Tuesday, November 27, 2012

#1reasonwhy: Women and Game Development

So, I was browsing Twitter earlier this evening (well, yesterday evening now), and I came across a hashtag called "". At first, I thought that this was just another post by Tweeters with "swag" that will only live once, you know, #YOLO. I was wrong; the tag is about the lack of female representation in gaming and game design.

I got into a bit of a debate about the target audiences of most games, which would be young White males. Of course, logically, if companies want to make money, they should target this general audience since they make more money off of it than targeting ethnic minorities or women. There is also the argument that targeting these groups may alienate the majority, or worse, offend minorities and women if the game came off as exploitation. The latter portion of the second argument leads back to the initial cause of the tag: lack of representation in development.

If there were more women or minorities in game development, then perhaps characters that fall into these groups would not come off as one-dimensional or stereotypical, and these groups would not feel offended or exploited by how they are represented in games. I am not a woman, so I will never know the feeling of a woman that feels underrepresented in the field, but I can somewhat relate since I am not a White man.

I am, however, a man. By nature, I am a masculist and opposed to hard feminism. I am a young, heterosexual man with standards, and yes, I like sex. In society, I see a march towards denying men the right to want attractive women, while women have the right to want attractive men. I stand against this. I am not of the school of thought, however, that a woman has no place in the workplace, and in said workplace, that they should be victims of sexual harassment (the same goes for men too though). I also believe that if a woman can be effective at a job, then she has every right to compete for or hold that job in my book.

I am not exactly a bleeding heart liberal though. I do not believe that it is my purpose in life to fight other people's battles at the expense of fighting me own. I am not a conservative either. I tried that back in my college days to fit in and didn't get a $100 prize or hot Japanese wife, so I think that I'll stop playing that game too. You won't hear me telling you to "pull yourself up by your bootstraps" to blow off the fact that people can indeed be victimized. I believe that victims do exist, but it is the victims' duty to stop being victimized, and in some cases it might be up to said victims to take the boots and the straps to those that victimize them.

I say that to say this: society will not change overnight, but with a good skill set and the tools that are available (often for free), you can put something together yourselves. Not a programmer? No problem. As I stated in my previous post, there is more to game development than programming. Sound designers, voice actors (and actresses, of course), story designers, and even choreographers have found jobs related to the development of games. If you have an idea or a dream to get into the field, pursue it. Try to find like minds and network. It may be a long shot, but it is possible to put something together, and maybe even start your own company!

If you need more inspiration, then check out the hashtag . Women are getting their act together and networking; if only Black men would do the same.