Now Read This: Three Articles on Sexism and Games Culture
I read a lot of articles and blog posts about -isms (sexism, racism, etc.) and how they relate to videogames and the culture and community of gamers. Here are three articles I read over the past week that I found thoughtful, insightful, interesting, and which I think you should read, too.
Each article discusses sexism at different levels. The first one talks about sexism and the role of media creators and artists in perpetuating it (or challenging it). The second is a macro-level discussion about the sexist and unrealistic idealisation of the female nerd by male nerd culture as a whole. The third is a personal account of sexist microaggression as encountered in daily life in the game development community.
This article provides an account of a panel at which the Art Director of Deus Ex: Human Revolution, Jonathan Jacques-Bellêtete, and the Art Director of Final Fantasy XIII-2 talk about their approaches to characters and how that influences character design. Comments by Jacques-Bellêtete during the panel and his artistic rendition of Final Fantasy XIII‘s lead character, Lightning, revealed unfortunate sexist attitudes in how developers approach the creation of female characters.
This is a fantastic article that discusses the difficult waters that geeky women have to navigate in male-dominated nerd communities. This post focuses on the aggravating aspect of nerd culture where it’s okay to be a geeky woman, as long as you’re “right” kind of geeky woman–the kind that doesn’t raise a stink about sexism or make any sort of critique of media that involves equality or the marginalisation of anyone who isn’t an able-bodied, straight, white, cis male:
We are welcome in the boys club provide we acknowledge that is unquestionably male space and kicking up a fuss about it is actually not sexy, so you should just stop.
This is a must-read story about casual sexism amongst game developers. In it a game designer attends attends a local developer night at which designers can work on projects in a shared space. There, she experiences casual sexism as her fellow developers discuss “the number one rule of game design” i.e. “huge tits everywhere”. Other male game developers at the event have the opportunity to stand in solidarity as allies, to challenge this casual sexism.
One of the biggest obstacles to equality is when men remain silently complicit in the sexist behaviour of other men. Given the fact that women have to encounter sexism in gaming communities simply by participating in communities, and we don’t have infinite (emotional, mental, etc.) energy to challenge sexism every single time it rears its ugly head (which is a lot!), we have to choose our battles carefully. We need help: we need men to stand up to sexism, too. Women cannot and should not alone bear the burden of both suffering under the effects of and being victims of sexism and also bear the full weight and responsibility of ending sexism when much of the power to end sexism lies in the hands of those who implicitly or explicitly perpetuate it.