FEMINISM IN THE GAMES INDUSTRY: THE IMPORTANCE OF ASKING ‘WHY?’

*Disclaimer: This article may contain more questions than answers.*

Contents:

Prologue & Introduction

Interview: Brenda Bailey Gerschkovitch (Silicon Sisters, CEO)

Interview: Kirsten Forbes (Silicon Sisters, COO)

Interview: Mathew Kumar (MK Ultra, CEO and Creative Director)

Conclusion

FeminismNickIllustration

Illustration by: Nicholas Gilbert

PROLOGUE: Why should we care about feminism?

The following is a recent conversation I had with a fellow Vancouver Film School student, Michelangelo Pereira Huezo.

Michelangelo: “You’re really interested in feminism, right?”

Jaymee: “Yeah, I am.”

Michelangelo: “I’ve been following it a lot too, and many great things are being said, but I think that there are too many articles that don’t go into WHY feminism is important. And I think that’s what’s missing. They say all the things that are wrong with the industry, but they don’t say why that’s important.”

For me, the Volvo YCC, a concept car designed from 2002-2004 by an all-female team, best epitomizes the importance of diversity in the workplace. Why? Because the headrests featured a groove for ponytails to rest in – something that most male designers have likely never considered. The concept car had many other features that were later implemented into mainstream cars – benefiting both female and male consumers, not to mention Volvo’s sales.

This is what diversity is about. Having different voices creates a team that is more capable of thinking up different ideas. So as an industry that thrives on innovation, it’s in our best interest to strive for greater diversity – in gender, race and all types of life experience.

**************************************************************************************************************

INTRODUCTION: Why ask why?

I began research for this article a few months ago after reading a report lamenting the low ratio of women in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) related industries. The article didn’t ask why the ratio was low, or what could be done to even the ratio. It didn’t even explore whether a balanced ratio would even be beneficial for all involved. As I looked for answers on other sites, I read related articles that addressed other issues in the games industry, such as games with female protagonists getting lower marketing budgets than those with male leads.

I also inevitably read through the comment sections.

Many commenters were quick to lay down their opinion as law, but like the initial article I read, they failed to ask ‘why?’

**************************************************************************************************************

Final results recently came out for Australian students in their final year of high school, and the Sydney Morning Herald released a table showing the gender breakdown of top-performing students in a variety of subjects.

The subjects with the greatest percentage of females included textiles and design, community and family studies, food and technology, as well as a long list of humanities. Males, on the other hand, dominated engineering studies, software design and development, industrial technology and other STEM-related fields, with a small handful of math, science and music subjects holding a near 50:50 gender balance.

Many online commenters remarked that the table just ‘shows choice’, that the table shouldn’t be read as ‘society enforcing gender stereotypes’, since those figures reflect what girls and boys naturally prefer to do. This line of thinking is a short one. It fails to follow through and ask, if it’s ‘natural’ for boys to like physics and girls to like drama, what exactly is it in our genetic make-up that determines this?

It’s the type of question, which, if followed through, might lead one to conclude that there are gender biases at play from birth, enforced not by nature, but by society.

This failure to ask ‘why’ is the enemy of progress. It’s how tradition becomes an argument for what is right.

I market myself as a game designer who’s passionate about making games that explore feminist issues. I majored in journalism and philosophy – it’s my career to ask ‘why’. But it’s my goal to encourage others to do the same.

I’m only at the beginning of my journey as a social activist. But I feel the key starting point, and the heart of any solution to any issue, is to ask ‘why’ and never stop asking.

I came to this conclusion after wondering why opponents of feminist causes believe what they believe, and how one could persuade them otherwise. And you can’t, of course. It’s up to individuals to question their own beliefs. And without the practice of asking ‘why’ this will rarely happen, leading to walls that cannot be knocked down.

