Brad Wardell's views about technology, politics, religion, world affairs, and all sorts of politically incorrect topics.
Published on November 27, 2012 By Draginol In PC Gaming

GameSpy’s Katie Williams has a terrific blog on the real misogyny that exists in the game industry.

You can read it here: http://alivetinyworld.com/2012/11/27/too-many-reasons-why/

In the article she writes:

I’ve been watching the #1reasonwhy hashtag on Twitter with an anxious kind of understanding. Like, part of me wants to jump right in and post a dozen of my own experiences, but I’ve also learned what happens if you say that shit publicly: you’re berated, blamed, dismissed. I’ve been there.

And she’s right. People seem to like to indulge their most base instincts and turn total strangers into warped avatars of everything they despise.  If they see a young woman making observations they don’t like, some will instantly berate her based on their own preconceived notions.

Our company operates in both the game and general software industries. We’ve had the opportunity to see the drastic difference in the way female PMs/PR/Developers get treated by users/media.  It’s not a pretty picture.

For example, Stardock’s lead game developer is female (Cari Begle).  I don’t know if I could say she personally wrote the majority of the code in Galactic Civilizations but it’s possible she did.  She wrote a huge chunk of the code in Galactic Civilizations II and subsequent (Metacritic >90 game) expansions. She worked on Impulse::Reactor after Twilight of the Arnor until she came back to work on Elemental: Fallen Enchantress.

And she’s not alone. In fact, I think Kael would agree that over 50% of the lines of code in Fallen Enchantress were probably written by women and a sizeable chunk of the artwork players see.

On one gaming forum, a user talked about a gaming dinner I attended where I arrived with 3 women and implied I must have brought them to "look cool" (or something to that effect) ignoring that two of the three women were managers (with male subordinates) and the other was my planner (basically the person who tells me what to do and where to go on trips). In other words, important positions at our company. I don't even think the person realized the misogyny they were displaying so publicly.

And yet, it doesn’t take long to go online and see the abuse hurled at women by male gamers.  It’s bizarre and disgusting. We’re in Michigan so I don’t know if our game studio is set up differently from other game studios but I wonder how many people hurling insults at female gamers have any idea how many of their favorite games were actually made by women?

Meanwhile…

Our main business, software, does not suffer these issues.  I have no worries that our PR manager (a woman) or our marketing manager (a woman) and a given female PM could be sent out to a conference or a tech site and be taken seriously.

At our company, we don’t intentionally hire people because they’re male, female, black, white, etc. (I’m equally obnoxious to everyone I deal with). Perhaps it’s because of our location in Michigan that we don’t have the luxury to indulge our baser instincts. That's because we simply don't "get it".  We're far enough away from the core gaming industry that we don't have a "game culture" here that encourages that kind of thing. It's alien to us.  I could be the most sexist, racist, homophobic, anti-puppy bastard in the world but it wouldn't occur to me to let it get in the way of business even if I were that way. That would be insane. You have to wonder what some of these people out there are thinking (or perhaps they’re just not thinking).

Regardless, I do share the same fears that Katie brings up. The kind of crap I’ve seen thrown onto female gamers has not made us very excited about subjecting our staff to the abuse out there. I always leave it up to the individual on how much “exposure” they want. Most people (male and female) wisely choose privacy. They just want to make games in peace.

What I can say is that I’ve seen the same crap that Katie has seen. I’d like to think it’ll go away in time. My oldest son’s generation play games universally. So there’s hope for the future. In the meantime, what we can do is make sure people know that gaming and game development is not nearly as male dominated as some people seem to think.

Update:

I think there is a lot confusion on what misogyny is. At least, that's the impression I get from reading the comments.

Specifically, what I'm talking about are men who really have contempt for women.  Some men are blatantly unaware of it and others will try to rationalize it.  In either case, I find it ugly.

Misogyny is NOT when a person gets insulted or trolled and that person happens to be a woman. If you let that become a narrative, you will have an endless parade of cynical people who will exploit this to get attention for themselves. 

