Brenda Romero Resigns IGDA Post Over GDC Party - UPDATED

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Brenda Romero Resigns IGDA Post Over GDC Party - UPDATED

A serious uproar has erupted in the wake of last night's International Game Developers Association party at GDC, which featured several female dancers in "skimpy" outfits.

The International game Developers Association is taking serious heat for its party at the 2013 Game Developers Conference, which one attendee said had "at least three girls in white outfits - one was in a skimpy t-shirt one was in this weird furry get-up - dancing." There were more women on stilts dancing among the crowd, according to student developer Alicia Avril, who provided photos to back up her claim. "I walked in there not expecting that sort of display," she added.

The backlash was immediate and furious. Board member Darius Kazemi, whose term on the IGDA was scheduled to end in three days, resigned rather than waiting it out, while the Women In Games Boston group withdrew its IGDA support. The most high-profile resignation came from industry veteran Brenda Romero, who was co-chair of the IGDA's Women In Games special interest group.

"I went home last night to work on my Friday GDC talk feeling super uplifted by the turnout and support for the #1ReasonToBe panel," Romero told Polygon, referencing an IGDA panel discussion about the many challenges faced by women in the videogame industry. "I woke up to DMs, texts and links to news of the IGDA party. It really saddens me. I have been a long-time supporter of the IGDA. However, my silence would have been complicity. I had no choice. And just hours after our panel, too."

Given the drive for equality and elimination of discrimination in the industry - a very righteous drive, mind - it's amazing that something like this was allowed to happen. Regardless of how you may feel about it personally, the optics are so obviously awful that it's absolutely mind-boggling that nobody involved in the decision-making progress put the brakes on the whole thing. It's a remarkable failure of leadership.

We've reached out to the IGDA for comment and will update if and when we receive a reply.

Sources: Forbes, Polygon

UPDATE: IGDA Executive Director Kate Edwards has issued the following statement addressing the GDC party:

"As many of you know, the IGDA was a co-presenter of the YetiZen party Tuesday evening. We recognize that some of the performers' costumes at the party were inappropriate, and also some of the activities they performed were not what we expected or approved. We regret that the IGDA was involved in this situation. We do not condone activities that objectify or demean women or any other group of people. One of the core values of the IGDA is encouraging inclusion and diversity. Obviously we need to be more vigilant in our efforts. We intend to be so in the future."

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Considering the atmosphere of the software industry right now I'd imagine this is one of the stupidest stunts you could pull. Did no one question this?

so she resigned for this?
image

i can understand why, but at the same time it just boggles my mind how you can just throw your job away because of this.

Are there any pictures of the incident? I'm really curious as to what could cause this type of backlash. I though these type of girls got hired all the time for PAX and all that.

I'm not saying it's right of course, I can understand having a girl dressed as Elizabeth for the Bioshock display but if your game doesn't even have female characters there's no reason to have girls in swimsuits holding M16s near your booth.

Edit: Ok above post just loaded, doesn't look terrible to me but I'm still not clear on all the details. What type of event was this suppose to be?

That's just Goddamn sad and I find it disheartening that this kind of crap is still happening and no one thought that this was a bad enough idea to stop it.

I would be angrier about this, but I'm just so damn tired of this happening.

Way to go guys, way to go.

Fappy:
Considering the atmosphere of the software industry right now I'd imagine this is one of the stupidest stunts you could pull. Did no one question this?

I'm not even sure what else can really be said, the lack of thought behind this is just completely idiotic. It's not that difficult to see that such a conference (even though it was the party, not the conference itself) is not really the place for this kind of thing.

If they'd been cosplaying as female characters, then while it'd still be a bad idea, it'd at least have some credibility behind the decision making process.

Yeah umm sorry I think she is blowing this out of proportion. The pictures are public and it was just some women dancing at a party. This wasn't some business event or officially part of the conference but simply a party for individuals for the ability to unwind after conducting business.

You know what happens with parties where you expect the same type of professional atmosphere? It stops being a party.

