's part of what makes them good men.

If you need a summary of my opinion on how to "do progressive right", it's pretty simple.

Some people are good people, and some are not.

Good people view all other human beings as their equals, morally and ethically speaking. And they treat them accordingly, until a person proves by their own actions and words that they are not decent or competent.

Good people do not embrace stereotypes or indulge in prejudices. They give everyone an equal chance to succeed or fail on their merits; they do not need excuses to keep anyone down or limit their opportunities, so they don't end up having to paint a halo on those excuses. Like claiming it "wouldn't be fair" to give a woman equal money for equal work.

--Arinn
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Re: The "Women in Gaming" Thread

Post by Vanish » Sun Dec 15, 2013 8:23 am

Erinys wrote:Study the violence that was inflicted on members of the Civil Rights movement in the 1960's when black people quietly and non-violently demanded the right to be seated on public transportation, the right to eat at a lunch counter, the right to be seated wherever they pleased in a movie theater, the right to enjoy a public swimming pool. This was the hysterical backlash of the privileged when their sense of entitlement was violated.

Fair enough, it's possible a large bit of it has to do with fear. As for the "chivalrous knight in shining armor" part, I probably pushed the argument too far. I was referring to the reflex of wanting to get loved ones out of harm's way, or protective personalities looking out for those they care about. Some parts in your answer highlighted just how absurd it is to think that only men would be driven to do so, however.

To get back to the OP, the best contribution I could've brought (and relate to a bit) is the Ms. Male trope video. Since it's already on the list, I'll +1 it with an alternate link and some quotes. The Feminist Frequency article offers a list of referenced games, a full text transcript and various other links of gaming interest:
http://www.feministfrequency.com/2013/1 ... -vs-women/

From forums, during a discussion revolving around RPGs who don't offer a gender choice for the protagonist:
Please understand there’s a dire dearth of women in leading roles (or even more-than-walking-scenery roles) already, as succinctly stated by the wonderful Anita Sarkeesian in
The Bechdel Test for Women in Movies. Go on, do take the two minutes to watch her make her point. I’ll be waiting here :) I cannot do much about Hollywood, but I would hate to not have raised this point in a video game project I firmly believe in.

PS: I do realise that merely changing the looks and pronouns will merely cater to another trope, the “Ms. Male” main character (especially the part about gendering the protagonist in Mass Effect 3, starting at 19:45).

From the text transcript of the Ms. Male video, around 19:45:
Still, the female version has a dedicated fanbase who frequently refers to her as “FemShep[ard]”. And although this is meant as an affectionate nickname, it does further highlight her designation as a Ms. Male Character. She is the one with the qualifier attached to her name. She is “Female Shepard” whereas the male version simply gets to be, “Shepard”.

During the advertising of Mass Effect 3, Bioware made a little more effort to include female Shepard with items like an alternate reversible slip cover for the game box (which features the male version by default) as well as a special web only trailer but these gestures feel like an afterthought or niche specialty marketing and hardly what I would call a substantial or equitable inclusion.

So that's that. To comment on the Depression Quest post, when artists step on the scene, there will always be the jealous; those who seem to think it's an all-glorious spotlight and wish they could do the same. If the art is controversial, more will join the crowd. If the art is controversial, AND the artist happens to be part of a minority group... yeah... it gets ugly. All I can say is that regardless of gender, race, religion or anything else... just the act of contributing to art (games and otherwise) is, in and of itself, something people need to appreciate more.
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Re: The "Women in Gaming" Thread

Post by marshb » Sun Dec 15, 2013 2:32 pm

Vanish wrote:
Erinys wrote:Study the violence that was inflicted on members of the Civil Rights movement in the 1960's when black people quietly and non-violently demanded the right to be seated on public transportation, the right to eat at a lunch counter, the right to be seated wherever they pleased in a movie theater, the right to enjoy a public swimming pool. This was the hysterical backlash of the privileged when their sense of entitlement was violated.

Fair enough, it's possible a large bit of it has to do with fear. As for the "chivalrous knight in shining armor" part, I probably pushed the argument too far. I was referring to the reflex of wanting to get loved ones out of harm's way, or protective personalities looking out for those they care about. Some parts in your answer highlighted just how absurd it is to think that only men would be driven to do so, however.

Possible? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/African-Am ... E2%80%9368)

Sorry, my link wont go directly to the page I want. :oops:
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