I see both men and women confuse the issue in different ways.  A man being mean to a woman in itself isn't misogyny. I like to think of myself as an equal opportunity jerk.  I've read enough forum trolls over the years to know there are plenty of cubicle drones out there that live to crap on people who run businesses but lack the fortitude to, you know, actually start and run a business where they have to hire and fire employees. Nothing throws cold water faster on braind-dead but feel-good policies than a bit of reality. If someone thinks they can run a business without ever being "mean" to an employee than go have at it. You can run the world's politest bankrupt company.

The point being, I wouldn't want to see the public awareness of the misogyny in the game industry being turned into a "treat women with kiddie gloves" movement because that's a form of sexism as well.  The problem comes in when men simply make sexist assumptions about women without even knowing them. That's one of the things I've seen. The assumption that a woman doesn't know how to program or know games or what have you. That's nonsense.  Have female coworkers who could absolutely destroy most DOTA2 players.

My pet peeve gets a little political, if you'll forgive me. I see men who decry misogyny but don't do a damn thing about it but think merely "creating awareness" in itself is something.  I've been to a lot of game studios over the years and it's a little absurd to see guys being sanctimonious while they work at a studio where the only woman there is the receptionist or maybe a graphics designer.

Awareness of the issue is a good thing. A better thing is to actually do something about it.  Run a game server? Kick off the scum. Run a forum? Get rid of them. Are in a position of authority? Fire people who demonstrate a problem.  Long before this issue became a popular discussion topic, I fired an employee who showed contempt to his female manager. No warnings. She didn't even complain to me about this employee. I heard about it, brought the guy into my office and fired him on the spot. Words are cheap. Don't just talk about it, do something.

 


Comments (Page 7)
on Dec 07, 2012

Frogboy
Long before this issue became a popular discussion topic, I fired an employee who showed contempt to his female manager. No warnings. She didn't even complain to me. I heard about it, brought the guy into my office and fired him on the spot.  

 

You fire people based on hearsay??

 

 

Just so everybody understands, misogony means 'womanhating'. And "hate" to me really means Hate. Not disliking or being funny, but hateful. Like sabotaging carbreaks or throwing heavy stones so the person has a chance of dying.

Stereotyping is normal and nothing to worry about. Just behave how you want and everything will be fine.

on Dec 07, 2012

Campaigner

Quoting Frogboy, reply 73Long before this issue became a popular discussion topic, I fired an employee who showed contempt to his female manager. No warnings. She didn't even complain to me. I heard about it, brought the guy into my office and fired him on the spot.  

 

You fire people based on hearsay??

 

 

Just so everybody understands, misogony means 'womanhating'. And "hate" to me really means Hate. Not disliking or being funny, but hateful. Like sabotaging carbreaks or throwing heavy stones so the person has a chance of dying.

Stereotyping is normal and nothing to worry about. Just behave how you want and everything will be fine.

 

I suspect expressions of stereotyping and the fallout from this are matters of nuance.  We all stereotype to an extent.  it is how we extend from singular objects to classes of objects, how we make decisions, expectations, fears, dislikes, purchases, etc.  But if I won't work with you or repeatedly insult you on the job because you're an Italian/Jew/Black/Muslim/US Southerner/Roman Catholic/Conservative/Green/Female/Chicano/whatever, then my stereotyping is interfering with the workplace, and coincidentally, I'm a bigot.  And if I get fired, I don't know if I'll feel fine, but it sure will help my old workplace.

on Dec 07, 2012

Glazunov1

But if I won't work with you or repeatedly insult you on the job because you're an Italian/Jew/Black/Muslim/US Southerner/Roman Catholic/Conservative/Green/Female/Chicano/whatever, then my stereotyping is interfering with the workplace, and coincidentally, I'm a bigot.  And if I get fired, I don't know if I'll feel fine, but it sure will help my old workplace.

Dude, if you're green you should go and see a doctor instead of coming to work. Ba dum chh

on Dec 07, 2012

jackswift85

Dude, if you're green you should go and see a doctor instead of coming to work. Ba dum chh

 

See?  Some people will think, "Jackswift85 was funny; I have seen several other posts by Jackswift85 that were funny; I will expect that his future posts might be entertaining," while others will think, "Jackswift85 isn't contributing anything, and his joke is so old that he would have been tarred and feathered for it back in the 18th century, when laws were sensible.  If he posts again, I may read it; and if I find it is much the same, I will avoid future posts of his and salt the thread he's posted in, before calling an exorcist."

