Friday, 23rd March marked the launch of The IRIS Network. “The IRIS Network? What’s that?” you say? The IRIS Network is a new website that brings women, other underrepresented gamers, and their friends together to discuss, network, and share perspectives in an inclusive, safe (zero tolerance for harassment, etc.) environment. People who enjoy electronic and/or non-electronic games are welcome to participate.
The mission of The IRIS Network is as follows:
After yet another bout of the “where are all the women gamers” on the internet gaming communities, The IRIS Network (TIN) was finally born. Though there are many individual women gamers who write about their experiences, and many sites for women who game to connect and play with each other, none of these sites are there for the express purpose of highlighting gamers (both in the industry and outside of it) and bringing women’s perspectives into the mainstream. Though it may be a lofty goal, that’s exactly what we here at The IRIS Network aim to do.
The forums are for women of all walks of life who count gaming among their passions, men interested in networking with women gamers and perhaps learning more about inclusive game design in the process, and, really, anyone who has ever felt that they have been excluded from most games and/or gaming communities at large.
The IRIS Network’s Directory is a directory of websites of women who discuss gaming. This is both to help foster a sense of connectedness with each other “we’re told so often that women just don’t game/talk about gaming that we begin to believe we’re the only ones out there” and also to help bring awareness to the community about the women who are in it, but for various reasons are overlooked by many big-name community sites. We have everything from blogs, to organizations, to LiveJournal users and communities listed there. If you’re a woman and you have a corner on the internet where you talk about games, please consider adding your site!
Cerise is The IRIS Network’s monthly magazine. In it we highlight women gamers, publish interviews with industry professionals, and discuss gaming related issues. We also take submissions for articles, art, and more.
Although gender is the foremost focus of Cerise, we are dedicated to creating an inclusive space for individuals of all identities traditionally underrepresented in the mainstream, and for our allies who support our movement to increase our presence and representation in the game industry. We are a feminist publication and oppose all forms of oppression and the ways in which that oppression manifests itself in game communities in ways that hurt women, transgender individuals, queer-identified people, people of color, people with disabilities, and other marginalized individuals. We hope that our inclusive philosophy will propagate to help the game industry and culture at large become an environment welcoming to people of all identities.
Cerise is now accepting submissions for Issue 1. The theme is “Getting Women ‘Out There’ In Gaming Journalism.” I’m fairly sure that this theme was a response to Kotaku blogger Brian Crecente’s wonderment that there aren’t more well-known women game bloggers. The deadline is 15th April. For more information about the issue and about the submissions policy, please go to the Cerise homepage.