I know that by the time anybody reaches the end of this article that I will most likely be left preaching to the converted. The people whose minds I wish to change are exactly the kind who are unlikely to read lengthy internet articles about the feminist strides made, and that still need to be made in the games industry. So what are we to do?

Don’t settle for the first argument you read or think of.

Question everything you read in this article.

**************************************************************************************************************

After my initial period of research into the causes of our industry’s gender issues, why they came about and how we can address them, I decided that, as a game design student with no real industry experience that, I best reach out to those who did.

I had so many questions. Do we need more women in the industry? Why? How could we increase the ratio?

So I interviewed Brenda Bailey Gerschkovitch, CEO of Canada’s first female-owned and run games company, Silicon Sisters. Then, because I was interested in the mechanical design of their games, Brenda suggested I talk with Kirsten Forbes, the COO of Silicon Sisters, who runs the production side of their company. A few days after that, a friend sent me a Gamasutra article about a feminist game called ‘Knight and Damsel’ that a newly formed company, MK Ultra, was producing. So I contacted Mathew Kumar, CEO and Creative Director of MK Ultra, and we had a ‘back-and-forth’ via email.

The following interviews are not to do with the importance of why, but are instead an exercise in asking ‘why’. I wanted to explore what feminism meant to three people in different stages of different careers in the games industry, how this showed in their work, and their thoughts on the impact of feminism in the industry.

**************************************************************************************************************

Interview: Brenda Bailey Gerschkovitch

Brenda is CEO of Silicon Sisters and former CEO of Deep Fried Entertainment, having worked on titles such as School 26 and Everlove: Rose (Silicon Sisters), Shadowplay (Deep Fried Entertainment), Full Auto 2 (Sega), and multiple MLB titles (2k Sports).

Jaymee: “What social issues are important to you and how does this translate to the work and culture of Silicon Sisters?”

Brenda: “I’m a feminist and I always have been. I’m old, I’m forty-six so I’ve been working on issues with women for, you know, a couple of decades now. And it’s a concern to me that we’re less inviting to women and girls entering technology than we are to boys. I think that creates a problematic situation because our world is becoming more and more technologically inclined in every way. So not just talking about the great jobs or the interesting things you can do if you are in the tech world or even the science world but you need those skills to be a literate person in our world.

There’s some really interesting research on this by the University of Alberta. It’s a study that looked at children’s video game behaviour and relationship with technology generally but specifically with games. And how that played into their decisions to enter technology or any of the STEM – so science, technology, engineering and math. They found that a person’s video game usage was highly correlated with their decision to join any of the STEM disciplines. Of course boys play more games than girls do, and that part’s research – this part’s opinion.

My opinion is that’s largely because of the games that we build. So that’s a big driver for me. I want to make really engaging and intelligent games for girls that help in some small way to address the technology gap.”

Jaymee: “Do you think that out of all art mediums, games audiences are most reluctant to question the status quo? If so, why?”

Brenda: “I would’ve answered that differently ten years ago than I’d answer it today. I think that historically has been true and I don’t think it’s true anymore. And the ‘why’ aspect to me is that games is a very immature industry, very immature. And I don’t mean people behaving immaturely. I’m talking about how many years there have been people making games. It’s a young industry. And for that reason it’s just not fully developed yet to what it’s going to be and I think over time that’s changing.

Games came out of a very hegemonic experience. And hegemony is always, in my opinion, bad. I think having diversity is always good. Hegemony of who makes games and who they make them for is now being challenged. We’re making things more and more diverse.”

Jaymee: “Do you think feminism, as it stands today, is misunderstood, particularly in the games industry?”

Brenda: “Do I think feminism is misunderstood in the games industry? I think it’s misunderstood everywhere, absolutely.

Feminism is just a word that’s come to mean so many different things to so many people I’m not sure it’s even effective anymore.”

Jaymee: “So what do you think the right route for people who consider themselves feminists to be?”

Brenda: “See what I do – I don’t use the word feminist very much. I behave in a feminist manner. And it seems to be more effective.”