Good fucking riddance, this kind of shit is getting ridiculous.
We have to do something against this immediately, we should prohibit women from dancing! This can't stand!
What's next, do they want to create binding dresscodes/uniforms and rules about the allowed maximum proximity of men and women?

I mean, I'd possibly understand this if they were strippers or something, but the image of the two dancers that apparently caused this has already been posted, is this really what we are coming to? People were having fun and dancing in a club-like atmosphere and feminists have to blow it out of proportions again?

This reminds me of another fucking stupid incident a week ago, where two guys were apparently joking amongst each other about "dongles" and another developer decided to take a picture of them and publicly shame them on Twitter, because that's apparently what you do now when you don't like what two people are saying to each other and make a big shitstorm out of it all: http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2013/03/how-dongle-jokes-got-two-people-fired-and-led-to-ddos-attacks/

image

At least she got fired over it too: http://venturebeat.com/2013/03/21/breaking-adria-richards-fired-by-sendgrid-for-outting-developers-on-twitter/

I'm conflicted about the situation, mostly because I don't know all the details.

Were the women in question paid to dance there in those outfits? Even though I don't think the outfits are too terribly revealing, it once again sets a bad principle for women trying to get into the industry. Two guys who aren't important cracking dick jokes to themselves is harmless, but if the conference itself endorsed stuff like this by paying girls to dance around, then that is just shameful.

If the women weren't paid to be there and just showed up to party, then I think the people resigning are just overreacting.

Once further details emerge I shall pass judgement.

Tenmar:
*snip*

defskyoen:
*snip*

The issue isn't that women were dancing in "skimpy" outfits, it was that they were hired dancers for the event. I doubt anybody would have complained if they'd been attendees (unless I am very much mistaken, but the wording strongly suggests they weren't).

The concept behind such dancers is in almost all cases sex appeal aimed at the male audience. It's not the kind of thing you'd expect at a professional event, even if it was at the party. I don't think the guys would appreciate if if they'd been topless guys dancing on stage for the women either.

As for whether or not it's bad enough to resign over? No, personally I don't think it was, but that's their choice, not ours.

Tenmar:
Yeah umm sorry I think she is blowing this out of proportion. The pictures are public and it was just some women dancing at a party. This wasn't some business event or officially part of the conference but simply a party for individuals for the ability to unwind after conducting business.

You know what happens with parties where you expect the same type of professional atmosphere? It stops being a party.

I am pretty sure the party was part of the conference's itinerary... at least that's what I have extrapolated from the provided info. If it was just some after party not associated with the event I don't think this would be an issue.

Legion:

Tenmar:
*snip*

defskyoen:
*snip*

The issue isn't that women were dancing in "skimpy" outfits, it was that they were hired dancers for the event. I doubt anybody would have complained if they'd been attendees (unless I am very much mistaken, but the wording strongly suggests they weren't).

The concept behind such dancers is in almost all cases sex appeal aimed at the male audience. It's not the kind of thing you'd expect at a professional event, even if it was at the party. I don't think the guys would appreciate if if they'd been topless guys dancing on stage for the women either.

As for whether or not it's bad enough to resign over? No, personally I don't think it was, but that's their choice, not ours.

Honestly this whole story just seems silly. Especially with the fact at how fucking far people demand all things to be equal outside of the law. I encourage people seek equal rights under the law but when it comes to everything else, sorry it doesn't have to be fair. Not to mention how actually difficult it would actually be to even have a business based on male dancers be viable and attain constant work. Sorry you can't always get fairness in everything. It is also silly having these ridiculous expectations that by hiring people to make a party more entertaining. Might as well tell the DJ to pack it up and have everyone there play their own music and sing their own songs, cause ya know we shouldn't be hiring people to make a party more engaging and fun and have people be entertained.

I think the worst part is that it wasn't even sexual or degrading to women. They weren't strippers or prostitutes and it is clear they had a stage where people could perform. This is even based on the assumption that somehow dressing in a lesser amount of clothing is somehow seen as morally wrong to which I could of sworn previous generations of feminists were fighting to wear what clothes they want.

We are so freaking deep down this rabbit hole now that anyone can use anything they feel like as something that is oppressing them.

