Electronic Arts VP Says Sexism Complaints Are "Misguided"

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Electronic Arts VP Says Sexism Complaints Are "Misguided"

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Electronic Arts Vice President Gabrielle Toledano says that blaming sexism for the shortage of women in the game industry is a "cop-out."

Nobody will argue that there are far fewer women working in the videogame industry than men, and very few would claim that sexism, in one form or another, isn't largely responsible. But in a recent column on Forbes, Gabrielle Toledano, executive vice president and chief talent officer at Electronic Arts, argues that very point, stating that if we want to increase the number of women working in the industry, "We have to recognize that the problem isn't sexism."

Toledano acknowledged that sexism is an issue but claimed that it's no worse in the videogame industry than anywhere else. Instead, she said that a lot of women are reluctant to identify as gamers, which naturally precludes any thoughts about pursuing a career in game development, and that while the industry "needs and wants more women," there just aren't enough of them to hire.

"If women don't join this industry because they believe sexism will limit them, they're missing out. The sky is the limit when it comes to career opportunities for women (and men) in games. If we want the tide to turn and the ratio of men to women to really change then we need to start making women realize that fact," she wrote. "Sexism is an unfortunate reality of our times, but as women we must seek the power and ability in ourselves to change the dynamic. Cast aside the preconceptions, and look for the opportunities and places to make an impact. And I can tell you firsthand that in the video game industry women are not just welcome, we are necessary and we are equal."

Source: Forbes

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I think there is some truth to this. From what I can tell, there aren't really too many women on game design courses or in game studios, just from personal choice. That said, sexism in the industry and the community is still an issue, and we do need to talk about it and try to weed it out.

Sounds like a good attitude to have and it seems to match what I've seen myself whilst studying IT.

I didn't notice any hostility specifically against women, there simply weren't many of them. Those that were there were treated equal on all accounts as far as I'm aware but they were a vast minority.

Gearhead mk2:
From what I can tell, there aren't really too many women on game design courses or in game studios, just from personal choice.

I think that the so-called personal choice may actually stem from inherently sexist social pressures. This is the same for almost all of the tech fields. There is this norm that dictates that women don't write code or build things or whatever, that those are "guy" things. There isn't a good reason for it, but such pressures do exist and are also a problem. I spent 4 years pursuing a B.S. in Electrical Engineering, and if you add up all of the women who were ever in any of my engineering classes, you'd get maybe 12. If that many men are "choosing" to go into engineering and that few women, there must be some externalities at work.

Varitel:

Gearhead mk2:
From what I can tell, there aren't really too many women on game design courses or in game studios, just from personal choice.

I think that the so-called personal choice may actually stem from inherently sexist social pressures. This is the same for almost all of the tech fields. There is this norm that dictates that women don't write code or build things or whatever, that those are "guy" things. There isn't a good reason for it, but such pressures do exist and are also a problem. I spent 4 years pursuing a B.S. in Electrical Engineering, and if you add up all of the women who were ever in any of my engineering classes, you'd get maybe 12. If that many men are "choosing" to go into engineering and that few women, there must be some externalities at work.

Yes, like women making different choices. I just love how women can't even be responsible for their own choices, there is always a man to blame for everything.

Similar to another article from an EA human resources manager discussing qualified degree software engineers, the lack of being the topic, within the industry. Going to armchair this one, but as it has been my experience the women that would be of greatest asset to the industry are often times, better than, the industry. They are above it.

To round that statement out some, many capable women with an active and curious engagement in the technical sciences generally find themselves pursuing accolades in hard science fields which are much better established than that of the games industry. Can't say I blame the gender for simply being smart enough to realize that being paid peanuts on the dollar and working insane hours in production pipelines not as attractive as perhaps a cushy research job, or industrial applications appointment offering superior compensation and impeccable work environment.

Let us be real for a second... if you are qualified to work on the software suite for a new Ford automobile your job is secure. If you where over at 38 studies doing world building for some piece of vapor-ware... life just came at at you fast.

Turn over rate in software (games) is high... really high. Surprised anyone stays in it for very long, man or woman. I suppose if one "loves" it then your not really working.

Then again, why work for EA at the sequel farm? Just cook your own game up and sell it out the back door. If your own office is a hostile work environment, you got bigger problems than moronic sexism at an E3.