Jaymee: “In previous interviews, you’ve mentioned that ‘racing games and war games’ are male fantasies and that’s not what you want, so over the duration of your research, what have you discovered are female fantasies?”

Brenda: “So we’re still trying to work that out. We feel like we really connected with young girls on ‘School 26’. We spent a lot of time watching tween girls through middle school and upper elementary, lower high school ages and if you watch how they behave, what is it that they’re doing? They spend a lot of time talking to each other and people use words like, ‘Oh they just gossip, you know, tell stories on each other’ and we don’t really believe that.

What we saw was girls are very… historically and in society girls and women are responsible for relationships. And we’re really geared towards developing those skills and practicing those skills. And that’s what you see young women doing, is really working on those skills.

And it doesn’t come from a negative place, you know, it’s not that most girls want to drag other girls down. It really comes from a positive place. Most girls are trying to sort stuff out with people. They’re trying to work on social issues. If you ask a young person what is it they’d really like to do with their careers, most young women are going to say something like, ‘I’d like to change the world, I’d like the world to be a better place, world peace’, whatever it is and we make fun of that but there’s something really deep in us that is about wanting to have positive impact, right? And even when you look at research into like… we did research into why women social game and how they social game and again, if women played games that had an actual real world positive outcome, they would come back to that community. I find that fascinating.

So there’s something about women in particular – I’m not saying that men don’t, but you know we’re talking generalities so you leave out a big chunk of people and I’m sure there’s a lot of guys who feel this way too, but primarily women – feel that real world outcomes are important, positive change.

So what is that in gameplay? What does that look like?  For us we created ‘School 26’, where the idea is to help these kids that are having a crap time through being empathetic and being a good listener. Very simple. And we’re going to hit a million copies in January. Girls love it, so it’s really cool.

In terms of fantasy for women we didn’t do the same, try to figure it out on our own thing that we did for teenage girls. But we just sort of went with what we’ve seen in other genres. So the rom-com in television, film and the success of romance novels in books. But for us we had to do that in a way that was comfortable for us. So just to have cheesy romance with a girl that has no spine just wasn’t really our thing.

So [in] ‘Everlove’ you’ll find Rose is a really interesting character. She’s a physician, smart, she’s strong. She can be lots of different things depending on choices that you make. I think one of the things in the women’s movement that we’ve occasionally gotten wrong is that being a woman and being in a group of society that has often had our choices taken away from us, the most important thing you can offer to each other in trying to better our lives is the ability to make your own choices. So I don’t have a problem with someone who is looking to fall in love with someone and being taken care of, if that’s her choice. That’s truly her choice. Right? I don’t care. That’s her choice. And I don’t care if somebody chooses to be on their own and never get married. Those are all great, as long as they’re truly choices. So we try to capture that in ‘Everlove’. We try not to tell women what they want but to let them discover it through all these multitude of internodal options. So that’s how I think of ‘Everlove’ being, even though it’s a romance game, quite feminist.”

Jaymee: “Is there anything else you’d like to add?”

Brenda: “I just think that it’s really important that people think about the power of games. Games are really, really powerful. I love Jane McGonigal’s work on this regard. I think that what she’s doing is fascinating. And if you look at some of the games that she’s been building, I really encourage people to think of games broadly. I’m so tired of us building off each other’s games. More and more of the same. More and more of the same. Really. Enough already. Let’s do something different. Let’s build games that haven’t been built before. Not just iterate on the last game that came out last month. You know? That’s not enough. It’s a bigger, more powerful genre than that. And we’re letting everyone down when we do that.”

Jaymee: “So if not games for inspiration, where?”