 

These are reasonable examples of stereotyping.  They harm no one because they are purely personal, and help the individual determine a course that causes them more enjoyment, or at any rate, less stress.

on Dec 08, 2012

Campaigner
Just so everybody understands, misogony means 'womanhating'. And "hate" to me really means Hate. Not disliking or being funny, but hateful. Like sabotaging carbreaks or throwing heavy stones so the person has a chance of dying.
As a writer, I've been fighting a one-man war against the words "misogyny," "Islamophobia," and "homophobia" for years, along with less politically-charged things like the use of "women" as an adjective. But that doesn't mean the problem isn't there, only that we are calling it by the wrong thing.

on Dec 11, 2012

I am also a writer, and i have been fighting ignorant linguistics for sometime. I never refer to "god" in gender-form, I never attach "Phobia" to something that isn't a psychological illness.

 

Social construct phobias are ugly - nobody for instance, can prove to have a "phobia of homosexuals" but there is support for a "phobia of being homosexual". There is also no basis for a mental illness of fearing Islam or Christianity. There are good reasons to fear some of the things people do, but social organisms aren't capable of having fear - they are capable of acting on discrimination based on anxieties.

 

As for stereotyping with strong language, this goes back to philosophy and critical thinking. People feel they have more power in their voice (written or spoken) when using pejoratives and conjecture with terminology like "infanticide" to  describe the issue of abortion, "death panels" or describing things in the extreme. We all know someone who does it - you want to make a comment about something simple as "Man, i have to work overtime this weekend" and you can't because the person near you will invade your ears with "Yeah, i am tired of getting raped".

 

I believe personally, the solution is to let people know that using extreme language, and pejoratives for EVERYTHING is just like typing in all caps. Nobody likes it, and it makes the writer/speaker look naive and narrow minded.

on Dec 17, 2012

Frogboy

As great as that sounds.. its not as if the gaming industry is an island. These attitudes etc are things that permeate society. That certainly doesn't justify it, but does allude to the larger issue that no amount of changes in the game industry itself are going to solve. I mean its all great to discuss a perfect world, but "reality bites" and the game industry does, and will continue to reflect the society it belongs to.


I very much disagree with part of this.

While I can agree that the world is not a perfect place and that far more work needs to be done. The game industry is exceptionally full of misogyny. The game industry is peculiar in a lot of ugly ways from other industries. It seems particularly effective at attracting uniquely hateful people with a lot of excess energy to expend.



Why do you think this is? 

In my experence a lot of programmers are on the Autistic spectrum (High functioning Aspergers like myself) with impared social skills to some extent but other then a few minor issues that someone always steps in to correct I have never seen a problem. 

Are the people in the gameing industry different or is it the companies that are different?  I didn't take a programming position in the gameing industry that had a slightly higher salary because the job security was non-existant and the company did not feel very professional. 

on Dec 19, 2012

Misogyny in gaming

Telecom is way worse...

I am thinking it is 2 separate issues, a generational thing and an immaturity thing. The bunch of bald, old farts I've worked with who know ITU technical specs inside and out have some pretty crappy opinions about their own wives, let alone female programmers. As a teenager I've said alot of things I didn't really mean simply for shock value.

-Teenage males are mostly retards that will grow out of it
-Old boyz club turds come from a different and unbalanced generation with strange biases that don't propagate outside of their generation. They also get more weight then they deserve because of the ice cream cone demographic shape they belong to.

I don't see this problem that much in mature adults belonging to my generation(X) and below...Disassociative personality disorder CEO types notwithstanding (they see everyone as objects for their own gratification, so are they really misogynists?)

on Dec 20, 2012

LORD-ORION
-Teenage males are mostly retards that will grow out of it

To be fair to teenage boys, most of them are simply basing their view of the world on a massive quantity of coherent and consistent falsehood which they get from TV, lacking the personal experience to realize that it is satire and not reality.

Hence the 'growing out of' part.

Realizing that you should consciously guard against tainting your views based on the nonsense that occurs on TV (or better yet, abstaining from TV) is a great way to be mature for your age

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