That's still caused by sexism if you look at the bigger picture, even if not by misogynist CEOs intentional malvolance.

That there can be so extremely fewer women in ANY industry than man, isn't simply caused by the whims of ladies not feeling like becoming game developers, but also the result of both thousands of years of "stay in the kitchen", combined with the past few decades of fresh stereotyping and male nerd hostility against girls in gaming.

EA might be many things, but they are innocent about this one. That doesn't mean that the rest of us should just shrug and conclude that "for ome reason there are simply fewer women in gaming than men, even though we aren't even actively chasing them away with pitchforks (any more)."

Varitel:

Gearhead mk2:
From what I can tell, there aren't really too many women on game design courses or in game studios, just from personal choice.

I think that the so-called personal choice may actually stem from inherently sexist social pressures. This is the same for almost all of the tech fields. There is this norm that dictates that women don't write code or build things or whatever, that those are "guy" things. There isn't a good reason for it, but such pressures do exist and are also a problem. I spent 4 years pursuing a B.S. in Electrical Engineering, and if you add up all of the women who were ever in any of my engineering classes, you'd get maybe 12. If that many men are "choosing" to go into engineering and that few women, there must be some externalities at work.

I agree to an extent. I know social pressures can be fairly affecting, given that they are everywhere, and I'm all for talking about predujices in everyday life, but I think you're reading too much into that. Not everything is something-ist. Yes, biases and social pressures can keep women out of IT, but it can't be the only reason why there's more men. Maybe men are just more atracted to the tech field.

Why do so many people ignore the societal elements of sexism? Seriously, why? Is that something that just goes straight over everyone's head? Society and gender roles push women towards more "caring" and "service" careers (like nursing, teaching, and waiting) while it pushes men towards more "technical" and "production" careers (like accounting, construction, and engineering). This is bad and needs to change. Is that so hard to understand? :\

BreakfastMan:
Why do so many people ignore the societal elements of sexism? Seriously, why? Is that something that just goes straight over everyone's head? Society and gender roles push women towards more "caring" and "service" careers (like nursing, teaching, and waiting) while it pushes men towards more "technical" and "production" careers (like accounting, construction, and engineering). This is bad and needs to change. Is that so hard to understand? :\

It's easy to understand but most people think that sexism only applies to women and I object to those people. No one screams sexism when women dominate teaching or nursing because that wouldn't be PC.

BreakfastMan:
Why do so many people ignore the societal elements of sexism? Seriously, why? Is that something that just goes straight over everyone's head? Society and gender roles push women towards more "caring" and "service" careers (like nursing, teaching, and waiting) while it pushes men towards more "technical" and "production" careers (like accounting, construction, and engineering). This is bad and needs to change. Is that so hard to understand? :\

And you shouldn't forget that women and men are different to begin with either. Sure, society will have it's impact, but nature itself made us different, and we will already from when we're little babies make different choices because of our gender. I'm quite sure you are well aware of the whole nature vs nurture debate.

I think it's a fair point. If sexism was the reason that there aren't many women working in the gaming industry, then women wouldn't work in any industry. That said though, you still can't deny that there's kind of a "Boy's Club" vibe in gaming as a whole. Maybe that vibe exists more because of the lack of women and is less the cause of it, but it's still there. It's also worth considering that few social groups are as hostile towards their women as nerd culture (ie: the "fake" geek girl hate, and the fact that women are usually more called upon to "prove" that they're actually into anime/comics/games/etc), so I could certainly see how, when growing up, most women will end-up being drawn more towards other social groups, and thus there aren't as many women in the industry who's fans end-up turning them off to it.

So you can certainly argue that sexism is a cop-out, but you also can't deny that it's a big factor.

BreakfastMan:
Why do so many people ignore the societal elements of sexism? Seriously, why? Is that something that just goes straight over everyone's head? Society and gender roles push women towards more "caring" and "service" careers (like nursing, teaching, and waiting) while it pushes men towards more "technical" and "production" careers (like accounting, construction, and engineering). This is bad and needs to change. Is that so hard to understand? :\

This.

It's a total chicken VS egg scenario in any case. Not many women identify as gamers because not many games target women.