Brenda: “Looking to games for inspiration I think is great. Looking to games to make the same game with a slight change so that they can ‘me too’ is not great. I think we should look to games for inspiration. I think we should look to literature, I think that we should look at movies, I think that we should look at art installation pieces, I think that we should travel, I think there’s lots of things we should look at for inspiration, including other games. I don’t meant that [we shouldn’t]. One more physics game, shooting something through the air and knocking something down, I’m gonna, you know, stab myself in the eye. Right? There’s just so many. And really talented people. And I feel like it’s stagnant when we do that. We get so stagnated. And I would love to see less… I feel like there’s a million amazing games that haven’t been made yet. Why are we spending time making games that have been made? I just don’t get that.”

**************************************************************************************************************

Interview: Kirsten Forbes

Kirsten is COO of Silicon Sisters and former Executive Producer at Radical Entertainment, having worked on titles such as School 26 and Everlove: Rose (Silicon Sisters), as well as multiple Crash Bandicoot games (Radical Entertainment).

Jaymee: “Silicon Sisters has been quoted as wanting to create new game mechanics from the first line of code up. What are some mechanics that have been created and do they have names?”

Kirsten: “One of my favourites is secrets. We’ve been working with secrets for a long time. So how? When we think of really specifically boy games as deriving power from say, shooting, for instance, being able to lob a projectile over a space and not actually go into hand to hand combat and the power that gives you.

And then we started thinking about this: even if you look at girls in the real world and where do they get their power from. And women in business or around a board room table, where do they get their power… so for sure they get it from a whole bunch of what we traditionally call ‘soft skills’.  Being excellent communicators, excellent organizers, excellent leaders.

But then more specifically looking at secrets and looking at currency. How can information be a currency? How can you actually strategically use information? How can it pay out for you in a game?

There was one line – I think it was Brenda Laurel, when she was working for Purple Moon – I remember reading this line: Women bond around secrets. I was like, ‘That is so true.’ How can that play out in a game?

How many times are you at a party and you meet someone and suddenly they’re giving you too much information – about an affair or something super personal.  You know? But it’s super. It’s throwing too much out there and I think we almost consciously do it. We strategically do. We put too much out there because that person is immediately cleaved to you by the fact that they have this enormous piece of information, by the fact that you’ve shared this vulnerability.

So then moving from that, I think – yeah, how to use this strategically? And that works through our entire lives. It’s really hard. I watch my teenage daughter. She gets a secret from one of her friends and she just can’t keep her mouth shut. It’s enormously compelling just to blurt it out all over the place. But if you don’t, then you can get something really powerful. You can leverage it in a whole bunch of ways.”

Jaymee: “What impact do you think games have had and could have on working towards solutions for social issues?”

Kirsten: “Oh, huge. I think they could be fantastic. I think they’ll be huge in education.”

Jaymee: “In other interviews, you and Brenda have talked about ‘core games’ being about male fantasies. So, do you think that there should be a greater representation of female characters within core games?” 

Kirsten: “Yeah.”

Jaymee: “So if core games are structured to serve male fantasies, should they have the onus of having greater female representation if their market is predominantly males?”

Kirsten: “Yeah, it might be predominantly male but it’s not exclusively male. The numbers we all saw were seventeen per cent of console ownership was female. And then the Wii pushed it up to twenty-seven per cent. But they didn’t buy software in huge numbers. I got a similar interview question today, one claiming Nintendo did a great job of bringing women to consoles. Really? Did they? Because you can do yoga n the Wii? It was all Carnaval and Wii play.”

Jaymee: “I hear games with female protagonists get half the marketing budget of games with male protagonists. So if they have a choice between having a male character and having that much more opportunity to make more money, and serving eighteen per cent of the market, what do you think could be done to persuade them to go for the risk, the gamble, the minority choice?”

Kirsten: “I think at this point all we would hope for is stuff like Pacific Rim. A secondary character who is female, who has a fully story arc, who’s a named character, who completely kicks ass, who’s a strong, powerful woman.

