The #1ReasonToBe at GDC

The #1ReasonToBe at GDC

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Some of gaming's most influential women encourage others to join them.

Following the success of the eye-opening #1ReasonWhy campaign - which has aimed to educate the public on the hardships and roadblocks keeping more women from joining the ranks of designers, developers, and so on - several of the most influential women in the industry took to the GDC stage for a panel titled #1ReasonToBe. But rather than focusing on the obstacles still in place for aspiring female game creators, the talk centered more on the accomplishments of the speakers, and the idea of cultivating a more welcoming environment that will allow both sexes to thrive in the industry on equal ground.

The speakers included Robin Hunicke (Executive Producer for Journey), Brenda Romero (Renowned game designer, currently working at UC Santa Cruz), Mattie Brice (Game critic and columnist), Kim McAuliffe (Game Designer, Microsoft), Leigh Alexander (Editor, Gamasutra), and Elizabeth Sampat (Game Designer, Storm8).

Each woman spent time detailing their individual paths to their current profession, as well as both the frustrating moments - like Robin Hunicke's conversation with a cab driver right here at GDC, who insisted she was "the hottest nerd" he'd ever seen - and the highlights, like a small book given to Brenda Romero from her young daughter which noted that her dream was to grow up and create a videogame alongside her mother.

It was without a doubt the most passionate panel I've attended at the show, and as I walked out of the room with the rest of the attendees, hushed voices uttered words such as "amazing" and "intense." I couldn't agree more, but while events like this are a fantastic way to shed light on the issue of sexism within the industry, the problem can't be solved by a few passionate individuals alone. I encourage all of you to join in the conversation on Twitter, which can be done using a simple hashtag search for #1ReasonWhy or #1ReasonToBe.

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It's nice to see a more positive look at this kind of subject, rather than the listing of things people have issues with. Pointing out the benefits of the industry and looking at successes is going to do a lot more for more women being interested than the issues that can occur.

Obviously brushing the problems under the rug isn't going to help, but people react better to positives more than negatives.

Let's hope this kind of thing also leads to a reduction of the stigma of women being interested in games that is so frequent outside of the gaming industry.

MikeWehner:

as well as both the frustrating moments - like Robin Hunicke's conversation with a cab driver right here at GDC, who insisted she was "the hottest nerd" he'd ever seen.

I am not sure that is really relevant considering it was a cab driver. If it was somebody actually in the games industry I'd agree it was worth mentioning. As it stands, it just feels like another "Look what people have to put up with!" comment, even though it's not really related to the industries attitude.

Legion:

MikeWehner:

as well as both the frustrating moments - like Robin Hunicke's conversation with a cab driver right here at GDC, who insisted she was "the hottest nerd" he'd ever seen.

I am not sure that is really relevant considering it was a cab driver. If it was somebody actually in the games industry I'd agree it was worth mentioning. As it stands, it just feels like another "Look what people have to put up with!" comment, even though it's not really related to the industries attitude.

Yeah, it was a cab driver, even if she wasnt from the gaming industry she would still be poorly hit on so if that is what she manages to come up with the frustrations of being a women in the gaming industry she needs to go a lot deeper.

I really fail to see how simply calling a cab driver "the hotest nerd" you've ever seen is setting the industry. Seriously, is merely pointing out someone's attractiveness considered degrading now? That doesn't mean that's ALL Hunicke cares about when it comes to women, unless there was something else in the context I'm not seeing. I Would hope that Brenda Romero's daughter grows up to be a hot nerd AND create a videogame alongside her mother.

Ok, folks, just to try and put the cab driver thing in context, imagine this. Male designer gets into cab. Cabbie asks where he's going, designer says GDC, cabbie perhaps says something like "That sounds like a cool job" or something along those lines. Female designer gets in cab, and comment is about how she's a hot nerd. No, he's not in the industry, but it's a perfect example of how the emphasis for women is constantly put on their physical appeal, and not on them as people or professionals.

With special guest speaker: Adria Richards (Cautionary Tale)

Jokes aside, some genuine heavy hitters in the industry there.

How come you're not speaking at it Susan?!

ron1n:
With special guest speaker: Adria Richards (Cautionary Tale)

Jokes aside, some genuine heavy hitters in the industry there.

How come you're not speaking at it Susan?!

Wasn't invited. :)

Susan Arendt:
Ok, folks, just to try and put the cab driver thing in context, imagine this. Male designer gets into cab. Cabbie asks where he's going, designer says GDC, cabbie perhaps says something like "That sounds like a cool job" or something along those lines. Female designer gets in cab, and comment is about how she's a hot nerd. No, he's not in the industry, but it's a perfect example of how the emphasis for women is constantly put on their physical appeal, and not on them as people or professionals.

Good point. My girlfriend is on the small side and quite attractive in a waiflike way. She's also (more importantly to her) a psychiatric nurse. On introducing her to one of my (older) Aunts and describing what she did my Aunt replied; 'What, a pretty little thing like you dealing with the mentals? Sure why aren't you a model?'

Sheesh. I could have died with embarrassment.

But apparently this happens to her all the time, She once had to endure some of her Dad's friends at a lunch discussing whether she would be better off postponing her college career in nursing to take up modelling.

Never once, in two years together, has she ever stated to me an interest in a modelling career.

She takes all this nonsense with incredible good grace. Fair play to her, because I couldn't.

grey_space:

Susan Arendt:
Ok, folks, just to try and put the cab driver thing in context, imagine this. Male designer gets into cab. Cabbie asks where he's going, designer says GDC, cabbie perhaps says something like "That sounds like a cool job" or something along those lines. Female designer gets in cab, and comment is about how she's a hot nerd. No, he's not in the industry, but it's a perfect example of how the emphasis for women is constantly put on their physical appeal, and not on them as people or professionals.

Good point. My girlfriend is on the small side and quite attractive in a waiflike way. She's also (more importantly to her) a psychiatric nurse. On introducing her to one of my (older) Aunts and describing what she did my Aunt replied; 'What, a pretty little thing like you dealing with the mentals? Sure why aren't you a model?'

Sheesh. I could have died with embarrassment.

But apparently this happens to her all the time, She once had to endure some of her Dad's friends at a lunch discussing whether she would be better off postponing her college career in nursing to take up modelling.

Never once, in two years together, has she ever stated to me an interest in a modelling career.

She takes all this nonsense with incredible good grace. Fair play to her, because I couldn't.

Excellent analogy. I'm sure your girlfriend would've really appreciated any of those people asking her more about her job - something which clearly took years of schooling and dedication, and must be something she's passionate about. (Also, bless her, I don't know how she can do it. She must see some really tragic stuff.)

 

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