So as you probably all know, the “gaming community” is at its own throat again over the issue of sexism. There are those that see the forces of equality as a threat to their hobby, and those that see machismo as an enemy to be eradicated. That’s a…
What a load of horseshit.
"Harassment on both sides is awful." Yes, harassment sucks. Police HAVE become involved. Because the harassment on one side has forced two women to flee their homes due to death threats, organized boycotts of anyone who publicly expresses support for them, attempted to ruin at least one person’s livelihood, and accused the victims of making it all up for attention and sympathy. And the other side has… responded to a constant stream of abuse by asking people to stop treating them like garbage and stop spreading the spurious accusations being used as justification for the harassment.
But harassment on both sides is just awful, you guys.
And the debate is far from over. Five games published in the last six years have central female characters? Yes, I DO think you need to go on—especially when one of those games deliberately keeps that central character it’s lauded for off of the cover of the game out of fear of scaring away dudebros, even over the objections of the developers.
You think things will change because demographics are changing? That companies can’t resist an opportunity like that? That’s funny, because… demographics have barely changed in a decade. The ESA publishes demographic information every year, and as far back as 2005, they’ve been reporting that there’s a 55/45 gender split and more women over the age of 18 playing games than boys age 6-17. And that’s just as long as there’s publicly-posted data for—the numbers aren’t public, but even back in the 80’s, the split was like this. Those demographics were the origin of severely gendered marketing for games in the first place—in the early 90s slump, panicking publishers were told by their marketing departments that more boys play than girls, so they should target their marketing and design to boys. This, based on 60/40 splits. And even today, assholes try to explain this disparity by saying “Oh, but the women aren’t playing REAL games, they’re just playing these fake games that shouldn’t count” and continue the extremely gendered marketing strategies unabated—even when those so-called “fake” games are what carry their companies for years at a time while their dudebro-targeted games flop.
The studios aren’t deciding to change on their own. Developers like Deep Silver are citing Sarkeesian’s videos as an influence on their development process. Others who have spoken up similarly about the importance of this kind of activism in general and influence on their work in particular are Double Fine’s Tim Schafer, Gears of War designer Cliff Blezinsky, and Gearbox’s Anthony Burch.
And they STILL have to fight executives and publishers to change things.
The one thing this guy is right about is that the path of good IS harder. It involves not resting easy just because of a few signs of hope. It involves pressing on in the face of a constant stream of abuse from people threatened by even the merest suggestion that games, the gaming industry, or the gaming community treat women poorly. And it involves putting up with assholes like this one who seem to think that having their tone-policing called out for the bullshit that it is makes them just as much of a victim of harassment as the women receiving death threats for daring to try to make games, but they’re still totally on your side for real, honest.