But yeah, it’s true. If they’re not going to make any money having a completely full female protagonist, then no, I wouldn’t go into battle on that necessarily and try to convince them they should do that. But a lot of guys want to play with their girlfriends. And a lot of guys want to play with their sisters. And a lot of guys just don’t even care if they’re playing as a female character. The secondary character should definitely be a strong female with a story arc.”

Jaymee: “Is there anything else you’d like to add?”

Kirsten: “It still feels like it’s moving slowly in terms of making great content for girls and women.

I think it’s [feminism is] hugely misunderstood in the world in general. For sure, there are all kinds of misconceptions that we’re toeing some sort of hard-core feminist line. Really, all we’re doing is making a product that a particular gender is going to like more than the other. It’s just what happened in console games for thirty years, right?

And shooting seems to be the favourite. Boys like blowing stuff up. That’s what the sales numbers show anyway. So if those are male fantasies – what are female fantasies.

Right now I’m  about amassing mechanics. If boys like blowing things up then what do girls like doing that is the exact equivalent of that? What’s the most compulsive little thing for us? And it seems like hidden object games, in that primal sense of stuff that we’re good at, that comes really naturally, that is compulsive, that we can lose ourselves in, that you kind of just go into that zone of, ‘I rock’, right? [laughs] That’s exactly like shooting.

Jaymee: “What do you think needs to happen next?”

Kirsten: “Just not ever questioning the fact that everything girls do is completely legitimate. I have this conversation with fathers all the time. They say, oh my god, my girl, all she ever does is sit on Facebook. All she’s ever doing is chatting with her friends and I say, isn’t that great? That’s so great. Just think about the skills that she’s developing.

But they never thought of it that way. They note that their son is out there kicking a ball around the soccer field. And they think that’s a better skill. So I have to remind them, the things your girl is doing are legitimate. Gossiping  is understanding the value of information – and socializing with friends, and chatting – those are all the skills she’s going to use in business and in life, right?

Negotiating, moving a group forward to cross the finish line, making a plan. All that stuff, those are legitimate past times.”

Jaymee: “So you’ve mentioned things like that in previous interviews and people have commented online saying, well isn’t that kind of sexist to say all girls like to do this and that? How would you respond to that kind of statement?”

Kirsten: “So it’s not sexist because there are types of people along a continuum – at one end there are people with butch preferences, and at the other end there are people with femme preferences. And there can be men or women at either end. It’s not dependent on your gender, it’s dependent on your preferences.

And we make games on this end of the spectrum [gestures to femme end of the spectrum].

It’s a whole spectrum of tastes. And we go to that end. That’s all. And there’s everyone in between and it doesn’t actually matter whether you have a penis or a vagina. All that matters is where your preferences lie.

But the nomenclature is hard. When I have interviews I’m I devolve to using the terms male and female or men and women, but know that what I mean is butch preferences or femme preferences, in the context of videogames and game mechanics.”

Jaymee: “About the ratio of women in the industry – some women in the industry have commented saying, it’s not really sexism keeping us back because most women who want to go into games, or tech, or something, are usually strong-willed enough that they can get past that. But where does that leave women who might not have a naturally strong demeanor, who also want to work in games and be part of that diversity? What should we be doing to make it more enticing for them?”

Kirsten: “So you really have to be careful not to confuse what you hear coming out of the states with what you hear in Canada.

The stories I hear coming out of the US are worse. Here’s one. ‘I sent my resume to a whole bunch of games companies and I got completely ignored as a girl and literally just changed the name on it to my boyfriend’s name and I got in. I have never heard of any of that stuff happening in Canada. I simply haven’t heard of it.

This is my experience in video games. I was working in magazine publishing  fifteen years ago. They came and recruited me into games at Radical Entertainment. Someone phoned me up and said – we understand you don’t know the games industry, we need a person who schedules and manages budgets and runs production teams, would you even consider going into games? And I said absolutely.

So I have interviews and meetings with them, and they make me an offer. As I’m thinking about the offer and discussing with my husband for a few days, I realize I’m pregnant. I’m about six weeks pregnant with my second child.