BreakfastMan:
Why do so many people ignore the societal elements of sexism? Seriously, why? Is that something that just goes straight over everyone's head? Society and gender roles push women towards more "caring" and "service" careers (like nursing, teaching, and waiting) while it pushes men towards more "technical" and "production" careers (like accounting, construction, and engineering). This is bad and needs to change. Is that so hard to understand? :\

But why does it need to change? Forcing women into careers they just don't want, and men into the same, would be counterproductive, and, if anything, would increase sexism/resentment towards society.

Just let people go into whatever field they want to (and are good at), regardless of gender. As noted, this is already happening in many fields on the employer end. And if women in general still don't like engineering, then *why should it matter*? There will obviously end up being differences in demographics between careers, no matter how much society just doesn't care, because of differences in chemistry/physiology and just-plain-chance.

Side note: Many people (outside the industry) still think that the comic book industry is sexist, that conditions are nastier for women writers/artists, but at least several females actually in the industry have noted that it just isn't the case; that, while women are rare in the industry, they are not treated differently there. I can provide a source if requested, but it will take some digging. I imagine there's similar things at work for the video game industry.

This is certainly a breath of fresh air and this is the honest to god truth that all this rampant bullshit about sexism and misogyny in the video game industry has been inflated to be a much bigger problem than it actually is.

The core of the problem has always been on each individual person to take the risk and put in the effort to be considered as a good candidate to work in any industry. I remember when I tried to pursue a career in IT and the classes I took? Primarily men and even our professor confronted this issue. The hard truth was that there were so little women, not because they were afraid of some big boogey man of sexism but simply the lack of interest in relation towards pursuing other opportunities given their current set of skills and desires. That's it.

Is sexism a problem? Yes, but let's be honest, it is a personal and usually 1 on 1 interaction problem and even in those 1 on 1 moments it could be something as simple as a misunderstanding. I can't tell you how many times I end up walking into a best buy where because some guy is in the same outfit as the woman I go up to the guy and ask a question because he was closest only to find out he doesn't work there and then the actual employee who is a woman is now pissed at me and doesn't want to help me because I asked the guy because he was just closer when I thought he was doing some stock check. I even remember making the same mistake at conventions I went to where I go up to the guy in the suit and tie like he is ready to work but newp, the actual sales person is the woman in cosplay when hundreds of other people around me are in cosplay and now I'm seen as the sexist jerk for an honest mistake that everyone makes.

Right now with all the sexist claims being thrown around the video game industry it is honestly quite the cop out especially those who try and monopolize on that cop out for their own personal gains just cashing in on this sensationalist drama or their own ideological beliefs or to sustain their own career path as if they were some yellow journalist.

As someone currently studying game design at a university, I can tell you that what she says is absolutely true. There are no women in any of my courses (maybe about 1 or 2). We want and would love more women to be a part of what we do and offer a different perspective, the department has tried advertising specifically to women in the hope of generating interest in our program, but their efforts have gone without result.

Seriously, IF YOU ARE A WOMEN INTERESTED IN DEVELOPING GAMES, THEN PURSUE THIS INTEREST!

It's the first step to having a broader range of input in video games, and can lead to nothing but good.

BreakfastMan:
Why do so many people ignore the societal elements of sexism? Seriously, why? Is that something that just goes straight over everyone's head? Society and gender roles push women towards more "caring" and "service" careers (like nursing, teaching, and waiting) while it pushes men towards more "technical" and "production" careers (like accounting, construction, and engineering). This is bad and needs to change. Is that so hard to understand? :\

I agree that society enforced gender rolls can go fuck themselves. But I have to wonder, even without preconceptions, just how different men and women really are in human terms.

DVS BSTrD:

BreakfastMan:
Why do so many people ignore the societal elements of sexism? Seriously, why? Is that something that just goes straight over everyone's head? Society and gender roles push women towards more "caring" and "service" careers (like nursing, teaching, and waiting) while it pushes men towards more "technical" and "production" careers (like accounting, construction, and engineering). This is bad and needs to change. Is that so hard to understand? :\

I agree that society enforced gender rolls can go fuck themselves. But I have to wonder, even without preconceptions, just how different men and women really are in human terms.

Not by much, really. Beyond predispositions towards certain body-types, men and women have little to no differences, psychologically.