EDIT: There really is no logical reason for Ms.Romero to resign her position over such a trivial issue. Sure it is her right to resign over any reason she desires. But I feel it does more harm than good, and this is even based on the assumption that this was a business party where people were expected to be professional or a post conference party where people should be allowed to cut lose, be entertained and socialize with their peers.

I mean if she really was in a position of power to change things to her desires and expectations then why instead of quitting did she not actually force the GDC if they manage any parties to not have any sort of outside entertainment?

Something tells me though that this party was meant to be a party to be enjoyed and a party needs some sort of entertainment be it a DJ or dancers, or a band. But hey gotta keep saying that everything is somehow immoral, wrong and holds women back. Because ya know, hiring some dancers to be at a party really prevents women from making their own choice to pursue a career in video game design and investing the time learning math and programming.

Dont know enough to really comment, but I doubt the girls were strippers or pole dancer variety ... more cos play eye candy, and yeah I think the organisers should of put some up for the ladies to ogle at as well but it does appear to be blown out of proportion...

... or used as a stunt to highlight gender discrimination and power start a new career in 'lecturing on feminism' ?

So... do not hire any girl dancers, specifically tell the dance troupe that girl dancers are not allowed... and get more guys in ... ahh would that also be discrimination, would there be an equal outcry that men are being discriminated ? Or would the outcry go that women dancers were not allowed to be selected ?

BUT I dont know the whole thing, so its all speculative.

How about the next time there's an event in the tech industry, all the women wear burqas.

That way there's no risk of offending anyone.

rhizhim:
so she resigned for this?
image

i can understand why, but at the same time it just boggles my mind how you can just throw your job away because of this.

Good lord, just look at those indecent harlots! Truly, they bring all womankind to shame! [/sarcasm]

Someone posted this on Forbes:

GDC schedule includes meetings that people start at 9 am and sessions that starts at 10 and last until 6pm. After that people can attend some mixers where people can talk and network with colleagues.

You actually refer to the party in Ruby Skye night club that started at 8pm, and people had a plenty of time to talk before loud music started and open bar grabbed their attention completely. Seriously, sometimes people need to relax.

And do not worry about lack of choice for the conference attendees. Just on Monday the number of events was more than dozen, including:
- Blacks in Gaming
- GDC Newbie Networking
- International Games mixer
- The 2013 Games Industry ceder
- Midwest Game Devs
...etc.

I've looked it up, this is apparently the club: http://www.rubyskye.com/

So basically she resigned over two or three girls DANCING AT A NIGHT CLUB, sometimes I wonder what kind of sheltered life some of these people have lived so far and if they have ever been to a nightclub in their lives before and if yes, if everything they did was to tell other people how "inappropriate" they think they are dressed or how their way of dancing is lewd and how offended they are by it instead of... you know, having fun.

Legion:
The issue isn't that women were dancing in "skimpy" outfits, it was that they were hired dancers for the event. I doubt anybody would have complained if they'd been attendees (unless I am very much mistaken, but the wording strongly suggests they weren't).

The concept behind such dancers is in almost all cases sex appeal aimed at the male audience. It's not the kind of thing you'd expect at a professional event, even if it was at the party. I don't think the guys would appreciate if if they'd been topless guys dancing on stage for the women either.

As for whether or not it's bad enough to resign over? No, personally I don't think it was, but that's their choice, not ours.

I sincerely doubt the guys would've thrown a huge shitfit and quit their jobs over shirtless male dancers though.

To summarize my reaction to the situation & reactions on this board:

Overreaction on her part? Eh, maybe. Details seem to be few at the moment, so it's hard to really judge the situation, but I'd be annoyed too. Not cool

Poor decision by the GDC? Uuh, ya think?! Seriously, at a time when gamers & the industry itself are really starting to question misogyny within the culture, who the hell thought this was a good idea?

Blargh McBlargh:

Legion:
The issue isn't that women were dancing in "skimpy" outfits, it was that they were hired dancers for the event. I doubt anybody would have complained if they'd been attendees (unless I am very much mistaken, but the wording strongly suggests they weren't).