So I phoned them up the next morning, and said I’m just about to sign back your offer but I want to let you know, in all fairness, that I’m pregnant. And all they say is “Congratulations! See you Monday!‘ They did not miss a beat. And I’m not talking about labour laws here, of course being pregnant is not grounds to not hire someone, I’m just saying that in my experience, the people in this industry in Vancouver are actively seeking diverse leadership teams and teams that obviously include women.

I cannot even tell you how many times in this industry, managers or owners of companies have come up to me and said, how do we find more people like you?

So many studies show that diversity around the boardroom table makes more money. Companies with diverse leadership teams have higher ROI’s. If you have a homogenous group of people brainstorming, they’re all bringing the same stuff to the table. ‘Cause they’re homogenous! They’re working with the same life lessons, the same tool kits for problem solving. You need someone to bring in fresh thinking. And that seems to be well understood in industry circles here.”

**************************************************************************************************************

Interview: Mathew Kumar

Mathew is CEO and Creative Director at MK-Ultra Games and freelance games journalist, having published video game magazine ‘exp.’, as well as serving as designer and producer on Sound Shapes (Queasy Games).

Jaymee: “Had you set out trying to make a feminist game, or was the feminist theme a by-product of the theme?”

Mathew: “So, one thing I’d like to step back from–and this is my own fault—is calling Knight and Damsel a feminist game. I think how I’d rather put it–and how I should have put it, I got too excited–is a game that’s influenced by my feminist values; in fact, I’d say it’s a game that is intended to bring those values across, but I definitely jumped the gun in choosing to label the game.

But I *did* very much intend to make a game influenced by those values. Games in which the mechanics specifically *say* things without necessarily having it spelled out through narrative are what interest me; I’m intrigued if Jason Rohrer-esque “mechanics as message” can be used as a subtle form of social activism, reaching players who would otherwise be turned off by “message” games.”

Jaymee: “What kind of feedback have you received in regards to the feminist theme of Knight & Damsel?”

Mathew: “Unsurprisingly negative. I expected to get blow-back in particular from the most educated audience, because coming out and using words like “feminist” as man mean I *will* be questioned and probed and held to a higher standard than people who don’t.

To complain about the aggression–and in some cases it was aggressive–is dangerously close to the “tone argument” when instead I’d rather concentrate on the fact that I’ve received almost zero blow-back from anti-feminists– a clear example of my privilege as a man. In some respects, it’s a difficult line to walk.

I want people in the community to know *why* we are doing this, but I also want the themes to act as a surprise to the non-feminist audience that I want Knight and Damsel to reach. I believe it’s completely fair that we will face criticism, maybe even calls to do things differently.

I have no interest in dictating to others that I’m doing things the right way; we’re very happy to get feedback. Sometimes it’s in line with our plans, sometimes it isn’t, maybe it’ll change things, maybe it won’t. To some extent feminism is personal; I’m aware that my technical director’s feminism comes from a different place from mine.”

Jaymee: “You mentioned in a Gamasutra article that you wanted to “explore if we could make something that satirized the ‘damsel in distress’s’ damaging nature mechanically.” What do you think is the damage caused by games and other media using the damsel in distress trope?”

Mathew: “Well, there’s a reason that Anita Sarkeesian’s videos on the subject total over an hour long! I’d hate to try and summarise the issue and in some way miss or even denigrate other people’s experience of the trope.

If forced, however, at the most basic we want to question why it is expected the “damsel” should wait for her rescuer rather than take an active role in their own story. But there is so much more depth and so many more subtleties to the trope than that.”

Jaymee: “What does feminism, particularly feminism in the games industry, mean to you?”

Mathew: “Again, it’s a huge wide ranging issue. But I always think of a comic I once saw that just said “If you believe men and women are equal, and should be treated as such, you are a feminist.”