And with that, I take my leave of this thread. I have seen enough of these type of threads to know how they go. Pretty soon Phasmal, Vault101, or evilthecat will show up, then Therumancer, mathew_lane, or someone similar will make an appearance, and the entire thread will descend into flames. So, excuse if I want to get out now when the getting is good, now that I have said my piece.

Industry and community are very different things. She's probably right, in any industry that there is a demographic missing, their opportunities to get to the top are dramatically increased.

Open sexism isn't commonplace in any professional workplace, for fear of lawsuit (if nothing else).

DVS BSTrD:

BreakfastMan:
Why do so many people ignore the societal elements of sexism? Seriously, why? Is that something that just goes straight over everyone's head? Society and gender roles push women towards more "caring" and "service" careers (like nursing, teaching, and waiting) while it pushes men towards more "technical" and "production" careers (like accounting, construction, and engineering). This is bad and needs to change. Is that so hard to understand? :\

I agree that society enforced gender rolls can go fuck themselves. But I have to wonder, even without preconceptions, just how different men and women really are in human terms.

In terms of biology and evolution, quite a bit actually especially when you look at the entire spectrum of the human race evolving from a homo erectus to today's homo sapien(yes I had to double check if I was using homo erectus properly).

A good deal of those barriers where evolution even in something as a small time frame as a couple hundred years ago has essentially destroyed the need for those biological differences to stand out when compared to say 50,000 years ago. So there really was a point in history where those preconceptions actually made a basic biological sense when it came to evolution and survival of our species. Today however? You will rarely see it or it is a lot more subtle where those preconceptions will suddenly take precedence but overall those preconceptions in terms of gender are gone due to things like the welfare state, state government, and technology.

I would say most people would probably on the outset think like yourself and the time we are currently living in compared to say looking at the bigger picture understand that men and women are really quite different. Either that or people would more because we look at society more think of this as a societal question rather than a biological question or evolutionary question.

Of course, it can't be the sexism in the industry and in gaming as a whole which discourages women from getting involved.

*sigh*

BreakfastMan:

Not by much, really. Beyond predispositions towards certain body-types, men and women have little to no differences, psychologically.

And with that, I take my leave of this thread. I have seen enough of these type of threads to know how they go. Pretty soon Phasmal, Vault101, or evilthecat will show up, then Therumancer, mathew_lane, or someone similar will make an appearance, and the entire thread will descend into flames. So, excuse if I want to get out now when the getting is good, now that I have said my piece.

I basically agree with this, men and women are very much alike. Their chemical make up is different but 90% of men are different to others biologically. EVERYBODY is similar in that they are all COMPLETELY different and yes I know that sounds like some after school special, which makes it all the weirder that so many people forget this. The games industry is growing out of old habits, they just die hard.

Now I think im gonna leave to and allow the admins to go about their necessary/gruesome buisness...

Sounds like the gaming industry is in need of "binders full of women", eh?* :D

BreakfastMan:
Why do so many people ignore the societal elements of sexism? Seriously, why? Is that something that just goes straight over everyone's head? Society and gender roles push women towards more "caring" and "service" careers (like nursing, teaching, and waiting) while it pushes men towards more "technical" and "production" careers (like accounting, construction, and engineering). This is bad and needs to change. Is that so hard to understand? :\

Actually that's the conflict model of sociology with regards gender. It's in direct opposition to structural functionalism, which states that it's not necessarily a bad thing that men and women perform different roles in society. It's still hotly debated which of the two theoretical backgrounds is correct, because both field and experimental observations show evidence for either of them.
That makes job distribution between genders a grey area, which in turn makes the debate a lot more complicated. So yes, in other words, it is that hard to understand. After all, if there were a clear-cut answer to the debate no-one would be having it. But I don't think being condescending towards either side exactly helps move things along.

*Figured I might as well use it before no one gets that joke anymore.

I agree with her mostly though I don't think it's just games that have a lack of women.

When I was at college studying IT we only had 2 female students in my class of 20, similar statistics for all the other classes attending college at the time. I'm working in a software company now and the number has shrunk, now there are only two women in a team of 30+ software developers. (I also hear my job (IT Technician) had several applicants: All Male)

I think the problem is that IT has a tendency to be viewed as a 'guy thing', just look at any IT related stereotype, you're near enough guaranteed to have a fat nerdy bloke sat amidst a pile of computer bits and I think subconsciously women become averse to the job for that reason, same way men tend to not go into nursing.

In Summary: It isn't some underlying sexism within IT, the problem is society perceives IT as a nerdy male job hence women are less inclined to choose that career path.

BreakfastMan:
Why do so many people ignore the societal elements of sexism? Seriously, why? Is that something that just goes straight over everyone's head? Society and gender roles push women towards more "caring" and "service" careers (like nursing, teaching, and waiting) while it pushes men towards more "technical" and "production" careers (like accounting, construction, and engineering). This is bad and needs to change. Is that so hard to understand? :\

I certainly agree that western cultures specifically tend/trend towards pushing life pursuits onto an individual in a generally sexist way. Is that even debatable anymore?

Now where I would attempt to make a case is that one would have to demonstrate that given all the limitations and biasing "removed" from lets say, twins (one male one female) that all things considered equal, that indeed a man or a woman show no strong tendencies towards particular fields or areas of personal interest, self development, or employment.

Now I think one would have some ground from which to make a case. Simply saying "this is bad and needs to change" really doesn't do that. I do not find it particularly hard to understand.

Now, as a parent of a boy and girl, and acutely aware of this ongoing discussion I will freely admit, that it is not as "cut and dry" as it is often made to appear in ridiculously simplified terms. Though as with any change within a societies progression simply encouraging people on a case by case basis to engage the activities in which they find contentment is for my money, the way to go. If that means playing with dolls that is what it is... but not a few feet away is a small assortment of dart guns and my daughter is a pretty good shot. Nor do I care when my son plays "house". Why should I be concerned with that? I play house all the time, I am no stranger to a dirty dish.

That all said, at present, I am not obliged to attempt to make a case that boys and girls are not somewhat indeterminately biased by nature towards particular fields of interest. Heck my wife likes competition grade R/C rock crawlers, and painting her nails... so what? Now her passion has been the medical industry and ultimately I think she will want to create a small private school and pursue the roll of an educator. Awesome for her.

If we, as a society, are at the point where people are being denied the opportunity to make reasonable rational choices for themselves, sure... it is an issue in the pursuit of a civilized society. Thing is one would have to show, beyond a reasonable shadow of a doubt, that denial of opportunity is happening, and by happening I mean happening more than a tiny percentage when compared to the 320~340 million people in let's say, the US.

My point is that the opportunity is there. Yes, likely in some fields it may be more difficult to work as a professional engineer as a woman for lack of gender peer, or for a man to become a nurse without criticism, but the opportunity to pursue it is there; for the most part.

It's not a perfect world, but in all fairness, it is pretty darn good. As it has been my experience most of these highly technical fields "do" require (although do not advertise) a certain "lifetime" of interest to really be any good at the field anyways.

With technology becoming more accessible and not the domain of the social outcast male, I honestly think we will see more woman pursuing "hard" development. Hard is hard though, and again... (strums a harp) good developers, highly professional people no matter what the field are almost always people who have been at it in one way or another for many many years.

One sort of has to give a damn about the material, beyond it's social ramifications. We may be able to teach everything there is to know on a subject, but we cannot teach "caring" about the subject in a meaningful way. I just try to cultivate the genius when I see it... cause I know at the end of the day, one cannot "wish" it to be, nor "wish" that a qualified applicant with a good idea is going to pop through the door. In fact, the odds are against it.

EA looks to be saying they have jobs that need to be filled. That is opportunity. Just take it! Why is that so hard?

Tenmar:
Either that or people would more because we look at society more think of this as a societal question rather than a biological question or evolutionary question.

Gee, people see society as a societal question... Really now?
But you're right of course. Society can indeed be seen an evolutionary tendency whereby we, as a species, prolong our existence. Whether or not you see it that way, however, hinges on various philosophical questions including: "Where does morality come from?" "Is the universe dualistic in nature?" and "What is consciousness and do other people have it?"
While I agree that in a scientific sense it is easier to identify societies as being driven by biology, a person's own ideological background can influence their preconceptions about the matter.

PunkRex:

BreakfastMan:

Not by much, really. Beyond predispositions towards certain body-types, men and women have little to no differences, psychologically.

