I feel sick.
Everything I that I read lately makes me both nauseous and furious. I can feel the twisting in my gut when I see the headlines. “Sexual harassment at conventions”, “Inequality in gaming” ,and lately the most poignant of the bunch “Tabletop Gaming has a White Male Terrorism Problem.”
For a women in the industry, I have lead a very blessed and sheltered life. My workplace is fairly free of negative commentary toward me, my Community is extremely respectful and doesn’t make gender an issue, and my convention speaking experiences have been overwhelmingly positive. It doesn’t mean I have had no negative encounters or that I can’t relate to these headlines, but it does mean that I have a lot to be thankful for.
When I read something like this:
“It is unsurprising then that people with conscience have come together to create Hater Free Wednesdays/Saturdays—a master list of comic and game stores and their relative safety for women and minorities.”
I cringe that such a designation of days is even necessary. Is this collective backlash in the news justified? Is there a huge problem that needs to be addressed in every corner of the industry? Yes. However, I am not motivated for the challenge of being the voice that moderates that discussion. Reading about constant hate, injustice, discrimination, rape, lies, neutrality, all words that paralyze my fingers at this moment and keep them from searching out the perfect answer to how to solve these problems.
This article is not about the negatives that shut us down, but about what keeps us coming back.
What can we do to combat these pressing problems when the voice of moderation fails to speak for us? A small start would be to give attention to those who are reflecting positivity in the gaming realm and who are fighting the dark by showing that there are, sometimes hidden, awesome things occurring all around us. Here is a short list of these special people/companies who caught my notice this week, that are not getting the media spotlight they deserve. Let’s focus on them for a moment to fortify ourselves against the rest.
The woman who is Lara Croft
Rhianna Pratchett (besides having the best name ever), is a writer of video games who you might recognize from her work in the recently rebooted Tomb Raider. If there ever was a strong female character that makes me feel like an extremely capable, yet vulnerable, woman, her portrayal of Lara Croft is it. Kudos to her for helping to create the kind of play experience that encourages others to appreciate and want to emulate a strong woman.
Programming made easy(ier)
Did you know women account for 11 percent of Game Designers and 3 percent of Programmers, according to survey data cited by the Boston Globe? GDI plans to change that, with their organization that focuses on enhancing experiences “by teaching women around the world from diverse backgrounds to learn software development, we can help women improve their careers and confidence in their everyday lives.” I know plenty of other women who are nervous about attempting to code. Let’s give this a try?
Bitches be trippin’
When I go to a gaming convention, my mode of travel is always Uber. I was seriously disturbed to learn that 6,160 tickets have been filed for sexual assault and 5,827 tickets for rape! When I look at these numbers, I feel considerably less safe, but his figure doesn’t surprise me. Based on personal experience, I know that when I am in a car alone, there is a 33% chance that the driver will creep on me in some overt way. Obviously organizing group Uber rides when I’m just trying to get to a convention is an unnecessary and unfair hurdle. Now there is a service that can change all that anxiety. Chariot for Women will be opening on April 19th and is geared toward the safety of women by women. If you want a sense of added security and the guarantee of a woman driver. Check it out.
These are just three out of dozens of compelling and positive companies/people who are tackling these industry-wide problem. While we should not trivialize or ignore the serious issues facing women who game, we should not forget to notice those who are making the world a safer and better place to practice our passion.
What inspired you this week?