I’m not sure if there’s much more I should add, than to say that I believe that the games industry should be going as far as possible to make an equal world a reality, which segues into the next answer.

However: It’s less important for my company to state “we are feminist” than to, as game creators, address and consider women in games; as characters we portray and play as, as people who play them, and as people who are creating them now.”

Jaymee: “What do you think the potential is for games to explore social issues via mechanics?”

Mathew: “It’s all in the play. I think in doing things you understand them better than if you just watch or read about them. It’s a double edged sword; I don’t buy that games can teach you how to “kill” on one end or can totally fix the world on the other, but I think somewhere in the middle, I think a player’s interpretation of mechanics can allow them a greater empathy; if they are not misunderstood. Though I feel allowing players to misunderstand is important, otherwise the realization is not “theirs.”

A title like Lim is a super good example of this but if you were to ask me, a stronger inspiration is maybe something like dys4ia. It’s a very accessible “Wario Ware”-a-like that anyone can “get”; it fits within a style they expect and are comfortable with, but they hopefully come away with something totally unexpected. I really hope Knight and Damsel can offer that.”

Jaymee: “Is there a chance that ‘doing’ creates an extra barrier for players to access a message? Could someone who’s adverse to playing from the point of view of a feminist be more open to a movie that shows the negative consequences of sexism?”

Mathew: “I genuinely feel it’s the opposite. I think a film has to work to place the viewer in the position of consciously empathising with a character, where when you play as one you subconsciously do (or else you wouldn’t care when they die.)

I think the examples where games too closely ape cinematic empathy beats show how it’s not the “doing” that makes the extra barrier, but the uneasy juxtaposition of being “told” to empathise versus doing so naturally.

Nathan Drake is charismatic, but in a cut-scene where he’s getting beaten up after hours of playing him as a superman mass-murderer, it’s difficult to feel anything but annoyed.

That’s why we’re having to walk a very careful line with any prescriptive “plot” in Knight and Damsel; if we start to tell the players that these characters are a certain way that jars with the experience, it could work against us.

I think people are always receptive to ideas they feel like they had on their own, and I think game mechanics can help guide players to their “own” conclusions.”

Jaymee: “I know it’s early days, but has the prototype for Knight & Damsel been play-tested with any anti-feminists? Or is the impact on this target demographic something that will only come out after further iterations and research?”

Mathew: “No, and I’m not sure we can intentionally go out there and try and get people who are anti our message to try the game! I think we’re going to absolutely play-test the game as much as possible with as wide a demographic as we can, but when I think of who I want Knight & Damsel to reach it’s people who haven’t solidly got an opinion one way or another.

Again, otherwise I think it’s going to be too easy to get prescriptive with the game itself. For an example: once you realize that female armour in fantasy video games/movies/art is generally ridiculously skimpy/unworkable/objectifying the first time, you always notice it. But some people solidify into a position where “that’s just the way they like it.”

I don’t have any solutions on how to get people to give things that second look no matter what side of the fence they lie on (it’s something I worry about with allies who have already discounted our game) but I think getting people to the point of that first look is hugely important.

I think the amount of people who haven’t considered these issues is much larger than the people who have set themselves in their ways, and the more people we can get to realize and speak up about these in-equalities, well, the sooner these in-equalities are no longer “normal.””

**************************************************************************************************************

CONCLUSION

If this article raised questions for you, that’s good. Take those questions and start a conversation with someone. Don’t be scared to discuss issues with those who have opposing opinions. Be open and receptive to their reasons why they believe what they believe.

Try not to shut down counter-arguments with fallacies, and question your own answers.

And never stop asking why.

Advertisements
Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

One thought on “FEMINISM IN THE GAMES INDUSTRY: THE IMPORTANCE OF ASKING ‘WHY?’

  1. Dave Flodine says:

    A great article Jaymee. Can’t wait to see what’s coming next. You should submit this to http://www.critical-distance.com/ for their ‘This week in videogame blogging’ segment!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: