Unless you have been hiding under a rock, there has been an influx of articles about the lack of women in the gaming industry. It started on twitter when Luke Crane, the games project specialist at Kickstarter, asked on twitter: “Why are there so few lady game creators?”
It started a twitter conversation using the hashtag #1reasonwhy where women in the video game industry gave honest and open accounts of the microaggressions and outright sexism they experience in the community. The hashtag #1reasonmentor has spawned from that discussion giving women the opportunity to find mentors in the video game community.
I, for one, am at a crossroads where I’m excited that this conversation but a little dismayed. This topic concerning women and the video game industry has been brought up so many times with the same conclusions. Where is the point that women and allies can stop trying to convince the industry there is a big problem.
I told myself that I wasn’t going to talk about this anymore. I told myself that I wouldn’t bother trying to convince others how rampant sexism is in the gaming industry.
I told myself I stop being interested in programming only because of disinterest. I told myself that my interest in a career in the gaming industry was a passing fantasy.
I never bother exploring possibility that part of the problem was a lack of a safe, open, and engaging community outside of my personal friends. I didn’t want to admit to myself that my need for safety determined my career. I didn’t want to think about my need to avoid all of the issues the #1reasonwhy hashtag laid out. I may not have been fully aware of what define sexism and misogyny at that time but damn I didn’t feel it.
I wonder would I still feel the same way if I stuck to being a programmer. I wonder why if it’s the reason why I’m so slow to start gaming again. I say “wonder” cause even now a part of me don’t want to fully admit it.
I convinced myself that I suck at programming, that I hate it, & I’m more suited to other things. The fact that despite having look at piece of code in the last 10 years and having ability to interpret it easily I still feel inadequate.
It’s not easy being a woman in a tech industry especially in any area that has been “known” as male dominated. You are relegated as a “niche”, “a novelty” or “something pretty to look at”. It’s never about what you can do but how you look or how you received your special magic golden ticket to the big boys table.
No matter how strong-will you are having to prove yourself over and over again takes a toll. The mere act of trying to ignore the snide looks when walking into your “Intro to C++” class. The crumbling wall of calm you try to instill in your soul when hearing sexist comments while you’re trying to play a MMO.
We keep talking about the symptoms. Women feel the symptoms. We all know there is sexism in gaming industry. I refuse to debate anymore. I refuse to entertain devil’s advocates. I refuse to continue proving the symptoms and making the march toward personal remedies.
Cause honestly, I’m tired of talking about it.