The concept behind such dancers is in almost all cases sex appeal aimed at the male audience. It's not the kind of thing you'd expect at a professional event, even if it was at the party. I don't think the guys would appreciate if if they'd been topless guys dancing on stage for the women either.

As for whether or not it's bad enough to resign over? No, personally I don't think it was, but that's their choice, not ours.

I sincerely doubt the guys would've thrown a huge shitfit and quit their jobs over shirtless male dancers though.

This. By blowing up every little thing you detract from the real problems and quickly dilute your cause to nothing but nonsense. See PETA for examples on how to bitch about everything until no one gives a shit for a good way to ruin your plight.

Fucking pathetic.

Get male dancers, don't remove the female ones. Solved.

Zombie_Moogle:
Seriously, at a time when gamers & the industry itself are really starting to question misogyny within the culture, who the hell thought this was a good idea?

People who don't care about social justice warriors and who just want to enjoy themselves at a party.

I'm completely torn about this situation. I applaud her for standing up for what she believes in. Women should indeed fight for the things they feel they deserve, like anyone should. Seeing women have a more influence in the industry is not a bad thing like some people feel it is. It's like that whole Tropes Vs Women controversy. Everyone was mad because they felt that she was trying to change the game industry. I don't necessarily agree with everything she says, though a lot of it is right on par, in my opinion, but no one can say she wants to see an end to how things are done so much as she wants to see women in games have a more influential roll in how the story unfolds, rather than just being damsels and objects.

But, at the same time it comes off like a little kid throwing a temper tantrum. Women getting paid money to dance and entertain isn't putting the industry back. If anything, her response to the situation sets the industry back. The dancers are not slaves, they aren't made to do anything they don't want to do and they are getting paid (probably pretty well paid) to be there and entertain. People assume that it perpetuates the idea of women as objects, and to some extent that may be true. But the underlying element here is that it's empowering at the same time. They aren't concubines, they aren't forced to have sex with people. The women are paid to be there, look good, dance and be festive. They are actually in the position of power because no one is making them do anything they don't want to do and they can simultaneously have anyone who acts inappropriately towards them removed. But instead of just being dissatisfied with the situation and communicating that, she throws away her career and destroys her influence on the industry. She made herself a martyr in a situation where martyrdom doesn't fix anything.

I often times have debates with friends regarding this. Take the industry of being a female stripper: My one buddy thinks it's disgusting. He doesn't understand why women would demean themselves and would never visit a strip club. I think it's good business. Strippers have a tendency to make really good money. They are in complete power to the extent they tend to have muscular thugs (bouncers) who will eject with much prejudice, anyone who acts inappropriately or in a way they don't want someone to act towards them. While they are sexual objects, the situation is in there favor by leaps and bounds. They utilize there status as a sex symbol to extort large amounts of money from people. I also want to point out that while I am all for women doing this, I don't go to strip clubs because I don't like throwing my money away to have a woman pretend she is interested in me. I also have a girlfriend who I find very attractive and would never jeopardize that for anything. The only reason I bring this up is because the existence of things like strippers is essentially the same conversation as what she is doing.

But, I digress, that is my opinion and I'm sticking to it.

TL;DR: I'm all for her fighting against things she doesn't agree with, but martyrdom in this situation and throwing away her position of power is just childish.

Baresark:

TL;DR: I'm all for her fighting against things she doesn't agree with, but martyrdom in this situation and throwing away her position of power is just childish.

It's called having principles.

Im going to go with overaction as my input in this I refer to jims quisition about the booth babes I think it applys pretty well.
My problem with this is that there are men there too aren't there is there a problem with people liking skimpy dancers? it seems to me she was just upset because how dare women who dont mind wearing clothes like that and dont mind dancing in front of a crowd show up to their event that they have a panel in about women's jobs.

Just because you don't like something doesnt mean no one else does. Thats how I feel about it

So in a party that happened to be game related some women were hired to do what a lot of dancers are hired to do in most parties of every other kind, but since this is related to games that is apparently the same has hiring a bunch of hookers to "please" the members of the party.