And with that, I take my leave of this thread. I have seen enough of these type of threads to know how they go. Pretty soon Phasmal, Vault101, or evilthecat will show up, then Therumancer, mathew_lane, or someone similar will make an appearance, and the entire thread will descend into flames. So, excuse if I want to get out now when the getting is good, now that I have said my piece.

I basically agree with this, men and women are very much alike. Their chemical make up is different but 90% of men are different to others biologically. EVERYBODY is similar in that they are all COMPLETELY different and yes I know that sounds like some after school special, which makes it all the weirder that so many people forget this. The games industry is growing out of old habits, they just die hard.

Now I think im gonna leave to and allow the admins to go about their necessary/gruesome buisness...

I agree with that completely. I have two flatmates who both do games design; one guy, one girl. To say that their interests and ways of thinking are similar is understating it. Just because one of them has two X chromosomes, it doesn't mean she's going to have a completely different mindset than the one with an X and a Y. Case in point, they're on the exact same course.

Though I do know there's many less girls on the course than there are guys. It's unfortunate really but I don't think that's really going to go away until the stigma that video games are a guy's thing goes away.

And now I cast Flame Shield and put up my umbrella for the oncoming shit storm.

Crono1973:
It's easy to understand but most people think that sexism only applies to women and I object to those people. No one screams sexism when women dominate teaching or nursing because that wouldn't be PC.

I wish more people would be brave enough to discuss the plight of the male nurse, men who enter a female-dominated sector of the workforce and experience horrible sexism like... tending to make more money than their female counterparts... being denigrated by some for doing a job that is thought to be "beneath" men... raising the prestige of the job in the eyes of others by their mere presence...

God, it must be so difficult.

chadachada123:

BreakfastMan:
Why do so many people ignore the societal elements of sexism? Seriously, why? Is that something that just goes straight over everyone's head? Society and gender roles push women towards more "caring" and "service" careers (like nursing, teaching, and waiting) while it pushes men towards more "technical" and "production" careers (like accounting, construction, and engineering). This is bad and needs to change. Is that so hard to understand? :\

But why does it need to change? Forcing women into careers they just don't want, and men into the same, would be counterproductive, and, if anything, would increase sexism/resentment towards society.

Just let people go into whatever field they want to (and are good at), regardless of gender. As noted, this is already happening in many fields on the employer end. And if women in general still don't like engineering, then *why should it matter*? There will obviously end up being differences in demographics between careers, no matter how much society just doesn't care, because of differences in chemistry/physiology and just-plain-chance.

Side note: Many people (outside the industry) still think that the comic book industry is sexist, that conditions are nastier for women writers/artists, but at least several females actually in the industry have noted that it just isn't the case; that, while women are rare in the industry, they are not treated differently there. I can provide a source if requested, but it will take some digging. I imagine there's similar things at work for the video game industry.

It's not about forcing women into careers they don't want. Rather, the focus should be on removing societal biases discouraging girls from being interested in those fields in the hopes of entering them when they become women.

Granted, I'm mostly on the "nurture" side of "nature vs nurture." I think the main reason we don't see more women in technical fields is because women are discouraged from being into them as girls, so many who'd otherwise love those fields never develop the skills or passion for them when growing up. The people who argue we *need* more women in those sectors *now* are silly and reductionist. Really, we should be examining and correcting biases in society so that we have more female college grads entering those sectors twenty years down the road.

As for why we should want more women in the game industry besides empowerment... I'm in the "games as young art form" camp. I'd like to see more equal representation of women (and people of color and LGBT individuals) because gaming is an expressive medium and having a more diverse crowd telling stories tends to mean those stories will be more diverse too.

bananafishtoday:

Crono1973:
It's easy to understand but most people think that sexism only applies to women and I object to those people. No one screams sexism when women dominate teaching or nursing because that wouldn't be PC.

I wish more people would be brave enough to discuss the plight of the male nurse, men who enter a female-dominated sector of the workforce and experience horrible sexism like... tending to make more money than their female counterparts... being denigrated by some for doing a job that is thought to be "beneath" men... raising the prestige of the job in the eyes of others by their mere presence...

God, it must be so difficult.

This is exactly what I mean, when it's sexism against men, it's ignored or belittled. Well, if you can't think more equally minded then I don't want to talk to you.

