Why It Sucks to Be a Woman in the Video Game Industry
Update: The folks at Kotaku rounded up the best of #1reasontobe, notes from women in gaming on why they put up with this crap. "Because writers from other mediums treat me like I’ve come from Narnia," says award-winning video game writer Rhianna Pratchett, "full of wisdom and insight about a strange new land." Go check it out.
Thousands of women working in the video game industry are coming forward with stories of vicious sexism they've faced on the job. The Twitter hashtag #1reasonwhy sprang up overnight seemingly in response to Luke Crane, a fantasy role-playing gamer, who asked, "Why are there so few lady game creators?"
It's a good question: While women make up 47 percent of the gaming audience, a 2005 study (the most recent comprehensive survey) revealed that more than 88 percent of the industry's employees are male. Female game devs—and their male supporters—have some theories. To wit:
Because I was told I'd be remembered not on my own merits, but by who I was or was assumed to be sleeping with. #1reasonwhy— Lillian Cohen-Moore (@lilyorit) November 26, 2012
Because conventions, where designers are celebrated, are unsafe places for me. Really. I've been groped. #1reasonwhy— filamena (@filamena) November 26, 2012
#1reasonwhy Once heard an Art manager say 'We don't need any more women, they're more trouble than they're worth' as he viewed applications— Gabrielle Kent (@GabrielleKent) November 27, 2012
I've had prominent designers compliment my games, while complimenting my wife's appearance, when we develop together. #1reasonwhy— David A Hill Jr (@davidahilljr) November 26, 2012
Because when we hired a female engineer at my company, I was skeptical. She's talented and awesome. I'm part of the problem. #1ReasonWhy— Jace Proctor (@JacePro) November 27, 2012
There are stories of being mistaken for a "real" developer's girlfriend at conferences, getting passed over by mentors in favor of male colleagues with less talent, and the tedium of working on female game characters who exist to wear sexy outfits and sleep with the badass male hero. Romana Ramzan claimed she was told that a networking event during the Game Developers Conference would be "a good place for a woman to pick up a husband."