Right... Why did she resigned again?

Uh oh. A topic regarding a sexism related issue on the escapist.

Suit up everyone, it's gonna get messy.
image

OT: I guess someone in a high profile position as hers takes her job seriously, and wanted the whole thing to remain professional. And instead what she got was some ass and titty shaking. Oh it was a party? I guess that makes this all acceptable then?

Can't say I understand this situation entirely. But her reaction to it is clear.

Criticize her if you wish, but at the very least; she's doing what she felt she needed to do. And hey, I respect that.

Akalabeth:

Baresark:

TL;DR: I'm all for her fighting against things she doesn't agree with, but martyrdom in this situation and throwing away her position of power is just childish.

It's called having principles.

That was quick. I figured it was only a matter of time before someone had something smug to say, but one sentence is very disappointing. It's completely flawed reasoning to remove herself from her position of substantial power just because of some dancers. And her overreaction, even one based off of principles, does not forward her cause in any way. She could have complained after the fact and gotten the rules changed, maybe enlightened people about something she did not agree with. Now she has made a move that is more divisive than anything else. We should all applaud her on her principles, but she gets negative points on her pride. She is literally crying over spilled milk, which by definition is expressing vain regret over that which cannot be changed or undone. Essentially, she could not change this party, but she could change the next one and all others after that. She still might, but she threw a tantrum and threw away her position of influence when that didn't need to happen. I don't disagree with her gripe, but I disagree with how she handled it.

Edit: What I'm saying may change based on more information. But right now that is what the situation reads as.

Man, i really think both sides of this are just being a bit dumb, honestly. When i first heard the story i thought they had full-on strippers in the party, but it just looks like a couple of girls dancing on stage in a comic-con outfit. Hardly worth throwing your entire career away on. However, it really should not have been planned to have female dancers to begin with. Maybe when the industry and audience isn't jumping at every chance it can get to throw around the word "sexism", but now isnt the time. Have a band play on stage, instead. Get some up-and-coming music group to come in and play songs from out favorite games, but don't bring in female dancers. It's all very simple, video game industry, just stop being stupid.

I wonder what she must have thought of all the female cosplayers at PAX.

Tohuvabohu:
Uh oh. A topic regarding a sexism related issue on the escapist.

Suit up everyone, it's gonna get messy.

OT: Personally, I guess someone in a high profile position as hers takes her job seriously, and wanted the whole thing to remain professional. And instead what she got was some ass and titty shaking. Oh it was a party sure. I guess that makes this all acceptable then.

Criticize her all you want, she's doing what she felt she needed to do. And hey, I respect that.

I feel bad cause I thought you typed "sassy" :P.

But honestly though there is nothing wrong with taking your job seriously and having a professional environment. But we know it was done at a night club and it was a party after the conference. This is where people shouldn't have to be expected to remain professional but merely courteous and start relaxing and having fun being with your peers. A place where after looking at the site has dancers so it wasn't some special exception for GDC. We don't even know if the party itself was managed by GDC so they could just be guilty of making a reservation with a night club that exist around the area for an event that is meant to encourage networking and socialization.

I got nothing wrong with taking your job seriously, I do that as well. But there is a point where you need to stop taking life too seriously and learn the divide when one is on the job and when one is off the clock and should enjoy life. Besides if she really was in a position of power to change things then why not stay and make sure no night clubs next year or cancel future parties? In fact, why did she not know about these events? Were they not connected to the GDC? Shouldn't she have known about this?

There are just so many issues here that something tells me it was just her overreacting and that the event was completely managed by the night club and in now why reflects anything negative or oppressive about the same video game industry she is a critical part of.

I guess what bothers me in the end is that with all this complaining and exhibition. There isn't any sort of resolution or actual reasonable action that would make things "equal". Because there is a difference between fair and equality. Equality is something we should all pursue under the law. But when it comes to sexism it isn't some big bad monster or something innate of all men or women. They are usually lone individuals and consistent action of prejudice based on the gender of the person alone. Actual sexism is an act of one person against another.

