How to stop hurting -- and start helping -- women in games

Frank Wu writes, "Brianna Wu gave this awesome talk at AltConf a couple days ago about sexism in the gaming industry. No punches pulled. Discussions of all the %$#@ girls have to put up with just to do their jobs, and what we all can do to help."

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  1. One way games, even "traditionally male" games, can help is by offering reasonable female player model choices.


    Not reasonable:

  2. That's a false binary. The tension isn't sex positive feminism vs. prudes, it's titillation vs humane depictions. There's a big difference.

  3. In that comic the woman in the bikini is presumably the one who made the decision to wear it—that's what makes it OK. The same outfit would be demeaning if the selection was made by someone else—like the outfit Jabba the Hutt forces Leia to wear. The bikini-clad woman also represents the extreme end of a spectrum, not the typical woman walking in public.

    In video games, most improbably-proportioned female characters who show a lot of skin were rendered that way because a male-dominated group of developers and their (presumed) male-dominated audience like looking at the sexy sexy ladyflesh.

    In the video game world, a woman who looks and dresses like a normal human being (think Chell from Portal) is the exception rather than the rule.

  4. gwwar says:

    How were the following points hostile? I thought the talk was excellent and rings pretty true to me and the industry I work in.

    Stop Treating Sexism like another Controversy to Discuss
    Start Showing Basic Sensitivity

    Stop Telling Women our experiences are Wrong
    Start Respecting our Lived Experiences

    Stop Making WIT issues all About Men
    Start Listening

    Start Doing Your Part to Help Women with Children Stay in Tech

    Start Widening Your Network to Include Women

    Stop Identifying yourself as a Nice Guy

    Start Accepting that we all have a part to play in making this better

    Stop Thinking that Sexism in tech is a Mad Men Moment

    • It's a series of microaggressions (Death by 1000 papercuts)

    Start Understanding that it's much more subtle.

    The absence of privilege is not oppression

    Start realizing that tech will become more diverse

    Stop Thinking that it's up to women to solve these issues

  5. Brianna Wu here. Wow, Gwwar. Thanks for typing that up. I would have just posted the slides here. ^^

    You know, as the presenter - I wanted to speak off the cuff and with passion. I felt like there would be more truth in it if I didn't read off a prompter. It was also in the middle of WWDC, and I was running on coffee and adrenaline.

    But ultimately, I don't really care what you think about my tone or my sighing. That's just a distraction from the main topic, which is about the BS women deal with in this industry. It's serious, and it bears addressing.

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