Stalydan:

And now I cast Flame Shield and put up my umbrella for the oncoming shit storm.

Oh relax, this isn't going to be a shit storm. The main reason the whole Anita thing is a shit storm is because given Anita's portfolio and pending how much people really analyzed her work in relation to her funded project is why there is a shit storm and honestly it is something that isn't as cut and dry either. Because you can't simply write it off as Anita got harassed and death threats and only that.

Most people had a problem with her because pending your hobbies and how invested you are into said hobbies were quite gobsmacked at how poorly researched and how incredibly negative and how sexist and insulting she was about the subject.

I mean if anything the reason she got a lot of crap is because when her own work is being taken seriously because she is being serious and earnest of what she believes in. And when she goes so far to call in her own Movie review of Suckerpunch a virus and other insults and completely ignore the actual movie, plot, and actors. It is just hard to take her seriously. Another example is how she just goes on a tirade against legos and the female line they created. Sure on the outset it seems sexist and lazy, but when you factor in the fact that Lego had to invest millions of dollars in research, focus groups, and marketing that the female line isn't something that was slapped together at the last second. But Anita's narrative makes you think it was done as some rushed project and feels offended when the risk by Lego was done because of people like Anita. I mean it is like bringing a horse to water but the horse refusing the drink, you put in all that energy and effort only to get snubbed for all that work.

I remember when she was given the spotlight I looked at some of her videos and first thought, hey make sense. But on closer inspection and when she started talking about the hobbies I've been involved with for DECADES it was clear that her research for trying to be such a serious critic was honestly terrible and her videos were more about agenda based pandering and pleasing her base with a narrative they were comfortable with.

So yeah that shit storm is more about Anita and not the actual issue of sexism or the differences between men and women.

Why are women "necessary"? I'm not saying I don't want women to work in the industry because I don't really care either way, but implying there are jobs in the industry that require women is self indulgent if you ask me.

As for the rest of the article, she's getting a good point across here. Women are very welcome to work in the industry as far as most people are concerned. Of course there will be a few jerks but there always is.

Andy Chalk:
Nobody will argue that there are far fewer women working in the videogame industry than men, and very few would claim that sexism, in one form or another, isn't largely responsible.

Err... Excuse me?

I guess you're going to have to put me down as someone else who claims that sexism isn't "largely responsible". In the UK, gender discrimination by employers is taken very, very, VERY seriously, to the point that you are actually more likely to get hired in a male-dominated industry as woman than you are as a man! After all, if both candidates have the same qualifications, why not offer the job to the candidate that will make your company look more "inclusive". It doesn't help that big companies have been hit hard by lawsuits claiming gender discrimination over hiring or firing (something that is often very difficult to prove either way).

I work as a developer for a software company specialising in text messaging systems. We have been madly hiring new developers since I joined the company (over a year ago now). In that time, I've seen dozens and dozens of hopefuls come in for interview. Only one of them has been a woman. Out of interest, I asked the head of recruitment about it. He said that female candidates actually have a really good record of getting past the CV-screening stage (apparently girls write better CVs than guys) but that since very few apply in the first place, he has very few to offer up for interview.

At the moment, I am one of only three women in a technical department of about a hundred. So come on, girls. Programming is fun! Really!

bananafishtoday:

chadachada123:

It's not about forcing women into careers they don't want. Rather, the focus should be on removing societal biases discouraging girls from being interested in those fields in the hopes of entering them when they become women. There are all kinds of issues at play.

Granted, I'm mostly on the "nurture" side of "nature vs nurture." I think the main reason we don't see more women in technical fields is because women are discouraged from being into them as girls, so many who'd otherwise love those fields never develop the skills or passion for them when growing up. The people who argue we *need* more women in those sectors *now* are silly and reductionist. Really, we should be examining and correcting biases in society so that we have more female college grads entering those sectors twenty years down the road.

As for why we should want more women in the game industry besides empowerment... I'm in the "games as young art form" camp. I'd like to see more equal representation of women (and people of color and LGBT individuals) because gaming is an expressive medium and having a more diverse crowd telling stories tends to mean those stories will be more diverse too.

I'm in complete agreement (though I'm undecided about the nature vs nurture, and think that for something as complex as taste and job preference, will always be a bit ambiguous, as far as how often women would like a particular nurturing job compared to men goes). I just want to make sure that we keep this in mind as we go forward in reducing societal requirements; that, all other things being equal, it could still be very possible that a job field ends up 75% of one gender, both through chance or through brain chemistry, and that this is perfectly acceptable. So long as there are no barriers to entry, physical and mental requirements notwithstanding.

Regarding LGBT representation: Being (kind of) bisexual, it's funny that nearly every single representation of bisexuals, both in film, television, and video games, is that they either: haven't "picked a side yet" or are fucking SERIAL KILLING PSYCHOPATHS. This is not an exaggeration, either. Do I mind? I don't really mind this trope being used, but I do mind that so much of society sees sexuality as black-and-white, despite the vast majority of humanity over time being at least some degree in between, not unlike dolphins or bonobos.

That said, I'm also of the opinion that, in the majority of games (shooters especially), the sexuality of a character is irrelevant, and should, in general, be a passing comment and not something done for show, be it straight OR gay or in between. When it's mentioned, the response should, for games that aren't story-driven like Mass Effect, be "huh, cool." What I mean is, if, I don't know, Luigi is gay (or something along those lines), the characters within the universe shouldn't give a shit, and its mention should be casual, since it is irrelevant to the story. That way, all sides win, both in representation but also not appearing as if the inclusion is "token."

Andy Chalk:
Electronic Arts VP Says Sexism Complaints Are "Misguided"

It's definitely a bit of both.

For one, there's a sort of "gender inertia" in software-related fields that must be broken through. We've created a culture that just seems to accept, without having to say it, "this is a boy thing." That's a remnant of past sexism that still needs upended.

And, on the other hand, when people sit around and tell one another how rigged the game is, other people overhear and assume those people know what they're talking about. So they just scratch that one off the list. "I keep hearing women say how incredibly sexist that field is. No point bothering if they've already tried."

I'm reminded of the story of the baby elephant held in place by a tiny rope around its ankle. It learns that it can't break the rope, and resigns itself to the rope's power. Even when the baby becomes an adult, the elephant still believes in the absolute power of that tiny rope around its ankle, and it doesn't even bother trying to escape... and so stays a captive.

Yes, there was definitely a sort of "captivity" in the past. And no, people aren't lining up at the gates to "free the elephant." But there's also a certain amount of learned acquiescence that can be more easily undone -- we can change ourselves faster than we can change others.

ShirowShirow:

BreakfastMan:
Why do so many people ignore the societal elements of sexism? Seriously, why? Is that something that just goes straight over everyone's head? Society and gender roles push women towards more "caring" and "service" careers (like nursing, teaching, and waiting) while it pushes men towards more "technical" and "production" careers (like accounting, construction, and engineering). This is bad and needs to change. Is that so hard to understand? :\

This.

It's a total chicken VS egg scenario in any case. Not many women identify as gamers because not many games target women.

Now isn't that a tad bit contradictory? To help push women out of their niches that were formed around female stereotypes we will use these same stereotypes in games to move them over to this niche and mold it back around them. Why is it that a girl cannot enjoy Final Fantasy even though it isn't directed specifically at them? Most actually good games aren't directed at any gender demographic and simply try to make a good game. While some games might be sexist towards women, it's a smaller amount than most people let on, and like any other creative medium, there really isn't any means of stopping it. If someone is wanting to voice their bigotry through games and have the time, they will, as many amature film makers and writers and musicians have done and still do. The best way to see it leave is to ignore it instead of feeding it. If we want to abandon the sexism, then a girl should be able to enjoy most any game without it being directed directly at them. I didn't start playing video games because Spyro and Crash Bandicoot made me feel more manly, I started playing because I was having fun. If video games are not fun for most girls, then there isn't much you can do about it unless you force them into playing games, which sounds counterproductive.

Sexism in gaming and the industry is a bigger topic than it actually exists in of itself. The community, however, is another matter entirely. That's where the majority of the descrimination lies, though it isn't specifically against women. The only groups that won't be targeted for the most part are the straight males, but they'll be targeted for other reasons besides their sexuality and gender. Hell, they'll still be called a faggot simply because the community is full of assholes. It has its nice people, don't get me wrong, but like any other community, it has its rather vocal asshats. That's where the change needs to be made.

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