I'm just tired of this shit and bullshit outrage and making what is actually a case by case scenario be blown up as something that plagues every woman as if this was the suffrage movement all over again.

What is it about video game development that makes people loose all sense of professionalism? If you are professional people, representing a mule-cultural/multi-ethic/muli-gender company you don't hire scantily clad female dancers.

Louzerman102:
What is it about video game development that makes people loose all sense of professionalism? If you are professional people, representing a mule-cultural/multi-ethic/muli-gender company you don't hire scantily clad female dancers.

Except even with the update we still don't know if the nightclub in question simply managed the event on their own or was it actually the IGDA staff that setup the parameters of the party.

I'm sorry but going to college in a very nightclub based town there are quite a few people men and women that have jobs as dancers to entertain. I really don't understand why professionalism has to follow you 24/7 now moreso than an actual police officer when one is participating in a form of leisure at a venue that is meant to be about partying.

Looks like someone was on the rag. *Cue cheesy 70s laughtrack*

Yeah, had to go there. I'm sick of all of these extreme rage-quits people have been making as of late. Instead of "OMG I AM QUITTING" she could have made the changes necessary to make sure this sort of bad decision didn't happen again, or make a respectful and professional public statement, such as:

"I am deeply saddened and disappointed by the spectacle of last night's party. I will do everything possible to ensure this does not happen again, just as my fellow chair-members will do the same. We do not believe this sort of objectification is acceptable in a maturing industry, but old habits die hard."

"There is no way we can ignore three decades of ugly misogyny in the industry, or turn it around instantly. Mistakes will be made. All of us, from managers, to event organizers, to the workers on the floor all must be more aware and step up to deal with these issues."

Less drama, more changes.

Tenmar:

Louzerman102:
What is it about video game development that makes people loose all sense of professionalism? If you are professional people, representing a mule-cultural/multi-ethic/muli-gender company you don't hire scantily clad female dancers.

Except even with the update we still don't know if the nightclub in question simply managed the event on their own or was it actually the IGDA staff that setup the parameters of the party.

I'm sorry but going to college in a very nightclub based town there are quite a few people men and women that have jobs as dancers to entertain. I really don't understand why professionalism has to follow you 24/7 now moreso than an actual police officer when one is participating in a form of leisure at a venue that is meant to be about partying.

I'm not trying to discuss whether being professional 100% of the time is good or bad. Personally I'm not professional and would hate any job that requires me to be. I'm stating this event reflects poorly on the IGDA and someone should have been involved enough to see this coming. I'm going to give IGDA the benefit of the doubt here and say that the club organized the event (I'm probably wrong in this assumption) yet this still means IGDA screwed up by not being involved in the planning of a party that had their name associated with it.

Edit: I should add, any office party/ officially sponsored party is boring and should be boring. Anything that is fun and enjoyable at a party is ether illegal/immoral/offensive/excessive/or useable as blackmail because society frowns upon it.

XtDK:
Looks like someone was on the rag. *Cue cheesy 70s laughtrack*

Yeah, had to go there. I'm sick of all of these extreme rage-quits people have been making as of late. Instead of "OMG I AM QUITTING" she could have made the changes necessary to make sure this sort of bad decision didn't happen again, or make a respectful and professional public statement, such as:

"I am deeply saddened and disappointed by the spectacle of last night's party. I will do everything possible to ensure this does not happen again, just as my fellow chair-members will do the same. We do not believe this sort of objectification is acceptable in a maturing industry, but old habits die hard."

"There is no way we can ignore three decades of ugly misogyny in the industry, or turn it around instantly. Mistakes will be made. All of us, from managers, to event organizers, to the workers on the floor all must be more aware and step up to deal with these issues."

Less drama, more changes.

You're assuming that without the drama there'd be the motivation to make the changes.

Public pressure requires a lot of people to know about it. Would this story have been picked up by Forbes if she hadn't quit? And if it wasn't, if the guys on the board weren't called out in front of a very large business savvy audience, would they have had the motivation required to really make changes? Maybe. Maybe not. But this way they're like "Holy shit.. we can't let this slide, guys.. our reputations are going to be mud if we do.."

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